Gold Rush Days Classic Car Show

Olds Convertible

The Town of Wickenburg celebrated the annual “Gold Rush Days” event this weekend; included in the festivities is a lot of Rodeo, a big parade and a Classic Car Show. Damsel and I attended the Car Show on Friday and the Parade on Saturday.

The image above is of a classic 1960’s Oldsmobile Convertible with a very nostalgic accessory (see inset) showing how some of us used to hear the sound track of movies at a Drive-in Theater. This set of Drive-in Theater Speakers was typical of those mounted on posts throughout the drive-ins in those days (I believe there are some active drive-in theaters still in existence today; we saw one in Barstow, CA last year).

The rest of the car show was as per the usual guys that show up with a few items that stood out. Upper left below is a 1930’s Auburn which was sometimes marketed as a Cord. Upper right is a very nice Chevrolet Touring Car. Below lower left is a very clean ans shiny 1940 Chevrolet. Finally, the lower right is of some sort a rust bucket with rip saws for a grill. There were only a few shiny parts including the hood ornament - we felt like we needed tetanus vaccinations after standing close to it.

Auburn Chevy Touring Car
1940 Chevrolet Rustbucket

We both enjoy the Gold Rush weekend; it gets us out of the house, gives us a lot of walking exercise and is always a great #photo-op. Click on any image above to enlarge.

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Lincoln’s 1860 Election

This being the 211th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln, I thought it would be interesting to post about how he was elected president in 1860.

In the US Map of the Electoral Votes in 1860 (below) the four candidates for President were:

  • Abraham Lincoln - Republican
  • John C. Breckinridge - Democratic
  • John Bell - Constitutional Union
  • Stephen A. Douglas - Democratic

Lincoln won the election with a total of 180 electoral votes and a popular vote of 1,866,452. Breckinridge was second with 72 EC and 847,953 popular, Bell was third with 39 EC and 592,906 popular. Last but not least (look at the popular vote) was Steven Douglas with 12 EV and 1,382,713 popular. It’s interesting that Douglas and Breckinridge were both Democrats but even if their Electoral votes were to be combined they still would not have defeated Lincoln. Their combined poplar votes, however were over 364 thousand greater than Lincoln’s.

Note how the demographics and population shift have switched this old map around over the last 160 years. If only Kalifornistan were a red state today with their current 55 Electoral Votes.

1860ec.png

Map Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:ElectoralCollege1860.svg. Click on the image to enlarge.

1860 Election

The United States presidential election of 1860 set the stage for the American Civil War. The nation had been divided throughout most of the 1850s on questions of states’ rights and slavery in the territories. In 1860, this issue finally came to a head, fracturing the formerly dominant Democratic Party into Southern and Northern factions and bringing Abraham Lincoln and the Republican Party to power without the support of a single Southern state.

Hardly more than a month following Lincoln’s victory came declarations of secession by South Carolina and other states, which were rejected as illegal by the then-current President, James Buchanan and President-elect Abraham Lincoln.

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Drain the Swamp

Winter Spa

I wish draining the DC Swamp were this easy. This is our patio Spa now winterized. Click on the image to enlarge.

Late last fall, Damsel and I siphoned most of the water from the Spa since the weather was no longer conducive to dipping in it. That exercise got rid of 95 percent of the water, but left some in the bottom of the tub and in the internal plumbing.

We left the spa in that condition for a couple of months, but tonight the weather forecast calls for our first freeze warning of the winter season. There is a cold air mass descending on Lower Arizona which will take us below 0° C. Most of the rest of the country have already been there, but this will be our first freeze of the year.

Back to the Spa; residual water in the internal plumbing can freeze and damage the plastic used for directing water internally. There is also a water filter that can be damaged if frozen. So, today, we got out the wet/dry shop vac and sucked out most of the water from the internal plumbing, as well as removing the puddled water from the seats and the bottom of the tub. I removed about ten gallons of water which is two loads of the vac.

Now, the Spa is drying out and when dry, I will replace the cover.

We can hardly wait for the warm part of spring to show up so we can refill and reheat the Spa and resume enjoying our hot turbo massages and when summer comes, use it as a cool bath when it’s 110° outside.

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Identity Crisis

uc-15.jpg

I saw this snarky poster on Instacram™ and shamelessly purloined it to present it here.

As tragically endangered as our firearm rights might be, it is always nice to get a little humor from the situation.

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Tax Returns E-Filed Today

irs_logo.pngEarlier than anticipated, the last important 1099 document became available today. I expected at least two more weeks before the investment consolidated 1099 would be available. But, since I reported being 99 percent complete on the 17th of this month, it was a mere few mouse clicks to validate the latest documented information and file the returns, both AZ and FED. The 2019 Tax Season is done except for a small refund from the IRS which (according to the IRS) will be e-deposited within a week or two.

For 2020, we will continue to track our expenses with the assumption that we may use itemized deductions rather than the standard deduction which was the case for the 2019 return. We may not ever file using itemization again, but we will track expenses as though we were going to. We will also continue with our contributions to charities that we see fit to support, particularly those that support Veterans, the Second Amendment, Christianity and Canine Rescue (among others not mentioned here).

Speaking of tracking expenses, I have been using Quicken for a long time. So long, in fact, that the file size of my records going back for the last twenty years has somehow exceeded the programs data storage capability. The symptom is that I get corrupted data when I start the program and have to load in a backup record to make it behave correctly. It is a bit tedious in that I have to make a backup of the data on a daily basis and restore the backup the next time I use the program. The gurus at Quicken say there isn’t a practical limit on record sizes, but I believe there is a declaration somewhere in their code that screws up my very lengthy financial data records.

As soon as I can get to it, I am going to start a new Quicken File with the first of this year as the starting date. It will be easy to update recent (January ‘20) data, since the program can download it directly from our financial institutions. I will keep the old file on hand since I find it handy to look back in the registers from time to time. There are a lot of important things logged into the old data which I would hate to permanently lose.

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The Wickenburg Quilt Show

Hot Rod Quilt

The Damsel and I took time out from our busy retirement lifestyle today to attend the Quilt Show being put on at the Community Center Downtown. I posted the photo I took of one of the unusual quilts featuring “Hot Rodding USA.” Click on the image to enlarge.

There were hundreds of quilts on display, each one being a unique artwork unto itself. There were themes of Christmas, Halloween, Cowgirls, Boots, Aprons, Winter Scenes, Animals (Dogs, Cats, Horses, Livestock), Rodeo, University of Arizona and a myriad of more conventional quilting styles.

The people attending and running the show were mostly in the “senior” category, although I did see a couple of under 12 kids at one point. Despite being a weekday afternoon, there were a lot of people attending. We had to park out in back of the community center and walk a bit to get inside.

Inside the community center, there were vendors catering to quilt hobby aficionados as well as vendors selling finished quilts. Some, but not all of the quilts in the display area had Price Tags on them. Like you might expect of original folk art, some of them were a bit pricey now, but might continue to increase in value as time goes on.

We enjoyed our little outing today, and expect to attend more local events in the near future. There’s always something going on of interest in our little western town.

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2019 IRS Return 99% Complete

taxes.jpgAs of today, I can say that the 2019 returns are about complete. All we’re waiting for is the final 1099s from investments, retirement, etc. One such investment 1099 won’t be available until the second week in February, so we will have to wait another month for that little (very minor) tidbit of fiscal information.

Looking at the bottom line, i.e. the cash back or balance due, it seems that we planned pretty well in 2019 and the resulting difference is a relatively small amount in our favor. We used a predicted tax rate based on past experience and forecast that value for 2019 in our “Withholding Planning” spreadsheet. We adjusted the rate of withholding according to the results of the spreadsheet and it worked out to a difference to within a few hundred dollars from breaking even. I love it when a plan comes together.

This year is the first year that we have taken the standard deduction rather than itemizing. We went through the deductions exercise to see if we could surpass the new $27000 (married filing jointly) Standard amount, but the total of all our deductible fees, charity, mortgage interest, medical premiums and other miscellaneous items did not surpass the Standard. That actually makes it easier for us if we can depend on claiming the SD in the future, but we will track the deduction numbers just in case.

Tax year 2020 will be a bit different from the past since the Damsel will become eligible for some SSA income. We have that factoid programmed into the 2020 version of the spreadsheet to account for the difference. The delta from adding her income will be conveniently offset by a reduction in my draw from the IRA to retain about the same level as before with an appropriate cost-of-living increase of course.

Now awaiting the forms so we can claim our paltry refund. :)

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