Well, the old tax return for 2011 has been filed. In a few short weeks, I will be a rich man. (If only.) I have been amazed in recent years by just how much I get back. It’s more than twice what I used to get back. This suggests to me that they are either taking too much out, or they are giving way too much of it back. I file it online at taxactonline.com. (There is your free plug. Thanks for the free e-file.) Of course, when you file your tax return for free they constantly ask you at every step if you wouldn’t like to upgrade to the premium service for a small fee and they will gladly check to see if there aren’t some deductions I may be missing that could save me even more money. I decline because, unlike the upper 1%, I don’t feel like I’m paying enough. I’m not going to go crazy and suggest that the U. S. government should take a huge chunk of mine or anyone else’s money, but I see nothing wrong with everyone paying a fair share. What will I do with all of this money? There is a certain effects pedal that would be nice to get my hands on. I could make the sound of my guitar even more dangerous than it already is. Woo hoo! Van Halen will be nearby in April and tickets go on sale soon. There seem like some possibilities in there somewhere. I hope this tax season is as stress free for you as it was for me.
A recent study suggests that people who tend toward prejudiced attitudes and conservative ideologies are more likely to be stupid. Some people may be insulted by this news. I’m surprised they have sense enough to realize that they should be offended. How could this be possible? Are you as shocked as I am? They actually had to spend time and money on a study that literally took years to finish just to find out that bigoted people are idiots? All I can say is, “Duh!”
Did I miss a great opportunity, or what? Mitt Romney was in town yesterday and I missed it. This is one of the rare times that I regret not paying closer attention to local news. Not that I really care what he has to say. I’m just sure they didn’t have enough hecklers in the crowd to make it interesting. It would have been nice to ask him some questions like did he really think that tax breaks for the rich were really going to help the economy or help the poor? How did he feel that of all the people there, he made a whole hell of a lot more than any of them and yet paid a much smaller percentage of taxes on his income than any of them? Could he really look these people in the eye and not feel the least bit of shame? Did he enjoy the ad produced by the Colbert Pac that was run in South Carolina while he was there? He once believed in people having adequate health care; does he really now think that people who can’t afford health insurance should just die? Which of his two faces are we seeing today? I found out about the visit because I was listening to a local radio station. I don’t normally do this. I usually listen to cds, but the ones I had with me ran out and I didn’t feel like listening to them again. The morning guys on this station are a couple of lame idiots. If it weren’t for the music, I wouldn’t ever listen to them. One of them was actually there to see Romney. The amazing wit of the other guy afforded him to come up with a line about whether it was really boring or not. With everything going on in the country, this was the best they could come up with. He actually got to shake his hand and kiss his ass. God forbid either one of them should have the sense or the balls to have an opinion. It is times like this that it would be nice to have a satellite radio in the car. It’s really sad to see someone miss an opportunity like that.
For those of you who have been just waiting to hear about day two at Disney World, Animal Kingdom, here we go. Yes, it does have a pretty good variety of animals of different sizes around the different section representing different continents and concepts; Asia, Africa, Discovery Island, Camp Minney and Mickey and Dino Land. (Sorry, no Dinosaurs. You have to go elsewhere if you want Jurassic Park.) It is geared more toward the kids, but there is plenty for adults to do. The shows are easily accessible to anyone, unless you happen to be one of those people that just hate everything. The Lion King has some pretty impressive acrobatics. I don’t know if Disney was trying to compete with Tampa’s Busch Gardens with this one or not. It really depends on what you are looking for if you are trying to pick between the two. As far as the animals are concerned, it would be hard to pick between them. Busch Gardens probably has a slight edge here, but not by much. They both have them set up fairly well with different interesting ways to see them. The best way to pick between the two is to decide just how old and daring your party is. If your kids are preteen, then Disney’s Animal Kingdom is probably the best bet. If you have teenagers who don’t lose their lunch or crap their pants easily, then Busch Gardens’ fine selection of death defying (this is no exaggeration) rollercoasters is probably the better choice. Much like most theme parks, the prices on everything seems to be a little unrealistically steep. I was looking at the prices on the menu outside of one of the restaurants, thinking, “Well, the prices are a little higher than normal places, but it’s not that bad.” And then I realized that I was looking at the prices of the appetizers. We found a sandwich shop where I got a burger and fries that was a decent size and only a couple of dollars more than I would have paid outside of the park. You always expect to pay a little bit more in these places. If you look around the different food places you can usually find a pretty good variety of choices. The day before in Hollywood Studios I had a pressed club sandwich that was pretty good. Theme parks are a good vacation bet if you have the extra money to spend. I don’t recommend bankrupting yourself for the opportunity, though. I live within a two to three hour drive of all the major theme parks in Florida, which makes it a lot easier to just pick up and go on the spur of the moment. The parks also generally have deals going for local residents to try to encourage us to come as often as possible. But don’t feel the need to move to Florida just so you can go to the theme parks. I hear they want more people in California. And now a look at some more people that I saw over the weekend. There was the guy sitting at the table next to us with his family that seemed like a wonderfully fun dad to have. The one son happened to mention that he wanted to go on a particular ride next. The dad pulled out his itinerary that he had written out on a sheet of notepad and said that they would be doing that at such and such a time, but not right now. God forbid you little brats should mess up the whole day after he went through all the trouble of planning it out for you. For shame. Then there was the kid who was shoving a stroller along, pushing it out in front of him and catching up with it as his parents followed nonchalantly behind him not saying a word. Hopefully the baby wasn’t actually in the stroller. Even if it wasn’t, he is still shoving this thing along in a busy park where he could easily hit someone with it. And we wonder why some people grow up the way they do. There are still two more days left on our Disney passes and two more parks left to visit. We shall see in the not too distant future what kind of interesting things I may find in the remaining two. Don’t know exactly when that will be yet. I’ll let you know.
So we find ourselves at Disney World this weekend on an unplanned trip. We had a weekend free and decided to take advantage of their 3 day for $99 for Florida residents deal. For a little bit more you can add a fourth day. This seemed like the wise thing to do since there are four parks. Day one was spent at the Hollywood Studios. (What happened to MGM?) They have some really good stunt shows there in the Indiana Jones and the car show. The car show was impressive as it was well choreograph and timed out perfectly. If any of them had been even a slight bit off they would have been at the least swapping some paint. They also have the Rocking Rollercoaster (a thriller that features Aerosmith music) and the Hollywood Tower (once the Tower of Terror). Don’t ask me why they changed the name. Did they want to make it sound more friendly? This is Disney so there is, of course, plenty for the kids to do. The most interesting part of visiting a theme park for me is watching the other people. There was the guy behind us with his family during the Backlot Tour. He was one of those Mr. Know-it-all jackasses. First he was complaining about the volunteers in the one part because the were smiling and didn’t make it look real. Then he was explaining everything to his family because they were apparently too stupid to figure it out on their own. I made a point of looking back to see what this family looked like. The wife was Asian and probably foreign born. I don’t know if he ordered her out of a catalog or grabbed her as she was stepping off the boat, but he definitely did it before she knew what she was getting into. The daughter was a young teen that seemed very cowed and overwhelmed by the world. If he isn’t already raping then I’m sure he thinks about. Yes, I’m a horrible person, but that’s what I do. And then there was the elderly woman with the thick baby blue eyeliner. I don’t know which good witch she was trying to be, but it really wasn’t working. And there is our hotel. It is not Disney associated. If you want to stay on site at a reasonable price then you probably need to book it further ahead than the night before. It wasn’t far, though. I have never seen one Ramada directly across the street from another one. We probably should have been at the other one. The room was big and clean enough. There was no fridge or microwave, which tends to help on longer stays. We’re fortunately only here for one night. The biggest problem was that the view from our window was of the neon lights for the hotel bar. (See the picture on Twitter.) It was literally right outside the window. We were there on karaoke night. There is nothing like being serenaded by horrible singers to put you to sleep. I especially liked the guy yelling his way through “Turn the Page.” They did fortunately quit at an early hour, so as not to overly disturb the guests. We had earlier in the night risked life and limb jaywalking across the un-crosswalked six lane street to eat at the Ponderosa. Good steak and potato and all you can eat buffet. Our server, a one Roger, was very good and kept us well supplied with drinks and whatever else we needed (except for the hooker). Today we will find our way to the Animal Kingdom.
It’s nice to know that British Airways jets have a sense of humor . . . or a cruel streak. On a recent flight from Miami to London, one of their planes decided to make an announcement about there being an emergency and that they were going to have to make an emergency landing on the water. This is not the kind of thing you want to be woken up to at three o’clock in the morning. It turned out to be just a recorded message that had played accidentally. It is not known if there was any cruel laughter heard coming from the plane. One has to wonder why you would record messages like this to be played automatically in the event of an emergency. Isn’t that a bit impersonal? Wouldn’t it be better to hear this from someone on the staff, say a pilot? Call me crazy, but most people don’t want to be told they are going to die by a computer. The airline did make up for the mistake by handling each of the passengers a letter of apology as they disembarked from the plane. I’m sure that made them feel so much better about the experience.
Good news, Snoop Dogg. A recent 20 year study suggests that smoking the occasional joint, like once a week or slightly more, does not cause the lung damage that smoking cigarettes does. Smoking two or more a day (sorry Snoop) may cause some lung damage. Researchers believe that the THC in marijuana may counteract the ill effects of the harmful chemicals that it shares with tobacco. It also doesn’t hurt that pot smokers have a tendency to breath more deeply than cigarette smokers. This is much like exercising the lungs. We all no that exercising can only be good for you. Some of you out there have some very muscular lungs.
Sometimes I even amaze myself. Did I not make the prediction that a rapper would admit to smoking marijuana. And look what happened to Snoop Dogg. When a Texas border checkpoint found several joints in his bus, Snoop admitted that they were his. I’ll try not to gloat, but it’s kind of hard not to. My psychotic abilities are not to be trifled with. Bow before me, puny humans, for I am sort of like a god like thingy. Which of my predictions will come true next? Feel free to waste much of your time scouring the news in the hopes of being the first to see it.
Here is an interesting story. A recent piece of third grade math homework from Gwinnett County, Georgia, had some interesting questions on it. One read, “Each tree had 56 oranges. If eight slave pick them equally, then how much would each slave pick?” Obviously, this is an unanswerable question. They are not clear as to how many trees there were. Was it just the one tree, or were there multiple trees? Were they merely looking for a percentage? Another question reads, “If Frederick got 2 beatings per day, how many beatings did he get in one week?” This is clearly not a question for a third grade math test. This is obviously more befitting of a Georgia State managerial training course. Do they really expect a bunch of kids to be able to answer these questions? Come on, Teach, what the hell is your problem?
Well, folks, it is time once again to look into that old crystal bowel and see what the future has in store for us. My predictions were so uncannily accurate in 2011 that I am almost scared to look forward to 2012. But these visions just build up inside of me until they come spewing forth in one fluid run of revelatory satisfaction. Here we go. Despite what the Mayans said about 2012, we do not face doom in 2012 . . . unless you count the next presidential election and Charlie Sheen’s new television series. Speaking of Charlie Sheen, a new energy drink will hit the market called Tiger’s Blood. It will become an instant hit when people hear that Sheen actually has a hand in producing it. It will quickly go off the market when it is discovered that it is not his hand that is actually in it. That salty aftertaste does not come from a tiger’s blood but from another bodily fluid. That red tint to it might be something you should have a doctor look at, Charlie. Justin Bieber will finally admit that he really did knock up that woman in the men’s room at a concert. The restroom turns out to be his favorite place to meet women. There is something about the ambiance that just drives him wild. He will marry her, settle down, have three more kids, get fat, develop an alcohol problem and finally get divorced. Look for her tell all book and his attempted comeback in 2013. The Republicans will do away with the old fashioned form of debate in favor of poo flinging contests. The rules are simple. You must provide your own poo on the spot and you must make the other contestants look worse than you do. Barack Obama’s entire 2012 campaign will consist of a clip from one of these contests and the caption, “Would you really vote for one of these guys?” The music community will be shocked and amazed when an unnamed rapper (unnamed for legal reasons that we won’t discuss here so as to protect his identity) admits that he (or she) may have at some point in their life smoked marijuana. The world will be aghast. Could there be others. How deep does this conspiracy go? Addled minds want to know. The world will be shocked when Ashton Kutcher marries Betty White. He will reveal on his Twitter account that the reason his marriage to Demi fell apart was because she just wasn’t mature enough. Betty understands his needs. Will someone please check to see if Michael Jackson is still dead for me? I’m really not in the mood. The major television networks will completely do away with scripted shows in favor of music, dance contests, reality shows and whatever else they can think of to make has been celebrities do that they shouldn’t be doing in the hopes of getting back into the spotlight. The capper will be the show “How Desperate are You to be a Star?” where the contestants do the stupidest things they can think of in the hopes of getting on the air. MTV will sue the makers of the show claiming that they are already doing that with “Jersey Shore.” Lindsay Lohan will have a quiet year. However, by the end of the year she will be desperate to find some way to get into trouble that will keep her in the spotlight but not actually in jail for more than 30 days. It’s her job, you know! There will be a big debate among sport commissioners over which professional sport will go on strike this year. How could we possibly go through a year without someone looking like a bunch of dicks? They will all get together in a Chuck E Cheese for the big meeting. It will all go to hell when an argument over one of the games turns into a fist fight, getting them all chucked out of there. In a very stunning and slightly suspicious turn of events where every other NFL team is involved in plane crashes killing off each team, the Buffalo Bills actually win their first Super Bowl. It may be a slightly tainted victory, but they’ll take it. Just to show their support, the entire world will tune in for the halftime show . . . and then bitch because it really sucked. And those are just a few of my predictions for 2012.