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Spellbound!

Nearly 27 years ago, on June 27, 1997, a first-time British author rolled out her first novel, which she wrote in longhand because she couldn't afford a typewriter. The book was a success beyond imagining: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone stormed the world and...

Deep Thoughts About Taxes

Around 300 BC, the Greek philosopher Zeno of Citium and his followers gathered in Athens on a Stoa Poikile—a “painted porch”—to discuss how to live a virtuous life built around wisdom, temperance, justice, and courage. (I realize this isn’t what you expect from your...

Financial Relativity

Time travel is a classic movie staple, to the point where you can hardly venture into your neighborhood metroplex without seeing someone in a rush to get to the past or the future. In The Terminator, Skynet sent a Cyberdine Systems Model 101 (aka the T-800, aka Arnold...

Close Calls!

Astronomers estimate that our solar system includes millions of asteroids occupying a belt between Mars and Jupiter. That's fine, as long as they mind their own business. But sometimes, they get curious and nose their way out of their belt to check us out. On April 9,...

Was the 401(k) a Mistake?

Retirement sure has changed, hasn’t it? A century ago, it meant slowing down a bit as you got old and frail, but still working until you dropped. In the 1950s and 60s, it meant collecting a gold watch and living off a company-sponsored pension along with health...

Game On!

Everyone knows Uncle Sam is spending money faster than he takes it in. Just how fast? As of March 1, according to CNBC, we’re adding a trillion dollars to the national debt every 100 days. Naturally, that eye-popping number has the IRS scrambling for every nickel they...

Two Kinds of Green

In 1969, Merle Haggard scored a #1 hit with his ode to middle American pride, “Okie from Muskogee.” As the Vietnam War was raging, protests were dividing communities, and soldiers were coming home to catcalls, he opened his song with a blunt declaration: “We don’t...

A Good Walk Spoiled

Hank Aaron once said, “It took me seventeen years to get 3,000 hits in baseball. It took me one afternoon on the golf course.” Remarkably, millions of Americans still manage to love it. They’ll pick out their loudest pants or skirts, head for the course, fire up their...

Tik Tok Tax

Turn the dial on the Wayback Machine to 1948. Pee Wee Hunt’s “Twelfth Street Rag” is tearing up the charts. Ford Deluxes are flying out showroom doors. And Harry Truman is running for a second term as president. But the Republican-led 80th Congress is blocking most of...

It Could Be Worse

By all rights, this week’s Tax Day ought to be one of our favorite holidays, like “Christmas in April” without the carols, the eggnog, or the guilt over forgetting a gift for Aunt Mildred. That’s because 80% of us get refunds, averaging $3,011 so far in 2024. (When...