Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Happy Jewish Hipster Christmas to You

Here's the original post, which has the links to the explanations, but it's just an excuse to post this video again:

But if you want something more traditional, here's the Opera Company of Philadelphia at Macy's (the old Wanamaker's building) in Center City Philadelphia surprising shoppers with Handel in one of their Random Acts of Culture from 2010:

Happy holidays to one and all.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Simplified Nonpolitical Arizona Tax Credit Column

Here's the annual tradition.  The column may have died in 2008, but we're still lighting tax candles on this personal blog.  Note a couple of changes from past years:

  • First, the Military Family Relief Fund credit has been extended through the 2018 tax year.
  • Second, the legislature expanded the private school tax credit, both by indexing the original one to inflation and by creating a second credit.  There are now two private school credits: one for contributions to private school tuition organizations (PSTOs), and a second contribution to certified school tuition organizations (CSTOs) for scholarships  for new students who weren't in private school previously.  There are two separate tax forms involved now; the "traditional" Form 323 contribution is now capped at slightly higher amounts, $503 for single taxpayers, $1,006 for married filing jointly.  If you've fully maxed out on that contribution, you can make the "new" Form 348 contribution, an additional $500 single, $1,000 married filing jointly.
  • Third, the legislature eliminated both the $5 check-off tax credit and the dollar-for-dollar tax credit for contributions to the Citizens Clean Elections Fund.  I wasn't sure I was going to make a Clean Elections contribution this year; with matching funds now unconstitutional, I was having doubts about the utility of Clean Elections anyway, but the legislature anticipated my uncertainty and made my decision for me.
Here are the links you need.

First, the Private School Tax Credit.  It may not be possible to give online anymore, because you need to fill out a somewhat confusing statement as to whether you have made any prior contributions to a PSTO, because you have to max out on the Form 323 contribution to a PSTO before you can make a Form 348 contribution to a CSTO.  You can make both contributions to Schools with Heart Foundation for benefit of The Family School.  You'll need a form which doesn't seem to be available online, but call Piya Jacob at the Foundation at (602) 274-0071 to get the form so you can make both contributions simultaneously.  The Foundation is certified by the Arizona Department of Revenue to accept (and give receipts for) both types of tax credit contributions.

Second, there's no change to the public school tax credit; again, it's up to $200 single/$400 married filing jointly.  The only difference this year is that you need to write the check to an individual school.  I still recommend the Isaac School District as a worthwhile recipient; their 2012 form is here, just pick a school and send your check to that school before Dec. 31.

Third, no change to the Working Poor tax credit; ADOR cleaned up the list of charities that qualify, which is here for 2012.  Devereux Arizona is still on the list; your contribution to the H.O.P.E. 4 Kids Fund will be put to amazingly good use (with my oversight as a national Board of Trustees member, of course).  Same limits as last year, $200 single/$400 joint.

Fourth, other than having the sunset date pushed out 6 years, there's no change to the Arizona Military Family Relief Fund tax credit: Maximum $200 for single taxpayers, $400 for married filing jointly.  The 2012 contribution form is here.

In each case, you make the donation, then get a dollar-for-dollar credit (up to the maximum) against your Arizona state income taxes.  The donations qualify for deduction from your income for federal taxes, taking the place of the lower state tax deduction.  The private school donations may be made up until April 15, but then you've made the contribution in 2013 for federal tax purposes which may affect your record-keeping and reporting.  It could be an interesting test of how compulsive you are. 

So make some donations by December 31 and reduce your state taxes this coming April 15 by the precise amount of your ostensible generosity.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

El Tour de Tucson 2012

I couldn't quite manage Gold, finishing 2'24" over the 6 hour cutoff, but I'm considering it a moral victory, as I lost more time than that amount with a traffic stop in Oro Valley, a train at the I-10 Freeway, and when Andy crashed (UPDATE: he was fine but decided to pack it in at mile 27, having done it last year after a bad crash), and I went back to make sure he was OK.  I'll take it.  Results here (CTRL + F for my name) and more photos here (until the link decays).

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Ten Thou

The Harvard University Band's new student conductor leads the fight song after the yAle Game:

If the embed doesn't work, the link is here.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Faster Gran Fondo

Somewhat mediocre results: 6:54:49 chip time but (1) this was a training ride for El Tour de Tucson; (2) 6:21:11 riding time on my Garmin, which isn't bad for 97 miles; (3) especially with a pretty tough headwind for most of the morning; plus (4) 4,885 feet of climbing.  Finished 118 out of 122 (but some of those ahead of me cut some corners, not us!)  Bring on Tucson!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Help Devereux Arizona Help With The Holidays

Devereux Arizona has a holiday gift registry at Target so you can help provide holiday gifts to kids in residential or group care.  Here's the link for the registry, but if the link doesn't work, go to Target's main website and search the baby registries for the one for First Name "Devereux," Last Name "Kids."  You can have the gifts shipped directly to one of the Devereux Arizona offices in Phoenix/Scottsdale or Tucson, or you can drop them off in person.

Donations are tax deductible.  If you drop off gifts, you'll get a receipt at the office accepting the gifts.  If you have the gifts shipped, include your name and address on the shipped items and Devereux will mail a receipt.

Please feel free to pass on this information.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Old Band Returns

We're not just Crusties; we're now The Old Band.  (Motto:  Past performance is no guarantee of future results.)  So I returned to Cambridge for some father-son music-making.  I had a wonderful time marching down Memory Lane.  Who cares if it was one of the dullest afternoons in the history of Harvard athletics?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Get Some Ice Cream, Help Kids

Devereux Arizona will benefit from donations made at the next "Dry Run" ice cream social at Cold Stone Creamery World Headquarters (yes, that's what it's called) in north Scottsdale, in the lobby.  Take the 101 north to the Via de Ventura exit.  It's this Friday, August 24, from 1-3 pm.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Brooklyn Kayak Guides

Here we are in Upper New York Bay, west of Governors Island.  It's worth 2 pictures.  Are the views classic enough for you?

Monday, August 06, 2012

I Just Saved You 44 Minutes, Multiple Times

Watch this 7.5 minute compliation, and you never have to sit through anything by Aaron Sorkin ever again:

Unified Field Theory of Glibness (Transatlantic Edition)

I am working on a theory that links Felix Salmon (@felixsalmon) and James Fallows (@jamesfallows) into my hypothesis, that TED is a web-based, hipsterish, and leftier version of the kind of superficial, everything-fits-my-contrarian-viewpoint of The Economist.  The people producing both seem about the same age, too.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Feeling Good

Linking here so I can find another thing I like.  It's probably the only way the Michael Bublé version is better than Nina Simone's.

Monday, June 04, 2012

America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride 2012

Night and day from last year, as far as the weather went.  Basically, as good as day as you could get in early June at Lake Tahoe; maybe some wind coming back from Truckee, a little warm climbing to Spooner Pass, but just beautiful and after last year, who's gonna complain about that?

Here I am taking in the view coming back the east side toward South Lake Tahoe (about mile 75 or 80).

Monday, May 14, 2012

Tempe International Triathlon 2012
They always send off the sprint first, then this year they had the old guys and gals (50+) start in the very last wave, so by the time of the run, it was pretty hot.  Between time off from training in Japan and my tendon issues, and with the heat, it was 13 minutes slower than last year: 3:00:57, which I'm counting as a 3-hour effort.  Still, for the club championship, it only matters that you get into the top 10 in your division, and I did.  Results here, more photos to come.  UPDATE:  And here they are.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

C2C Visit to Coast Community College District

Once again, with former Rep. Orval Hansen (R-ID).  At our last session, a student at Orange Coast College didn't have a question, he just thought that Rep. Hansen looked like Warren Buffett.  They both could be members of the U.S. Olympic Eyebrow Team.  And once again, my tie is from Dogwood Ties, specialty skinny ties for the young and the not-willing-to-admit-their-age.

We visited all 3 colleges within the District: Orange Coast, Golden West, and Coastline.  It was Orval's third visit to Coast.  Here's the District's press release about our visit.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Tokyo, Tomorrow

By which time it will be the day after tomorrow, there anyway (12 hour flight; 16 hour time difference).

Monday, March 26, 2012

Ride to Camachos Century

From Santa Ysabel to El Centro.  No times, just 98 miles and mariachis.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Somebody Else Runs with the Sam Coppersmith Face
Sarah did the Rock-n-Roll USA half marathon in DC this past weekend.  Amazingly consistent splits, and the farthest she's run (and her best time) since the 2006 St. Louis Half Marathon.  Pictures to confirm the family running face thing, too.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Desert Classic Duathlon 2012

I feel darn pretty good about this one, although it wasn't a tremendous result but just getting any result felt like a huge victory.  On Monday of race week, I couldn't walk; my right heel was inflamed and my tendon felt terrible.  I still don't know what caused it; it wasn't an active injury, instead I woke up with the pain from a sound sleep, go figure.  After limping around for 3 days, I finally started feeling better Wednesday night, but still had it checked out on Thursday.  My orthopod (from the Sunday Brews Brothers bicycle group, too) said the tendon was OK, it was just inflammation where the tendon joined the bone, and with some stretching and ibuprophen, by Saturday morning I felt good enough to race.

Then I managed to make the race logistics difficult, forgetting my USAT card and my water bottles at home.  I forgot sunscreen and lip balm, too.  I had to borrow a better phone (thanks, dude) to download a picture of my current USAT card, then used a disposable screw-top water bottle from the car for the bike portion (which meant having to unscrew the top with my teeth, drinking, then screwing the top back on, all while pedaling).  I have put a spare water bottle in the trunk of my car, but that's only going to help next time.

And there's more, they changed the course, which I sort of knew, but I didn't realize how much they changed it until I'm on it.  The first run went from 3.5 to 3.65 miles (no big deal), the bike went from 21 to 30 miles (a very big deal), and the second run went from 2.7 to 3.7 miles (also a big deal; in percentage terms, bigger than the increase in the bike course but it didn't affect me as much for some reason).

So that's the kvetching, now the good stuff.  First, I finished and felt pretty good despite being potentially incredibly stupid of me to race on my inflamed heel, which as it turned out, felt just fine and which hasn't, knock wood, acted up since.  Second, because I wasn't certain of how my foot would hold up, I was very cautious on the first run until thoroughly warmed up, and kept myself consistent on the bike ride, shifting more frequently than normal and not standing in my pedals.  I felt pretty good for the third run, staying with a 70-year-old woman for the first half of the course as both of us passed about a half-dozen younger guys who had gone out too fast and who were fading in the heat.  Then with about a mile to go, I passed her, then caught another younger Tri-Scottsdale runner, then stretched it out a bit to the finish.  I've never been somebody passing at the end, usually I'm the other side of that transaction.  So though I couldn't break 3 hours, I was really happy with the result.  Plus, pictures.

Then to top off a great day, the race was at McDowell Mountains Regional Park, so I stopped on the way home at DJ's Bagel Cafe for a toasted sesame with their whitefish salad, and went to the Arizona Opera production of Aida that evening, for which the acting was OK, the camel on stage didn't do that much for me, but the voices were wonderful.  A really nice day.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Our Friends Arrive in Larnaca, Cyprus

Thank goodness.  Democracy isn't always pretty but who knew electoral politics could get as rough in Egypt as here in the US?

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Not a Family Reunion, But Still

Courtesy of The Times of India, "Coppersmiths throng Van for Rathasapthami."  If only Udupi Cafe hadn't closed, we could have had a local celebration of Coppersmiths here in Phoenix.  Because you just can't have too many Coppersmith-themed celebrations.