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Date: 2011-11-22 11:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bracknellexile.livejournal.com
Re: dress codes.

Loved the post but odd that you should use those tags because that article sums up not only how I feel about dress codes but also how I feel about fancy dress. Some folks love it and good luck to 'em. When I go to a party I want to go, socialise, drink and enjoy myself, not have to devote time to something I don't want/need to do :)

Date: 2011-11-22 01:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] philmophlegm.livejournal.com
I'm going to be in the minority on this one, and some may think I'm old-fashioned, but bear with me...


I think the guy complaining about the dress code for dinner in a luxury hotel is completely unreasonable and is missing the point.

This is a luxury hotel. The dress code is simply asking him to show a bit of respect to his fellow diners. I'd say it seems like a pretty relaxed dress code anyway - it doesn't require a tie or a jacket or even socks. What it does do is prevent slobs from getting our of the pool and going to dinner in shorts or jeans, flip-flops and no shirt like you might see in some two-star beach hotel in Benidorm.

Dressing properly is nothing to do with obeying pointless rules and everything to do with basic politeness.

Date: 2011-11-22 02:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alitheapipkin.livejournal.com
I can see the basic politeness argument if you've been invited to a special occasion such as a birthday dinner or a wedding, but I think extending it to random strangers who happen to be in the same venue as you is taking it a bit far. If I go out for a fancy dinner, I might well care that my partner has made an effort but I'm not going to be offended by some random guy on another table wearing jeans.

Date: 2011-11-22 03:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kerrypolka.livejournal.com
Yeah, I mostly agree with this, I have to say. At first I thought the article was saying the hotel demanded smart dress at all times, like walking through the lobby and things (which would have been ridiculous), but the hotel is clearly trying to create a luxury atmosphere in the restaurant and patrons' clothing does contribute to that. It's not a requirement to go to the posh hotel restaurant when you're on a work trip. I agree that some dress codes can be silly, but if you don't want to dress up for a luxury restaurant...don't go to the luxury restaurant?

Date: 2011-11-23 11:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] momentsmusicaux.livejournal.com
Yes, the respect argument got touted a lot at me when I was a kid.

Balls to it, I say.

How on earth is it disrespect to other diners? Is the poster's proposed attire unpleasant to see? Smelly?

Date: 2011-11-22 11:18 am (UTC)
ext_52412: (Wake up gay!)
From: [identity profile] feorag.livejournal.com
The UN story is old and the vote has subsequently been overturned.

Date: 2011-11-22 11:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] artkouros.livejournal.com
Space X is my hero.

Date: 2011-11-22 11:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bart-calendar.livejournal.com
Hollywood is weirdly prudish about sex still.

In Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 1 they were told they had to cut out the deflowering scene but could keep the birth scene if they wanted a PG-13 instead of an R even though the birth scene was really much more graphic than Bella losing her virginity.

The reasoning they were given was that seeing a painful, bloody consequence of sex was fine for teenage girls, but seeing a teenage girl really enjoy losing her virginity and being the sexual aggressor would send the wrong message to teenage girls.

Of course, they'll just include the sex scene in the DVD, but still...

(The director and Kristen Stewart have both said that one thing that bothered the MPAA the most about the sex scene was that Bella was doing more "enthusiastic thrusting" than Sparkleboy was.

An even weirder story was with the second Herbie movie which they wanted a PG and not a PG-13 for. While there was no sex or nudity in the film at all, Lindsay Lohan had grown up between the two movies and had much larger breasts than in the first film. The MPAA thought that just the existence of her breasts (while fully clothed) was enough to bump it up to PG-13, so they had to use CGI to digitally make her boobs smaller in every frame.

Date: 2011-11-22 12:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bart-calendar.livejournal.com
Interestingly, this seems to be the point where LiLo started to begin to go crazy. I've always wondered if there was a connection (it's certainly when she started to do everything possible to get out of her Disney contract - particularly since there was a morals/image clause in there that she would have violated if she'd admitted she was lesbian or displayed publicly that she was in a lesbian relationship.)

Date: 2011-11-22 02:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alitheapipkin.livejournal.com
Having heard a bit about Breaking Dawn, I was wondering how they were going to film it without it being an 18/R rating, I might know it would be because a horrific birth scene is a good anti-sex message for girls :(

And as for large breasts being unsuitable for children to see even clothed... Utterly appalling :(

Date: 2011-11-22 02:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bart-calendar.livejournal.com
To be fair her breasts are spectacular.

I think that they were worried that dads would take their kids to herbie 2 for the wrong reasons.

Date: 2011-11-22 03:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] supergee.livejournal.com
I seem to recall a recent story of a male actor being CGI'd down to more modest endowment.

Date: 2011-11-22 03:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] brixtonbrood.livejournal.com
The BBFC on the other hand let the sex scene pass for a 12A certificate partly on the grounds that "the scene marks the culmination of a relationship that has been developing over the previous three films", which is rather sweet.

I don't know whether the British and US cuts are the same.

Date: 2011-11-22 03:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bart-calendar.livejournal.com
In the US version, apparently, they kiss and then it fades out and when it fades back in they are under the covers and the bed has been broken, but that's all you get.

Date: 2011-11-22 03:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] erindubitably.livejournal.com
Are you sure? Because I've read some reviews that I'm pretty sure are from US-viewers and they definitely reference the sex scene...

Date: 2011-11-22 03:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bart-calendar.livejournal.com
Yes. I think Roger Ebert is a pretty reliable source.

"Yes, the most eagerly awaited deflowering in recent movie history takes place entirely off-screen."

http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20111116/REVIEWS/111119983

Date: 2011-11-22 03:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] erindubitably.livejournal.com
Fair enough. I guess the reviews I read were very good at using their imaginations.

Date: 2011-11-22 03:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bart-calendar.livejournal.com
Kristen Stewart has also bitched in several interviews about it - because she's mad that they singled out her "enthusiastic thrusting" and not his.

Date: 2011-11-22 01:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] philmophlegm.livejournal.com
I've said this before somewhere on LJ: no single individual, company or pressure group should be allowed to donate more than a few thousand pounds to any one party and nothing to any individual politician.

That is the only way to remove the corruption of political-favours-for-cash from British politics.



Date: 2011-11-22 01:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] philmophlegm.livejournal.com
I couldn't remember where I'd said it...

Date: 2011-11-24 01:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] danieldwilliam.livejournal.com
When I win the maximum jackpot on the Euro-millions lottery one of the things I’m going to do is to so blatantly buy the next British general election with such a self-satisfied smirk on my face that citizen begin to realise that if you allow people to significantly fund political parties you will get the result that the funder wants.

Date: 2011-11-22 01:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] philmophlegm.livejournal.com
More old-time Hollywood prejudices:

6. Blokes with posh English accents are either bad guys or Hugh Grant.

7. It is not possible for an attractive woman to have dark skin. Where a script calls for the attractive female lead to be black, she will therefore be played by a half-white or otherwise mixed race actress with a complexion rather paler than a Wigan girl after two weeks on the Costa del Sol. This rule has done wonders for the careers of Halle Berry and Thandie Newton.

Date: 2011-11-22 02:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] philmophlegm.livejournal.com
And as an addendum to 7:

7a. Any half-black, half-white actor or actress is considered to be 'black'. In fact the ratio can be less than half for the actor or actress to still be considered 'black'.

(To be fair, this rule isn't restricted to acting in the US. The same rule applies to politicians - including the president. There is also the homeopathic Irishman rule whereby any American politician with even the tiniest drop of Irish blood in his ancestry can claim to be Irish.)

Date: 2011-11-22 02:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alitheapipkin.livejournal.com
There's a homeopathic Scots rule for Americans too I think, and it doesn't just apply to politicians.

Date: 2011-11-23 01:43 am (UTC)
fearmeforiampink: (Do you like me now? Libertine)
From: [personal profile] fearmeforiampink
Homeopathic Scots rule also applies at weddings.

Date: 2011-11-24 12:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] danieldwilliam.livejournal.com
I once had a frustrating conversation with a homeopathic Scot (or Mock Jock) from California about Scottish Independence and the restoration of the Stuart monarchy. He refusal to accept that the fact that his great, great, great, great, great grandfather once ate haggis did not qualify him to have a vote on whether we should turn our Northern European social democracy into an ultra-montane Catholic divine right Kingdom of Brigadoon for his picturesque viewing pleasure still irritates me more than it should.

Date: 2011-11-22 02:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] philmophlegm.livejournal.com
The article on general anti-avoidance rule illustrates the problem with GAARs:

"It recommended a series of safeguards, including an explicit protection for reasonable tax planning and arrangements which are entered into without any intent to reduce tax."

So what they are saying is that in a very complex tax environment, it would be verboten to make arrangements which follow the letter of the (highly complex) regulations and reduce a tax liability IF the intention was to reduce the liability...

But...

It would be acceptable to make arrangements which follow the letter of the (highly complex) regulations and reduce a tax liability IF the intention was something other than reducing the liability.

So you end up with a situation where HMRC inspectors have to guess people's intentions. And then argue them in court. Against lawyers. (And guess who has the best lawyers - ordinary taxpayers, HMRC or big corporations? Exactly.)

If a piece of tax law says in effect "If you do this, then you pay less tax", then a taxpayer surely has every moral right to "do this" and surely should continue to have every legal right to do the same.

Governments who want to stop taxpayers from doing "this" and thereby paying less tax, should concentrate on simplifying the tax code and removing the countless situations where taxpayers can do "this" instead of faffing around with half-arsed General Anti-Avoidance Rules.

Date: 2011-11-22 02:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strawberryfrog.livejournal.com
I'll take a guess that there are a lot of business arrangements where tax avoidance is the only possible explanation for the structure.

What are other countries experiences with GAARs?

Date: 2011-11-22 02:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] philmophlegm.livejournal.com
(This might be the stage at which I should point out that although I'm an FCA, I don't work in tax...)

Off the top of my head, Australia has had a GAAR for years. Brief internet research reveals that Canada and New Zealand also have them.

I was able to find this article on the sometimes difficult history of GAAR in Australia, which illustrates my point:

http://www.nortonrose.com/news/31251/claire-falkner-the-tax-journal-the-australian-gaar-experience-uncertain-outcomes

Date: 2011-11-22 02:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] philmophlegm.livejournal.com
Key word "sometimes".

The way to make the system less gameable (and you make an excellent point in saying that any system can be gamed) is to reduce complexity.

Date: 2011-11-23 01:46 am (UTC)
fearmeforiampink: (Bunny Devil)
From: [personal profile] fearmeforiampink
The other big problem is that 'get tax money' and 'reduce tax avoidance' aren't your only priorities. There's the whole tax-relief/tax-credit/whatever stuff, that governments put in to encourage certain activities they think are good, but which are then themselves gameable, abusable.

Date: 2011-11-24 12:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] danieldwilliam.livejournal.com
I’m a ACMA and not in tax either but my tuppence worth.

I agree the sentiment that if the rules say you can do X and reduce your tax bill then you are morally entitled to do X. If the tax authorities want a different outcome then they should change the rules.

I think the tax system can get complex even without adding another factor.

You could go about making the tax system simpler and this might reduce the areas where the system can be gamed (or it might not). I think one consequence of this is that it might increase the unfairness of the tax system. Tax systems are complex because business and life are complex. When you try and overlay a simple system over a complex system you get areas where it fits badly. People will either feel the unfairness which given that you are taking money off them at gun point is probably less than ideal or they will change the way they operate. I don’t think tax systems should really affect the way people live and work at the gross level unless this is explicitly what you want the system to do.

When you try and adjust the simple system to iron out the unfairness you rapidly arrive at systems that are just as complex as the one you have just simplified used to be.

I suspect that HMRC and co assume a certain amount of gaming and set the base tax rates at a level to compensate. So the contest is not between tax payer and HMRC but between different tax payers to best manage their tax affairs so that they are paying less tax and their competitors are paying more.

Date: 2011-11-22 11:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] khbrown.livejournal.com
There could be concensus on party funding, just like there's concensus on MPs pay - self-interest rules OK...

Date: 2011-11-23 11:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] momentsmusicaux.livejournal.com
The spider story is fascinating, yet seems a bit too hand-wavy.

How do they know that's what it does internally?
And where does it store information while it's not keeping it in its tiny brain? In its kidneys, perhaps? The analogy to computers just doesn't fit.

Date: 2011-11-23 11:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] momentsmusicaux.livejournal.com
But then it talks about forgetting information until it's needed... that's the bit that flummoxes me.

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