What do cell phones, holiday lights, the 107th Congress, business cards, failing accounting firms, and Andy Rooney all have in common? They are all pet peeves of mine, and here's why:

  • People talking into cell phones in public. I often think that there are a slew of well-dressed deranged people who are speaking to themselves. And don't you love those people who call their spouses and others to tell them where they are at all times. Why don't they simply carry a remote tracking device?
  • Continual holiday lights. There are those who put up lights for almost any occasion in addition to Christmas, such as Halloween. St. Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, and the Fourth of July. You would think these people had a high enough electric bill and their life ambition wasn't putting up and taking down lights four or five times a year.
  • The 107th Congress. This is the Congress that enacted the legislation to repeal and reinstate the federal estate tax law. In the past, we have repeatedly have had tax legislation that briefly extends expiring tax provisions or that repeals a particular Code provision before it takes effect. But the corker here is that the 2001 legislation repealed and reinstated the federal estate tax law at the same time. It was a joke and it made estate planning ridiculous. I am sure estate plans will go awry as planners try and adjust people's plans to this ludicrous legislation.
  • Business cards. An accountant who has more then one business card and has difficulty figuring out in which pocket the card is in drives me bananas. Rather then appearing confident about what they are doing, they seem to be bumbling at best, and at worse, not understanding the real difference in representing two or more business entities.
  • A lack of self-examination. Failing accounting firms are often not very good at self-evaluation. But then again maybe that is why they failed. The economy, a more litigious society, and unforeseen circumstances are all usually blamed. No failing firm ever says we made some mistakes, should have seen them, and then made the corrections. I am wondering if Andersen is one of those firms.
  • Andy Rooney. Am I acting like Andy Rooney by complaining and criticizing all the time? When you write a column, you tend to write about things on which you feel need commenting. Combine that with my overly critical nature and it's no surprise that the subjects of my columns and editor's notes often wince when they finish reading them. Of course, I can change! In the future, I will try and write a number of upbeat columns.

However, don't expect any marked change in my column, because like my other peeves, I think they all probably won't stop and will therefore, continue to bother me. And I am quite sure that new peeves will have to be added to the list. Come to think of it, flavored coffee with names like Sidamo Gold and Café Fino are starting to annoy me.

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