Sometimes All You Have Isn’t Enough

And yet still, IRS wants more from you.  And your business.

“The IRS believes that some percentage of the costs incurred by employees using company-provided wireless devices should count as a “fringe benefit” and thus be subject to taxation. Since workers inevitably end up taking personal calls or emails, the thinking goes, it’s only fair that they pay for the privilege. What’s next? Maybe a per-cup tax on office coffee, or targeting furtive visits to ESPN or Hulu on the office PC? As one wag put it on the Journal’s Web site, “It’s like charging for the use of the company washroom.”

I understand the need to have taxes to support the myriad programs of our government, but this is ridiculous.  And the thing that stings, is that it is happening from top to bottom.  It’s one thing if your federal taxes get jacked, but now many states, counties and cities are finding new and creative ways to wring every last penny out of you.  Fees for awnings, inspections and permits are all going up in my fine city.  If there is a way to slap a fee on it, our lovely city leaders have figured it out.  Not to mention the colossal waste of money that the new soccer stadium will turn out to be.  How is it that a city who’s roads are so behind in repairs intends to spend millions on a new soccer stadium, that may or may not bring in any new revenue to the city?

And so like our friends in Washington, who think that our use of office resources needs to be classified as a “fringe benefit”, it will not be long until the local folks try to figure out a way to do that as well.  Or in other words, “If it moves, tax it.”

Bits and Pieces

I haven’t been in the mood to do serious medical-type blogging. There are stories to tell, but I can’t find the motivation to share. Maybe it’s a bit of blogger burnout. It could be that I’ve been off for 7 days now and thoughts of nursing about as far from my mind as you can get right now. Instead I’ve been consumed with reading, catching up on TV shows and blogs, cycling, enduring PT and trying to help get the house together in time for the Holidays.

I spent some time downtown with my camera the other day, and in spite of the 21 degree temps (with wind chill), managed to get some nice shots and generally enjoyed myself. I tapped that side of creativity instead of writing. Whatever it takes right?

I added some updates. Up above the header are 2 new pages, Pics and Weekly Playlist. Pretty self-explanatory right?

I know I’ll get motivated again, there are a couple of god ones in the pipe, it’s just a matter of putting pen to paper, so to speak.

Enjoy this old commercial in the meantime: (via Commute By Bike)

It’s just a shame it wasn’t for better beer…although, it could have been worse.

Old Man Winter

I’m lucky to live in an area where winter is more wet than cold.  Sure, it does get cold, but not COLD.  I don’t even think we’ve hit the 20’s yet here in PDX.  It’s a far cry from nursing school in Flagstaff where it was common for the thermometer to read single digits, before wind chill, on those morning drives in the beat-up ’73 Bug.  So I shouldn’t complain.  Much.

The thing is though, it’s one thing for it to be cold, wet and windy when you’re driving.  It’s a while other ball game when you’re on a bicycle. But I’ve learned to cope.

First, I learned about fenders.  With them I cold ride in shorts and stay fairly dry, before the temperature dropped.

Second, I learned about raingear.  As the temperature kept going down and the rain started getting heavier I found myself encased in a swath of mostly-breathable gore-tex like fabric.

Third and finally, I re-learned about layering.  It started with old long underwear and has gradually moved to Under Armour.  I bought a pair of Cold Gear tights which are the best $37 I have spent in a long time.

The other day I was encased in it all.  Tights, shorts, warm-up jacket, rain coat, rain pants, beanie, scarf thing and gloves.  Rain was coming down like the second-coming, y’know like that “upside-down rain” in Forrest Gump?  Wind was blowing and the mercury was hovering around 35 degrees F.

When I got to work the most common comment I heard was, “You rode in this weather?”  They got the affirmative.  Then one said, “Man, you are hard-core.”

That made it all worth it.

Ahh…oops, brain fart.

I knew I was missing a link when I posted about helmets..  Now I found it.  You should see these pics and crazy story.  Now I remember why I wear a helmet.  Oh yeah, check the coverage on about the recent spate of bicycle crashes here in PDX, it’s a bit sobering.

Continuing the digression, I wonder what the true cause for the crashes in PDX is.  Nothing against the folks who have been killed, in fact it’s a damn shame, but I wonder if us cyclists are getting a little full of ourselves.  Yes, we’ve made PDX a great cycling community.  I see tons of bikes even out in the ‘burbs where I live, but sheer numbers do nothing to protect us.  We’re still just meat on a flimsy steel frame waiting to get smeared into road kill by the next idiot distracted by their oh-so-important cell phone conversation as the wonder what that “bump” was  while they were turning into Starbucks.  Aggressive cycling, by that I mean exerting your space on the pavement, which by law is ours, has it’s downsides as it opens us up to the full assault of the motorized public.

Be safe out there, picking gravel out of road rash is not a good way to spend the last sunny day of the year out here…

Monday Afternoon Fun

I guess Al Gore’s recent Nobel win sparked off a minor bit of furor in the medical blog-o-sphere (not to mention elsewhere) as shown by Scalpel and Shadowfax, I thought we all needed a little bit of lighthearted insanity. Zoobomb style. These guys are nuts. What better way to forget about the depressing issues of global warming, ER overcrowding and health care reform than flying down US 26 into downtown Portland on a mini-bike set to the music of AC/DC? Or having a blast barreling down Maryhill on longboards and mini-bikes? Enjoy.

The Hellway

Maryhill Jam

For what it’s worth, I believe in global warming and that we should do something, even if it seems futile. I haven’t driven to work more than twice in over 8 months, relying on bike and public transit. But that’s me.

Update: Yes, I’m an idiot. For some reason I thought it was Tuesday, only to be corrected by my neighbor that it was Monday. The headline is now corrected…