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Eureka 2.0!

By Diane Fuller

Contributing Editor

If you’re already making plans for your summer vacation, here’s something to add to the mix: gold prospecting in California’s El Dorado County. Talk about some real and raw fun! You’ll be taking advantage of what’s known as “Gold Rush 2.0,” which is a result of the unusually wet winter and deep snowpack that brings cascading water and all the materials, like gold, that come with it. According to Mark Dayton, a metal detector expert, “It’s one of those 100-years events … material [gold] is being ripped literally right off the walls of the creeks as they reshape themselves.”1 Yikes! Maybe we can all go on vacation AND make money too!

But hold on, this is California, so there are a lot of regulations specific to different regions. For example, some areas only allow for panning – or hands-and-pans – which means you can’t use a shovel to dig. At state parks, you’re only allowed to gather up to 15 pounds of mineral material per day, which can’t be sold or used commercially for profit (so much for making money). There’s also sniping and sluicing. Sniping involves lying down in a creek bed and prying gold out from the bedrock (this qualifies as working on your vacation, which is a big no; also, the water is probably freezing because it’s from the snowpack; a tropical beach vacation is sounding better).

Prospectors can stake a claim on public lands, however, but before doing so, they must check for prior claims and abide by the “Detecting Mining Code of Ethics.” Uh-oh, due diligence. That means there’s a whole list of practices you need to adhere to, like “leaving as little sign of your passing as possible,”2 and reporting all finds to landowners (umm, so we have to split?).

Panning and sluicing will reportedly be best in June once the water levels go down and drowning is less likely, so plan accordingly. There are some five-star reviews for campgrounds in the area, which is promising, although nothing that would qualify as “glamping,” so count me out. Plus there are bears in the campground that reportedly don’t like to interact with people and because I qualify as a person, that’s also a negative. I’m thinking the tropical beach wins my vote.

TGIF Mozzarella sticks bag

A stock surge or just a [sic] joke?

Kathryn Zdan, EA

Editorial Director

If you’re in the business of putting words (or numbers) out into the world, there will inevitably come the time when a typo slips through. Recently, ridesharing heavyweight Lyft proved that it’s not too big to fail when it released an earnings report that contained an extra zero.

The initial report said Lyft’s adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (or EBITDA1) margin as a percentage of bookings could expand by 500 basis points in 2024, or 5%. In response, shares went up as much as 66% to $20.04 per share. The excitement was short-lived when it was announced that in fact the margin is actually forecasted to expand by only 50 points, or 0.5%. Share price dropped but still netted a $2 per share increase overall.

(As a side note, Lyft has not yet turned a profit, a milestone that its rival Uber only reached for the first time in 2023 since it went public.)

Karma’s a botch

We have an unspoken rule at Spidell: Don’t laugh and snark and smirk when a competitor prints a typo because we have been in the same position. This author remembers not long after starting at Spidell (as a copyeditor), the California Taxletter went to print misspelling then-Governor Schwarzenegger’s last name. (I’m too embarrassed to even attempt to hunt down that issue, circa 2007.)

But at least we are not alone. In searching for the comfort of others’ mistakes, I found the following grave errors:2

  1. The 1631 “wicked Bible” included the commandment “Thou shalt commit adultery.”
  2. The 1934 edition of Webster’s Dictionary included the mysterious entry “Dord.” This was eventually traced to an editor’s note that the word “density” could be uppercase or lowercase: D or d.
  3. The British paper The Guardian was so famous for misprints that it became known as “The Grauniad.”
  4. The iron content of spinach is somewhat of a myth, based on a typo in 1870 indicating that it has 35 grams of iron, rather than 3.5 grams per 100 grams of spinach.
  5. A craftsman working on the Lincoln Memorial would have appreciated the Ctrl+Z function after carving “euture” instead of “future.” The offending bottom bar has since been filled in.

IRS communicating with taxpayers via fortune cookies

In an effort to reach more taxpayers, the IRS’s Tax Outreach, Partnership and Education team is partnering with fortune cookie companies to turn dessert into an opportunity to provide tax information.

“Now when people go into a Chinese restaurant, and they open up their fortune cookie, they not only can get a fortune, but they get some tax advice as well,” Derek Ganter, director of stakeholder liaison at the Internal Revenue Service, said Thursday at a conference in Las Vegas.

The fortune cookie messages will include things like reminders about deadlines. Spidell editors immediately offered the following suggestions:

  • She who is charitable reaps the benefits of large deductions (provided adequate substantiation is kept)
  • No, this meal is not deductible
  • He who keeps receipts is fortunate when the audit man cometh
  • It is better to be a cheerful giver to the IRS, or penalties and interest will apply
  • Your unlucky number is $9,833. Make a payment online at

Let us know if you have any fortune cookie suggestions for the IRS by replying to your Tribune e-mail.

A few fun facts about this week’s writers:

Diane Fuller

Diane 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.

Kathryn Zdan, EA

Kathryn 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 watching foreign films.

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