Wednesday, March 11, 2009

More on Taxes/Steaks

Today is the day we start the list of taxes people must pay, and pay, and pay:

Accounts Receivable Tax Building Permit Tax
CDL license Tax Cigarette Tax
Corporate Income Tax Dog License Tax
Excise Taxes Federal Income Tax
Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA) Fishing License Tax

That's a good start, but we've barely touched the surface. There's talk about adding a mileage Tax for every mile you drive. and that's only one new one that may be added to the list in the near future. And a Brooklyn assemblyman proposed a bill that would require a patron of a strip club to pay $10 to the State each visit to a strip club or topless joint. And then there will be the increases to pay for the Obama Budget and Stimulus Packages.

Some years ago while in Paris, I talked a couple friends into eating at a restaurant on the Ile St. Louis, where I had eaten a good meal a few times of steak and trimmings. It was reasonably cheap and you were served a fair-sized portion, including baked potato and a veggie. That was the main reason, the price, why I even mentioned it to them. The friends (two) and their wives showed up just as I as entering the establishment, so we all sat down, ordered the steak, discussed whatever came up, mostly jokes, while waiting for the food. The steaks came and everyone dug in. When the meal was about half demolished, Eb spoke up, saying, "My steak is great, but I don't think it's steak. Tastes more like mutton to me." Of course, I laughed. Mine tasted fine to me. Then the other friend, Jim, joined in, saying, "Yep, it definitely tastes like mutton to me, too." And their wives spoke up, all agreeing it was mutton. To me, it tasted like beef, and good beef. Well, it turned out to be MUTTON, and they never let me live it down.

Growing up, we ate a good share of mutton, since there were plenty of sheep around. There were also plenty of cattle, but, due to the cost, we didn't get beef regularly. My mother would cook the mutton, and about everything else, frying it in lard till it was good and well done and tough. And we ate it and liked it, but it never tasted too good. That's why I was surprised about those steaks in Paris, it sure tasted better than any I had ever eaten.

My friend, Willie, a member of the Air Force, bought a volkswagen brand new, black and shiny.
He invited, a WAVE (Navy) friend, an Army WAC, and myself to take a ride into Paris with him. So we piled in and headed down the autoroute through the 'burbs and into downtown, stopping at one of his old haunts. We drank a couple of rounds, toasted his new VW, and went to another watering place on the left bank and continued toasting his new car among other things. He then started the drive to our various places of rest, going up the rue St. Georges or one of those wide avenues, being about one AM in the morning. There wasn't much traffic when Willie plowed in to the rear-end of another vehicle, smashing in the bumper and denting the fenders and hood of his new vehicle. There was the usual cussing and yelling in French of the other fellow, but the rest of us stayed seated, no one being hurt, while Willie took care of it. The gendarmes showed up, settled the argument, gave Willie a citation, and we continued home. I didn't have far to go, living down by the Louvre, and the others drove away.

Willie was scheduled to leave for the U.S. in a month or two, but he was put on "Hold" while the case was settled. When I shipped out some time later, a year or so, and now in Belgium, Willie was still in France waiting. He didn't seem to mind, since he was thoroughly enjoying himself.

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