ConsERT Retreat

I just returned home from the ConsERT Retreat at the historic Thayer Hotel in West Point, NY. Yes, that West Point; the home of our United States Military Academy. I don’t get to travel as much as some of the folks reading this blog and when I do, staying at a hotel like The Thayer is amazing. Please don’t miss an opportunity to visit this hotel during your travels.

When on the road, I like to walk around the area to see how different the world is from Orlando, which is only about 30 feet above sea level, filled with almost a million tourists visiting the theme parks each week and can be a traffic nightmare at times. This was very, serene. Sitting high above the Hudson River, which quietly flows behind the property, walking around the property was a beautiful and fascinating stroll until I took a wrong left turn. Although this is a college campus, the word campus is not used at all. This is a military post. On a military post, when you make an incorrect left turn, you are surprisingly met very quickly by, (cue “Law and Order” dunt, dunt sound)…the Military Police! Not surprisingly, they saw me before I saw them. One MP had a sidearm strapped to his hip. So did the second MP.  Did I mention they both were holding machine guns? They may have had other stuff on them too like pepper spray, batons or nukes. I didn’t notice. My eyes were laser focused on their weapons. No words had yet been spoken as my brain scrambled to say something first that might prevent my life insurance policy from actually paying out. The only thing that popped into my mind was Barney Fife’s bullet. Maybe those guns weren’t loaded and they would be digging into their top pockets. After squashing that thought, some old jokes from when I did stand-up quickly ran through my mind as I tried to defuse an anxiety ridden moment. “No, no, accounting jokes won’t stop bullets”, I thought.

The female MP said in a polite yet very firm voice, “Sir, are you supposed to be here?”
I was not in fatigues, military dress or had any stars or clusters on my shoulders so the “sir” confused me. The comic in me took over again; should I salute them? How about a funny Benny Hill type salute; my tongue out and an upright palm to my forehead?

 

Luckily, the maturity of my age kicked in and I quickly blurted out, “I’m just a tourist from Florida here for a meeting and getting to know your campus. I turned left at Thayer Hall and now I’m here.”
“Sir, is your meeting right here?”
We both knew the meeting was not in the middle of this particular street so I responded, “No ma’am, I was just looking for the sports facilities.”
“Sir, you should walk back that way – back to your hotel.”
You would not be surprised to know that I found her voice, her sidearm and her machine gun very convincing. During the entire exchange, the male MP didn’t say a word. With his eyes locked on me, he also did appear as though he could bench press me for about 3 hours before he even worked up a sweat. You may also be astonished to find out…that I did not have time to take a selfie with them to display with this post.

 

Oh, by the way, the conference was great!

Patrick Warburton, Loverboy and National Car Rental…

If I was channeling the late, great, Johnny Carson’s character, “Carnac The Magnificent”, the answer to this title would be, “What do you get with a tick working for the weekend for a mid-sized upgrade?”

Seriously though, our client “Loverboy” has been busy. They are our second client that we now know of that has cut a national commercial. Not one but two actually; a one minute one and a 30-second follow-up one, with the droll and hysterical Patrick Warburton (sitcoms: “Rules of Engagement”, “Joe Swanson” on “Family Guy”, “Puddy” from “Seinfeld”, “The Tick” and many more). Check them out:

Also, you owe it to yourself to check out Patrick Warburton in his short lived comedy, based on the comic book, “The Tick”. You can usually find it on one of the streaming sites like Netflix, Hulu or Amazon. It’s become quite the cult classic.

Patrick Warburton as The Tick

Finally, for my younger viewers that have absolutely no clue what I was talking about in my opening lines about “Carnac the Magnificent”, he was a beloved character, created by Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon, that my generation looked forward to every few weeks on “The Tonight Show”. It was based on an old vaudeville comedy mind-reading routine, where the “psychic” would predict the answers to sealed questions or statements. Carson and McMahon were terrific playing off each other and sometimes the ad libs were funnier than the script. Here’s a video segment of the routine from 1982. You may have to Google some of the references since they were topical for that date.

Warped Tour Back In Orlando!

Today the Warped Tour returned to Orlando, held at Tinker Field, a park where the old Tinker Field minor league baseball stadium previously resided. However, the weather gods were not kind to our clients this year. A massive thunderstorm rolled through late afternoon. This wasn’t the typical Central Florida 20-minute hard storm – it lasted for quite some time. Luckily we were able to get there early and saw our client Neck Deep perform. The Warped Tour folks made a very smart decision to put them on early as the nasty afternoon weather was predicted.

Neck Deep

A quick photo op for the band Neck Deep.

 

We had five clients performing at this event; Neck Deep, Trophy Eyes, Counterparts, Creeper,  and Sonic Boom Six.
Here is a picture of Delia Figura, our International Accounts Supervisor, with Sonic Boom Six.

 

…and one more of Delia with Simon Scott from the band Creeper.

 

Delia Figura and Simon Scott

 

All in all, a very successful show for both our company and clients!

2017 NAPAMA Retreat

I just returned from this year’s NAPAMA retreat, held again in the beautiful Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort in the Poconos, that I described in a bit more detail in a post from last year’s event. I gave another rousing talk about CWA’s and when it was over, I  suddenly realized I’m becoming the “Tyrion Lannister” from “Game of Thrones” in our profession.

 

“That’s what I do.
I create CWA’s and I know things”

Next year NAPAMA is returning to Ft. Lauderdale, where it was held in 2015. I’ll be looking forward to that date as I thoroughly enjoyed my last visit there.

Personal Managers Interchange

Las Vegas was the hosting city for the National Conference of Personal Managers.  As a CPA, I’m a numbers guy, so I notice things about numbers, especially percentages, all the time. This trip I discovered that the 30% rule for withholding tax on foreign entertainers is loathed by 100% of the personal managers I talked with 100% of the time, even at the Pass Line of the crap table where that 1.41% house edge also had a 100% loathed rate.

Jazz Fest in New Orleans

 

I love New Orleans. Over the years I’ve made numerous trips to The Big Easy for both business and vacations, but this was my very first trip to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, more commonly referred to as Jazz Fest! We had 6 Cuban groups performing there this year so it was a great opportunity to finally experience this event. It was huge and absolutely wonderful; from the many stages offering an auditory buffet of musical styles to the thousands of fans synced to their rhythms and last but not least, to the incredible choice of good eats to be had by all. I can best describe it with one word; Fun! I’m already looking forward to returning next year.

East Coast Music Awards

Saint John, New Brunswick was the site of the East Coast Music Awards shows this year – the first time they have been back to the city in 15 years.
This is one of the friendliest cities on the planet. I had the opportunity to visit Saint John about 10 years ago as a stop on a cruise.
A few hours in a town gives only an appetizer. Spending three nights there is excellent.

I had a chance to see a few clients perform. I’m happy to report that one of our clients, Les Hotesses d’Hilaire, won the 2017 Enregistrement Francophone de L’Annee Award. (Francophone Record of the Year)

Les Hotesses d'Hilaire
This is an incredibly well-run festival that may end up on my regular annual circuit. Next year it is in Halifax – another wonderful Canadian city I would like to go back to.

22nd Annual Indy Irish Fest

 

Ah, the Indy Irish Fest. As you may have guessed, Indianapolis was the site of this bi-annual conference and just like my previous trip to Austin, it was my first time to the city. Also like Austin, this is a state capital with a tremendous amount of historical sites to see. Finally, like Austin, Indianapolis would be an easy city to spend at least three days taking a short vacation…if I did such a thing.

This was the largest conference AICF (Association of Irish and Celtic Festivals) has ever had with over 100 attendees.

 


His Hooleyness, Pope Malarkey I was there. He was kind enough to present me with a card good for 1 free sin. I think if I acquire 8734 more, I break even in life.

 

It was great to see a lot of friends again – including the Saint of all Irish Festivals, my good friend Ed Ward.

SXSW

 

This was my very first SXSW trip. Austin is a spectacular city; one that I will come back to for a three-day vacation in the near future.
I had a chance to meet with some wonderful folks from both Europe and the US.
The short and the sweet? SXSW is now on my list of conferences that I will attend every year.

Korean Zombie Returns to UFC!

Last night our client, Chan Sung Jung, was back in the Octagon as the headline event in the UFC Fight Night 104 at the Houston Toyota Center. He was returning after a three and a half year layoff in which he was serving mandatory required military duty in South Korea.
The crowd went wild after he won with a knockout in the first of a scheduled five rounds.

Here are some more snippets of the event from Bleacher Report:

Chan Sung Jung puts the finishing touches on Dennis Bermudez at UFC Fight Night on Saturday night.Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Three-and-a-half years isn’t an eternity, but in the land of combat sports, it can be something close. In this cruel world, fighters can age out in months. When you’re talking years, you’re talking eras.

Witness, for instance, the story of Chan Sung Jung, who last competed in August 2013 before missing time to an injury and mandatory military service in his native South Korea.

So 1,282 days later, at UFC Fight Night in Houston on Saturday, Jung returned as a mystery. Such lengthy breaks during a fighter’s prime are nearly unprecedented in major MMA. Yet there he was, still just 29 years old and, for onlookers, frozen in time and reputation.

Would he return rusty? As if he hadn’t skipped a beat? Improved?

The answer was a combination of it all. But in the end, the Zombie did what the Zombie does, overcoming stacked odds, surviving danger, then eating his opponent’s soul.

 

This photo was taken the night before when Cecile met with Chan. His smile is from Cecile telling him how much more money he’ll be taking home due to using our services for filing a proper Tax Withholding Agreement.