Financial Negativeland

Today I joined the erstwhile Masters of the Universe, and entered the red.  My investments are now worth fewer dollars than I put into them.  Am I freaking out?  No.  Not yet anyway.  Another 25% down and we’ll see.  I thank Bill Bernstein, Jack Bogle, and Burton Malkiel for this calm.  Am I even surprised?  No, and the thanks for that has to go to neo-Popperian Nicholas Nassim Taleb.

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Who do I hate?

I hate the phone companies, but I need a new phone. I hate having to pay the same rate that someone getting a subsidized phone pays, even if I buy an unlocked phone. I hate that there are locked phones. I hate the obligatory contracts. I hate the ignorant, conniving, pushy salespeople in the phone stores. I hate calling customer support. My phone hasn’t worked for weeks. I haven’t gotten a new one because I hate AT&T. I wish they would go bankrupt, or be regulated out of existence in any meaningful way. I wish we had an open, competitive mobile communications marketplace, with low barriers to entry for new carriers, and an open platform encouraging new hardware manufacturers to make innovative handsets, and encouraging writers of software to create innovative mobile applications. But we don’t. Mobile phones suck. The industry sucks. The FCC sucks. Mobile computing sucks. It’s horribly broken, and they all want to keep it that way.
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The IRS is confused

I’d been wondering what was up with my tax rebate. The IRS sent me a notice today saying that I didn’t pay my taxes. Except, I did. They took the $291 I owed right out of my bank account on April 10th. I can only imagine that it was my name change that confused them. I called the 800 number as instructed, and was on hold for so long that my (admittedly decrepit) phone battery died. How exactly I’m supposed to fix this is unclear.