Pop Culture Feed

Unsplash+ in collaboration with George Dagerotip President Joe Biden last week endorsed the Department of Justice's (DoJ) move to reclassify marijuana from a Schedule I drug to a Schedule III drug. Biden said in social media posts — X (aka Twitter) and YouTube — that the move would reverse “long-standing inequities” under the current criminalization of cannabis. "Look folks, no one should be in jail merely for using or possessing marijuana," the president said in his video statement. Not legalization, but lowering federal interest: The Justice Department move would not legalize marijuana outright for recreational use, which currently is the... Read more →


Photo by Aidan Howe on Unsplash U.S. commercial gambling revenue hit a quarterly record of $17.67 billion in first three months of 2024. It marks the gaming industry’s 13th consecutive quarter of growth, according to the American Gaming Association. And Caitlin Clark hadn’t even played a Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) game yet. Clark’s WNBA May 14 debut with her Indiana Fever facing the Connecticut Sun drew an average television audience of 2.13 million viewers, making it the most watched WNBA game in almost 23 years. I’m willing to bet, pun intended, that is also was the most bet on... Read more →


Shortly after MLB superstar Shohei Ohtani joined the Los Angeles Dodgers, a federal sports gambling scandal involving his now-former translator Ippei Mizuhara broke. This week, Mizuhara (below left), agreed to a plea deal. (Mizuhara photo by Moto "Club4AG" Miwa from USA - Angels vs Mariners 2019-6-8 Anaheim Stadium, CC BY 2.0. Ohtani photo by All-Pro Reels from District of Columbia, USA - Dodgers at Nationals, CC BY-SA 2.0.) Sports and courts too often coincide outside the usual tennis venues. Leagues are sued by competitors. Broadcasting rights battles are litigated. Players’ union grievances are heard by various judges. Individual players sometimes... Read more →


Elizabeth Magie portrait over her The Landlord’s Game board. (Photo: Wednesday’s Women) Rent or buy? Taxes are a part of the equation when making that crucial property decision. Taxes, or rather a specific type of tax, also was the impetus for a real-estate-based board game that morphed into (or, some would say, was appropriated by) what we now know as Monopoly. The game of property purchases and their rental rates when placed on prime gameboard landmarks has remained popular since its launch in 1933, thanks in part to hundreds of licensed spinoffs. And while Charles Darrow, an unemployed salesman in... Read more →


Allegiant Stadium will be filled with 49ers and Chiefs fans Sunday as they vie for the NFL championship in Super Bowl LVIII. (Photo: Allegiant Stadium) This Sunday, millions will watch the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers face off in Las Vegas to determine the National Football League's championship. With the Sin City location, it's fitting that a record 67.8 million American adults are expected to bet on Super Bowl LVIII. That's a 35 percent increase from 2023, according to a new American Gaming Association (AGA) survey. The dollar amount also is up this year. Bettors plan to wager... Read more →


Photo via Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images College football fans are in heaven. The 2023 NCAA bowl season is underway. The first of the 42 games kicked off this morning in with Georgia Southern meeting Ohio in the Myrtle Beach Bowl. The event's sponsoring name notwithstanding, the event is actually more inland, at Brooks Stadium in Conway, South Carolina. There are six more games today, all as appetizers to the main menu meal, the College Football Playoff National Championship Game in Houston on Monday, Jan. 8, 2024. The one downside this year is the number of notable players —... Read more →


Shopping with your true love can be fun, but you'll probably have to make a separate, solo trip so you can surprise your partner. And if you want to buy any or all of the true love gifts in "The 12 Days of Christmas" carol, you also will want to make sure you have lots of cash or a large credit card limit. (Photo via Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images) Even though inflation has slowed this year, Americans are still grumbling about prices. But it hasn't slowed holiday shopping. More than 200 million people went in search of perfect... Read more →


A rare annular, or ring of fire, solar eclipse is tomorrow, Oct. 14. NASA has more on the event. And if it's cloudy where you live or you're not in a prime viewing region, you can livestream the eclipse. October already is the spookiest month of the year, but things ramp up this weekend. Today, in case you haven't looked at a calendar, is Friday the 13th. Tomorrow, Saturday, Oct. 14, millions in the Americas will experience, at least in part, a rare annular solar eclipse. In the United States, the event will begin in Oregon around 9:13 a.m. Pacific... Read more →


Actor Bob Odenkirk in the season 4 finale of "Better Call Saul," where his titular character, after getting his law license reinstated, legally becomes Saul Goodman. (Screen shot from that episode's final scene) It's all good, man, for AMC Networks and Sony Pictures in their legal fight with Liberty Tax In August 2022, Liberty Tax Service sued Sony Pictures, the producer of "Better Call Saul," and AMC Networks, which broadcast the "Breaking Bad" prequel, for trade dress and trademark infringement. But apparently, attorneys for Sony and AMC were up to (OK, probably better than) Saul Goodman standards. They persuaded the... Read more →


Beyoncé on the Renaissance World Tour at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on June 1, 2023, (Photo by Raph_PH - BeyonceSpurs010623) I love music. I just ordered two CDs last week. That last retail admission should tip you off that my prime concert-going days are behind me. In one way, I'm glad. The cost to see my favorite musicians perform back in my day was reasonable, even then. Today's more youthful fans, however, are shelling out big bucks to attend concerts. Marketplace economics are part of the calculation. And emotion is part of the market. So scalpers, whose targets are... Read more →


Margot Robbie as the title character in the Barbie movie based on the iconic doll. (Photo courtesy Warner Bros. Entertainment) I haven't seen the Barbie movie yet, but as fan of filmmaking and owner as a child of a couple of Barbie dolls, I have been following the stories about the script, production, costumes, sets, and stars. But what really caught my attention were the tax remarks by the character portraying Barbie's creator. Barbie arrived in American stores in 1959 thanks to Ruth Handler, who along with her husband had founded the doll's corporate manufacturer Mattel a decade earlier. Many... Read more →


Real Madrid Carlo Ancelotti on the pitch sidelines (Photo: @MadridXtra Twitter screen capture) Spanish tax officials are not letting anything slide, especially when it comes to global celebrities. The tax evasion trial of pop star Shakira is scheduled to start this November. Now Carlo Ancelotti, coach of Real Madrid futbol club (for casual fans like me, that's a popular, and very valuable, soccer team), will stand trial for tax fraud for allegedly failing to declare image rights earnings in 2014 to the Spanish tax office. A Spanish judge said Ancelotti had "acknowledged" the actions which deprived the country's treasury of... Read more →


Great American Park vendor selling frozen treats and beer at a Cincinnati Reds game. (Photo by Chris Metcalf via Flickr CC) Happy MLB Opening Day! No, it's not an official holiday, but it should be. I've been to several Major League Baseball opening days in person over the years. It's great fun. It's also expensive. A ticket to a major league ballpark these days can blow a full grocery budget to bits. And speaking of food, the cost of concessions is outrageous. But since you no longer can bring in food — yes, I'm old enough to remember when we... Read more →


UPDATE, March 12, 2023: Congratulations to all those who won Academy Awards tonight, especially the big winner, "Everything Everywhere All at Once." The movie, known on social media as #EEAAO (or #EEAO if you don't want to include the preposition) proved that this year's major Hollywood event definitely wasn't your grandparents' Oscars. The wildly imaginative film, which featured a tax audit, won best picture. Three EEAO stars, Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan, and Jamie Lee Curtis, won acting Academy Awards. And original screenplay and directing Oscars went to The Daniels, Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert. Jamie Lee Curtis, far left,... Read more →


UPDATE, May 3, 2024: Yes, this item originally was published on a prior Margarita Day. But since that adult beverage also is big part of celebrating, at least here in Texas, Cinco de Mayo — which, by the way, has its own tax connections — it's definitely worth a repost and a toast today. So jot down the recipe offered by the always animated (in every sense of the word) Sterling Archer. It will help the associated federal and state alcohol tax info go down a bit easier. ¡Salud! FX/FXX TV's spy-turned-private detective Sterling Archer offers his margarita recipe. If,... Read more →


U.S. President Joe Biden with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, meeting after Biden's secret trip to Kyiv on Feb. 20, 2023. (Photo via Zelenskyy Telegram account) We woke up this morning (some later than others…) to news that while we were sleeping, President Joe Biden was in Ukraine. The overnight trip from Washington, D.C., to an active war zone was under a cloak of secrecy for obvious security reasons. Only a handful of White House, Pentagon, Secret Service, and intelligence community personnel were in the know. It, of course, included a 10-hour train ride by the Amtrak-loving 46th president. The momentousness,... Read more →


… and yes, there is a tax connection beyond winning wagers being taxable income. Photo by Scott Webb As is usual each Super Bowl Sunday, bets are getting a lot of attention. There are the big-dollar wagers on the game. Two seven-figure bets were placed last week on the Philadelphia Eagles to defeat the Kansas City Chiefs in today's Super Bowl LVII championship game. Then there are the prop bets, many of which have nothing to do with National Football League plays on the field. For any of those bets that pay off, the winners will owe taxes to the... Read more →


Image courtesy NFL The 57th Super Bowl is Sunday. Millions will watch the National Football League championship game to root for their Kansas City Chiefs or Philadelphia Eagles. For most, the attention will be because of pure fandom. But millions also will pay attention to the events at State Farm Field in Glendale, Arizona, because they've got money riding on the game. Growth of sports betting: Gambling on sporting events is no longer taboo. After the U.S. Supreme Court's 2018 ruling allowed states to decide whether to legalize sports betting within their borders, most states and Washington, D.C., have done... Read more →


via GIPHY Seven days from now, many of us will be opening Christmas presents. Hanukkah is underway. Regardless of what or how you celebrate December holidays, your purchases probably increase this month. And this year, inflation, even though it's abated a bit recently, means you have or will pay more for all those gifts, food, and other festive trimmings of the season. Every year, PNC financial services issues its Christmas Price Index, or CPI. It measures, using a methodology similar to Uncle Sam's official CPI, or consumer price index, the current costs of the gifts given in the classic holiday... Read more →


Vegas, baby! Nevada's Sin City is still the place to wager on sporting events. More states, however, are taking sports bets, but World Cup wagers are minimal compared to bets placed globally. The hubby has been planted in front of the upstairs television since the World Cup began. I've been watching the MLB Network, wondering when the GM-less Houston Astros will make a move beyond the José Abreu signing. We'll weather this sports breach in our marriage. He's a big baseball fan, too, and the World Cup rolls around just every four years. And at least he's not a gambler.... Read more →