Sunday, February 07, 2010

7 FEB 10: Days of Discovery

After a couple of busy days, no big story stands out for me this weekend. So here are several small things which I discovered along the way:

1. The hunt for Georgia income tax books is over. And if the state Department of Revenue employees have felt lonely in recent weeks, that's probably about to change....

I was able to pick up a state tax book Friday at the Georgia Department of Revenue office. It's located on 13th Street, practically across the street from Red Lobster -- so if one place doesn't make you crabby, the other one might.

But the Georgia income tax books are NOT on the shelves near the office door. You have to go to the "tax help" window and ask for one. No, they didn't ask for my name to see if I'm an old stick-in-the-mud.

As of Thursday afternoon, two Columbus branch libraries did NOT have Georgia income tax books yet. But then, state officials say they're only at "selected libraries" - which means they're probably selecting only the one with the lowest postage rate.

2. Related to this, some federal tax forms are missing from the Columbus Internal Revenue Service office. I know because I opened several drawers, and no copies were there. The receptionist apparently is unable to print copies of them - so maybe their printer is as out of whack as mine.

We've mentioned before how Form 8880 can help people with modest incomes at tax time. The "Retirement Savings Contributions Credit" rewards you for putting even small amounts of money in an Individual Retirement Account. Instead of owing the federal government, I'm in for a refund - nothing to be I-R-A-te about at all.

3. Sunglasses come in handy on rainy days. A minister I know passed along a widespread e-mail recently, suggesting you put on shades while driving through heavy rain. No, the idea is NOT to have other drivers get out of the way because they think you're a lunatic....

"All of a sudden, your visibility in front of your windshield is perfectly clear, as if there is no rain," the e-mail claimed. I wouldn't go quite that far -- but in Friday's moderate rain, my vision was a bit better compared with regular glasses. And we all know how well sunglasses work when embarrassed guests appear on TV talk shows.

4. Milton McGregor is prone to dramatics and over-exaggeration. I noticed this on WXTX Saturday night, as the owner of Victoryland met with laid-off employees picking up paychecks. They had to go to the Macon County Courthouse in Tuskegee to get them -- so McGregor didn't care enough about the workers to save them a 38-mile round-trip from Shorter.

Milton McGregor blamed the Alabama Governor and his Anti-Gambling Task Force for forcing all of Victoryland to close. I'm sorry, but that statement is false -- because the task force claims it only wants to go after the electronic bingo games in Quincy's 777. The greyhound racing still would be legal. And the Oasis Hotel could stay open - since Winfield's Steakhouse offer steaks and not stakes.

The over-exaggeration became apparent Saturday night, when Milton McGregor told Montgomery's WSFA-TV he plans to reopen Victoryland. Attorneys are trying to work out the details or how and when - but why do I get the feeling Johnny Ford wants to cut a ribbon?

With apologies to a former boss, WTVM offered perhaps the wimpiest editorial of the new millennium concerning Victoryland. General Manager Lee Brantley said the issue needs "a resolution, whatever that may be." But Brantley never said if he was on the side of Milton McGregor or Alabama state officials. I don't think they allow "straddle betting" in electronic bingo.

To be fair: Lee Brantley probably has to choose his words carefully when it comes to Victoryland. The complex has advertised on WTVM for years. Governor Bob Riley is unlikely to do that - unless he dares to ask the legislature to change state law, so he can seek a third term.

5. My memory is one year off, when it comes to my older brother. I thought this weekend was his wedding anniversary - until I did the math and realized it was really last Monday. The anniversary card went in the mail that day. But I guess this sets a bad precedent, should I ever become married....

My older brother and his bride now have been married 41 years. They wed when he was 19, she was 18 - and I was a stupid ten-year-old, who saw an overweight mother-in-law at the wedding rehearsal and dared to ask if she was pregnant.

Mike and Millie Burkard have three adult daughters, and became grandparents for the third time Thanksgiving weekend. Not bad for a couple which married in the "free love" era of 1969 - and seems to realize divorcing is anything but free.

BURKARD'S BEST BETS: Gas for $2.49 a gallon at Marathon on Warm Springs Road in Midtown.... ten Krystal burgers for $4.99 (Sunday only).... and in the big game of the day, Pittsburgh whips Washington in the N.H.L....

SCHEDULED MONDAY: A wrap-up of other weekend news.... and other stuff....

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