Inside Baseball: Hurricane Igor

Cat 4 we say, because saying cat instead of category makes us sound cooler.

A little tropical weather inside baseball tonight.

I’ve been spending lots of time with Hurricane Igor. You would expect that. It might threaten Bermuda over the weekend, but right now it’s all alone out in the wide open ocean. Top sustained winds are estimated at 155 mph with higher gusts. Cat 4 we say, because saying cat instead of category makes us sound cooler.

Tonight in its 03Z technical discussion Robbie Berg the National Hurricane Center’s on-duty specialist said,


Huh? Really?

In essence NHC is saying Igor will weaken… just because.

I agree!

When a hurricane reaches 155 mph there’s only so much faster it can spin. It’s possible for hurricane speeds to reach 200 mph, but that’s very rare. In reality there are many, many more factors that can diminish the storm than can intensify it. Betting on a 155 mph storm weakening almost always wins.

Almost, not always!

The Hurricane Center knows there’s only so long any storm can maintain this nearly perfect form. At some point something… anything will intrude. It doesn’t have to be a major factor to upset the balance and lessen the storm’s efficiency in maintaining strength. It always happens. At some point the water temperature will be a little cooler or there will be a frictional force from some other nearby weather feature.

Of all the things the Hurricane Center predicts wind speed is most problematic and subject to the largest errors.

NHC is betting on climatology or what’s happened before to predict what’s going to happen now. That’s reasonable. Out in the open ocean the downside to guessing wrong is less.

Doing Our Taxes

The distinguished looking man on the left is Mark Everson. You probably don’t know him. You’ve probably thought of him. He’s the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service.

Hey, Mark! I’ve just done my taxes. What exactly were you guys thinking?

I am a lucky guy. I make a good living. With few investments outside my home, cars, or retirement account, my taxes should be easy. After all, I’m an employee. I can’t deduct much of anything.

Even using an online service, it still takes hours! I tried to get it right. Can anyone be sure they did?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m willing to pay taxes to pay for government services and programs. Sure, I don’t agree with everything you guys in Washington/Hartford/Town Hall are doing, but I’ll pay my fair share. I just can’t seem to figure out what that is.

Why should doing my taxes be so stressful? Mark, are you with me?

The commish is probably a bright guy. He went to school here in New Haven at Yale. Yale is no guarantee of brightness (insert your own joke here since the last three presidents have gone to Yale), though it’s a reasonable reassurance.

Why can’t I, a former math team member, easily blow through this thing without worrying I’ve done something terribly wrong and will end up bunking with a former politician in Danbury, or worse? Why is it so difficult? Why is it so confusing?

Is there a reason you’ve got multiple forms, all named 1099? There’s 1099B, 1099DIV, 1099OID… I could go on. This is like George Foreman naming all his children George – and you know how we feel about that idea!

Then, there’s the question of money for Steffie’s college expenses. We were good parents and put something away when she was a little girl. Exactly how much did we originally invest in the late 80s? Uh – I’ll get back to you on that.

In the past, I’ve had relatives who worked backwards in their tax forms. In other words, they decided what they thought would be a fair amount for them to pay, then worked from there until the other numbers made that happen. I don’t do that.

I’m not looking to move my headquarters to the Cayman Islands or Bermuda. Should I? That really pretty yacht we saw in Cabo San Lucas, owned by a guy from Montana, flew the Cayman flag. Maybe he’s on to something?

A few years ago, Stanley Works, the tool company in New Britain, CT, tried to move its offices offshore. Lots of companies have. Even our cruise ship, Norwegian Caribbean’s, “Norwegian Star,” was registered in the Bahamas. That’s not part of Norway nor the US.

All I want is an easier tax system. Since none of the special exemptions I have to ponder are for me, you’ll probably have to tick off people with more influence than I have. C’mon Mark, you can do it.

Finally, am I being graded on spelling?