Tuesday, December 27, 2011

我的岳父走了....


My father-in-law / 1932 - 2011

May he rest in peace and in God's hands.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

政治正確又來了...

有個朋友很賭爛地在她的 FACEBOOK 寫下一段話:

Such a sad Country we live in now for the kids... just read that a school bus in Kingston was ordered to remove its Christmas decorations because it has to be ethnically generic. I don't get it!!! We cannot put up Christmas trees in schools in fear of offending people but the rules are changing to allow other religious symbols... WTF??? Next there will be a ban on Shopping Mall Santa's.

不為什麼,當然就是因為一接近耶誕節,這個政治正確又開始作祟了。

(耶誕節的政治正確:噓、我得小小聲地說 Merry Christmas )

其實,憑良心講、關於這個不能說 Merry Christmas 的事情,
家庭煮夫認識的朋友普遍都是蠻感冒的;
為什麼為了其它的宗教、我們就得低調的慶祝 Christmas 呢???

唉、算了,不多說了,免得被人家說我們不懂政治正確。


喔,不過說到這個政治正確,最近加拿大移民局局長踩了一個挺大的政治正確的地雷....


因為加拿大移民局宣布:幕斯林婦女在宣誓成為加拿大公民的時候,不可以把臉蒙住。(詳細新聞)

這則新聞、倒也讓家庭煮夫學會了關於蒙臉的知識:






對於這些政治正確的議題,家庭煮夫本人唯一的意見就是,
你一個新移民來到人家的國家,首先就是要尊重人家的法律、尊重人家的風俗習慣。

像是幕斯林可以對違反他們教義的女性以私刑對待的這件事,這就是違反了加拿大的法律;
像是許多亞裔移民堅持在自家後院養雞這件事,這也違反了加拿大的法律....

反正,尊重是要自己爭取的;如果要別人尊重自己、自己得先尊重這塊土地上的人。


附加一個 (公司派對) 政治正確的老笑話....

順了姑意、逆了嫂意!!!! 真的,這是會把人搞瘋的!!!

FROM: Pauline Lewis, Human Resources Director

TO: All Employees

DATE: 4 November 2007

RE: Christmas Party

I'm happy to inform you that the company Christmas Party will take place on December 23rd, starting at noon in the private function room at the Grill House. There will be a cash bar and plenty of drinks! We'll have a small band playing traditional carols. Please feel free to sing along. And don't be surprised if the CEO shows up dressed as Santa Claus! A Christmas tree will be lit at 1:00 PM. Exchange of gifts among employees can be done at that time. However, no gift should be over $10.00 to make the giving of gifts easy for everyone's pocketbook. This gathering is only for employees! The CEO will make a special announcement. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Pauline

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

FROM: Pauline Lewis, Human Resources Director

TO: All Employees

DATE: 5 November 2007

RE: Holiday Party

In no way was yesterday's memo intended to exclude our Jewish employees. We recognize that Chanukah is an important holiday, which often coincides with Christmas, although unfortunately not this year. However, from now on we're calling it our "Holiday Party." The same policy applies to any other employees who are not Christians. There will be no Christmas tree or Christmas carols sung. We will have other types of music for your enjoyment. Happy now? Happy Holidays to you and your family,

Pauline

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

FROM: Pauline Lewis, Human Resources Director

TO: All Employees

DATE: 6 November 2007

RE: Holiday Party

Regarding the note I received from a member of Alcoholics Anonymous requesting a non-drinking table, you didn't sign your name. I'm happy to accommodate this request, but if I put a sign on a table that reads, "AA Only," you wouldn't be anonymous anymore! How am I supposed to handle this? Somebody? Forget about the gift exchange, no gift exchange allowed now since the union officials feel that $10.00 is too much money and management believes $10.00 is a little cheap. NO GIFT EXCHANGE WILL BE ALLOWED.

Pauline

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

FROM: Pauline Lewis, Human Resources Director

TO: All Employees

DATE: 7 November 2007

RE: Holiday Party

What a diverse group we are! I had no idea that December 20th begins the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which forbids eating and drinking during daylight hours. There goes the party! Seriously, we can appreciate how a luncheon at this time of year does not accommodate our Muslim employees' beliefs. Perhaps the Grill House can hold off on serving your meal until the end of the party - or else package everything up for you to take home in a little foil doggy bag. Will that work? Meanwhile, I've arranged for members of Weight Watchers to sit farthest from the dessert buffet and pregnant women will get the table closest to the toilets. Gays are allowed to sit with each other. Lesbians do not have to sit with gay men, each will have their own table. There will be flower arrangements for the gay men's table. To the person asking permission to cross dress - no cross dressing allowed. We will have booster seats for short people. Low fat food will be available for those on a diet. We cannot control the salt used in the food. We suggest those people with high blood pressure taste the food first. There will be fresh fruits as dessert for diabetics. The restaurant cannot supply "no sugar" desserts. Sorry! Did I miss anything?

Pauline

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

FROM: Pauline Lewis, Human Resources Director

TO: All Employees

DATE: 8 November 2007

RE: The ****** Holiday Party

Vegetarian jerks: I've had it with you people! We're going to keep this party at the Grill House whether you like it or not, so you can sit quietly at the table furthest from the "grill of death," as you so quaintly put it. You'll get your f****** salad bar, including organic tomatoes, but you know tomatoes have feelings too, they scream when you slice them. I'm hearing them scream right NOW! I hope you all have a rotten holiday and then drink, drive and die.

Pauline, the Bitch from HELL!

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

FROM: John Bishop, Acting Human Resources Director

TO: All Employees

DATE: 9 November 2007

RE: Pauline and the Holiday Party

I'm sure I speak for all of us in wishing Pauline Lewis a speedy recovery and I'll continue to forward your cards to her. In the meantime, the management has decided to cancel our holiday party and instead, give everyone the afternoon of the 23rd December off with full pay. Have a SUCCESSFUL day!

John


Friday, December 16, 2011

台灣人並不是笨....

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

往事只能回味...

是的!!! 往事最好就只是回味一下就好.... 至於重演、那就不必了!!!!!!!! (重演的話不就是 Deja Vu 了嗎???)




在去年的此時,到處都被超過 100 公分深的大雪給覆蓋了.... (註)
今年,到處都還是綠油油。



希望保持這樣就好了.... 一直到耶誕節前、下個三五公分的雪,有個銀色耶誕的氣氛就真的是太完美了。




尤雅的『往事只能回味』







喔.... 突然又想起加拿大人的笑話:

十吋的雪,(加拿大) 多倫多的小孩還走路去上學。



紐約三吋的雪,全市癱瘓。



華盛頓 DC 一吋的雪,全市放假。



加州光是下個雨,全部都動彈不得。

Sunday, December 11, 2011

It's Christmas Baking (Again) --- Panettone


Christmas 已經進入倒數計時....


陽光的周六午後,氣溫只有 -13 度 (windchill).....
這根本就是躲在家裡烤東西的好日子!!!

烤前的 Panettone


烤後的 Panettone,是不是有感覺到 Christmas 的氣氛了呢....

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Rob Peter to Pay Paul (搶彼得的錢來給保羅)

這句成語、都會讓我想起偉大的羅賓漢 (Robin Hood)....



其實,自古以來,稅收制度都一直存在;
聖經裡的收稅人 tax collectors (publicans) 一向都跟貪臠劃上等號,因為他們總是多收了他們不該收的稅金,尤其是他們會壓榨貧苦的市井小民。
大英帝國也出了類似的問題;Robin Hood 反對的就是不顧百姓死活、強行徵稅的 King John。

大家都知道,並不是所有的稅制都完美無缺,
但是,至少得盡可能做到公平正義。


所以,美國出現了這則新聞......



劫富濟貧/紐約州 明年開徵富人稅

紐約州劫富濟貧,明年起課徵富人稅,同時調降低收入戶稅率。明年起,單身年收入逾一百萬美元,稅率增至八.八二%,比法定稅率高出近兩個百分點。

調降低收入戶稅率 為期三年

紐約州政府與立法單位達成協議,未來夫妻合併所得超過兩百萬美元,或單身收入高於一百萬美元,或者單身但為家庭唯一收入來源超過一百五十萬美元者,一律適用八.八二%的新稅率。

不過這個新規是臨時性方案,效期三年,明年初開始生效。紐約州州長古莫(Cuomo)表示,此案每年將帶來十九億美元稅收,並能讓紐約州目前的三十八億美元赤字,在十六個月內打銷,轉虧為盈。

另外也針對中低收入者調低稅率,原本美國稅法規定夫妻合併年所得三十萬美元以下,一律課徵六.八五%,但紐約州細分級距後將稅率調低。所得四萬至十五萬美元者,明年起改課六.四五%;十五萬至三十萬美元者,改為六.六五%。預料有四百四十萬名中產階級受惠。

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



在歐美,所得稅是調節貧富的利器。對于富人,像北歐,最高那一級的稅率甚至高達 87%,也就是說,年收入超過一定數目金額,你每賺取100塊,就要繳納 87 塊所得稅。以挪威為例,一家公司的CEO,其年收入相比一般員工頂多高個三四倍,最多也不超過七倍。另外,為了縮短貧富差距,通常政府還會對中低收入者訂定許多退稅的方式、來減輕他們的稅賦負擔。

“巨富不富,赤貧不苦”已成爲一些歐美國家的寫照。比如加拿大,在全球500名巨富的名單中,榮登其榜的僅3%而已。這就是因為加拿大的高稅率政策之下建構出完善社會福利國家的結果。

個人收入稅是加拿大和美國的主要稅種,約占聯邦政府全部稅收的49%,是國家财政收入的最大來源。高稅收保證了加拿大的高福利制度,使加拿大擁有非常完善的社會福利和醫療保障體系,以及失業補助和再就業的教育培訓體系。比如兒童牛奶金、養老金、低收入家庭補貼、取暖費補貼、租房補貼、失業救濟、托兒補貼、購屋儲蓄補貼、教育補貼等高福利。

可是,有一點最大的不同是,
美國人的稅率低、人口多,所以國家有大筆的稅收;
加拿大人的稅率高、人口少,所以國家也有大筆的稅收!!!


不過、說了半天,各位大概還不太清楚一個加拿大人到底要繳什麼稅.....

現在,就簡單地來說分明:
每天的日常消費我們要繳消費稅 13% HST (Harmonized Tax);以前是聯邦的 GST (Good and Service Tax) 加上省的 PST (Provincial Sales Tax),去年開始,許多省政府把心一橫,乾脆把 GST 跟 HST 加起來、成了 HST。
是的,你沒看錯,我們的消費稅是必須貢獻給省級政府跟中央 (聯邦) 政府的。這個歷史是要追朔到 1991 年加拿大政府開始課徵的這個 GST (Good and Service Tax;有人戲稱之為 Gouge and Screw Tax) ,這個 GST 是上繳到聯邦政府,聯邦政府也因此增加了許多稅收;當時的 GST 是 7 %,現在降為 5% (聯邦政府不是嫌錢太多了喔,會降為 5% 只是因為當年 Stephen Harper 的保守黨一開始執政時、給老百姓的一個『紅包』)。
話說當年政府加稅 (GST) 的時候 (為什麼要加稅??? 當然是增加國家財政收入來做社會福利呀...),信誓旦旦地告訴人民說,商家們一定會把物價調低來刺激大家消費的.... 結果歷經 20 年下來,商家降價了嗎??? 降個頭啦!!! 不只不降,現在加拿大人要比鄰居的美國人多付 15% (平均) 的錢來買同樣的東西咧。

OK,現在講到重點了,
美國政府不是欠錢欠瘋了嗎???
有種就學學加拿大!!! 加收消費稅。
有人粗估,美國人一年的消費總額大概是在 4.6 兆 (trillion、有 12 零耶)
如果學加拿大加 7% 的消費稅,就等於 322 億的國庫進帳;如果是加 5% 的話,則就有 230 億的國庫收入。而美國政府的聯邦政府加上各州政府現今的財政預算赤字大約是 2.5 兆.... 十年不到就補回來了、不是嗎???!!!

還有,如果歐巴馬政府真的要搞全民健保,除了學加拿大加消費稅,另外就是加個人所得稅。

有人知道加拿大的個人所得稅的稅率嗎???

這裡舉個 BC 省當例子

聯邦及卑詩省(英屬哥倫比亞)於2006年的合共稅率(%) (和共稅的意思就是聯邦稅加上省稅)


應課稅收入

一般收入
(薪金、利息等)

加拿大股息收入

資本性質收益

$0 - $33,755

21.30

4.52

10.65

$33,756 - $36,378

24.40

8.39

12.20

$36,379 - $67,511

31.15

15.89

15.58

$67,512 - $72,756

33.70

19.08

16.85

$72,757 - $77,511

37.70

24.08

18.85

$77,512 - $94,121

39.70

26.58

19.85

$94,122 - $118,285

40.70

27.83

20.35

$118,286以上

43.70

31.58

21.85


2006年聯邦稅率如下:(這表示你繳的所得稅裡頭,貢獻給聯邦政府的部分)

應課稅收入

聯邦稅率

$1 - $36,378

15.25%

$36,379 - $72,756

22%

$72,757 - $118,285

26%

$118,285以上

29%

(各省有不同的省稅率)



看到上述的稅率表中最高收入的那一級了嗎??? 他們的一般收入有 43.7% 要貢獻給政府,股息收入則是要貢獻 31.58%,資本性收益也得貢獻 21.85%。

至於像是房屋地價稅,加拿大的稅率大約是 15% 左右;可是這 15% 是實價課稅喔,不是像台灣的課稅基準是政府的公告地價 (一般都比實際市價低了許多)


anyways,就像先前所說的,沒有一個稅制是完美無缺、毫無瑕疵的;
bottom line 就是、如果國家要有足夠的錢來照顧人民,那麼稅制就得公平、公正,當然高稅率也是在所難免。







後記:

這幾天剛好看了一部不錯的電影 Margin Call (台灣翻譯成『黑心交易員的告白』) (註)



近一兩年來、這個世界在全面性的金融風暴肆虐之下,一般的老百姓看到那些黑心的投機者把錢猛往他們的口袋裡塞的時候,我們只能期望自己的政府不要再把我們這些苦哈哈的『彼得』的錢、全搶去給那些已經肥得油膩膩的『保羅』了!!!!




註:
Margin call 稱為融資追繳、補倉、或者是保證金追繳,主要是用在融資融券等信用交易。倘若投資人進行的融資融券等信用交易,超過當初所繳交的保證金達一定比例,或者其當初作為擔保品的有價證券價值下滑,導致保證金不足時,金融機構便會發出Margin call ,提醒投資人補足保證金,以維持信用交易與實質保證金的比例。倘若客戶無法於時限內補足資金,則其股票就有可能遭到業者強行賣出,作為保證金。
電影的故事主軸就是說有一家大型的投顧公司買空賣空的事跡在即將東窗事發之前的 24 小時內所發生的事情......

Monday, December 5, 2011

燕麥、果仁、水果乾 Granola Bar 食譜大公開





Oats, nuts and dried fruits Granola Bars

Ingredients:

1. 1 cup quick cook rolled oats
2. 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
3. 1/2 wheat germ
4. 1/4 cup whole wheat flour (either all purpose or for pastry)
5. 1/2 cup dried apricots (chop into small pieces)
6. 1/2 cup raisins
7. 1/2 cup slivered almonds
8. 1/3 cup flaxseeds
9. 2 tablespoons buttermilk powder
10. 1/4 teaspoon salt
11. 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
12. 1/2 cup Xylitol (or 1/3 cup maple syrup)
13. 2 large eggs (lightly whisked)


Making the bars:
1. preheat the oven to 350 degrees F; coat a 9x13 inches baking pan with cooking spray or use parchment paper.
2. Mix ingredient 1~11 in a big bowl then add eggs and blend well.
3. transfer the mixture onto the baking pan and spread evenly into a square shape (about 3/4 inch height)
4. bake about 20 minutes. (middle rack)
5. take it out of the oven and transfer onto the cooling rack and set it cool.
6. cut into 20 squares (or any size of bars as you want)

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