June 14, 2018
Bunk beds

Manly Men, Manly Things, Manly Way

Manly Men, Manly Things, Manly Way Back in the early 80s, a group of Democratic legislators decided to room together to cut the cost of staying in Washington for the three nights or so per week that Congress is in session. The motley crew included Representative George Miller of California (owner of the blue-gray house in Southeast DC), Senators Dick Durbin and Chuck Schumer, future Defense Secretary and CIA chief Leon Panetta, and others. We can only imagine whose phone numbers they posted on the refrigerator in a house like that. Pizza delivery? Of course! Liquor guy? Oh yeah. Exterminator? […]
June 7, 2018
Pirate flag


Arrrgh! It’s 1715 in the Caribbean and the Golden Age of Piracy is at its peak. The War of Spanish Succession is over, and thousands of privateers are left without gainful employment. From bases hidden away in the Bahamas, buccaneers like “Calico” Jack Rackham, “Black Sam” Bellamy, and “Black Bart” Roberts gather those sailors under new commands to terrorize the seas. (Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard, ties burning fuses into his hair to look more fearsome.) While there are never more than a few thousand pirates active at any given time, their legend will live on for centuries. What […]
May 29, 2018

We Bet You’ll Like This…

We Bet You’ll Like This… On May 14, the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Betting Act that had made Las Vegas the only state where bettors could gamble on college and professional sports. (Sorry, wrestling fans, no betting for you. Spoiler alert — the matches are fixed.) Imagine how much louder your neighborhood sports pub will get when the obnoxious drunk at the end of the bar who won’t stop jabbering about his fantasy team is actually putting his money where his mouth is! Dozens of states are expected to legalize betting within the next few […]
May 25, 2018

Princesses Pay Taxes?

Princesses Pay Taxes Early on Saturday morning, 29 million Americans woke up to take a break from school shootings, Russian collusion, and partisan gridlock to watch a California woman achieve a rare fantasy. The woman in question watched the sun rise as plain old Meghan Markle. But by the time it had set, she had become Her Royal Highness Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. (When she’s in Scotland, she’s the Countess of Dumbarton. In Ireland, she’s the first Baroness of Kilkeel. What did your grandmother-in-law give you on your wedding day?) Lots of Americans grow up wanting to become a princess. […]
May 17, 2018
Ford F-150

Ford on Fire

Ford on Fire On May 2, fire broke out at the Meridian Magnesium Products of America plant in Eaton Rapids, Michigan. The factory supplies components to Audi, BMW, Daimler, Fiat, GM, Tesla, Jaguar and Mercedes. But their most important product may be the die-cut radiator “front bolster” supports in Ford’s F-150 pickup. Workers pressure-feed molten magnesium into a mold, then rapidly cool it like Jell-O. And Meridian is the only factory that does it. No bolster, no truck. The fire has forced Ford to shut down production of the truck completely while they scramble to come up with the part. […]
May 8, 2018

Free Agent Scores Tax Break

Free Agent Scores Tax Break Baseball is back in swing, and several teams have already made it clear that they won’t be contending for playoff berths. The Cincinnati Reds are leading that sorry pack, the first team to lose 20 games in the season. But the Orioles, White Sox, and Rangers are all nipping at their heels. If any of them are serious about winning this year, it might be time to take a look at signing some free agents. Find an unhappy veteran, steal him away with a big salary and signing bonus, and maybe you’ll be at .500 […]
May 4, 2018
Theatre curtain

There’s No Business Like Shvo Business

There’s No Business Like Shvo Business The lights of Broadway have long shone bright as the show business capital of the United States. (Hollywood may have the movies, but it’s just not the same. And Vegas? Puh-leaze.) New York theatres attract millions of visitors and billions of dollars every year. Naturally, sharp New Yorkers have co-opted show business tactics to promote all sorts of unrelated businesses. So now, we have fashion-as-theatre, restaurants-as-theatre, and even real-estate-as-theatre. Michael Shvo may be the most theatrical real estate guy of all. He started out as a brash Manhattan broker, squiring buyers in a chauffeur-driven […]
April 24, 2018
Ancient records

A History of Tax Records

A History of Tax Records Tax Day 2018 has come and gone. Have you cleaned up the mess from the celebration? Has your hangover faded into memory? Now all that’s left is to box up those records and store them somewhere safe, for . . . how long? Storing tax records is lots of fun, said no one ever, but it is important. The IRS says you should generally keep your records for three years from the date you file your return, or indefinitely if you file a fraudulent return. Having said that, some tax records have lasted a lot […]
April 19, 2018

Billion Dollar Tax Bill

Billion Dollar Tax Bill By all rights, “Tax Day” ought to be one of our favorite holidays, like “Christmas in April” without the carols, the hype, or the eggnog. That’s because eighty percent of us get refunds, averaging $2,782 each in 2017. (When was the last time Santa Clause left three grand in your stocking?) Of course, that means 20% of us are writing checks to the IRS. And if you’re among that 20%, we sympathize. We know it hurts. But we’re confident it does’t hurt nearly as much for you as it does for a “master of the Universe” […]
April 11, 2018
Pocket watch

Better Late Than Never

Better Late Than Never Everyone has a mental picture of what a tax professional or accountant looks like. Probably pretty boring, right? Dull. Predictable. Not quite smart enough to do useful work, like engineering. Definitely not slick enough for sales. Probably balding and paunchy, bleary-eyed from too many late nights at the office typing numbers into boxes on government forms. But that’s not always the case . . . so let’s take a look at a couple of fun stories that shatter that stereotype. First, Dorothy Steel. Dorothy spent decades working as a senior revenue officer for the IRS before […]