Let's say you need someone to help you do something really important. Would you settle for someone who just Googled it? Would you look for someone with the right professional license? Or would you hold out for the guy who literally wrote the book on whatever it is you need to do? Expertise doesn't guarantee success: great surgeons still lose patients; great lawyers still lose cases; and Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks still throw into double coverage all the time. But sometimes professional prowess is well worth the extra cost.
Back in 1621, a group of hardy Pilgrims sat down for a three-day festival of thanksgiving to celebrate surviving plague, starvation, cold, scurvy, Indian attack, and all the other obstacles that made life in the "new world" so delightful. They feasted on game birds, flint corn, venison, eels, shellfish, and native vegetables including beans, turnips, carrots, onions, and pumpkins. (No butter or flour, though, which meant no pumpkin pie. And aren't you glad we remember them now for turkey instead of eels?)
Twenty years ago, sci-fi fans geeked out to a new thriller called The Matrix following a dystopian vein established in Blade Runner, Total Recall, and The Terminator. It starred Keanu Reeves as "Neo" and Laurence Fishburne as "Morpheus": freedom fighters in a world where machines have trapped humanity in a computer-generated dreamscape called the Matrix, to distract their minds while sucking energy from their bodies and brains. (Their allies include another hacker named Trinity, famed for cracking the IRS database, but that's not what brings us here today.)
October is chock-full of obscure holidays and commemorations. October 3 is National Boyfriend Day. October 15 — the real personal tax filing deadline — is National Grouch Day. (Coincidence? We think not.) October 19 serves up National Seafood Bisque Day (which sounds a lot tastier than October 25, National Greasy Food Day). Then there's October 21, National Clean Your Virtual Desktop Day, which sounds like it was cooked up by the same HR funsters who think "trust falling" into a co-worker's arms is somehow an appropriate thing to do at work. We swear we're not making any of this up.
The French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau once said that if a man is not radical at 25, he has no heart — and if he's still radical at 45, he has no head. And while Clemenceau focused his attention on the battlefields of World War I, history supplies an endless number of stories where radical youth challenge their entrenched elders.
Here in the United States, we spend a lot of time arguing about income taxes . . . who should pay, how they should pay, and how much they should pay. Right now, the average American forks over 13.5% of their income in individual income tax, and 30% of their income in federal, state, and local taxes overall. Of course, "average" covers a pretty wide range — 50 million families pay no income tax at all, while the top twenty percent of earners pay over 69% of all revenue collected. It costs the economy $409 billion just to figure out the bill and get it paid.