Wednesday, July 19, 2017

I was unaware of this website until the latest Chipolte restaurant incident. it's a good website to be aware of. Their incident map allows you to zoom in on your location.

another resource is each state's health department which has the responsibility to protect the health of each state's citizens and its visitors by regulating and inspecting restaurants in the state. 

image by TNhealthwebmast

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

What It's Like to Buy a Mattress Over the Internet

old dog? new trick?
I got you.

What do you do when you need a new mattress and you're 30 miles from the closest mattress store? and besides, you hate shopping for a mattress in a mattress store.

Hidden among all the sales propaganda from my google search was this article: What It's Like to Buy a Mattress Over the Internet

You're welcome.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

IRS: "You shall not steal" Exodus 20:15

The IRS is the biggest bully on the block.

In July 2016 we received a $450 refund check from the IRS. The same day that we received it we wrote to the IRS telling them it was a mistake.

Since then the incredibly incompetent IRS has sent us a series of letters (each with a "we need 45 more days to respond" letter in between) saying: (1) that the refund is not a mistake, (2) mark the check void and send it back to the IRS, (3) that we owe $450 plus interest more on our 2015 federal income tax, and (4) that the IRS has confiscated our 2016 income tax refund and applied it to the tax plus interest that the IRS erroneously claims that we owe for 2015.

The IRS has ignored our letters to them in which we repeatedly have told the IRS that: (1) our 2015 tax return, filed in April 2016, is correct, (2) the IRS made a mistake sending us the refund and (3) that we don't owe additional taxes for 2015.

Not only is the IRS incredibly incompetent, but also the heavy-handed IRS is the biggest bully on the block.

Here are the details:

                                1040      QD&CGTW     Difference
taxable income     $42,425       $39,430          $2,995
tax                         $5,441         $4,991            $450

QD&CGTW = Qualified Dividends & Capital Gain Tax Worksheet

We always do a pencil draft of our taxes first. When we completed the pencil draft for our 2015 taxes, we realized that there was a very obvious discrepancy/error between the taxable income ($42,425) and tax ($5,441) from the form 1040 and the taxable income ($39,430) and tax ($4,991) from the QD&CGTW. 

The IRS instructs taxpayers not to include the QD&CGTW with their tax return.

The IRS instructs taxpayers that they must use the tax tables to get the tax (line 44) for their taxable income (line 43). 

Nowhere on lines 1 through 44 of the form 1040 are there places to record the reduction in taxable income ($2,995) and the reduction in tax ($450) from the QD&CGTW.

Using the tax tables for the taxable income ($42,425) on line 43 calculated from lines 1 through 42 on the form 1040 and the tax ($4,991) on line 44 from the lower taxable income ($39,430) from the QD&CGTW results in a very obvious discrepancy/error because the tax ($4,991) on line 44 doesn't agree with taxable income ($42,425) in the tax tables. Using the tax tables and the taxable income ($42,425) calculated from lines 1 through 42 on the 1040 yields a higher tax ($5,441) than using the tax tables and the lower taxable income ($39,430) from the QD&CGTW (tax = $4,991).

To correct this obvious contradiction/error, and so the tax ($4,991) on line 44 of the 1040 would agree with the taxable income ($39,430) on line 43 of the 1040, we entered the reduction in taxable income ($2,995) from the QD&CGTW on line 28, other miscellaneous deductions, of schedule A, itemized deductions, and clearly annotated it on schedule A as from the QD&CGTW.

Our 2015 tax return, filed in April 2016, is correct. Our taxable income and tax for 2015 are $39,430 and $4,991. We paid $4,991 in taxes. We aren't due a refund nor do we owe additional tax for 2015.

The IRS made a mistake--they sent us a refund check that we weren't due. When we informed the IRS of their mistake, the heavy-handed IRS ignored our letters, lied to us, threatened us, and stole from us. Under the same circumstances the mafia wouldn't have treated us as badly as the IRS has.

Only the IRS (Idiotic Revenue Service) would have two methods for calculating taxable income (form 1040 and the Qualified Dividends and Capital Gain Tax worksheet) that give different results; and instruct the taxpayer not to include the QD&CGT worksheet with their tax return.

Only the Idiotic Revenue Service would have form 1040 that omits the reduction in taxable income from the QD&CGT worksheet.

Only the Idiotic Revenue Service would leave the taxpayer with reporting a higher taxable income (line 43 on form 1040) that doesn't agree with the lower taxable income from QD&CGT worksheet. Obviously, using the higher taxable income yields a higher tax from the tax tables which obviously doesn't agree with the lower taxable income and lower tax from the QD&CGT worksheet--a built-in contradiction/error.


Only the Idiotic Revenue Service could come up with forms and instructions that contradict, and not even know it. 


Only the Idiotic Revenue Service would: (1) mail a $450 refund to taxpayers whose tax return shows aren't due a refund, (2) reject the taxpayers' letters that say that the refund is a mistake, (3) send the taxpayers a letter that says that the refund is not a mistake, (4) send the taxpayers another letter instructing the taxpayers to mark the refund check void and return it, (5) tell the taxpayers erroneously that they owe the IRS $450 plus interest instead*, and (6) while the matter is under review, and without informing the taxpayers first, confiscate the taxpayers' 2016 refund and apply it to the $450 plus interest that the Idiotic Revenue Service erroneously says that the taxpayers owe.

* what a bunch of morons! the Idiotic Revenue Service went from one extreme (the IRS owes us $450) to the other extreme (we owe the IRS $450 plus interest)--and it only took them more than six months to come up with that brilliant conclusion. unbelievable! 

The mafia treats its customers better than the Idiotic Revenue Service.

the godfather 

Finally, why are we so confident that our 2015 tax return, filed in April 2016, is correct and that the IRS forms and instructions are incorrect? Because we checked our 2015 taxes with turbotax. Turbotax verifies that line 43 of form 1040, taxable income, is $42,425 and line 44, tax, is $4,991 even though the tax tables show that for a taxable income of $42,425 the tax is $5,441.  THIS IS THE SAME DISCREPANCY/ERROR WITH THE IRS FORMS AND INSTRUCTIONS THAT WE IDENTIFIED WITH OUR PENCIL DRAFT OF OUR 2015 TAX RETURN

Our 2015 tax return, filed in April 2016, is correct. Our taxable income for 2015 is $39,430, our tax is $4,991 and we paid $4,991 in taxes in 2015, just as our 2015 tax return shows.  We are not due a refund nor do we owe additional tax for 2015.

The Idiotic Revenue Service owes us an apology for: (1) failing to realize that our 2015 tax return, filed in April 2016, is correct, (2) ignoring our numerous letters informing the IRS of their error in sending us the refund, (3) lying to us ("the IRS will correct the error" and we "can speak with an agent"), (4) going from one extreme (the IRS owes us $450), (5) to the other--the IRS's most audacious error--saying that we owe the IRS $450 plus interest more for 2015, (6) stealing our 2016 tax refund and applying it to the IRS's error that we owe more tax for 2015, (7) stealing our 2016 refund while we were still contesting the IRS's errors and (8) our time, expense, frustration and anxiety over more than six months that the heavy-handed IRS has caused us by their failure to see that they're wrong and that we're right from the very beginning.

Monday, May 1, 2017

outback steakhouse

winchester va

misleading menu
"half-rack baby back ribs. comes with fries. order side salad $2.99 (small) or $3.99"
order came w/o fries???
waiter said that she would check.
she didn't come back.
come to find out that if you order the salad that you don't get the fries.
the menu doesn't say that.

nothing to write home about.

background music
loud and annoying.


asked for lemon in my iced tea.
smallest lemon slice that I've ever seen in a big glass of iced tea.

not enough butter with the bread


Friday, April 7, 2017

stupid IRS

The IRS is the guardian of our treasury. As guardian of our treasury, one would expect the IRS not to be stupid. Such is not the case. IRS forms and instructions are overly complex, and in some cases, downright stupid. 

Probably the two most important lines in the IRS Form 1040, "individual income tax return", are line 43, "taxable income", and line 44, "tax". Form 1040 instructions instruct taxpayers that they must use the tax tables to determine their tax from their taxable income.

Publication 17, "your federal income tax", instructs taxpayers with qualified dividends and capital gains to use the "qualified dividends and capital gain worksheet". It also instructs taxpayers not to include the worksheet with their tax return.

There's the rub! The tax figured using the qualified dividends and capital gain worksheet does not equal the tax obtained from the tax tables using line 43, "taxable income". catch 22. a built-in discrepancy. One would think that the IRS would be smarter than to ask taxpayers to submit their tax returns with such an obvious built-in discrepancy.

To remedy this obvious discrepancy for our 2015 tax return, we entered the reduction in taxable income from the qualified dividends and capital gain worksheet on line 28, "other miscellaneous deductions", schedule a, "itemized deductions". We clearly annotated the deduction on line 28, schedule a, as "qualified dividends and capital gains worksheet".

A few months later we received a tax refund in the mail for exactly the same amount as shown on our "qualified dividends and capital gain tax worksheet". The deduction in tax had been double-counted. We immediately wrote the IRS informing them of the mistake.

After months and several "we need more time" letters from the IRS, we finally got a response--the IRS said that the refund is not a mistake.

We wrote the IRS informing them again that the refund is a mistake and that we have not and will not cash the refund check.

After several more months and several more "we need more time" letters, we got another letter from the IRS 

  • instructing us to void and return the refund check (which we did) 
  • contained erroneous calculations saying that we had paid $450 less tax than we actually paid (shown clearly on page 2 of our form 1040)
  • informed us that we owe an additional $450 plus interest for our 2015 federal income tax

One would think that the guardian of the treasury wouldn't be so stupid. If the IRS:
  • doesn't know the tax that we paid in 2015 (that is shown clearly on our 2015 form 1040)
  • has an obvious built-in discrepancy in the form 1040
  • can't follow their own forms and instructions for our simple tax return
then there's no telling how much the treasury is being ripped off by wealthy taxpayers and businesses.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

prorating rent scam

Renters, beware of the prorating rent scam. Here's how it works:

We signed a one-year lease for an apartment at Somerhill Farms apartments in Gainesville VA. The lease began on 2/15/16 and ended on 2/14/17.

We were told that we need a cashier's check for the first month's rent and the "amenity fee". The first month's rent is "prorated". Using "voodoo math", the property manager determined that our "prorated" rent for February 2016 was 51.7% of the monthly rent stated in the lease.

From March 2016 through January 2017 we paid 100% of the monthly rent stated in the lease--always before the rent due date.

On 1/25/17 we vacated our clean, empty apartment and turned our keys and parking passes back over to the property manager along with a half month's rent (50%) for the remaining half month (February 2017).

 But wait! The remaining rent should have been 48.3% of the monthly rent (100% - 51.7%).

When I called this to the attention of the property manager, she said "You paid $1543.10 but should have paid $1583.93. The correction was done in 2016 so we will leave that as is and eat the difference."

$1583.93?!? More voodoo math! Less the $500.00 "amenity fee" and $100.00 credit for the "reservation fee", this amounts to $1,183.93 (53.6% of the monthly rent) for the first partial month's rent in February 2016.

I tried to get the extra rent that we overpaid back from the property manager, including the following:

"Somerhill Farms chooses to stagger their lease start dates so that all leases don't expire at the end of the month.
Had our lease began on 2/1/16 instead of 2/15/16 and expired on 1/31/17 instead of 2/14/17 then our rent would have been 12 times $2,210.00, not 11 times $2,210.00 + $2,288.93.
Why should the customer pay additional rent for the same 1 year (12 months) period of time? Answer: the customer shouldn't." 

I finally gave up with the following:

"I regret that you are unable to see that prorating the rent doesn't apply in this matter; and, that we overpaid the rent. If SF, GH, etc. wishes to sue us for $9.39 then they can do so. However, be advised that we will sue SF, GH and possibly others who may get involved with this in the future, not only for the overpayment and for our expenses in dealing with this matter with you, and possibly with others in the future; but, we will also sue for larger punitive damages resulting from fraud, harassment, etc. This is my final word with you on this matter outside court."

(The $9.39 refers to the final water bill which the property manager was trying to collect despite the overpayment. Tenants pay their water bills to the property manager, and the property manager pays the water company.)

Renters, beware, of the prorating rent scam!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Somerhill Farms apartments, Gainesville VA

brats in the belfry
  • bouncing a ball off the common wall
  • running up and down apartment halls nonstop for hours, shaking the whole building
  • jumping off the bed making the whole building shake
  • screaming, temper tantrums, etc.
If you don't like noise, and the whole building shaking, then you don't want to move to the Somerhill Farms apartments in Gainesville VA.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

the retirement maze: a decent place to live

dead end #1 - bought a house in a SC retirement community
  • poorly built house
  • poorly built community 
  • infrastructure: golf courses, poorly built community buildings, roads, ponds, utilities, etc.
  • high liability
dead end #2 - rented a house in Culpeper VA
  • bad landlord & property manager
  • roof leaked, driveway washed out, water problems, etc.
dead end #3 - rented a house in Nokesville VA
  • fickle landlord decided to move back
  • 2 acre lot to mow and maintain landscaping
dead end #3 - rented a house in no. Fauquier Co. VA
  • basement rented by another renter; some of his electric on our bill
  • crooked property manager advertised gas heat when it was propane; and, propane tank was empty.
  • crooked property manager advertised "working clothes washer and dryer" included. neither worked. we had to purchase a washer and dryer at our expense.
  • neighbor's dog on property
  • poor cable TV service including a lack of working coaxial cable outlets
  • house, carport and roof in poor condition
  • long, unpaved, dead-and-dying-tree-lined driveway 
  • trees, leaves, grass, bushes, etc.
dead end #4 - Marque apartments in Gainesville VA
  • upstairs neighbor up all night running and stomping, moving furniture, slamming balcony door
  • dogs barking & smelly hallways
  • bad property manager
dead end #5 - Somerhill apartments in Gainesville VA
??? #6 - rental house in Strasburg VA
  • less traffic
  • fewer people 
  • we're hoping for a better class of people, but at least they won't be living in the same building that we're living in
  • relatively new house 
  • relatively small lot to mow (no leaves from trees to rake or clog gutters)
  • $1K/mo. less rent

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Somerhill Farms apartments, Gainesville VA

What do folks who were born in a barn, who live at Somerhill Farms apartments in Gainesville VA, do? 

among other things, they throw eggs.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Somerhill Farms apartments, Gainesville, VA, irresponsible dog owners

That's a pile of dog crap in the foreground--on the path that connects Somerhill Farms apartments to the trail that goes to Jefferson St. In the background, just inches away, on the other side of the fence, is Somerhill Farm's dog park.
Another pile of dog crap in the middle of the trail, about 30 ft. from the pile of dog crap in the first photo.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Novant Health

Flu season.

I log into MyChart and click on the "flu shot only" link to schedule an appointment for a flu shot.
I get to the THIRD PAGE of the process and it says: 
"Please choose the location at which you would like to schedule your appointment."
my location (Haymarket VA) isn't on the list.  

I then call the Haymarket office to schedule an appointment for a flu shot. 
No one answers. 
I leave a voice mail.
That was three weeks ago.
Novant hasn't returned my call.

Novant claims that they are "making healthcare remarkable".

When did "remarkable" become "we don't want your business"?

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Somerhill Farms, Gainesville VA one-way

Twice in less than two weeks.

Renters pay for this service. If renters fail to follow instructions (trash in a tied bag, in the designated trash can, with the lid closed, not weigning more than 30 lbs., outside the door, but not before 6 PM, empty can inside before 9 AM the next morning), then the renter is fined.

a refund to renters for the times when trash isn't collected? not in your life! NOT in this "one-way" place! 

In a fair and honest world the landlord would ditch this "service" (noisy trash collection occurs at all times during the night waking us up) and refund the cost to renters.

It'll NEVER happen! not in this dishonest, one-way arrangement where the landlords ALWAYS get their way and the renters ALWAYS get screwed.

logoSomerhill Farms
7351 Yountville Drive
Gainesville, VA 20155
(703) 754-8008
Property Photo



PS  This email was sent on 10/18/2016 at 5:26 PM, a half hour before trash goes out.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Somerhill Farms Gainesville VA hypocrites

Somerhill Farms
7351 Yountville Drive
Gainesville, VA 20155
(703) 754-8008

Property Photo
Dear resident (s):

There are many people who are being towed because they are not hanging the parking tag in their window or they are parking in visitors parking spaces without a tag.  
ALSO- Fire lane parking is and always has been prohibited. This is not just a lease violation but a Prince William County violation.

PLEASE NOTE:  If you have a visitor- they MUST hang the visitor tag we issued on their rear view mirror. If someone is parked in your space, you have the ability to call Manassas towing to have them tow the car. You must then park in visitor with a visitor tag in place of your parking tag. To combat abuse of visitor parking, the tow truck driver has been instructed to tow any vehicle that has parked in visitor for more than 3 days/week. That said, if you have a long term visitor please be sure to contact the office so we may issue a proper tag. 

DOG WASTE IN VALET TRASH CANS!  It has been brought to our attention that someone has been placing dog waste bags in empty valet waste trash cans that have yet to be pulled in after trash pick up. This is not only unfair to your neighbor who owns the trash can but it's extremely rude. We have several dog waste stations throughout the property. Please be sure you are not walking your dog (or letting them urinate/defecate) on the grassy areas around the buildings. It is unfair to those who wish to open their windows and it is killing the grass.There are designated spaces along the conservation area and we have a dog park behind building 7300.  When using the dog park please be sure to pick up after your pet. We now have security cameras and for full disclosure pet waste violations start at $100 and increase thereafter by $100 for subsequent violations.
Please help us keep your community clean and safe!

Thank you

Somerhill Farms

Monday, September 26, 2016


Following are my comments about a really bad experience that we had with Hilton hotels:

At 4:30 AM on Saturday 9/24/16 my wife and I checked out of the Hilton Atlanta Northeast (HAN). The screaming and other noise coming from the 7th floor hallway and other 7th floor rooms began the evening before and continued through the night. When I asked the desk clerk if he could assist in making a reservation for us at the nearby Hampton Inn (HI), he said that he couldn't. Being a Hilton Honors (HH) member, and knowing that HAN and HI are all under the same "umbrella", I am miffed as to why the desk clerk was unable to help me with my simple request. 

We checked out of HAN and into the nearby HI. When I checked my HH account, it showed that we were checked in at both HAN and HI. I called the Hilton 800 number. The first Hilton representative (HR) that I talked to had an accent such that I was only able to understand about 10% of what she said. The second HR that I spoke to said that we might be billed for Saturday night at HAN. The second HR said that she was going to hang up on me, and I told her "go right ahead". I then spoke to the third HR, Karon Tank, who understood our situation.

For the record, I did not ask for a refund for Friday night or for anything else other than removing Hilton's error from my HH account that showed that we were checked in at both HAN and HI. I understand that the screaming and other noise at HAN is part of the world that we live in today. I understand that HAN wasn't going to do anything about the noise for fear of a lawsuit. We knew that our only course of action was to check out of HAN and check into another hotel. What is most disturbing to me is that the HAN desk clerk couldn't help us with our reservation at the nearby HI and the attitudes of the first two HRs when I called about Hilton's error of showing on my HH account that we were checked in at both HAN and HI.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

good engineering; poor planning and poor enforcement

Somerset Crossing Drive in Gainesville VA is a relatively new, divided 4 lane road with a wide median, turn lanes and sidewalks on both sides. The posted speed limit is 45 mph.

Sidewalks are typically 5 feet wide (less in some places) asphalt. Trees planted close to the sidewalk have made sidewalks an asphalt mogul course--poor planning.

Adding to the problem of asphalt moguls and the relatively narrow width, adult bicyclists ride their bicycles on the sidewalk. My wife and I, walking side-by-side, have been assaulted by adult bicyclists coming up from behind us, where we can neither see nor hear them--poor enforcement.

If the sidewalks had been built with concrete, then they would be unserviceable, even though they are relatively new. "Bumps", depressions, cracks and "steps" caused by tree roots would have made it impossible for a handicapped person or a person pushing a baby stroller to use them. Cracks and asphalt moguls caused by tree roots make it difficult for even an able-bodied person to use the asphalt sidewalks. 

Using asphalt instead of concrete could be considered "good" engineering. If concrete had been used, then the relatively new sidewalks would have been unserviceable. However, making them only 5 feet wide when adult bicyclists use them is both poor planning and poor enforcement by the Prince William County police.

Friday, August 19, 2016

breach of contract--Somerhill Farms apartments, Gainesville VA

If someone on the second floor
  • slams their door
  • drops something(s) on the floor
  • stomps around their apartment
  • rearranges their furniture
  • stomps up or down the stairs to the 3rd or first floors
  • moves in or moves out
residents on the 4th floor not only hear it, but they FEEL it too--tremors shake the entire building.

How would you feel if the landlord/management company (Gates Hudson) for the apartment that you are living in rented the apartment below you to young rowdies who have no regard for their neighbors? screaming, yelling, slamming doors, etc. during the workweek and on weekends until 2 AM. 

Somerhill Farms in Gainesville VA is a mix of working and retired persons and at least one group of young rowdies. We feel betrayed that the landlord/management company (Gates Hudson) would allow such a situation. 

Gates Hudson's lease says:


... No baby carriages, tricycles, bicycles, or other articles of personal property may be deposited, allowed, or permitted on the patios or balconies of the building ...


You or your occupants and/or guests may not engage in the following activities:
     a) Behaving in a loud or obnoxious manner.
You may not make or permit any disturbing noises that unreasonably interfere with the rights, comforts or convenience of other tenants."

Gates Hudson doesn't enforce its own lease.  Other residents expect Gates Hudson to enforce its lease for their (other residents') safety, protection and comfort. 

If property manager Gates Hudson enforced their own lease, then it would put an end to the obnoxious door slamming (sometimes more than 20 times in a single day). At a minimum, these inconsiderate, rude, immature adults slam the door 12 times each day when they each take their bicycles, one-by-one, to and from the balcony.

But, Gates Hudson doesn't enforce their own lease.

You'd have to be pretty stupid not to know that six college-age foreigners (I don't know the language that they speak) with bicycles and a den mother are trouble. Gates Hudson isn't that stupid. GH knew that they'd be trouble; GH sold out the other residents here by renting to them--all for the almighty $$$. The fact that GH doesn't enforce their own lease, e.g. six bicycles on the balcony, noise, one leasee and six full-time "visitors"?, etc., proves that GH sold us out. It also proves that Gates Hudson's lease, as far as the owner/landlord responsibilities are concerned, isn't worth the paper that it's written on.

WARNING:  Don't rent at Somerhill Farms apartments in Gainesville VA.