Spidell's Tax Season Tribune: Farewell until 2022!

This is it: the final issue of Spidell’s 2021 Tax Season Tribune. Hopefully, we have provided you with some levity over the last few months. And don’t forget to follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter — you’ll get great information and fun tidbits there, too (like our Fraud Friday posts, if you still need an escape from it all).

You’re in the home stretch. We’ll see you on the other side with more analysis, seminars, and breaking tax news. And, next Sunday, Spidell’s California MinuteSM podcast returns for its sixth season.

Computers: Can’t live with them and can’t live without them

Recently I got a new computer with an upgrade to WindowsWhoCares.99. I have had an entertaining time learning all over how to use Microsoft Word, Outlook, and other programs I can’t live without. Here are just a few of the dramas I have encountered.

  • Translation: When I open some e-mails — not all, but some — I get a message asking if I’d like it to be translated from Italian or Greek (some Italian and some Greek). The e-mail is in English, but I get this message. Now, I’m fluent in French and am somewhat of a Francophile, so I could deal with it in French, but geez, certainly not Greek.
  • Clock: My clock keeps losing time, about three minutes a week. I think this is probably a conspiracy to make me put in more time without my knowing it. But it’s irritating when my Zoom Pilates class starts at 6:30 and I forget to check in early. Then I get the evil eye from the instructor and others in the class. I can’t deal with the shaming.
  • Filing documents: The new filing system for Word is a mess. You open a file in your e‑mail. When you save it, it goes to a special, secret place where you may never find it again. You have to click, click, click, and hope your old eyes can see that you got it in the right place. My computer guy put a link to the secret place, but they keep changing that link!

So, as you do, I just call my IT person who charges me who knows how much to fix these irritating problems. Tax season is almost over (if you consider a month “almost”) but beware, if you’ve waited to upgrade your system, keep waiting as long as you can, or maybe invest in a shrink.

Remember the old Peter, Paul and Mary song? If I had a hammer, I’d hammer ...

Mapping second best

A while back, Foursquare (a social media/location data platform) and Business Insider analyzed data purporting to show America’s favorite fast food chains, by state. The resulting map drew more ire than a discontinued McRib sandwich: The map DARED to suggest that Raising Canes was more popular than In-N-Out in California? That Texans preferred Chick-Fil-A over Whataburger?

Twitter exploded, conspiracy theorists fanned the chargrill flames, and alternate maps were devised based on “better” methods of determining popularity. (One such map just showed a little McDonald’s logo in every state … #truth.) But another, more interesting map resulted: America’s second-favorite fast food restaurants, by state.

The underdog map provides us with essential information such as the underground popularity of Subway, the link between Wendy’s and swing states, the existence of a previously unknown “Sonic cluster,” and the fact that in no state is In-N-Out second best. In a culture obsessed with first place, let’s hear it for #2.

You can see the original map and the alternate maps at:


Spidell survey says …

In a poll of Spidell employees, it turns out that our fast food preferences are so varied that Taco Bell was the only #1 fast food establishment to get more than one vote (it got two), but the #2 vote solidly went to In-N-Out.

Acronyms: Bye, Bye, Bye

A final few words on acronyms … maybe … until next year, because you know there will be new ones. When doing research on acronyms, I ran across some interesting acronyms/initialisms used in music and movies.

For example, did you know that ‘N SYNC, the chart-topping, late 1990s boy band, is a play on the last letter of the initial members’ first name? That’s JustiN Timberlake, ChriS Kirkpatrick, JoeY Fatone, JasoN Galasso, and JC Chasez. Before signing to a label, Galasso dropped out, claiming that being a teen idol was not his thing (maybe he should have suffered the ignominy for a few years; he is currently a mortgage loan originator), and Lance Bass took his place. He was nicknamed Lansten, just so the name ‘N SYNC still worked.

Another fun fact: Gattaca, the 1997 movie, references a sequence of the four nucleobases of DNA (guanine, adenine, thymine, and cytosine (G,A,T,C)) which make up the genetic code. The sequence GATTACA occurs in the human genome about 180,000 times. In the movie, genetic engineering is used to create elite members of society. This may be worth watching again. It probably holds up better than a boy band, 24 years later, and it’s still topical.

We can go on with music and movies: WALL-E, MASH, IQ, Run-DMC, C+C Music Factory. There’s no escaping acronyms and initialisms. They’re here for the long haul. We’ll keep looking into them because of FOMO (fear of missing out).

SYNT (see you next time).

A few fun facts about this week's writers:

Lynn Freer, EALynn Freer, EA, is a French literature major, so of course her favorite vacation destination is France. Here she is dining on mussels and fish stew near Nice.

Kathryn Zdan, EAKathryn Zdan, EA, spends her non-Spidell hours on photography and watching horror films (and then sleeping with the light on). She also enjoys hiking, biking, and walks with her ancient Jindo, Mango.

Diane FullerDiane Fuller loves to read, cook, and go to Ketchum/Sun Valley, Idaho, as many times as possible during the year with her family including grandkids and dogs.

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