WEEKEND BRIEFING
Taxing Experiences

Jun. 27 - It's taxes again. This time it's the DMB's wedding dress, which my mother mailed to us several weeks ago. More than a week went by and a still hadn't arrived, so we began to get nervous.

Then one morning we received a note from the Danish Income Usurpation Board informing us that the dress was being held by customs until such time as the DMB had paid all relevant taxes on it. Oh, and p.s.: you owe an extra fifty kroner for having put the government through the hassle of having to extort this money.

I don't want to get into the specifics of the case, because I don't know what we're going to have to tell the Extortionists to get that dress out of their hands. Whatever we end up saying, it'd be a shame to have publicly perjured myself in advance. (I say that, as I say everything else, with tongue wedged firmly in cheek: of course I would never even contemplate telling anything but the absolute truth to any Government Bureau of Larceny.)

I don't know why the Danes put up with the taxation they do. 25% sales tax, 180% luxury tax on automobiles, "envy tax" on real estate... The only reason I don't mention income tax is because there is no Danish income tax—because there is no Danish income. Employers pay the government most of their employees' salaries in exchange for the right to pass the remaining trifle to the employees themselves. No wonder they're allowed to drink beer at work—and at dinner, and after dinner, and at picnics, on the beach, on the street, and in the hospitals and nursing homes. If this country stayed sober long to realize what was going on—well!

But it's a beautiful summery Friday here in this fairy-tale land of usurping government authorities, so I'm going to let it all rest and crack open a Carlsberg.

A Matter of Princip

On June 28 of 1914, the Austrian Archduck was touring Serbia with his wife, the Mallard Sophie. The purpose of his tour was to get Serbia to calm down, it having become extremely irritable for reasons known only to itself, possibly having to do with Austria's occupation of the region. (Either that or gas.)

During their tour the Archduck and Mallard Sophie became lost and stopped to ask for directions from a young boy on the side of the road. The conversation went something like this:

"Say, lad, I'm the Austrian Archduck Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Habsburg throne, and this is my wife, the Mallard Sophie. We seem to be lost. If we don't find our way back I might never have the chance to take the Austrian throne and continue the ruthless and relentless persecution of the Serbian peoples. Could you give us a hand?"

[Gunfire.]

The boy was Gavrilo Princip, and he had just started World War I. The war ended exactly five years later, on June 28, 1919, with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The Treaty of Versailles is best known for having caused the second World War.

Gavrilo Princip died of tuberculosis in his jail cell. After his death, the following graffiti was discovered on the wall:

   Our ghosts will walk through Vienna
   And roam through the Palace
   Frightening the Lords.

(That's not especially moronic or anything—I just always found it kind of creepy.)

June 28 is also notable as the birthday of nefarious American philosopher John Dillinger, born in 1902. (He is also believed to have been born on June 22, 1903.)

At the age of twenty, a precocious young Dillinger attempted to illustrate the transient nature of material goods by depriving a stranger of his automobile. When a warrant was issued for his arrest by Indiana police disinclined to accept Dillinger's delicate epistemological point, the young man cleverly joined the navy to demonstrate the redemptive powers of patriotism.

Philosophers have historically encountered resistance from the military, and Dillinger was no exception. He fled the service, returned home, got married, and robbed a grocer. The robbery went awry and Dillinger went to jail for nine years.

Jail hardened Dillinger and made him a very bitter man. Upon his release, he began robbing banks almost immediately. He quickly became Public Enemy Number One, which enabled him to be shot to death by the FBI outside the Biograph movie theatre in Chicago.

His philosophy, however, endures to this day, and is practiced widely and successfully by various tax authorities around the world.

Birthdays and Holidays

June 27 is the birthday of Julia Duffy (1951), H. Ross Perot (1930), Bob "Captain Kangaroo" Keeshan (1927), and Helen Keller (1880). It's Independence Day in Djibouti.

John Dillinger shares his June 28 birthday with John Elway (1960), Kathy Bates (1948), Gilda Radner (1946), and Mel Brooks (1926).

June 29 is the birthday of Fred Grandy (1948), Richard Lewis (1947), Robert Evans (1930), Slim Pickens (1919), and Antoine de Saint-Exupery (1900). It's also Saints Peter and Paul Day in Malta, Prince Bernhard Day in the Netherlands, and Independence Day in the Seychelles.

Happy Friday!

2003, The Moron's Almanac™

[close window]
[Daily Briefing Archive]