Wednesday, September 26, 2012

injaynesworld it's "Taxes, Taxes, Taxes..."

I first published this post in April of 2011.   As I'm about to cough over approximately 22% of my 2011 paltry income to the tax man and, in light of the currently political conversation, it seemed a timely post to revisit.  Oh, and I may have tweaked it just a bit...

According to that bastion of celebrity gossip, E! News, Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne owe the IRS nearly $2 million in back taxes and the feds have slapped a lien on one of their houses.

Wouldn’t you just love to have that problem?   Seriously.   Just think about how much money you’d have had to make to owe a tax bill of $2 mil.  Damn!   And to own multiple houses so the tax man has to decide which one to put a lien on?   Why that’s the goddamn American dream. 

I don’t begrudge the Osbournes their good fortune.  At least they didn’t rob any workers of their retirement funds like a certain CEO did while at Bain Capital, or use phony foreclosure papers to steal people’s homes like the bankers we bailed out.   Besides, $2 mil is just the family’s plastic surgery budget.  Hell, Sharon can sell off some of her Louboutins to cover that paltry sum.   

Back in the days when I was writing for television my income never came near rivaling that of either of these families, but it was nice enough that every year I wrote out a check to the government for several thousand bucks.   I grumbled, bitched and groaned about it, but I’d sure as hell like to be writing those checks now.  

I’m not one who's all that adverse to paying taxes.  I view it a bit of like being a member of an exclusive country club; the type of place that has a waiting list of years to get into, where someone damn near has to die for a spot to open up.   

Riviera Club, Pacific Palisades, California

A place like that costs big bucks to join, yet members happily dole out hundreds of thousands of dollars for the privilege of carrying its highly-coveted card, a flash of which tells the whole world they’ve made it.

Now imagine the name of the club is America – land of opportunity from sea to shining sea (if you don’t notice all that oil washed up on shore) – a venerable cornucopia of abundance and excess to the rest of the world who waits outside our gates hoping to gain entry, willing to do anything, risk anything for membership in the land of the free.

Except nothing’s free.   It costs a bundle to keep our club running.   Transportation, infrastructure, water and power, education, wilderness, health care, security – all once the envy of the world – they cost money.    Who would fork over thousands of dollars to join a club where there were gofer holes on the golf course, algae in the pool and cracks on the tennis court?  

Just like it’s a privilege to belong to an exclusive club, politics aside, it’s a privilege to get to live in this country.   Honestly, I feel like I won the damn lotto of life.   While there are a lot of wonderful nations on this earth, any number of which I wouldn’t mind living in, I could have also been hatched in a rural village in Pakistan or the deserts of Sudan.   

Taking all that into consideration, I don’t mind paying the necessary fees to belong to one of the best country clubs on the globe and keep all it has to offer in tip-top shape.   From past experience, I can honestly say I was happiest when I was paying the highest taxes.  While I’ll do my best now, without complaint, to scrape together whatever amount I may owe on an income somewhere in the bowels of the tax code,  I just want everyone else to pay their fair share, too.  I’m looking at you, Mitt and Ann.

This week the President outlined a budget that calls for higher taxes on the people in this country who can most afford it.   To those in that tax bracket who may be tempted to whine about that, I say there are much cheaper clubs you can go belong to, but if you want your card stamped at Club America, pay your damn membership fees, consider yourself lucky, and shut the hell up about it.

Last week, Mitt Romney disclosed that he paid only 14% of his income in taxes.  At least on the part not hidden away in "foreign investments."   I say if you have so much money that you have to hide some of it, it's not going to kill you to fork over a little more to the country where you were lucky enough to be born. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

injaynesworld we meet "The New Family..."

All the neighbors agreed; the new family who’d moved into the old Duncan place on Hollyhock Lane was most peculiar. They’d arrived quietly under the cover of night and few had seen them in the light of day, though those who had reported that they looked rather unseemly and their children tended to bite. 

More than one neighbor told of being awakened in the night by loud moaning and odd shrieks coming from the house that sounded neither animal nor human, while the free-roaming neighborhood dogs seemed to have developed an obsession with the new family’s garbage.

Mable Hollyhock, whose family had once owned most of the land on this street, had been dying to see inside the home, and so it was that on a warm spring Sunday, still dressed in her church finery, her grandmother’s prized emerald-and-gold ring tightly wedged on her finger and a basket of freshly-baked muffins on her arm, rapped her fleshy knuckles loudly on the new family's front door.

No one noticed Mable’s disappearance until a few mornings later when Dobbs McKinley, cursing the dogs that daily dirtied his front lawn, suddenly paused his shovel mid-scoop when a sparkle of green from within one of the mutts’offerings caught his eye and where, upon closer inspection and to his lasting puzzlement, he discovered what appeared to be – by gosh it was – a large emerald-and-gold ring.

This post is in response to the Five Sentence Fiction prompt “zombies.”  


Sunday, September 16, 2012

injaynesworld "Making Your Writing Intent Clear..."

Those of you who subscribe to IJW may have found a recent post of mine, “Visiting Hours,” showing up in your reader or e-mail multiple times and wondered “WTF?” 

Today I reveal how I royally screwed up that piece of short fiction, the lessons I learned, and invite you all to enjoy my public humiliation in a guest post over at  

Please drop by and join in the conversation.  

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

injaynesworld it's "A Wee Bit of a Credibility Gap..."

It was so nice to watch the opening night of the Democratic convention and see my America  with all its colors, nationalities and walks of life represented.  I have to admit, I didn’t watch much of the GOP gathering last week.  I tried, but the glare off all those white faces gave me a migraine.

Sure, the Republicans had Marco Rubio and he gave a helluva speech, whether I agree with his views or not, but just try to find his brethren anywhere in the audience.  Well, maybe in the cheap seats.  I don’t know because the camera never went there.  Last night, the Dems brought out Julian Castro, Mayor of San Antonio, to deliver the keynote speech and what a difference.   The place was packed with proud Hispanic Americans and not one of them was waving any flag, but that of the United States. 

Last week, Ann Romney, donning a $2,000 Oscar de la Renta dress, tried to convince families struggling to pay bills, buy food, and keep their growing kids in shoes that she felt their pain.  Say what?!   Mrs. Romney was raised in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, where the median income for a family is over $200,000.  Then she married Mitt.   I couldn’t help but wonder what experience she was drawing from for all that professed empathy.

While last night Michelle Obama, in a $400 Tracy Reese stunner with shoes from J. Crew, spoke of her own experience as one of those families.   Michelle, grew up in a family of four living in a small apartment on the second floor of a house in Chicago’s South Side with her aunt living in the apartment below.  That’s something I can relate to.  For a time, my single mother and I lived in a tiny apartment where my great-aunt Edith lived upstairs and would often watch me while my mom went off to work as a switchboard operator.  I’m willing to bet that most of you had childhoods that were a lot more similar to mine than to the Romneys.    

When we talk about saving the middle class, it seems to me that the GOP’s vision of an all-white, affluent America, led by one of the most affluent – and yes, whitest damn couples I’ve ever seen.  I swear these two glow in the dark – may not be in keeping with the reality of the rest of us. 

Just sayin’…

Saturday, September 1, 2012

injaynesworld it's "Visiting Hours..."

As the nurse ushered them from the room where tubes and machines had kept her alive since the accident, they all told her again how much they loved her.

She wanted to give them what they sought, yet her body continued to tighten at their touch, her mind refusing to release that which would allow her to open her own heart in return.

She had studied the photos they'd brought her over and over again; husband, mother, sister, son.  Still just faces.

But soon she would have to go with them – this family of strangers – to a home she did not know, though she could not shake the feeling that one of them had put her here.

From the Five Sentence Fiction prompt, “Faces.”


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