Death by Taxes

Time spent preparing paper tax returns and doing math on five forms: 15 minutes.

Time spent clicking “Next” four thousand times in order to file my already-prepared paper returns online: 90 minutes.

I applaud things being online, but I still don’t understand why people insist online returns are easier or faster.

So That’s Why They Call it Commencement

My girlfriend recently got this message in her voice mail:

This is Darren from Grand Canyon University admissions.  I just saw your application and wanted to know if you have any questions.

What a nice gesture!  It’s a friendly, no-pressure call to applicants, humanizing the institution and making the admissions office more accessible.

I have just one tiny suggestion.

See, Grand Canyon University has already made an appearance on this site once before, when in February of last year it published the Best PDF Ever.  At that time, I was researching the university’s commencement schedule so that my girlfriend and I could fly to Phoenix and I could see her graduate.

And that’s exactly what we ultimately did.  We flew to Phoenix.  We stayed at a hotel downtown.  We ate at neighborhood restaurants.  We even ended up walking seven kilometers in the desert heat on account of a poorly drawn map.  And on Saturday, May 2nd, I sat in a stadium and cheered while she walked across the commencement stage and got her Master’s degree.

So my suggestion to the admissions office is this: try to solicit questions from applicants sometime before they’ve graduated.

Roxxxy the Robot

In the Business section of this morning’s Boston Globe is this blurb from the Associated Press:

A New Jersey company says it has developed “the world’s first sex robot,” a life-size rubber doll that’s designed to engage the owner with conversation rather than lifelike movement.

So many punch lines and so little time!  Reading on:

The dark-haired, negligee-clad robot said “I love holding hands with you” when it sensed that its creator touched its hand.  Another action, this one unprintable, elicited a different vocal response from Roxxxy the robot.

Oooh.  Saucy.  Now, talk to us about the “sex” part of “sex robot” a little:

It has sensors at strategic locations and can sense when it’s being moved.  But it can’t move on its own, not even to turn its head or move its lips.

No further questions, your honor.

Unconditional Love

Only a child can instill a true feeling of unconditional love.  I had this conversation with Sophie when we woke up this morning:

Sophie: Don’t look at me!

Me: Why not?

Sophie:  Because I don’t love you a lot!  I only love you a little bit.

At least I’m still up for consideration.

In Praise of Colorado

My girlfriend and I decided to visit the casinos in Black Hawk and Central City, Colorado — old mining towns that legislation turned into gambling destinations in 1991.  After our summer trip to Las Vegas, we were anxious to try our luck at craps and Monopoly slots again.

Black Hawk casinos can’t compare in scale to the towering, monolithic resorts of the Vegas strip, but they have the same games, and they’re just a short drive from Denver.  And the best part: due to Colorado’s “Clean Indoor Air Act” (of about 2006), smoking is prohibited indoors, including at casinos!

Instead of suffocating under a cloud of cigarette smoke while we played, taking years off our lives and making part of the experience unpleasant, we got to stay for hours breathing clean air and loving every minute.

Thank you, Colorado, for having faith that gambling can exist independent of smoking.  We may still visit Las Vegas again, but we’ll be spending far more time in Colorado’s mountains.