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Reka Forgach

Where’s My Refund? Sheds some light on that whole tax filing thing

Where’s My Refund is a handy-dandy tool to make you think on e-filing

Where’s My Refund is the IRS’ response to some delays and inconveniences tax filing members of society may face this year.  The slight delay in tax law changes in 2012 (that fiscal cliff shindig is fading out of my memory as well) led to a subsequent delay in tax filing season, which of course boggles the expediency of tax returns that many taxpayers are counting on.  That’s all in the past now though, and IRS is encouraging people to start filing in January—TurboTax has been open since January 3rd.  In the face of this SNAFU and because even bureaucracy is capable of some helpful development, Where’s My Refund is the best tool to tap into in order to catch up with the late season.

Where’s My Refund sends you personalized refund information within 24 hours after IRS receives your taxes if you e-file, and the program got a facelift this year.  That’s right guys, IRS is telling you to e-file.  In the name of perspective, think of the time difference.  Where’s My Refund has a 24-hour turn around rate, while paper filing has a four week turn around rate. Save the trees, avoid papercuts, make a Vogon happy, find out your tax returns weeks in advance!

Where’s My Refund even works in three stages, tracking your refund’s progress through the whole mysterious process.  It notifies you when the your returns were received, when refunds were approved and finally when your refunds were sent.  Where’s My Refund give you a refund date, so that you can know when to expect your returns after they are approved!  It’s only regarding revised tax credits and business credits and 2011 rules, Where’s My Refund hits a speed bump—check out the site to learn the nitty-gritty on any complex questions you may run into.

Tiger Woods is off the market again

Tiger Woods gives commitment another go

Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are the center of heavy speculation that the champion golfer has once more linked up with a blonde bombshell.  The PGA golfer is reportedly dating Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn, and the two were spotted “working on Vonn’s swing” at the Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla, California.  The couple met through the ski community in November, and Vonn has apparently met and taught Tiger Wood’s (and divorced Elin Nordegren’s) kids to ski.  The blonde hair similar to their real mommy’s must make this easier for the Woods kids to swallow.

Vonn’s rep neither confirms nor denies rumors that his client is dating Tiger Woods, stating, “Lindsey is currently in the midst of the World Cup season in Europe , Her focus is solely on competing and on defending her titles and thus she will not participate in any speculation surrounding her personal life at this time.” 

Tiger Woods is obviously benefiting from whatever good juju and energies Vonn is throwing his way.  He leads the Torrey Pines tournament after a short stint of diminished playing after his cheating scandal broke and he and his wife divorced.  It seems Vonn has sweetened the bitter sting of shame and regret, giving Woods a much needed swing to his stroke.  Rain may interrupt the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open this Monday, however Tiger Woods fans are no doubt riveted to the scoreboard and weather channel looking for a solid win from their wilting champion.

Eclampsia, the woman’s health issue, benefits from free awareness

Be aware of the symptoms and effects of eclampsia and preeclampsia

Eclampsia is a complication of pregnancy with symptoms including seizures and coma during pregnancy.  When left untreated, the disease can be fatal for the mother. Eclampsia is so named because it is usually preceded by preeclampsia, although often this too can be a silent disease.  Preeclampsia typically appears after the 20th week of pregnancy and typical signs include a large rise in blood pressure and failing kidneys, swelling or edema in the limbs, sudden weight gain over one or two days, consistent headaches, abdominal pain, nausea and vision change. While preeclampsia can only be cured by giving birth, victims of eclampsia often don’t realize they are suffering from the disease, miss the signs, and about 80% die postpartum.  Risks of eclampsia and leading causes of death by it are seizures, stroke and heart failure.

[Spoiler Alert!] Eclampsia was brought to the forefront of everyone’s attention after the latest Downtown Abbey episode killed off one of its main characters, Lady Sybil, who died of the disease shortly after giving birth.  In the show, Sybil’s symptoms are dismissed casually by her father, providing fatal to his daughter who died shortly after welcoming her new baby.

Eclampsia continues to cause alarm for expectant mothers today, and affects between six and eight percent of all pregnant women.  Complications in diagnosing the illness arise because the symptoms of the disease are so similar to those of pregnancy itself.  Make sure you are compliant when doctors consistently want to measure your blood pressure and keep track of your symptoms—if headaches are suddenly stronger or are plaguing you more than usual, or your feet are swollen, don’t be shy.  It is worth it to mention your concerns so that both you and your doctor can be aware of possible risks during delivery.  Just because Downtown Abbey is a period piece, doesn’t make it an irrelevant learning lesson.

Vine gets hit with porn

Twitter’s video release platform Vine works to clean up its act

Vine is a Twitter owned application, the company’s latest product that allows its users video-sharing capabilities. It is available on all Apple accessories and also features six-second hardcore porn clips.  Yes, like most popular video sharing equipment on the internet, Vine has to contend with the insidious tentacles of the dark underbelly of the internet that pose issues with the general public, but also with Apple, which has banned applications that provide users with access to sexual content.

Vine’s porn issue surfaced as one of the NSFW clips popped up as a favorite on the “Editor’s Pick” list, arguably one of the more visible categories on the platform.  Vine quickly removed the video and responded to their users in a statement to CNN, saying
“A human error resulted in a video with adult content becoming one of the videos in Editor’s Picks, and upon realizing this mistake we removed the video immediately.  We apologize to our users for the error.”

While generally a commonplace issue for internet video and photo platforms, the Vine must now decide how to police and curtail R-rated material from taking over their site a la ChatRoulette.  Other than tanking their reputation, any illicit content may end their agreement with Apple, the only source where Vine users can download the app.  The Vine app is already rated 12+ on iTunes for “infrequent/mild sexual content or nudity” however, since the outbreak Apple has left no comment or replies and Vine continues to blossom in usership.  This Monday it was the fifth most popular free app in the Aple App Store.

Meanwhile, Twitter is encouraging Vine users to flag any inappropriate content in an effort to curb #porn and #sex tagged videos, and keep their noses clean.  To those Vine users exploiting the app to disseminate trash, #SMH.

Shaun White continues to reign over X Games

A deadly combination of height and inversions won Shaun White his 6th gold medal on the x-games SuperPipe

Shaun White tweeted yesterday, “Haven’t been on the bubble in a while.  Makes me feel young again.”  The 26-year-old snowboard legend was the oldest competitor to rock the SuperPipe at this year’s games.  This did not stop him from dominating on Sunday, raking in his 6th straight gold, setting a record and making history.  White is a cult figure among winter sports aficionados and ginger lovers alike, with his trademark moves and flaming locks that have been making chill history for six years now. Chyea.

White wowed crowds with his signature cab double cork 1080 and backside double McTwist 1260 that the living legend authored himself. His 14-year-old silver medaling competitor didn’t even come close, although Japanese eighth grader Ayumu Hirano garnered attention, applause, and a solid 92.33 for his own performance.  Missing from the competition was White’s historic challenger, Iouri Podladtchikov, who withdrew from the competition on account of the flu.

Probably out of boredom from sheer winning all the time, White succeeded in breaking his own record from last year’s SuperPipe. The flying snowboarder averaged 16 feet of air, with a record-setting 24-foot backside air that broke his own mark by a foot.  All hail the king was the mood of the crowd and the gold-medalist himself, as he accepted his much deserved and expected medal with sheer athletic prowess.

Despite his mastery over the snowpipe, White still has work to do before next year’s Winter Olympics in Socci, Russia.  His Slopestyle performance earned him 5th place this week, and Sunday marked his first gold medal all weekend.  In other news, the trendsetting athlete caused a stir for his unique clothing and missing locks.  The former was explained by White’s own line that incorporates vintage city wear characteristics, like skinny leg pants and studded coats.  Meanwhile, the legendary locks have been donated to Locks of Love, an organization that makes quality wigs for victims of chemotherapy that lose their hair. Here’s an extra cheers to one of the humblest and most good natured athletes out there.

Chris Brown and Frank Ocean get in a catfight

Singing blows between world famous R&B singers

Chris Brown is apparently quick to anger, wait we already knew that though.  Early Sunday, Breezy and the more beloved, less “history of violence” R&B singer Frank Ocean got into a brawl over a parking spot at a Los Angeles recording studio.  Both singers took to the Twitter waves to defend themselves post-fact, Brown vaguely referring to the incident, tweeting, “Working on my album. Not working on negativity. Focus on feeding ya family. Bullshit will forever be in the shadows” while a significantly mellower Ocean wrote, “got jumped by chris and a couple guys. lol. I only wish everest [his Bernese mountain dog] was there.” 

The facts on the altercation between Brown and Ocean are still fuzzy.  The flying fists were a result of a misunderstanding regarding a parking spot where Brown was parked. If you’re from LA, you will understand that a good parking spot is actually a very reasonable thing to fight for. No one is sure whose posse was first to strike, but police have written up Ocean as the “victim” of the faceoff.  While police are asking questions, neither party is looking to press charges, and Brown rolled out before they even got to the scene, leaving Ocean free reign to give his version of the story.

At this point, neither Brown nor Ocean have offered further comment beyond their Twitter posts.  Various members of their posses talk smack about who started what and why, but further investigation has yet to prove the true reason for rage.

This fight isn’t the first time Brown’s temper has led to violence.  His attack on Rihanna before the 2009 Grammy awards show elicits incredibly strong reactions from the blogosphere to this day.  Apropos, Rihanna has so far remained silent on the altercation between Ocean and Brown.  Brown also attacked hip-hop star Drake and his entourage at a nightclub last year.  Chris Brown: a study in syrupy sweet and prickly sass.

Casey Anthony files for bankruptcy

Casey Anthony makes moves towards a clean slate and fresh financial start

Casey Anthony is broke—no money, and no verdict in many of the cases she is involved in.  Two years ago Anthony was acquitted of murdering her baby, Caylee Anthony, who was reported missing and then found dead.  Anthony is now involved in a case of defamation, both against Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez, a woman who shares the name of the fictional babysitter Casey fabricated and accused of murdering her child, and also Roy Kronk, the man who found her buried baby and was also accused of the murder.

Two years after Casey Anthony was acquitted for the murder of her baby, she continues to appeal conviction on four counts of lying to authorities during the investigation.  Recently, two of those charges were also dismiessed.  Anthony cites almost $800,000 in liabilities, unemployment, and about $1,000 in assets, some of which include cheap jewelry. 

Filing for bankruptcy provides a clean slate and a fresh start for Anthony, as she will be discharged of existing debts—save student loans and taxes—and is the only probable recourse for the struggling 26-year-old.

While Anthony is undoubtedly struggling both emotionally and financially after the tumultuous past two years, plaintiffs believe her calims are a stall technique, a move to postpone ongoing trials with Gonzalez and Kronk.  Anthony maintains that she has acted out of pure necessity—in order to gain closure at the end of such a harrowing year, the young woman seeks a release from the thousands of dollars of debt hanging over her head, that she has no current strategy or plans to repay.

Brazil Nightclub Tragedy Results in 3 Deaths

Brazil’s Nightclub Kiss caught on fire early Sunday, resulting in 233 dead and 3 arrests

Brazil’s nightlife was in flames early Sunday, as a college concert turned tragedy resulted in the deaths of 233 young concert goers.  Brazilian officials are not sure exactly what started the fire, but there is speculation surrounding the Sputnik, a device that emitted luminescent sparks as a backdrop to the band’s show.  Sparks flying from the contraption may have set the roof on fire, and delayed reaction caused teenagers to flee towards the only exit resulting in trampling and overcrowding.  Surviving Brazilian partygoers contend that it resulted from the band aiming weak flares up at the ceiling, which unexpectedly caught fire.

The lone exit and confusion was exacerbated by bouncers demanding patrons pay their bar tabs before leaving, an unfortunate result of unawareness that led to clogging of the exit and hysteria breaking out.  Several security guards also perished in the Brazilian tragedy.  Firefighters arriving to the scene were horrified at the widespread chaos, and build-up of bodies around the exit; with the help of young men who had successfully fled the venue, they worked to hack their way into the building to free the remaining trapped victims.  The final count reveals 233 dead, including the band’s accordion player Danilo Jacques, and about 100 injured.  About 90% of the victims died of asphyxiation.

In the wake of the tragedy, answers are expected even while the first funerals are held.  Brazilian officials have arrested co-owner of the club Elissandro Spohr and two band members.  They are currently looking for a fourth person in connection with the tragedy at Brazil’s Kiss club.  Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff flew back from a summit in Santiago, Chile, and is intent on helping Brazilians cope with the loss and impact of the tragedy.

Real Housewives of Atlanta still play dress up

Kenya steps up the war against Phaedra, or attempts to at least

Real Housewives of Atlanta is one of the long standing installments of the Real Housewives series, an insider’s view on the lives of well-to-do, feisty and bickering stay-at-home moms and wives.  Real Housewives of Atlanta is also one of the sassiest, weirdest gangs of spoiled ladies to portray this tooth-grinding concept, with bored, loud Georgia Peaches using street tactics or eccentric performances to backstab and amuse themselves. 

The latest in a long line of strange moments in RHA was the decision by one of the crazier – no small feat – women, Kenya Moore, to dress up like her once-bestfriend-now-nemesis co-star Phaedra Parks on vacation.  To a charity event.  The classy act came with an equally classy outfit—a mesh bathing suit, floppy white hat, and of course a, “Donkey Booty.” 

Interlude: Donkey Booty stems from another eyebrow raising incident, whereupon Phaedra and Kenya wage workout video war against each other.  At first the duo were an unstoppable team, one producing the other marketing; however, as the deal went sour, Kenya flipped switch and started her own workout franchise.  The original movie was called Donkey Booty while its competitor Stallion Booty sparking the rest of their friends and co-stars to sincerely discuss which booty they would actually prefer. Apparently, Kandi is the only smart one, as this Atlanta housewife cuts out the middle man and just gets her booty fat lasered off. Shudder.

Anyway, the latest Real Housewives of Atlanta featured a nearly naked Kenya going from hood to harrowing with her awkwardly executed parody of “Phaedra at the beach.”  Rather than wreaking some sort of revenge, if this indeed is what she was actually going for, she really just exacerbated heavily circulated rumors of her craziness and/or alcohol addiction.  Thankfully for reality TV, Kenya doesn’t care and won’t stop.  Her reaction to the shock? “People wanna call you crazy you gotta give’em crazy, chile.”  Stay tuned.

Disney Dream Portraits Take You From the Screen to Real Life

World famous Annie Leibovitz teams up with Disney to make more magic

Disney Dream Portraits is photographer extraordinaire Annie Leibovitz’s magical project, that partners with Disney to capture big name celebrities posing as classic Disney characters in stunning and vivid detail.  A masterpiece in costume and set design, editing and vision, Disney Dream Portraits is a wild depiction of a storybook land as we’ve never imagined it before.

Leibovitz first partnered up with Disney back in 2011, and her choice of celebrities in that shoot was appropriate both in looks and temperament.  In the past, Russell Brand has posed as Captain Hook, Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony as Jasmine and Aladdin, and David Beckham as Prince Charming.  My personal favorite—Michael Phelps as a merman in The Little Mermaid.

Her latest series, starring Taylor Swift as Rapunzel, among other favorite stars is set to be released in Vanity Fair, InStyle and People.  The whole Dream shoot is titled “Where a world of adventure awaits.”  Pictures of the shoot are already sweeping the internet, and behind the scenes pictures and videos of the shoot provide entertainment and insight all on their own—just don’t let your little ones catch you breaking down the magic!

Disney itself uses the images for Disney World and Disney Land advertisements in magazines and billboards.  In this writer’s opinion, when viewed from an up-to-date web platform, online viewing is the most optimal as it allows for the greatest resolution.  And when it comes to Disney and Leibovitz, you don’t want to skimp.  So load it up and throw it on your projector for a fun night with the kids or reminiscing with your friends.