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Archive for the ‘Du Jour of the Week’ Category

Toastmasters – Pathways Research Project

Oprah, Hagrid and Peter the Great Walk into an H&R Block

Who here knows who Oprah Winfrey is?

Ok … and who here looks at her and thinks, ‘taxes.’

Just me? No one else had their first experience paying a tax because of Oprah?

When I was in elementary school my parents had a little family meeting. Great news, everyone! We would be getting an allowance! I was ecstatic. I did then, and do now, love money. Imagine how many GI Joes I could get with an allowance!

(And I have a very young son at home, and am so glad to finally have an excuse to buy toys again.)

Anyway. My parents told us about the allowance, but … we had to do certain chores. Fine, fine, that’s fair.

My parents bust out a sheet and explained how the chores were age-appropriate things so my brother might mow the lawn while I would unload the dishwasher.

And, our allowance would be age-appropriate too. It was this simple equation where you take your age and … my dad probably explained but whatever. Just gimme the money.

But. Wait.

‘And, of course, there will be taxes.’

What?

‘Well, there’s the vacation fund tax, you have to contribute to the vacation fund. And there’s the cleaning supplies tax. You wouldn’t want to use that same vacuum all the time right, we need to get tax dollars to one day afford a new one.’

My folks learned about this oh so delightful way of teaching your kids about taxes from Oprah. Oprah! Sure Oprah, you can be a kind woman, an entrepreneur, an incredibly impressive business woman … but you’ll always be a tax to me.

Taxes! What an unappetizing topic. And, unfortunately, I’m not about to tell you how you can reduce them, or get out of them, or anything applicable. But, perhaps, at the end of my speech, you’ll know the answer to one or two Jeopardy questions.

And, if you’re an optimist, a bright side of life kind of person, you can think, ‘well at least that’s not happening to me’ when you hear about some of these taxes.

I

The first known tax was brought to us by the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt. They had their tax collectors, known as scribes, go around DOOR TO DOOR. That’s upsetting, but wait, there’s more.

The scribes would travel around to audit Egyptian houses to ensure they were using an appropriate amount of cooking oil! AND! AND! That you weren’t using other leftover oils as a replacement for oil.

Oh, one more detail. The cooking oil was sold by a monopoly run by … the pharaoh. Rough, right?

Come April, when you are filing your taxes using software you downloaded nearly instantaneously … yes, it is painful, and yes, our tax code is absurdly difficult, but at least you’re doing your taxes, unperturbed, in your pajamas.

II

From that very first tax, which was an obvious way to make the pharaohs richer … there have been a number of taxes with interesting backgrounds. We are of course aware of special taxes that come up for schools, new stadiums, or the county wants to set aside more land for preservation.

But what about taxes for fashion? Peter the Great was not a fan of beards. While touring some of Western Europe he decided that he liked the clean-shaved look he was seeing in their courts, so he imposed a beard tax back in Russia. IF you wanted to continue to sport your beard you had to carry around a token showing you had paid your beard tax. This was part of his effort to ‘modernize’ Russia.

Britain has created a tax break for films that are … “culturally British.” Your film gets reviewed and scored on four categories: cultural content, cultural contribution, cultural hubs and cultural practitioners. The purpose of this is to preserve British culture. But you have to wonder … or at least, *I* have to wonder … Would Harry Potter count?

You need 16 points and you get four points if the film is set in the UK … which it sorta is. Four more if the film represents a diverse British culture … which it kinda does. And four points for original dialogue recorded mainly in English language. That’s twelve points right there for a fictional magical place full of Brits.

Last but not least, we’ll travel to our flatlander neighbors, Kansas. Kansas taxes sales of admissions for amusement services, or entertainment, or recreation. There is a federal law prohibiting states having fees and charges on airlines and other airport users. So, if you get in a hot air balloon but don’t go anywhere … you’re taxed.

I don’t know why you would get in a hot air balloon and just STAY there. But, maybe that’s an entertaining thing to do in Kansas. If you ask me, it all sounds like classic big balloon lobby in action.

Conclusion

What did we learn today?

Did we learn that we’re glad we aren’t ruled by Egyptian pharaohs? You probably already felt that way, but if not, welcome to the club. They did worse things than tax, you know.

Did we learn that Hagrid will get a break in England, but be taxed if he ever goes to Russia?

Did we learn that Oprah is evil? I wouldn’t go that far, but you can if you’d like. And now, for the worst impression of Oprah you’ll ever see, I’d just like to invite everyone to look under their seats because … YOU GET A TAX! AND YOU GET A TAX!

Sources

https://bebusinessed.com/history/history-of-taxes/

https://www.cnbc.com/2014/02/14/top-12-weirdest-tax-rules-around-the-world.html

https://turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tips/fun-facts/7-crazy-taxes-from-the-us-and-abroad/L503QNBEQ

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Why’s That TV So Damn Loud?!, and Other Opinions I’ll One Day Share From My Front Porch

You kids better quit eating my meat-flavored gruel!

No, I don’t know where the remote that controls the dog’s brain is … oh no, HE ATE IT AGAIN!

Hey neighbor, nice front porch … NOT!

Hey kid, turn off your VR goggles and pay attention to your self-driving … ah, never mind.

GET A JOB! … Or don’t, the universal basic income that the government wisely decided to embrace because of the automation of so many jobs limiting the workforce to only 10% of the population has really made not having a job a comfortable living. Which, again, makes sense because frankly, people are so much worse at most jobs than technology. So um … GET A HOBBY. Seriously, the ‘hobby’ stipend portion of your UBI is really pretty nice, personally I’ve taken up painting and I love it. So um … GET A PAINTBRUSH. Or a book. Or rock climbing equipment. Whatever. Have a good one!

white wicker padded bench

Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

Eat Like a One Year Old

I’ve got an idea for a restaurant which would fail miserably … but oh what fun in the one month it’d be open.

The idea is customers eat like one year olds.

You walk in, the host or hostess shows you to your seat and then around comes your waiter or waitress. This is where the fun begins. As a customer you don’t need to say a WORD. Nothing. You can, if you want, you can say just one word over and over while looking at any and everything. Or you can just make noises. Or be silent. Whatever.

You are the 1 year old customer, and it’s up to you.

Over the course of the next however long you want you will sample, spit out, make weird faces, make noises, look with disgust and horror at your waiter/waitress when they guess wrong at what you want.

It’ll be grand.

The waiter/waitress will run to/from the kitchen, over and over, bringing you small samples of a really weird variety of foods, and you’ll happily eat four bites and then NO, I DO NOT WANT … ok, one more bite WAIT NO. I DO NOT WANT.

Be as difficult and crazy as you want as you eat a seventeen course meal, where each course is comprised of just a few bites.

Tip will be automatically included in your bill, because the wait staff deserve it.

Chum Week

Dear TV,

Have I got an idea for YOU!

Shark Week.

We all know it, we all love it, or at least pretend to love it to take part in mentioning it over and over. It’s a week of TV, and it’s all about sharks. Where do they shop? What do they eat? What’s their biggest fear (water spiders? do those exist?)? Etc, etc.

Sharks, sharks, sharks.

But what about the little guys who help bring us that grand affair, huh? What about the chum?

IMG_20180818_094838851

Recently I saw my brother and I was wearing this shirt. He asked if I was making a statement about shark week … you know, think of the little guy. Thus – THIS POST!

For example, maybe there are some recipes for chum that even people would like. Mmmm, smells tasty mom! Is that various fish parts and blood?! Yum! Wait, now with seasoning!? Aw mom, you’re the best!!

What was the chum up to before it was caught, thrown into some factory-sized blender, and cranked out in buckets to attract our pals at SHARK WEEK?

And hey, speaking of chums, maybe we profile some famous buddies in addition to the fish guts. Didn’t Abraham Lincoln hang out with Nikola Tesla, or did I just make up that entirely false bit of trivia just this moment?

I don’t know, you’ll have to tune into Chum Week to find out.

(P.S. Naturally, chum week will have to occur right before shark week. It is only fitting.)

The Porn Industry and the Ever-Increasing Rise of Robot Technology

We’ve got a real dilemma on our hands here, don’t we porn industry?

I am going to be bold and predict that in 10 years all of the major pizza chains, your Papa Johns, your Pizza Huts, your Dominoes, your … other ones? … will no longer be hiring delivery boys or girls. Nope. It’ll be self-driving cars. Your pizza will ACTUALLY show up still hot because the car will be a self-driving, 200 degree pizza toting pal.

Sure, sure, that’s all well and good for the average pizza consuming person but … what about the porn industry?

Are we to expect that extraordinarily desperate and lascivious women are waiting, scandily clad, by their door for the pizza … vehicle?

IMG_20180818_072724578

The pizza of choice for Racist Robots.

I don’t think so.

Car: ‘Pizza for customer … Wanda Bang.’
Women who just dropped her towel: ‘Oh … hi. Self-driving Ford Fiesta. I’ll just take the pizza. Thanks.’

Yes, people are weird. SUPER WEIRD. But how big is the market for girl on truck action? Like, not literally girl ON truck … clearly there is a market for that based on how many rednecks you see with bumper stickers of women on their trucks. No I mean girl on truck as in like … you know … that thing …

I don’t know what to do. Slow down technological progress? Stop it altogether? Pretend delivery boys still exist? New porn ‘plots’?

I’m afraid I don’t have any solutions, but I just wanted to point out the problem and hope the internet hive mind can come up with a brilliant solution.

Die Hand

Germany … you’re an odd place. And here’s why I say that.

The German word for neck is hals. The word for back is zurück. And ear is ohr. Eye is auge.

Distinct, unique. Clearly words the Germans had thought, ‘we should make words for these things.’

But here’s where they lose me.

The German word for hand … is hand.

The German word for arm … is arm.

The German word for finger … is finger.

It’s like they just completely forgot about those body parts until one day some Germans were hanging out with some English and the Germans realized, ‘oh crap … we don’t have names for any of the stuff connect to our brust (which means chest) … we should come up with names.’

Englishman: ‘and what do you guys call hands?’

German: ‘die hand.’

Englishman: ‘…no, like, in your language.’

German: ‘yah, hand … is hand.’

I would’ve been a pretty skeptical Englishman if I had heard, in sequence, that the German’s words for arm, hand and finger were … arm, hand and finger. And it’s not like the Germans forgot about appendages altogether. Leg is bein, foot is Fuß, and toe is zehe.

Germans, eh, they’re an odd bunch.

Flag of Germany.svg
Public Domain, Link

 

So, There’s a Spider in Your House

We here at DumbFunnery often get questions and asked for advice about a number of topics. Today’s question comes from an avid reader. (Aren’t they all!?!)

‘Recently we found a very large spider in our house – what should we do?’

This is a tough question because I would like to ask a number of follow-up questions, so I’ll just answer for a few different cases.

 

You Saw the Spider, You Didn’t Interact with the Spider, the Spider Didn’t See You

This is fine. Do nothing, or call an exterminator. Either way is OK. But, when you call the exterminator, call from work or away from your house, and don’t be home when the exterminator does his or her thing. Also, when you get home after the exterminator has been there, say things like, ‘I can’t believe a stranger broke in!’ or ‘oh no, what did that evil stranger do!?’

 

You Saw the Spider, You Tried to Kill the Spider, the Spider May or May Not be Dead

Oh, you idiot. The spider has EVERYTHING on you. It knows your name, your home, your favorite shows (probably not important information but knowledge is power and spiders have 8 legs which means they are likely 4x more crafty than a human so we can’t even CONCEIVE of the ways the spider will use this information against you). I’d recommend moving, but odds are the spider will move with you which is an absolute alpha move and you’ll show up at your new house, go to bed in your new sheets (you’ll want to replace your sheets – the spider has … done things … to your old ones), and the spider will walk across your face as you sleep.

Have you considered giving up all your personal possessions and becoming a monk? This is your best option.

 

You Saw the Spider, You Didn’t Interact with the Spider, the Spider Saw You

The spider has established dominance. If the spider sees you, you must kill it swiftly. It now knows your character, and it finds you to be weak. Congratulations, you are now renting from a spider landlord. Your life is but a toy for the spider to play with. Just humor the spider, and you’ll live a mostly normal life.

Good luck, dear reader.

Need Other Brilliant Advice?

I Know You’re Not a Doctor, But …

I Know You’re Not a Doctor, But … (Part II)

What To Do If You Find Yourself in a Riot

DumbFunnery Doles With the Best, Part I

Tips For Recent Grads – Your Big Trip

Congratulations, Graduates! Welcome to the Next 40 Years

Faking Football Knowledge

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