Giant hats fly United Rabbit-Ear cooking class

I hope that you’ve had a wonderful week as spring rolls out in earnest.

Veracity note: The previous sentence is mostly rhetorical. It is impossible to discern seasonal differences here in Santa Barbara.

Last weekend we were in Jacksonville, Florida to attend a wedding. After the ceremony, we joined ‘the relatives’ on a visit to St. Augustine, the oldest continuously inhabited city on Continental North America. (It was founded in 1575.)

Veracity note: The assertion in the previous sentence is met with skepticism by residents of Mexico City which was founded under the name Tenochtitlan in 1325.

As we walked through the city, Nazy stumbled on the
Panama Hat Store.

...and Nazy really likes hats!” I thought as we entered.

I gravitated to the cowboy and Panama hats. (I also really like hats.) Nazy, on the other hand, was attracted (by attracted, I mean like matter near the event horizon of a black hole) to the large hats.
nazy and big hat

With the gravitas of a master shopper, Nazy contemplated and considered. Undecided and desperate, she asked me for advice.

“I like the big one,” I replied unhelpfully. “
She doesn’t really care about my opinion,” I thought. “She just wants me to get both of them.”

“Do you prefer the black and white one or should I go with yellow?”

Whichever,” I thought. “Do you realize that we’ll need to upgrade or buy another seat for the flight home if you get either one?” I asked.

“These hats can be folded,” the clerk (thoughtfully) interjected.

Our luggage is already overweight,” I thought. (Nazy had packed 10 shirts for a 4 day visit.)

In the end, Nazy settled on the yellow hat.

When we joined everyone at the restaurant, several people wanted similar hats - Nazy led them all back to the shop.
nazy and yellow hat

“You should have asked for a commission,” I whispered as we left the shop. “Did you see the owner dancing in the aisle when we left?” I asked.

Our flight home was remarkably trouble-free. (Trouble-free, but long: There were two plane-changes.) We arrived in Santa Barbara just as the total lunar eclipse entered, well, totality.

Nazy made friends with the cabin attendant.

“The merger hasn’t gone well,” he explained.

“Really?” I muttered.
“Hasn’t gone well?” I thought. “It’s a total disaster!

“I’m from the United side. We’re still not integrated. United crews can only fly on United airplanes. And the United airplanes are much older than Continental’s.”
hat with effect

You got that right, Wilbur,” I thought.

“People who used to fly Continental expect a high-quality inflight entertainment system,” he continued. “But we have airplanes with 14” TV monitors hanging from the ceiling.”

“Broken 14” TV monitors.” I concurred. “
With Rabbit Ear antennas ,” I thought. (These were for improving reception in the pre-cable, pre-satellite era.)

“But their reservation system couldn’t handle the combined passenger volume.”

“For what it’s worth,” I interrupted. “I’m an expert in mergers and this one isn’t the worst.” (I was thinking of Compaq and DEC, HP and Compaq, America West and US Air, Merrill, Bank of America and, well, anyone...)

“I just hope we can complete everything so I’ll get to fly on a new airplane.”

“Good luck,” I replied. “Should I close the window before landing?”

There was an ominous eMail waiting for me when we got back to California. My Swiss banker wanted me to telephone: “Call my mobile, do
not call the office!”
hat south africa

“My superiors have instructed me to contact you,” Marcel began.

“That’s great,” I replied. “
But I just contacted you,” I thought.

“You need a Swiss address.”

“I gave you a c/o address in Switzerland,” I replied.

“A ‘care-of’ address won’t work anymore.”

“Why not?” I asked. I was, of course, well-aware of the reason: America’s FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) regulation. All of the Swiss banks react to this heavy-handed extortion propagated by a bunch of bullies: they close the bank accounts of Americans.

“Switzerland is at war with the US government, Dan.” Marcel explained.

“That’s impossible.” I replied. “I exchanged eMails with the Notre Dame professor who wrote FATCA. He said that the Swiss banks would never close personal bank accounts.”

“He was wrong. You need to move back here or you need to close the account.”

“I have Swiss government permission to be in the USA.”
hat sunflowers

“And, if you come back, you may be able to open a new account.”

Summary: The American tax authorities have made it very difficult for Americans to work abroad. It’s tricky to open full-service bank accounts. Arranging pensions, insurance and trusts is very difficult. The stupid American approach adversely impacts people who are trying to follow an unfair law. America, together with Eritrea, are the only countries that assesses income tax based on citizenship.

Veracity note: While I am aware that you may be tired of reading about the unfair nature of FATCA and citizenship-based income taxation, I hereby validate the accuracy of my statements.

Finally, Melika, preparing for her forthcoming baby, has booked regular cooking lessons. She invited us to a dinner that she prepared. It was...
hat with wisteria

“...great, Melika!” I enthused.

“Since I’ll be on maternity leave for several months, I’ll have lots of time. So I decided to learn to cook.”

Time?” I thought. “You’ll have a new-born.”

“Maybe you should focus on crockpot recipes,” I replied. (Half-baked.)


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