Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from January, 2015

MONETIZING MY BLOG - WOULD YOU HATE ME IN THE MORNING?

Google AdSense.

Why not?

Tell me what you think. If you're reading my blog, I'd like to think that you're smart enough to deal with ads. But maybe you'd just rather not. Maybe you think that it's a sellout.

I'm listening. I'll give it a few weeks and see who says what, if anybody says anything at all.

CAFE DU MIDI - BIZE MINERVOIS - A REVIEW

You can't go home again. Well, in this case it might be more accurate to say that you can't always get back to where you once were even if you go back to the same place. Catch my drift? Too much drift?

On a luscious fall day in 2004, my wife Cathey, her sister Liz, and I happened across a restaurant in the little village of Bize Minervois. It's a pretty little village with the river La Cesse running alongside, not far from the regional olive cooperative with its neat gift shop, and on the back road from here to there if you're tired of the highway. We're in and around Bize quite often. But we've never returned to that little restaurant just inside the Bize archway until this weekend. We remember the restaurant well, though we've lost the name, because of a picture that Liz took of Cathey and I as we sat down to eat, a picture of a younger, happy, and satisfied couple that was printed out, framed, and given prominent play in my office at work and also served …

TRUFFLES - FRENCH BLACK WINTER TRUFFLES

CHARLIE HEBDO - FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION - AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM

About a week has passed since the murderous attack on Charlie Hebdo in France. Clearly, there were other targets. Clearly, there was collateral damage. I grieve for all who died and praise all of the heroes. But Charlie has received most of the international publicity and is the subject of most of the commentary. I've read American and European news reporting and opinion pieces. I've interacted with friends around the world on social media. I've been thinking.

It's time to write.

I've never subscribed to the theory of American Exceptionalism. Alexis de Tocqueville observed a bustling, vibrant bunch of Anglo-Saxon American go-getters in the early 1800s and thought that they were the cat's pajamas. But the American Revolution has been widely misrepresented and continues to be misrepresented to this day. Its leaders were landed gentry chafing under the rule and, perhaps more importantly, the taxing authority of an absentee landlord. The Founders were in the majori…

ELECTRICITY IN FRANCE: IT'S DIFFERENT

Moving across the Pond from the United States to France is easier than it sounds. And harder.

Language has to be the most difficult adjustment for those not already fluent. (Speaking English slowly and loudly really doesn't work. Trust me.) You need a basic vocabulary and an ability to speak to the present, the past, and the future. It's true that most of the French in the region have some English given that it's taught in the schools and that Brits have settled here in considerable numbers. But I didn't come here to make France more like America. They already have Kentucky Fried and Subway. I came here to learn. That includes the language.

Once you have the language basics in hand, you can conduct the business of day-to-day life surprisingly easily. I do all of my banking online as I do most of my bill paying. Most every retail establishment, including the post office, accepts credit cards. At restaurants, they can even come to your table with a little wireless dev…

CAN A FLAT TAX BE A FAIR TAX? COULD BE...

One of the issues that falsely divides us in a variety of ways is the question of taxation. I'm not going to get into a critical discussion of supply side economics or the value of various incentives written into the tax code to the benefit of individuals or businesses. That way lies madness. I'm going to simply discuss how a flat tax on individual incomes can be structured to be easy and economical to enforce, progressive in its way, and equitable.

Why should this discussion divide us? If there's a cheaper and fairer way to fund our government, why shouldn't we be diligent in our exploration of it? There are three main reasons comprehensive tax reform has thus far failed to make progress. Briefly:

1. Folks at the edges of both political parties have championed a flat tax. When both Jerry Brown and Malcolm Forbes think that something is a good idea, there's gotta be a catch.

2. CPAs, lesser-credentialed tax accountants and preparers, purveyors of tax software, IRS w…