It's no accident that this round of the Summer Olympics kicked off in Beijing at 8:08 p.m. local time today, 08-08-08. For the Chinese, eight is a lucky number.
To commemorate this fortunate day on the other side of our planet, The New York Times takes a look at that Chinese numerical perspective, as well as seven other notable octads. They include:
- Roman Emperor Elagabalus' fixation on eights
- Ponticus' eight evil thoughts
- Eight causes of anger
Click on over to the feature Crazy Eights for more on these four groupings of eight, as well on the remaining four segments of the eight-part feature.
Avoiding audit back luck: Here in the United States, our numerical and calendar superstitions tend to align themselves with other numbers, such as Friday the 13th.
But eight still has a place in our society. For us, though, it's typically an unwelcome connotation, as in the the phrase "behind the 8 ball."
Eight also has a money connection. Pieces of eight, the ancient Spanish coin, actually was legal U.S. tender until the mid-1800s. The term is still used euphemistically (typically followed by "aaarrrgh!") to refer to currency in general.
You definitely don't want these two things -- your money and a difficult situation -- to coincide. Unfortunately, a lot of folks keep seeing that happen these days as the stock market continues its chaotic course.
The pairing also could be problematic if the IRS decides it needs to look more closely at your return. (You knew I'd get here eventually, didn't you?)
That's happening more of late, as blogged about in Uh oh! Audits are up.
To keep you from being one of the new audit targets, especially if you're among the millions of taxpayers who put off filing until 10.15.08 and now are desperately looking for ways to trim your IRS bill, check out these stories:
- Tempting the tax auditor, an article I wrote for Bankrate.com,
- The Entrepreneur's Guide to Avoiding a Tax Audit, a blog entry from The Digerati Life, and
- Audit Avoidance 101, courtesy AccountingWeb.com.
Good luck with your return. And enjoy the Olympics.