Imagine That

Another week has flown by without so much as a missed deadline or spilled coffee. The media universe, too, has been relatively quiet, resorting to fierce debates about hoodies and high school bullying. President Obama spent a few days in South Korea, letting the Republican candidates duke it out in town halls across the United States. Hunger Games and Mega Millions. It could be worse; other countries deal with natural disasters, civil war, starvation, disease and rampant corruption.

Perhaps the most disturbing news is that New York Times cut their non-subscriber reading quota down to 10 online articles a week from 20. I tried to be a subscriber—paid good money for good news—but their Android app turned out to be frustratingly useless. After three thirty-minute phone calls to NYT techs (love love love those Brooklyn accents), numerous reinstalls—including an entire phone restore—I gave up and cancelled my subscription. I still read NYT, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal online and have the smartphone subscription to WSJ which works wonderfully. Will the new article limit affect me? It’s too early to tell, but as soon as their Android group gets their act together I’ll be back. Throughout the course of a week I read NYT on 4-6 different computers which jacks my quota to around 100 articles a week. This is usually enough but I have hit the free limits a few times.

..Mega Millions, speaking of which, the government just made a $1.2 billion haul on the last lottery jackpot. Sure, someone (or a group, as it turns out) will win some $300 million after taxes, but this is a great tax on the poor that helps support our health systems and local communities. As any politician knows, implementing any type of tax these days is getting harder and harder due to public outcry. Turns out nobody likes to be taxed. The lottery is the perfect solution to this problem because people willingly bring their hard-earned dollars into the nearest gas station or convenience store and hand them over to the clerk without prodding or persuasion, and will even take off work early to do so. They leave with wild dreams and are impossibly happy for the next few hours. There seems to be, oh, a small problem, being that this tax mainly targets the poor, but, as rich politicians will be quick to point out, any tax is better than no tax (especially when it comes from somebody else, shhh). But, as this paragraph is already too long for web format, we will have to postpone discussing the disparity issue until a later date (smile and wave, boys).

Lacking an adventure report for this week, I’ll give you a brief rundown of life in the Business Professional Program. All of my ‘real’ classes had exams this week (the jazz and fitness & conditioning class don’t count as real BPP courses). I studied all weekend for extreme tax, an MBA course that I override’d into (why?). This class was totally optional but I chose it for my challenge course of the semester. It has been that and more, hence the weekend. First up was the audit exam, at 8am Tuesday. I got up early and began studying for it around 7:30am and came out with a high A. Management capstone midterm exam wasn’t until 5:30pm so I spent the rest of the day studying for, you guessed it, extreme tax. The management exam went okay; I didn’t ace it but kept my A. Then it was back to the tax books, notes, codes, and regs.

Wednesday morning was a big SI session for me; a big project was due and I had a full class for two and a half hours. That’s a marathon session of teaching and I finished tired and brain-dead, which is not an optimum state in which to prepare for a big exam. My coffee that I hadn’t had time to drink was cold. I went out for an early lunch and spent an hour reading news and blogs to reset the brain. I must add that resetting my brain is more important than any study session. Studying in a brain-dead state is pointless and I finish more frazzled than when I started, leaving me in a brain-dead state for the exam, which happens to be worse than not studying at all. It’s a clear chain of logic. Study early, sense a brain shutdown, stop, recharge, believe.

The tax exam went great, even better than hoped for. The feeling of the brain working well, pulling thousands of obscure details together, is an awesome thing. Multiple choice questions that only have one correct answer is a lovely thing. This exam was on C corps—specifically on calculating E&P, filling out M-3s, tax on distributions and redemptions, constructive dividends, consolidated, affiliated, and controlled groups, foreign subsidiaries, all the really fun stuff with a million little details and twists. Beautiful in its ugliness and complexity. As is normal around tax exam time, I had horrible dreams of skewed E&P balances, carrybacks, and missing code sections in the nights immediately before and after the exam.

Not surprisingly, I don’t remember much of the rest of the week. I do know that I came home at noon on Thursday and spaced out, napped, and read novels until bedtime. Time well wasted :)

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