CSotD: A variety of irritants

Today’s Pickles (AMS) reminds me that this is a time of year when I am thrilled to be retired.

There is a news gap between Christmas and New Years when there is nothing to report on except for accidents, murders, fires and suchlike, which sounds like a lot but isn’t, though I suppose now that major metropolitan newspapers have been reduced to pamphlets, it’s not so hard to fill the pages anymore.

But politicians, bureaucrats and spokescritters are all out of the office during that week and so nothing officially happens nor could anyone be found to comment on it if it did.

The way to fill those empty pages is to have Year End Wrap Ups ready, so about now is when beat reporters have to trudge through a year’s worth of stories finding semi-interesting stuff and combining 75-word descriptors into lengthy, ponderous Annual Reflections.

It’s like making a kettle of vegetable soup with tweezers, one pea, one carrot and one tiny scrap of meat at a time.

While, since we haven’t yet entered the Holiday Horse Latitudes, you have to still cover the current news. Without claiming any overtime, please.


First Dog on the Moon has bitten the bullet early, not only compiling his year-end wrap up but posting it, which seems profligate. God knows what he’ll do for copy between Christmas and New Years, but that’s bushfire season down there, so maybe he’ll have other distractions.

I’m not sure he struck the proper nostalgic chord, having chosen instead to emphasize the impending horror, but that’s what happens when you give someone way too much creative freedom.

Particularly at a moment of impending horror, which he mentioned in passing but to which I will dedicate an entire

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Ward Sutton)


(Paul Fell)

There’s an old concept that, if someone had snuck up behind Adolf Hitler during one of his speeches, in the early days of his rise to power, and yanked down his pants, the crowd would have burst into laughter and he’d have sunk into obscurity.

Elon Musk seems obsessed with proving that this is not true.

He repeatedly makes an ass of himself in public and, while drawing mockery for his self-indulgent, gormless nonsense, he gets an avalanche of applause from his army of bootlickers, buttkissers and fellow deplorables, many of whom seem to be actual people though most are clearly bots.

There’s supposed to be a new, improved Twitter debuting today, but, as of this morning, it looks pretty much as it has for the past few weeks, which is to say, appallingly full of lies, hatred and rightwing propaganda, as seen in both these cartoons.

Any amusement at this stage seems limited to people mocking the New York Times for an article in which they professed not to know what Musk stands for. This is the journalistic equivalent of having their sports section wonder aloud what sport Tom Brady plays and their food section explain why there is apparently no peanut butter in a PBJ.

But while it’s fun to laugh at the Gray Lady’s cluelessness and to mock Elon Musk’s follies, it is worth bearing in mind, as noted before, that the people who tried to violently overthrow our government were part of 49% of the voters in the 2022 midterms, that many of them still believe election fraud fallacies and that a good number accept the idiotic notions of QAnon.

If someone wanted to set up a major meeting place for these gullible nitwits and potential terrorists, it might be worth $44 billion to take over a functioning town square and adapt it to that purpose.

And the gloves truly are off: Marjorie Taylor Greene told a Republican audience “I want to tell you something, if Steve Bannon and I had organized (the Jan 6 uprising), we would have won. Not to mention, we would’ve been armed.”

If you’re still laughing at her, you need to play closer attention. Pulling down Hitler’s pants wouldn’t have worked then, and it isn’t working now.

BTW: I’ve given up on the chaos at Mastodon and am set up at Post.

Dunno how much longer I can handle being on Musk’s Platform of Despair.


Jen Sorensen reports on something we should take seriously. I hadn’t heard about “frontover accidents” until she brought it up, but I’d been noticing the predominance of bulbous vehicles, not just trucks but the newer SUVs.

I don’t think outlawing height is practical, but increasing license fees based on size could discourage show-offs who buy oversized pickups to haul groceries rather than lumber. It might also make people reconsider the theory that a gigantic four-wheel drive makes up for not knowing how to drive on snow.

Meanwhile, a more immediate solution would be to ban bulbous vehicles from parking places at street corners or by crosswalks, so that people in normal cars could see oncoming traffic and pedestrians.


This one puzzles me: Candorville (KFS) echoes what appears to be a misunderstanding over an IRS policy I had assumed was in place, but appears to be new or, at least, newly official.

People have always been required to report miscellaneous income from, for instance, garage sales if they made more that $600, and they have, likewise, been required to report $600 or more made from other side gigs.

The big change appears to be that, now that gigs are more organized, those food delivery and scabdriver companies will be sending out 1099 forms to non-employees and also to the IRS.

I’ve dealt with 1099s for the past 30 years and, while it meant I had to be more honest about my earnings, it didn’t change my actual tax level, assuming I’d reported the income in the first place.

I’d also note that, given the average experience in those gigs, anyone breaking the $600 level almost certainly has enough expenses to knock it down to where it won’t make much difference in their taxes.

Save your receipts.

Record your mileage.

Don’t panic.

Most people who claim to be making good money in the gig economy are like people who claim to break even or maybe win a little buying scratch tickets: They’re not lying, but, in the majority of cases, an accurate accounting would tell a different story.