We hope you’ll enjoy our new page design: a more expansive layout that gives the words extra room to breathe. And now, we’re on Facebook and Twitter! Follow us to receive updates when fresh articles hit, as well as interesting tidbits that you might not find anywhere else.
If you see anything wrong with the new setup – whether it be a subtle wierdness, slight glitch, or full-on malfunction – please drop us a line! Thanks!
Stay tuned for the imminent resumption of our regularly scheduled programming…
They say that when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. So what do you do when life gives you an IRS 1040? Make IRS 1040-ade? I tried, and there’s no such thing, goddammit!
Up ’til a month ago, I felt the same way about state taxes. Then, whilst I drifted upon the stupefying boilerplate sea of California’s 540 form, the phrases “false imprisonment” and “Ottoman Turkish Empire” bubbled to the surface. What were they doing there?
It turns out that each state tweaks the tax code – by adjusting the Federal rules with their own credits and deductions – to help the less fortunate and foster positive behavior, amongst other reasons. By California law, income specifically excludes compensation for false imprisonment and reparations to those oppressed by the Ottoman Empire between 1915 and 1923. Whoa.
Intrigued, I combed the other states’ 2009-tax-year forms for such oddities – and found dozens! Please, take a look at the best of them below! For your convenience, I’ve linked the excerpts back to the source. Each appears as it did originally, no Photoshopping.
Imagine, if you will, the burger force – a field of energy that radiates from every freshly-cooked patty, earth-penetrating and inverse-squared with distance, compelling the hungry carnivore to seek out and devour the well-done ground beef at the source.
Now, wrap that concept in a Star Wars motif – set in the present day, with the second-tier burger chains as the rebels – each, by themselves, without mutual aid, battling the 12,000-plus restaurant McEmpire. The situation is most dire, for the upstarts control but a few significant islands of territory amid the overwhelming and darkly-rendered influence of the McForce:
Territory controlled by the eight largest U.S. burger chains.
In this and the following graphic, each individual restaurant location has equal power. The entity that controls each point casts the most aggregate burger force upon it, as calculated by the inverse-square law – kind of like a chart outlining the gravitational wells of galactic star clusters, but in an alternate, fast food universe.
By far, the largest pocket of resistance is Sonic Drive-In’s south-central stronghold: more than 900 restaurants packed into the state of Texas alone. Sheer density is the key to victory!
The forecasts predicted a heavy swell and calm weather, so on went the green light for the annual competition at Mavericks, California’s most infamous and best-endowed surf break. Come contest morning, Saturday, February 13th, 2010, the waves arrived, larger and smoother than expected, with clean faces up to fifty feet…
The conspicuous sign at the entrance to Mavericks Beach reads “Warning: Deadly Waves At Any Time,” and it’s not joking. As the first heat began, a series of breakers washed into the nearby crowd, first a dribble and then four feet deep, sending the fortunate scurrying up the cliff, and the unlucky into the drink. The gruesome tally: one broken leg, another busted ankle, dozens of complete soakings, and hundreds of pounds of innocent consumer electronics sent to a watery grave. Good ’ol Neptune scored himself some boss new gear, y’all!
Thankfully, I avoided that chaos and, around noon, pointed my super-telephoto camera rig into the lineup from a much-more-relaxed position just off U.S. Highway 1, about two miles distant. The resulting video, cropped tighter in post-production, is a mega-zoomed, telescope-style view of Mavericks: the tiny sliver of the scene near the horizon that, on-site with your arm fully extended, would have fit behind half of your pinkie fingernail. For the photogeeks, that’s an equivalent focal length of about 4000mm.
Let’s take a look! Onshore at bottom, we see the observation scaffolding, the aforementioned warning sign, and a competitor stretching on the breakwater that the ocean earlier crested. Behind, there’s the action: one surfer paddling out stand up, others bobbing to and fro, and, near the end, an Incredible Display Of Ballsiness on the lip of a huge wave:
Mavericks Surf Contest 2010
Click here to see a slighter larger, higher quality version. Apologies for the audio, which, in slightly raw fashion, accurately represents the afternoon breeze, ping of the harbor beacon, and two guys next to me yapping about Sean Connery.