Rants

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And then the corporate incompetence rears its ugly head.

So, after receiving a letter from TD Bank to fax a couple documents — w-2s from the last two years, two tax returns, and our most recent pay stub — to a fax number that wasn’t listed anywhere, on Friday morning I received an email where they’re now asking for 30 days worth of paystubs.

So, to recap… Earlier this week they asked me for, among other things, my most recent paystub.

Today, they asked me for 30 days worth of paystubs.

Couldn’t they have asked for that in the first place?

I swear, the number of pieces of mail we’ve received since initiating this process is borderline obscene.

This is the list of documents we need.

Oh wait, this too. And this.

Oh, and we forgot to mention this — send us that too.

And to expedite things, fax it to the number we never gave to you.

If it were my company, I’d have a standard letter to send out requesting everything I needed in ONE envelope. Not 15 envelopes over the span of 10 days.

I’d list a fax number too. Just sayin’.

My first impressions of the simplicity of working with TD were wrong.

So, while gathering older paystubs isn’t that big a deal — I have them handy — it’s certainly not convenient. TD’s slogan is, afterall, America’s Most Convenient Bank.

Further, I assume they’ve already confirmed my employment but a simple calculation on the paystub they originally requested would show that my last paycheck was the same as the one I provided to them.

Yep, just divide those Year-To-Date totals on the right by 22 and you’ll see that I get the same amount every two weeks and that it lines up exactly with the number I provided on the original application.

I don’t look at pay stubs all day long like I’m sure someone over there does but even I could figure that out. If it were an hourly wage listed on the stub, well, sure, I’d give them the benefit of the doubt. My stub clearly says “SALARY”.

In other news, the email also mentioned that there was a $99 application fee, which I have no qualms with, and that the entire process would take between 30 and 45 days.

Merry Christmas.

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Funny how I went there earlier this week

This just in, Jane Austen to be face of the Bank of England £10 note.

Anyway, I targeted Alexander Hamilton for replacement here but, really, any of the guys from over 150 years ago, many of which (cross) dressed like pirates, could and probably should be replaced.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I get it, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson created this country. But can anyone honestly say that those guys don’t have enough recognition already?

I mean, poor Millard Fillmore gets nothing…

Anyway, enough with the commemorative postage stamps, lets get some fresh faces on the currency!

My votes, in no select order, of more contemporary folks who haven’t been on any widely circulated US currency that I’m aware of are:

  • Thomas Edison
  • Henry Ford
  • John D. Rockefeller
  • Ronald Reagan
  • Martin Luther King
  • Eleanor Roosevelt
  • Hank Aaron
  • George Patton
  • Neil Armstrong
  • Oprah Winfrey
  • Bill Gates

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While I’m not a British Subject — a term that’s incorrectly used all the time — I am still a Commonwealth Citizen so I do have a little skin in the game…

That said, while the concept of “Royalty” is kinda quaint and romantic, with each passing generation, it gets sillier and more antiquated.

I’m sorry the old man in the clown suit unintelligibly shouting something about a baby boy was hardly newsworthy… Wait, what? A town crier? That’s what that was? Oh, my mistake.

While I’m all for tradition, there are some things that should just be left in the past. The Town Crier is one of them.

And so is the silly easel behind the palace gates.

To their credit, I am glad that they put out a press release prior to the silly thing being put in place.

Sadly, the press release probably went out after the clown did his thing on the hospital steps.

Anyway, I have serious doubts that this little guy’s image will *ever* appear on the currency of any of the countries among the Commonwealth of Nations.

His father probably won’t be on much of it either.

I’ll go so far as to say that his grandfather probably won’t even make the cut…

Going broader — and relating to currency — the U.S. might want to think about changing up the people on the currency.

Like the Constitution, much of which barely relates to anything relevant today, folks like Alexander Hamilton should probably be shelved.

How many Americans even know who he is?

Or which bill he’s on?

And even though the guy on the dime is relatively contemporary in comparison to the others, it’s almost as if no one knows who he is at all… Crazy — 4 terms as President of the United States less than 100 years ago and over 50% of the population have no idea who you are…

I’ll be honest, though… I’ve always though the profile on the dime was a better likeness of Pope John Paul II.

Anyway, they took the Eagle off of the quarter a few years ago when they started doing the State thing — how they managed that is a mystery — let’s go all out and get some fresh designs in order…

Oh, who am I kidding… Bitcoins are going to replace it all anyway before long…

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Of late, as in just over the past couple weeks, the local television newscasts have neen using the “block” term when reporting stories — usually of the crime or housefire variety.

Makes total sense in a big city where the streets are laid out in a grid — “Armed robbery reported on the 1200-block of Michigan Ave…” People know where that is, well, local folks do, anyway…

But here in Connecticut, where the main roads are all laid out following some really terrible city planning that dates back to the 1700’s (and secondary roads are just squeezed in), well, this “style” of reporting is really out of place.

The street I live on doesn’t even have an address number that reaches 100. Do I live on the zero block?

And, really, even within the borders of our wannabe BIG cities, I’d venture to say that there are more cul-de-sacs than grid like blocks.

I don’t think local law enforcement even refers to ### blocks.

In the era of Google maps and GPS units, I dunno, in addition to being useless in this part of the country, the “block” reference seems really dated.

Maybe it’s just me?

From the 0 Block of Smurfberry Lane, this is Brainy reporting for PIAC.

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Sesame Place$3016.75 : Property Tax
$1320.00 : Cash
$1000.00 : Day Care
$615.31 : Mortgage
$483.08 : Gasoline
$228.27 : Auto Insurance
$188.49 : Auto Repairs
$186.43 : Clothing
$186.06 : Sesame Place
$176.31 : Electricity
$160.00 : Family/House Stuff
$150.00 : Dentist
$146.18 : Cable/Internet
$113.72 : Hockey Jersey
$93.98 : Business Expenses
$40.08 : Life Insurance
$37.09 : Natural Gas
$29.67 : Lego Set
$21.24: Ratchet Set
$3.00 : Coca-Cola

All told, I spent $8195.66 in July.

Yeah, eight grand. No big deal.

Seriously, though, like I said in my last post, Taxes and Vacation (the cash, the gas, the repairs, and Sesame Place) define this month (and the current month too, unfortunately) as outside of those two annual “events”, most of my spending was, well, pretty much normal.

Did you know it costs $59 to get a toddler into Sesame Place? I mean, seriously?

Further, did you know that having a AAA membership will save you $3 on admission?

Yeah, that membership is totally paying for itself this year… Ugh.

That said, as something to do in between countless hours in the car, Sesame Place, while expensive, was a great side trip. We all had a lot of fun.

And I should do a whole post about the ratchet set — it’d be a long winded rant about incompetent design — but it’s tough to find the time to rant about such unimportant things these days…

Even so, making a long rant super short (I can’t help myself), one of the front wheels on my lawnmower is wonked out so that it’s not really perpendicular to the ground anymore.

The only way to access the nut holding the cheap plastic wheel on was with a long socket rachet thingie (I’m not a tool fanatic, so I don’t know what it’s really called), which I obviously had to buy.

So, after purchasing it and taking the contraption apart, I realized that the front wheels of my lawnmover aren’t even on an axle.

It’s almost like it was designed to function like the latest Batmobile or something so… basically, my problem isn’t even fixable without a lot of metal work (and more money) on my part.

Metal work that I most certiainly won’t be doing on an old push lawn mower. Seriously, though, why isn’t it just an axle with two wheels attached?

Cheaper to manufacture, less likely to fail, and far easier to repair…

I don’t get it…

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Um, who cares?

I mean, really, what’s with all the fuss regarding the Obamacare ruling for a health care plan that will probably never ever come to fruition anyway…

I just paid my property taxes this week. They call it a “tax” but I feel as though I’ve been “penalized” for my choice (and number) of vehicles.

I have 4 cars that I pay taxes on.

Not one of them is new nor in the greatest of condition.

We have a ’98 model, ’01 model, ’04 model, and ’05 model in our fleet.

Keep in mind that the tax bill pays no attention to mileage or condition — just year, make, and model.

So you’d think the 14 year old car would have the smallest bill and the 7 year old car would have the highest, right?

We’ll, you’d be wrong.

In order of highest to lowest, by tax bill, it goes ’04, ’98, ’01, ’05.

Yep, I’m taxed higher on the Land Rover and BMW.

You could say it’s because they “cost” more back when they were brand new (when I was also hit with sales tax), but as of right now, they’ve actually got the lowest value.

The most dependable (and newest) car we have is the 2005 Scion xA (release series 2.0, baby!). It’s tax bill was $162.

Point is, I’m “penalized” for having a Land Rover and a BMW.

Okay, okay, okay, some people will obviously just say those cars are worth more and that’s why they’re taxed higher and, while they’d be totally wrong (these aren’t italian super cars — oh wait, those aren’t worth much either), I’ll go with it…

How about this example?

You drive down your local gasoline alley and see that Exxon/Mobil has 87 octane for $3.75. Problem is, it’s on the left hand side of the street and making a left in-or-out on this busy stretch is more painful than a triple root canal.

On the right side, easy-in and easy-out, is a Shell station. The price for 87 octane is $3.80 if you pay cash or debit and $3.85 if you pay by credit. Yeah, it’s a double whammy coming…

Now, built into the price of gas is a hidden local and/or state tax on top of the federal tax. Okay, so it’s not actually hidden but I don’t recall every seeing anyone read that sign on the pump with the fine print.

So, here we go… In my state, it’s a Petroleum Gross Receipts Tax and its percentage based and divided by the gallon. So as the wholesale price of gas rises and falls, so too does the tax.

So if I go to the Shell station on the right side of the road, I pay 5 cents more per gallon (and therefore more tax as it’s a percentage of that number.)

If I don’t have cash on hand and have to use a credit card, it’ll cost me 10 cents more than the Exxon/Mobile station accross the street.

The tax goes up and up and up depending on the gas station and the payment method.

Is that a tax or a penalty?

It’s called a tax but gas pumpers are penalized based on their gas station selection. Keep in mind, it’s not “just” the price of the gas — the tax is directly linked to the price of the gas.

So, again, is it a tax or penalty?

Who cares… It’s still money out of pocket.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Disclaimer: I fully support a universal health care system.

Not necessarily Obamacare (or the tax vs. penalty opt-out debate), but something similar to what every other country not stalling itself in the dark ages has been doing for years.

If folks would stop reading Republican talking points and complaining about their “constitutionality” (I challenge the folks uttering this to define what it actually means) and “free rights”, they’d realize that a healthcare system for EVERYONE would benefit, well, just about EVERYONE.

Government death panels?

C’mon?

Seriously?

Give me a break…

Imagine, no health insurance premiums coming out of your paycheck. Sure, income taxes might go up and a federal sales tax might come into effect but will they exceed what you’re paying for a premium in each paycheck?

I don’t think so.

Not for me, anyway. Not even close.

It’s like Medicare (minus the fees or confusing “coverages” to select from) without having to wait until your 65. I can hardly contemplate why Americans don’t realize this.

I believe it’s a fear of the word “taxes” and that’s 100% due to the political landscape. No politician dare make reference to higher taxes.

“It’s not a tax, it’s a penalty…”

Who cares?!!?!?!?!?

I have no problem with higher taxes when they save me money (no more insurance premiums or co-pays) *and* I get something (FREE healthcare!) out of the deal.

Silence the pundits and lay out the numbers for people.

It’s a total win-win.

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Woof!After a couple of years with a 0% increase, the party is about to end.

The city that I live in has approved a 6% property tax increase for this year and an 8% increase next year.

I like how they planned the higher hike for the second year making it actually higher than the 8% number they’ve released to the public.

For those unsure of the math (or how percentages can be deceiving), here’s how it works…


Let’s say your property tax bill for 2011 was $1000.
The 6% increase for 2012 would cost you $60 more.
The 8% increase for 2013 would cost you the $60 more and then an additional $84.80.
It’s not just $80 more because the starting point is higher ($1060).

Higher starting point and a higher rate means more for the government.

That’s why a flat tax is generally preferred, though, mostly due to the fact that the general public fails to understand percentages…

I could go on and on about the gas tax here (which is a percentage so the State government benefits greatly when the price of gas goes up) but I’ll spare you…

So over the next two years, in this scenario, I’d pay $1060 and $1144.80 in property taxes.

Basically, $204.80 extra.

Doesn’t seem like that big of a deal but my actual property taxes aren’t a mere $1000… They’re more like $5k for the house and $750 for the cars.

In short, the increases add up. Like…to the tune of $345 the first year and $832.60 the second.

Ouch.

So while I should be upset about this tax issue, I’m not, really…

See, it’s just like on the national level, I don’t think we have a tax problem… we have a spending problem.

Plain and simple, the city and the country spend frivilously.

I don’t have a problem with my taxes going up if I see (and agree with) where the money is being directed.

Problem locally, though, is that while our taxes are going way up, our services are still slated to be cut. There’s a disconnect there.

Absolutely, I’ll pay more for good service but instead, in this scenario, I’ll be paying more for no service.

Where’s this money going?

Well, I know where some of it is going… No joke, just a week ago there were countless parks and recreation employees mopping the road.

Yeah, they were mopping the road. Like a tile floor. Not kidding.

I don’t know why and, frankly, I don’t care. But I do know that everyone of those guys was getting paid. To mop the road. That’s the type of expense that I think the city should “cut” immediately.

I really hate the phrase, but it’s pork barrel spending…at the local level.

Anyhow…this coming increase will cause me to come up short when my property taxes are due. Currently, I stash away $95 each week so as not to get caught with empty pockets when the bill comes due.

It’s looking like I’ll have to “up” that to $110 or $115 per week just to break even…

Could be worse, I suppose…

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Connecticut Plate UNV FLA

It’s funny, I swear that every 9 times out of ten that I see a car parked like this, it’s either a Mercedes or an Audi.

Really.

And is it just me or does every Audi driver with those “new” led headlights — the kind that look like Christmas lights under the actual light — also drive like an a-hole too?

I hate to break it to those Audi drivers…

Your car is a Volkswagen Jetta. With silly headlights.

Welcome back to reality. Lose the ego.

Oh, and as for the Mercedes in the picture… You’re not doing the University of Florida any favors with that vanity plate… I hope Tim Tebow smites you.

Related “Rage on the Road” Posts from the PIAC Archive:

Can You Dig It?

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