Monday, April 19, 2010

Steel Panther

In this past week I have finally decided to check out a band I have heard about from a friend of mine when I was in the UK called Steel Panther. Although I do enjoy metal every once on a while, it is not my main interest and so listening to this had to wait, but I was pleasantly surprised with how hilarious these guys are, taking a piss at every hair metal act from the eighties onwards. I post a video below with the proviso that it is definitely not safe for work both visually and aurally. Moreover, most of the songs are probably not safe to be listened to with your missus, since she might get the idea that you agree with practicing their lyrics.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Night at the opera

Last night I was invited to attend a social function in my boss's house whereby performers from the Pittsburgh Opera did bits of various operas from the standard repertoire, to the often comical commentary of the pianist, in what was a sort of sampler platter of classical opera. It is quite impressive that my boss has the connections to arrange for the musicians and the musical director of the city's opera to play a private function in her home, but I am glad I have had the opportunity to watch that. Of course, I believe I was one of the lowest ranked people in the room, but it is alright, once day I will get to the top.

Now, the best opera I have found online is the classical masterpiece of italian tragedy, Le Wrath di Khan, which was rendered into a movie in the 80s, starring talented actor, William Shatner.

Friday, April 02, 2010

On Death and Taxes

It is not the first time that I have ranted about american bureaucracy, and by looks of things, it probably won't be the last. Now this week I have spent quite a great deal of time trying to figure out what exactly need I fill in the US tax forms. I always thought that the bureaucracy in Brazil was bad, but it seems that in that respect, my home country is a mere follower of the United States, since taxes here are, by a long shot, much more complicated and byzantine than in Brazil. Not only does one have to deal with the complications of federal taxes, one also has to deal with state income tax, as well as local taxes, in my case, because I'm based in Pittsburgh. The interesting aspect of this system also includes the fact that, unless one wants to do your taxes by hand like the ancients, one must pay for the privilege to calculate one's own tax dues. This all adds up to a lot of stress when it comes to filling one's taxes since the IRS is famed for being ruthless in pursuing people with any suspicion of having made mistakes in the tax forms. At least in Brazil, for all the complications, the government does provide a software to help you do this, and for me, it has never been a completely daunting task, even when I had some (puny) property in the country.