Citizens tiptoeing through the 1040 forms with pencil, scratch sheet and J.K. Lasser's ubiquitous "Your Income Tax" should cover bets carefully. Contrary to the implications on page 184, Fortune magazine claims it is possible to take a deduction for a saddle horse that dies after eating a silk hat.
Although Lasser lists death of horse after eating hat as a non-deductable loss, the ever-witty Daniel Seligman notes in the April 7 issue that the tax court dealt with this precise issue 41 years ago.
Specifically, the court observed that "the death of the horse must be construed an accident . . . The tax court agreed that death from the ingestion of silk hats was unnatural, and it conceded that if the owner could prove the hat to have been the cause of death he would have an allowable deduction."
Who says there is no justice in the world, or mercy at the IRS? The Numbers Game
And speaking of political issues, here's the best lead of last month, from the March 17 newsweek, when it appeared that Gerald Ford might come in from the bench:
BARBARA WALTERS: "On a scale of 1 to 10 -- 1 being you won't run, 10 being you will run -- where are you leaning now?
GERALD FORD: "Well, it's around 50-50, Barbara."
Thank you, and goodnight. Censing Changes
Even before the mails were heavy with the tens of millions of census forms completed on Tuesday, demographers had already compiled a fascinating portrait of the nation's changes in the past decade:
We are growing older as a nation: persons 65 and up will outnumber teen-agers in a few years;
The South gained the most people, the West grew most rapidly;
California, Florida and Texas accounted for 40 percent of the population growth, while New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island lost population -- along with D.C., which dropped 110,000;
More people are remaining single longer.
These and other statistics are in the April American Demographics. The March 29 National Journal includes an insightful appraisal of what the census will and won't accomplish, particularly in the business sphere. James Singer notes that Yamaha, for instance, maximized its motorcycle sales by using info from the 1970 census; 1980's will provide even more specific demographic tools for industry.
Meanwhile, the April 4 National Journal has an illuminating look by Dom Bonafede at the reporters who cover the candidates.
"Reporters are notoriously fickle," Time senior correspondent Laurence Barrett says in the piece. "They join up en masse while a candidate is doing well, then drop him when he's down." High Gloss The classiest premium we've ever seen for subscribing to a magazine is called "LIFE: The First Decade," a 205-page catologue of photos -- some never published -- by the likes of Ansel Adams, Cecil Beaton, Margaret Bourke-White, Alfred Eisenstaedt, Walker Evans and Edward Weston.
Orginally prepared as a catologue for a touring show of vintage prints from the Life files, the collection is so varied and of such striking quality that the beautifully printed volume would easily be one of the year's best photography books were it published commercially. Available to new subscribers who send $18 for 12 issues to Life, Time-Life Building, Chicago, Ill. 60611. Urban Blurb Creative Editing Dept.: Artcraft, a slick new magazine, has in its second issue an article about the Montpelier Cultural Arts Center in Prince George's County. Author Bernard Katz described a wooded lot along busy Kenilworth Avenue, which the magazine changed to lush Kenilworth Avenue. Which just goes to show how the arts can improve the quality of urban life. News Scents
ZOOM, the slickest, most free-wheeling journal of photography and other visual images we've ever seen, well printed to 9 inch x 12 inch format ($25 for 6 issues from Box 2000, Long Island City, N.Y. 11101).
The Chocolate News, a compenduim of information and service features on chocolate, printed on paper that smells like its subject ($9.95 for six issues from 5090, FDR Station, New York, N.Y. 10022).
New Products and Processes, a scholarly but accessible newsletter on gadgets personal and commercial, now with a new publisher (Joan Roman) and a much easier to read format ($125 -- no typo, and worth it to technofreaks -- for 13 issues from 444 Madison Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10022).
Weatherwise, whose name is derived from a Ben Franklin quote ("Some people are weatherwise but most are otherwise"), is a surprisngly understandable study of the earth's climates. Who could resist tidbits like: "January saw one of the coldest air masses of the century dominating all of European U.S.S.R."? ($12 annually from Suite 504, 400 Albermarle St. oNW, Washington D.C. 20016).
Multinational Monitor, a monthly sponsored by Ralph Nader, focuses on corporate exploitation overseas ($15 annually from Box 19367, Washington, D.C. 20036). Hits and Misses
Art Levine's combined spoof of the National Enquirer and inveterate supporters of causes in the National Ecologist, which is bound inside the April Environmental Action. The headline offers this: "Untold story: Marine World Shocked/CAPTAIN COUSTEAU'S LIVE-IN PORPOISE";
The April Playboy's seemingly endless but never boring interview with Gay Talese, who is as articulate in speaking as he is in writing;
The National Lampoon's April vengeance cover, with a grimacing Arab getting a patriotic American fist right in his burnoosed kisser;
The April 7 Inquiry cover, an original Doonesbury strip on Kissinger's memoirs.
Tony Kornheiser on million-dollar pitcher Nolan Ryan, in the April Inside Sports;
EPIC, a new Stan Lee adult fantasy comic book that seems mundane indeed, especially when compared with Heavy Metal, the equivalent published by The National Lampoon;
NEXT, a new future-oriented science bimonthly whose layout is dull enough to make its seemingly interesting topics virtually unreadable.
Magazines are inevitably faced with guesswork when attempting to choose lists of names to solicit for subscriptions. Recently Texas Sports collected tens of thousands of license plate numbers from cars parked around sports arenas, sent offering letters to the concomitant names obtained from the department of motor vehicles and claims it wound up improving its normal subscription list rate by 100 percent.
Politics Today executive editor Ken Lerer is attempting to create a new magazine from the remnants of PT, which publisher Christiane Schlumberger closed last week. Lerer says he has already salvaged the magazine's nest issue by selling an insert on the presidential conventions to a single advertiser.
Publishers of The International Review of Food and Wine, which has not appeared since December, claim that the magazine is being reorganized and will surface this month in a newly designed format.
Reader's Digest plans to test market a new pulbication aimed to families with children in the fall.
And finally, the publisher of Fiberarts magazine, a well-respected bimonthly on weaving, quilting and the like, recently sent this unsolicited note to The Magazine Column:
"I have put you on the comp list. This means you will continue to receive FIBERARTS whether you like it or not."
We like it -- but have no way of putting it too good use.
So, in return for telling fiberartisans that Fiberarts is available for $12 annually from 50 Colleger St., Ashville, N.C. 28801, will publisher S. Robert Pulleyn please stop making our work -- to quote from his letter -- "just a bit more unbearable by sending another inch or two of magazines" and take us OFF the comp list?