1. Some good ones here, but I think the last one is a CIDU for me. Is it just that tax assessors are such b***ards that they’re even taxing bird houses now in addition to regular extensions to our houses? (Shake fist in air!) Does Mr. Strob have any significance to this? Have I missed something obvious?

  2. I honestly didn’t think it was possible to come with a new take on the Easter Island gag. This is a pretty good one.

    And I loved the Harry Potter one. It gets even better when you realize that it parallels the beginning of the first book.

  3. It hit me as such because 1) we’d just had our house payments increased by $400/month because of increased taxes; and 2) we’d just added a second birdhouse to our collection. So, personally synchronous/funny. YLMV (Your Laffs May vary)

  4. Well, I figured I was missing the Harry Potter one because I’m not sufficiently familiar with elements of the saga. But when you say it’s from the beginning of the first book, I did read that far and ought to get it. Ah well. I can see it has to do with owls, so maybe it connects to that internet abbreviation You Obviously Love Owls — YOLO! 🙂

    The great stone face Rockettes are a hoot!

    The clowns and the taxman are good chuckles.

    Hey Brits! Did the line “One for you nineteen for me” feel like it was based on the old coinage, with 20 shillings to a pound?

  5. I’m with Stan. I assumed the guy’s name had something to do with it, but if not, I’m surprised “tax assessors care about birdhouses” was considered LOL-worthy.

    Mitch4: In the Harry Potter books, the wizards of Great Britain use owls for correspondence. So while Muggles constantly receive mailings from their schools’ alumni associations, wizards receive owl-grams in similar quantities.

  6. “Hey Brits! Did the line “One for you nineteen for me””

    I’m not British, but I believe that 95% was actually the top tax rate post-war. This caused some top earners to make sure they spent entire years without setting foot in the U.K., allowing them to avoid that high tax rate. Presumably, it’s also why Hotblack Desiato was spending a year dead “for tax purposes”.

  7. ” Is it just that tax assessors are such b***ards that they’re even taxing bird houses now in addition to regular extensions to our houses?”

    I think that’s it.
    Although, in Oregon, they had a statewide “cut and cap” property tax law, that allowed tax valuations to go up at a rate far below actual property appreciation. The valuation could be reset, however, by a property transaction… a sale, or a “major” alteration of the property or structures. When the supply of housing became scarce, the city of Portland loosened the rules about what constituted a “buildable lot”, effectively allowing many lots to have a substantially-larger building or even a second building on many residential lots. Many property owners were surprised to learn that their taxes went WAY up when they took advantage of the new building rules. Adding a “tiny house” could result in a tax bill more than twice as much as the bill for the original “big” house.

  8. Isn’t a taxman coming to tax a birdhouse enough?

    Any homeowner who’s ever built a deck or a fence or fixed a driveway surely can sympathize with this.

  9. In the first film based on Harry Potter, the Dursley’s throw away all the invitations, so the owls come bearing a great flood of them.

    And alumni associations similarly bombard alumni with requests for donations, etc.

  10. Looking at the first one again, I am impressed by the precision with which the artist rendered the heads to be identical through three panels. There are minor differences in the grass that show it was not a simple copy/paste operation, but the resolution is too low the see whether the outlines were copied. I think it’s more likely that he worked from a single pencil template.

  11. “Robert Strob was the Bird Man of Alcatraz.”

    As your link points out, it’s Robert StroUD. I’m not sure the name has anything to do with it, but your right, it would have been a much clearer/better joke if he artist had used the birdman’s name.

    Also, I can see it being a LOL for anyone who has been through some of the issues outlined in these posts. Hasn’t happened to me, so I feel for you, but when it comes to the comic, meh.

  12. I don’t understand something about the Easter Island gag. How come the driver is surprised by the dancing statues (his hat flies off) when he must have seen that they were dancing long before when he dug out their legs?

  13. Given where he is digging in panel two, his excavator should have hit the legs. His precision with that machine is laudable.

  14. @Scott: Maybe tthe driver just noticed a naughty tattoo on the butt of the statue nearest him? (One that we can’t see from our angle, which explains why MY hat did not fly off. Well, that, and the fact that I’m not wearing a hat.)

  15. 1 – Now that the “crooked party” that has controlled our county for decades – around a century – has lost the presiding supervisors seat, the new one is having a complete reassessment of the taxable properties in the county. We have an odd system only used in our county and maybe one other county in NYS in which the county sets the assessment instead of the township (or village or city) and as a result if someone “grieves” their taxes and wins after already having paid their real estate taxes – the county has to repay not only its share, but also the township (village or city) share and so in big time debt from from having to borrow to do so. We are among the “evil” people who grieve our taxes every year and the last supervisor basically told them that anyone who does so, just lower it and we had to do it annually as they redid the assessment yearly. So our real estate taxes are going to go up a huge amount.,so we are grieving them again – lightly traveled main road – my rear end – speeding constant traffic is more like it -with cars hitting other cars and ending up on our lawn (better than hitting the house as happens to our neighbors).

    2 – The next county over, a township (see they do it normal) has gone after a man who put up a tree house for his son for not getting a building permit and will be raising his real estate taxes for same.

    For those in saner places in the country – our real estate taxes here are HIGH so we are not talking a small amount. They are sort of like in the Robert Altman “Popeye” movie. We pay county real estate tax, township real estate taxes and school district real estate taxes. The taxes come to over 1005 of the assessed value of our house. This is the result of the fact that every item is a separate line and the lines add up. We pay a police tax- makes sense of course, also separately a police station tax and a couple of other similar. We pay a water tax, a sewer tax, and a sewer disposal tax. The school tax (which comes on a separate bill from the other taxes, except for the library tax) is the largest of the taxes and has a list of several taxes broken down. Plus other taxes – if anyone is interested I can pull a bill and list all of the lines, but it would probably put all to sleep. A friend of mine from college, married and bought a home with her husband in Charlottesville, VA. We were down there a few years after they bought it and we went to see it. Lovely, huge home with the open space design that was becoming popular then. I asked her (we were very good friends) if she would be upset if I asked what their property taxes were – she smiled at me and said $375. I came back with “a quarter?” No, that was for the year and even if they had been for a quarter they would have been sooo much cheaper (and she knew it, which is why she smiled).

  16. Mr. Strob makes another appearance in the Jan. 29 Close to Home. A comment at GoComics notes that a frequent commenter there goes by the name of Strob. Perhaps said commenter has offended McPherson.

  17. Much to my surprise, the problem on the board actually has an uncomplicated answer. X=4. Mr. McPherson may have gone to a College Algebra text to find a suitably messy looking problem.

  18. I easily solved the algebra problem, but I don’t want to go to New York state, so that seems like a bit of a waste. If anybody here wants to use my ‘math passport’ and pretend to be me, feel free (just let me know if I had a good time there).

  19. “Wouldn’t the first one who solves the equation pass the answer on to the rest of them?”

    Just like in school, where you’d also worry about thta problem, you’d have someone watching. They get a hundred yards into the jurisdiction, and a cop pulls over the car and picks a new equation from a big book of them. Now you get kicked out AND you get a ticket.

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