Hot Topics: Tax Day Looms, J.K. Rowling and Rachel Dratch Return
It's not a date that anyone (except maybe the IRS) is looking forward to. But here's a reminder: You have until Tuesday, April 17, to file your 2011 federal and state income tax returns. The two-day extension from the usual deadline comes because April 15 falls on a Sunday, and the following day is Emancipation Day in Washington, D.C., which, under federal law, is treated like a federal holiday.
If you're still struggling to find all your receipts and figure out how TurboTax software works, don't fret. From the Chicago Sun-Times, here are some tips for extreme income-tax procrastinators. And here are SecondAct's last-minute tax tips. Meanwhile, the Daily Breeze, a Southern California newspaper, offers this lighthearted primer on how to stay awake while you're pulling an all-nighter to complete your return.
Post offices will have employees waiting outside to accept your returns after normal mailing hours, but be careful getting there. The TaxProf Blog alerts us to a newly published study in Journal of the American Medical Association, which shows that fatal car accidents increase slightly on tax day.
In other news:
Newark Mayor Called Hero: Mayor Cory Booker called it his "come to Jesus moment" when he ran into a burning building this week to save a neighbor's life, CBS News reports.
New J.K. Rowling Novel for Adults: And no, it doesn't bring back Harry Potter and subject him to a midlife crisis. Publishing house Little, Brown's UK website reports that Rowling's novel The Casual Vacancy will be released on September 27. It's her first effort to write specifically for an adult audience and comes as a surprise, since rumors had her working on a new series aimed at young readers. "The freedom to explore new territory is a gift that Harry's success has brought me," Rowling explains in a BBC News article. I'll be writing more on the anticipation of this major publishing event next week.
Job Prospects for Older Tech Workers Brighten: It's long been a truism that middle-aged engineers and other tech professionals have the toughest time finding work again after economic downturns. It's thought that employers prefer to hire younger workers with more recent and presumably more up-to-date skills and education. But CNET News reports that the suddenly booming job market for tech workers in Silicon Valley is lifting the prospects of middle-aged hopefuls as well as younger ones. Better yet, despite the valley's cult of youth, venture capitalists are more open than expected to investing in companies whose founders are 45 and older. "We like youth or experience," one potential funder explains. "We tend to avoid what's in between."
Bonnie Raitt's Message for Midlifers: If you went to college parties in the late seventies, there's a good chance you boogied to Raitt's scorching, blues-inflected version of Del Shannon's "Runaway." If not, you may remember Raitt's Grammy-winning album Nick of Time. Either way, though, the singer-guitarist with the fiery tresses is back with a new album, Slipstream, with lyrics that offer a poignant look at what happens when the good things that arrive in middle age abruptly slip away. TheWrap.com's Chris Willman writes that "It may not rule the Grammys, but once again, Raitt has come up with an anthem for a generation."
Age-Related Memory Loss May Not Be Permanent: Science Daily reports that a new study by scientists at the Scripps Research Institute reveals that stimulating certain neurons can reverse age-related memory defects in fruit flies -- and potentially in humans, as well. "Once the appropriate neurons are identified in people, in principle at least, one could potentially develop drugs to hit those neurons and rescue those memories affected by the aging process," neuroscientist Ron Davis explains.
Former Wall Street Whizzes Uncork New Opportunity: A few years back, Brian Mota, 38, was looking for a new gig after leaving JPMorgan Chase and Co.'s investment banking unit. But instead of going to another bank, he opted for someplace much cooler, both literally and figuratively: the wine cellar. Mota has teamed with another former investment banker, 40-year-old Timothy Clew, to form The Wine Trust, a private-equity-structured fund that invests in the fruit of the vine. Their Connecticut-based firm, TWT Investment Partners LP, is in the process of raising $50 million to invest in both actual bottles of wine and futures (that is, contracts for not-yet-bottled wines that can be traded down the road, ideally for a higher price). Clew explains: "This was an opportunity to take Wall Street-type disciplines and apply them to an asset class that was largely devoid of that type of thinking." Bloomberg News has the scoop.
The Triumphant Return of Rachel Dratch: You may remember Dratch from Saturday Night Live, where as a cast member from 1999 to 2006 she portrayed such memorable sketch characters as Debbie Downer, a depressed woman who continually unsettled others with her inappropriate and vaguely disturbing remarks. (For example, when offered a slice of birthday cake Debbie Downer says, "With all the refined sugars we're eating, America is experiencing a virtual epidemic of juvenile diabetes.") You don't remember her from 30 Rock because NBC brass forced Tina Fey to drop her from the proposed cast in favor of the more conventionally attractive Jane Krakowski. But now, Dratch is getting rave reviews with her memoir, Girl Walks Into a Bar, which deals with both the ups and downs of being a woman comic, dating misadventures, and her unexpected motherhood at age 43. EW.com has a Q&A with Dratch that's as funny as her sketches.
Never Can Say Goodbye: If seventies songwriting great Clifton Davis was penning that tune for the Jackson 5 today, he might want to re-title it, "Never Can Say 'I'm Retiring.'" The Sloan Center on Aging & Work at Boston College calls our attention to a key finding in the 2011 Sun-Life survey, in which workers were asked at what age they planned to retire. A startling 20 percent picked the answer "Never -- I'll always work in some capacity."
Last Word: "I'll say he's enthusiastic. He wants to learn. What else can I say? Of all my students, he has the most fun." --Washington, D.C.-area figure skating coach Barbara Walker, describing her 46-year-old wunderkind student Mickey Bolek, who took up the sport a few years ago. He's set to compete in the U.S. Adult Figure Skating Championships, which begin today, according to this Washington Post article.
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