Tuesday, October 28, 2008


I suppose that Barack Obama will be the new President of the United States. He is leading in all of the polls. Besides that, he is the individual who should win in my estimation. He is certainly a better candidate for president than is John McCain, who showed his poor judgment by picking Sarah Palin as his running mate. I think Obama and his running mate, Joe Biden, will do the country proud. It be a relief to have reasonable minds at the head of the national government instead of the travesty we've had these last eight years.

I am a Democrat. I'm a Democrat because the Democrat's party plank most closely aligns with my values and philosophy. In my community, I am an anachronism. Most people here are very conservative and are Republicans. It makes you wonder what they are thinking, but my experience is that it is difficult to have a rational political conversation with most people in my community, especially if they are on the other side of the aisle. If you make reasoned arguments with them, it is offensive and they are put off. To them, it is like their religion: sacrosanct. You better not criticize it or raise questions about it.

I stand for workers rights. That doesn't mean that I'm not for capitalism or free markets. It takes free markets to accommodate workers in most situations. However, it is like the scripture, when men and women get a little power, they tend to overuse it. The entrepreneurs and captains of businesses turn out greedy and exploitative. They want to take unfair advantage of their workers. I believe there needs to be a balance between management and workers. Therefore, I am for unions --- the right of workers to organize and bargain with management. I think it makes sense, particularly when you consider history and the ugly treatment business owners have shown to those they could exploit to have no power. For example, the slaves during slavery and even after the Emancipation Proclamation and Civil War. Slavery continued even after they were supposedly freed.

I am also for progressive taxation. Keep in mind that I worked my entire career in taxation, and I have strong opinions relative to what is fair and what isn't fair given our current tax system in the United States. I know what I saw and I stand by the notion that a flat tax is unfair for the least able individuals of our society. It works toward defeating the notion of compassion and love.

Monday, October 27, 2008


This Halloween Hannah will be a fairy. Piper is going to be a cowgirl. They came to visit this last Saturday, all decked out in their costumes to show us. We had Papa Murphy's pizza, and the little girls played vigorously outside alone, with Mike, with Grandma, and with their mother and grandmother together. Grandma gave them new toys to play with --- spaghetti kids I think they were called. Piper played with the toys for quite a while all alone while Hannah played outside. Hannah ate her pizza but Piper wouldn't. Finally, Piper ate part of some string cheese.

On Sunday I went to show Debbie and Alan where Kay's Creek Trail is. Later, Shelly and I took Asia and we went there and walked.

The Nielsens, the neighbors behind us, had a haunted forest party last Friday night. They had worked on it for a couple of days before hand and we heard screeching and yelling and cavorting over there Friday night. All kinds of music and frivolity.

Mike raked up leaves and loaded up several large bags, including three smaller bags designed like pumpkins.

Somebody is burning wood tonight in a wood burning stove, I suppose. Or Nielsens are having an outdoor fire. I could smell it because, it was warm, and I opened my window to cool things down.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


In my conceptualization of a story about undocumented immigrants, I formulated a protagonist of 12 years of age named Alejandro. Because Alejandro and his family came to the United States undocumented shortly after his birth, Alejandro has had to remain submissive throughout his short life. Alejandro must be meek, if you will. It is a necessity for him and his family in the United States to submit to authority. Not only has it been required throughout their 12 years in the United States, but it becomes much more so the case as the political heat against undocumented immigration increases over time. At the same time that Alejandro had to remain submissive or meek, his underlying personality included a desire to perform and entertain others.

Being meek conflicts with Alejandro's desire to be an actor or performer. A person who is meek is patient and humble; the meek person is gentle and is usually imposed upon by others.

Friday, October 17, 2008


I turned 60 years old this year. That was some months ago. I spent most of my life working for the government, the Internal Revenue Service, mostly. I think I began with them about 1971, working at the Ogden Service Center in the code and edit section.

I don't know how many were employed in the same work I did there, but it was probably one hundred or more people doing the same work with their pencils with brown lead. It was assembly line work. While we weren't assembling a vehicle or some sort of tool to sell, we were perfecting tax returns that had been filed by people so that the figures and numbers and data upon them could be entered into the rudimentary computers of that era.

All of the tax returns back then were filed on paper; none were filed electronically. The returns themselves came in various formats, and the ones I saw were for the most part all filled out in someone's hand writing, a taxpayer's or preparer's or preparer's worker's. Since there was no uniformity imposed and because of the diversity of people's abilities to write and print clearly, I'm sure you can imagine that coding and editing was necessary in order to determine just what was on paperwork submitted and what should be entered into the computer. I did that coding and editing based upon strict guidelines that were given to all workers in comprehensive training provided over several weeks

Once fully trained, the work became competitive. Since it was seasonal work and people were furloughed as the workload tapered off, the length of time a person worked was determined by their productivity and quality. So for most people, the incentive was to be very productive and to do high-quality work in order to stay employed the longer period of time.

I was married at the time. Some of the time my wife and I did the same work for the IRS. In any event, while employed we were also full-time students at Weber State College. I worked for IRS at the Ogden Service Center for three seasons. The work usually lasted, as I recall, from late November or early December to early summer, when we would be furloughed. In January, 1973, our first daughter was born. After I was furloughed that season, I went to work for the federal government.

That fall, when we returned to IRS, my wife and I began interviewing for other full-time and better-paying jobs with the IRS. By then we had finished our studies and had graduated from Weber state with our baccalaureate degrees. We interviewed for jobs in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Miami, Chicago, and some other large cities I've probably forgotten about by now. Eventually, the interviewers offered us jobs in Rockford, Illinois. (They were concerned that we might not fit in so well in the larger cities.) Our training took place in Chicago, downtown. It went on for months. Finally, we were able to go to Rockford for a while where we purchased a home. Then we went back to Chicago or still more training

Eventually we worked as tax auditors in Rockford. We audited in those first years mostly individuals, simple matters like dependency exemptions, employee business expenses, itemized deductions, and filing statuses. Over time, we became more and more sophisticated as auditors, and they expected us to do more and more complex audits, including audits on small businesses and farmers.

I think you can generally say that most people don't like to be audited. It's an inconvenience, but it usually results in additional tax too. One reason for that is that the tax returns that IRS generally audits have statistically a higher probability of error. It is likely that if you get audited, you will end up owing additional tax and possibly some penalty. People cheat. People make mistakes. Representatives of people make mistakes. People take risks. People like to take advantage of ambiguities. People jump to erroneous conclusions. They're all sorts of reasons why people overstate or understate or make some mistake that results in additional tax.

I worked as a tax auditor there in Illinois for a couple years and then we moved out to California. At the time, we were offered jobs in two locations: in Laguna Niguel, California and in Walnut Creek, California. We had no connections in California in the area of Los Angeles or Laguna Niguel. However, chilies and an uncle had at one time lived in Walnut Creek, and their daughter and son-in-law lived there at the time. We figured we would move there because of that connection. (In a real sense, we weren't afraid to move anywhere because we felt that as members of the church we would be welcomed wherever we went.) Anyway, we ended up moving and the IRS got the notion that we shouldn't be working in the same office, which we had been doing for over two years already. Anyway, they were insistent and so Shelley worked in Walnut Creek and I worked in the Oakland.

All of this time we had not had any more children, and we had begun to explore reasons for that, without any positive success, and it didn't look like we would be able to have any other children. We began contemplating the possibility of adoption. That wasn't a realistic possibility though, at least not in going through the church to do it, with Shelley still working. So we kept our eyes out for job opportunities for me closer to our Utah roots with the intention of me working and Shelley staying at home. Eventually, I obtained a job as tax auditor for IRS in Twin Falls, Idaho. We moved there after a short stint in California.

Once in Idaho we began the process of adopting. On my birthday in 1979, we were informed that we would be getting a son, born in Napa, Idaho. At about the same time I was informed that I had been selected to become an appeals officer with the Internal Revenue Service in Boise. So we moved to Boise with our new son for my new job.

Thereafter we adopted two other children, not through the church, of Asian descent, both coming to us out of Korea.

I served as an appeals officer in Boise from 1979 to 1985, by which time Shelley had began working again for IRS. Shortly after she started working again, she discovered that she had cancer. Testing revealed that her cancer was very advanced, and would require rigorous treatment, both chemotherapy and radiation therapy. At the time, we felt it more prudent to see if we couldn't get a transfer to Utah to be closer to our families for support and because of potentially better medical care. The IRS granted us hardship transfers at our own expense to Utah.

So from 1979 on, I worked as an appeals officer with the Internal Revenue Service. In about 2000, I worked for a period as an associate chief, a managerial position, for appeals division of the Internal Revenue Service. I didn't particularly like management though, and I chose to revert back to appeals officer.

As an appeals officer, my work involved resolving tax disputes between taxpayers and the compliance workers' determinations. Some have compared it to the work of an administrative judge. Probably though, it is less formal than that type of work and has more discretion to it. As an appeals officer, one has the ability to recommend compromises. These compromises are worked out because of doubt as to conclusions of fact and law.

Let me give an example. I'll try to keep it simple. Let's say an individual has operated an activity of breeding and raising horses for sale on a piece of ground they inherited. They have claimed on their tax returns losses relative to the activity for the past five years. They maintain they are in a trade or business, while the person who audited them for the IRS claims that they were raising horses only as a hobby and their losses should not be allowed as a tax benefit. So there is a controversy: the taxpayers saying that it was a business and the auditor saying it was a hobby. The appeals officer's job is to evaluate the respective sides and to attempt to get a resolution with the taxpayer. An appeals officer's work is not tantamount to mediation, although appeals also does do mediations. (I did some of that work for them also.) The appeals officer is charged with evaluating the taxpayers' chances in litigation. If he thinks the chances are about even with the IRS, he recommends a 50-50 split if the taxpayer makes that offer. And so on. The job involves evaluating the hazards surrounding law and fact.

This all leads to the purpose for this lumbering post. I have carefully studied the respective positions relative to same-sex marriage in a like manner and have made an evaluation of it. Not only did I do so with as much information on all sides as I could get my hands on, but I also took the matter before the Lord in prayer. I have made a decision relative to it. At this particular point in time, I have no ability to do much of anything about my decision. That is, the issue isn't up for political consideration here in Utah. It is in California. Nonetheless, I feel strongly about my position and about my right to pronounce it when I feel the need to do so. Others, however, appear to believe that I don't have that right or, even if I do have it, it is imprudent to do so and unfaithful to pronounce it over against the church's position.

Last night, a dear friend and a wonderful soul became distraught during a conversation we had over the subject, and she got up and left a conference room we were gathered in without bidding me or the others involved in the conversation adieu. Her distress makes my heart sick. The situation is amplified by the fact that after meeting, after meeting together weekly for going on a couple of years now I think, she was saying goodbye to move to California with her husband, where he is embarking on a legal career.

I don't know what to say but to say I don't know what to say. I suppose my friend is sorrowing because she believes I am in apostasy, and that my position, and the position of others aligned with me, will have detrimental effects upon society and, in particular, the family. I attribute nothing but the best of motives to her.

My best to you, my friend.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the complexity of being. I'm sure others feel that way too. Often the sense of feeling overwhelmed is only overcome by taking the first step, whatever that step might be.

We had a significant, early snowfall last night, probably six inches or so, and now, as I look out the window, I notice that it is snowing again. I went out earlier and shoveled the driveway and the walkways. This snow should continue off and on most of the rest of the day but then wane. The rest of the week should be better. The temperature should increase enough to melt it. On Thursday, workers are supposed to come and put up the awning over the deck and put on new rain gutters.

I started reading and editing Julie's 100 pages last night. She is writing about a high school girl of privilege in Manhattan who is more or less ignored by her mother, and academician who is often away from home. The girl has become pregnant and seeks to keep it a secret from her parents and others. The situation jeopardizes her admittance into Columbia University because it will be difficult to keep up her stellar academic performance and outside interests, such as student government and tennis.

Confucius said 2500 years ago: "The superior man is distressed by his lack of ability."

Thursday, October 9, 2008

To know, but be told YOU DON'T KNOW

As I think about it, it seems such an improbable thing that I grew up active in the LDS church.

It had nothing to do with the influence of any family member whatsoever. Quite the contrary. None of my family ever exercised any influence upon me to go to church --- other than to send me off with my siblings to have some peaceful time around the house without us kids --- or to be active in anything religious. Their example ran in quite the opposite direction, for the most part. Not that they weren't good people who worked hard and hoped and prayed for good things to happen. But they didn't advocate for religion in any particular way. We didn't pray in the home. We didn't read scriptures. Discussions of religion were very rare and very superficial. My folks were tentative about accepting or welcoming visitors from the church into the home. Many is the time that one of us children were sent to the door to tell a visitor from the church our parents were not home when they were.

I suppose the reason thoughts of this come to the fore at this particular time is because of my difference with the church's position relative to proposition eight in California and its position relative to same-sex marriage. Its position just doesn't make sense. I think I have read pretty much all the positive and negative positions on the proposition, and I have prayed and considered carefully in a spiritual and an intellectual way the entire matter. I just don't agree with the church's position. Not only that, but it is very irritating to be told that I have to keep my opinion private, and, if my opinion differs from the authorities of the Church, I am an apostate and a sinner.

It is very hard to cope with that when I know otherwise.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


My proof copy for Making Expression Less Taxing, a Freelancers Tax Resource arrived in the mail today. It looks pretty good. There are a few mistakes I made. Apparently I didn't stretch the orange color far enough up to cover the top of the book. Also, on the cover I put the price at $17.95 instead of $15.95. I left the word out on the back. I said, "Let Walt help you get all you were entitled to and how to rest assured you won't get in trouble with the IRS." It should read "... entitled to and learn how to rest assured..." Inside there are a few minor errors, but they seem minor. Overall, I'm pretty impressed and am tempted just to go ahead and let it stand for now on Amazon.com, etc.

I showed it to my wife and Mike, my son. They seemed somewhat impressed; my son, Mike, even said he was, "duly impressed." I guess I'll take it to critiquing tomorrow night to see what folks think and to Wasatch Writers next Monday. Mike asked me what else I had in the mill. I told them I had another book finished but still: undergoing revision. I told him I had entered it in a contest but the results of the contest wouldn't come out until next spring sometime.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Barack Obama, the President of the United States

I think it's pretty evident that Barack Obama is going to be the next President of the United States. I must say that it pleases me to think that he will be. My basic philosophy aligns with that of the Democratic Party, and I have long thought that Barak Obama would make a fine president, certainly better than what we have had the past eight years and better than what any Republican, including self proclaimed "maverick" John McCain, would be. I watched the debate tonight and for substance and coherency McCain was no rival to Obama. Nonetheless, Obama faces a complete breakdown of society in general due to the antics of the Bush administration. I wish him well and will pray for him. And the country.

Monday, October 6, 2008


This lady called me the other night while we were watching the movie, Iron Man.

The lady asked if I was related to the man named Walter who grew up down by 18th Street on Lincoln Avenue in Ogden. I said that I was his son. She wondered if my father was still alive, and I told her he had passed away.

The lady said that she was trying to find my sister, Marsha. She identified herself as Clara Denver, and said that she was 91 years old. She said she knew all of the Eddys who grew up down on Lincoln. She said she knew my dad and his sisters, Eva, Tilly, and Jean. She mentioned George Eddy. Anyway, the reason she said she was trying to find my sister, Marsha, was because her brother, Eldon Denver, was Marsha's biological father.

My mother married Eldon Denver and had Marsha. Then she divorced Eldon and married my dad. My father adopted Marsha. In any event, Clara said that she had been doing genealogy, but most of her family wasn't interested in it. She was trying to contact Marsha, and so I told her I hadn't seen Marsha for a couple of years. (I guess it hasn't been quite that long ago.) I don't know where she is now or what she's up to. Perhaps she still around, and the only way I guess I could find out would be to try and find out from Jackie. I gave Clara Jackie's last name and her husband's name.

There were some peculiarities about the call. The woman didn't seem like she was 91. Her voice didn't sound that old. Also, the voice sounded similar to my sister's voice. My mother's brother's name was Eldon. My mother's mother's name was Clara.

It was a peculiar phone call.

Saturday, October 4, 2008


Today the Weber State Wildcat football team surmounted a hurdle that it hasn't crossed for many, many years. On a rain drenched field it defeated the University of Montana Grizzlies 45 to 28. It was a magnificent win even though it rained throughout the entire game.

IThe went to the game alone. Shelley wasn't feeling particularly well --- she's been having trouble with pain and tingling in her legs, behind her knees and down her calves. Anyway, I took my raincoat and wore my blue sweats. I wore my blue jacket underneath my raincoat. I got drenched and about froze to death.

Coach McBride is a hero. He helps his players tremendously. He sticks up for them and encourages them to complete their studies and get their degree. Plus, he knows how to win.

Tonight we watched Iron Man. Brent chose it as one of the movies he wanted to watch that Shelley got for him. He liked it a lot and it was pretty good for its genre. I liked the ending.

Monday is the chapter meeting of the Wasatch Writers of the League of Utah Writers. Those who attend are supposed to bring the first page of something they're working on, and the meeting will be about whether or not the piece has a good hook and proper mechanical makeup for a beginning. I need to decide whether I will take something from Parker Miller or from Alejandro.

Friday, October 3, 2008


It was a Friday that should've been a Monday. At least, that's the way I felt. It seemed like everything went wrong. I had anticipated getting up and getting the pages I had to scan scanned. I tried that, but something wasn't working right. Eventually, I discovered that the Internet wasn't connected and it was causing problems because the program couldn't check in with its website or whatever. Anyway, I waited, anticipating that the problem was on Microsoft's end and not mine. By midday I had decided differently, and Shelley was fed up with not having Internet service so she actually called Qwest. When she couldn't answer the technician's questions, I had to take over the call. I'm still not certain what actually caused the problem but they started going through their list, written as it is and read in their mechanical way, to troubleshoot. After disconnecting the other phone connections, except for the one I was speaking on, the connection began working again. Thereafter I ended up hooking up the phone connections again, and so far I haven't had any further glitches. Anyway, during the course of our discussion on the telephone, the technician suggested she would call on my cell phone, and when she attempted to do so, she indicated that wasn't working. So what ensued after the Internet connection was corrected was another two-hour stint on the telephone with a technician relative to my cell phone. All with the result that they couldn't fix it and had to do a "ticket" with the promise of getting it fixed within the next 48 hours, which, because it was the weekend, actually means by Monday. That, even though it was only midday or a little after on Friday. So much for "within the next 48 hours" promises.

CreateSpace promised to have my Kindle version of Making Expression Less Taxing available within a maximum of 72 hours. I don't think they met their commitment either.

I finally got to watch the movie The Kite Runner. I read the book when it first came out and was anxious to see the movie sometime. Shelley picked it up when she went to get rent some movies to watch earlier this week. I was not at all disappointed in the movie. In fact, it was probably more touching than the book because of the immediacy of the story and the greater visual impact of a film.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


I should have made an entry earlier today when I had more time. Tonight I had critiquing and it went from six to nine. When I got home I had to watch the Utes come from behind to be Oregon in football. I had the vice presidential debate recorded and have been watching it for about an hour now. It is almost midnight, so I will make this quick entry and call it good. Good night.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


It looks like the mood of the country, with its growing hostility toward undocumented workers, and the increasing difficulties relative to the economy are causing the immigrants from Mexico and other places who are here in the United States without documentation to return to where they came from in greater numbers. I suppose it all depends on the conditions back where they came from. It makes me wonder how many people are left here and what their situations are. With respect to Alejandro, the protagonist of my conceived young adult novel, it makes me wonder what his family would be doing. If you have lived here in the states undocumented for 11 or 12 years what would you do when the heat was turned up like it has been of late? I will have to return to the story and figure out what happens. I should also figure out what is happening with Parker Miller. All of that has been left on the back burner too long.

Today I checked on Amazon.com for Making Expression Less Taxing. It is listed there are and there is an icon for it, but is not yet available. Interested parties can sign up to be notified when it is ready. Therefore, I anticipate that there will be ready soon. Hopefully by tomorrow.