Archive for March, 2014

The IRS has now finally declared its official stance on Bitcoin: It is to be treated as a capital asset and not currency, yet will be saddled with currency regulations as well. The first and perhaps scariest bullet point is that any gain made on the value of Bitcoin now must be treated as a short-term capital gain (which could be taxed up to 35%!). So, for example, the early adopters who turned pennies into millions, upon cashing out, will owe millions in taxes. Lovely!

So, the onerous list of bullet points:

  • Bitcoin profits treated as short-term capital gains.
  • Mining of Bitcoins is treated as gross income.
  • Any payment in excess of $600 value must be reported.
  • Any payment of Bitcoins to a contractor must be reported and filed with a Form 1099-MISC.
  • Bitcoin payments may be subject to backup withholding.

You can read all the legalese ugliness here.


Thanks to LaserBob for the info.

Uruguayan revolution?

Posted: March 25, 2014 in Humor
Tags: , ,

During a drunken conversation I had with BeelzeBob, after we had discussed the slaughter of the Charrua, I asked him, “How many people do you suppose you would have to get rid of to turn this country back from its ridiculous commie downward spiral?”

“I dunno,” he answered, “How many people live in Uruguay?”

“3 million, mas o menos.”

“Then 3 million.”

BobQuest Grand Totals

Posted: March 16, 2014 in Travel
Tags: , , ,

Chile to Argentina:

Tolls: CLP$ 18450 (US$36)
Fuel: CLP$ 180417 (US$325)

Subtotal: US$361

Argentina to Uruguay:

Tolls, Argentina: AR$32 (US$4.06)
Fuel, Argentina: AR$2109.06 (US$267.49)

Tolls, Paraguay: PG$5000 (US$1.13)
Fuel, Paraguay: PG$342,000 (US$77.23)

Tolls, Uruguay: UY$275 (US$12.30)
Fuel, Uruguay: UY$1400 (US$62.64)

Subtotal: US$424.85

Uruguay to Chile:

Tolls: UY$325
Fuel: UY$3147

Tolls: AR$64
Fuel: AR$1502

Tolls: CL$2700 (US$8.91)

Subtotal: US$364.51


Grand Total: US$1150.36

Distance driven: 7225.9km

Average distance/day: 722.59km

Other misc items not included: 2 liters motor oil, AR$150 repair on shock mount, +-AR$200 for fuel paid for in cash at one point which I cannot remember if I included in the totals.

BobQuest return trip totals

Posted: March 16, 2014 in Travel
Tags: ,

Finally got around to organizing the bag of receipts from the return trip. Here’s the totals for that:


Tolls: UY$325
Fuel: UY$3147
Total: UY$3472 (US$157.25)


Tolls: AR$64
Fuel: AR$1502
Total: AR$1566 (US$198.35)


Tolls: CL$2700 (US$8.91)

Total outlay for return trip: US$364.51

Michelle Bachelet, the new president of Chile, recently appointed Claudia Plascencio Munoz as governer of Chiloe.

Why should you care?

Here’s why…

Claudia has been falsifying her income reports to appear as a complete indigent for years, collecting welfare money and other government assistance. This from a sociology professor, no less! She has also been entangled in two lawsuits for embezzlement of government funds that were slated for post-earthquake reconstruction.

In order to qualify for government assistance as an indigent, you really have to earn next to nothing. Anyone with a minimum wage job will not qualify. So a salaried professor?

What a great example to start off your presidency with.

Other folks in the government are already asking Muñoz to resign.

Read about it here and here.

Today I unearthed my old Argentina Pumas rugby jersey from my boxes of loot I brought back from Uruguay. And so I decided to wear it, after giving it a good wash to get rid of the Obligatory Uruguay Mold Smell (TM).

And so I went out, to do my daily stuff. At the grocery store, I went in to “la cava” which is a sort of glassed-off room where they keep the nice wines and higher-end imported liquors, looking for a bottle of Glenfarclas. They didn’t have the 15-year I was looking for but they did have a 10, so I took that. The guy was talking to me really slowly and clearly, because he figured I was an Argentine. I also noticed that he avoided using Chilean slang.

Honestly I had slipped up and forgotten to get rid of my Rio Platense accent, so it obviously fit with my appearance. It’s funny, the whole time I was on BobQuest, I kept forgetting to “sh” my “ll” and “j” my “y”, and now that I am back in Chile, I am forgetting to “y” my “j” and “ll” my “sh’s.”

And so BoozeVendorBob babied me the whole way through the process, more than he would have done had I been setting off his GringoDar. Then similar happened during checkout, the cash register lady was all step-by-step with me, handholding me through the truly complex and impossible-to-understand credit card transaction I had done a gazillion times.

And again, at the pharmacy, picking up some contact lens solution, PharmacistBob asked me something-or-other which I assumed was an inquiry whether or not I wanted the “boleta” receipt or the “factura” but it was noisy and I didn’t make it out clearly. So, “Perdon?” I asked and he took that split second that I knew was recognition of the Argentine rugby shirt, and he shook his head and corrected himself, automatically choosing the proper boleta receipt for a non-Chilean who couldn’t possibly be tax-exempting the purchase.

In the subway on the way back home, I got lost in thought and lost track of the station names. Not uncommon for me. So at the next stop, I was craning my neck to see out the window, with no luck, where we were. A check behind was blocked by another train in the station. A guy standing behind me took notice that I was looking around, and told me which one we were at. First time that had ever happened, so I nodded thanks to him. I am willing to bet he took me for a tourist who was lost.

So by simple wearing of a foreign team shirt, you are just about guaranteed to be taken as a foreigner here. I’ve shopped at these places more times than I can count, and never before have I been treated this way. Not that it is bad, it is just different, and a bit funny. No wonder the Argies feel like the Chilenos treat them like babies. Because they do. Even if they pretend not to.

So this means I must find a Chile team jersey and wear it, and see what happens. Or, to twist some knives, Peru or Bolivia.

At some point it was told to me that if you do not show up in Paraguay every 2 years, you lose your resident status. I could not find proof of this anywhere, could not get real answers out of lawyers or residency fixers, and finally StatelessBob has sent me an excellent find which spells it out legally:

From Ley 978 Migraciones.

Art. 24. –
Los extranjeros admitidos como residentes permanentes perderán esta calidad si se ausentasen injustificadamente de la República por más de tres años. Ese plazo podrá ser prolongado por la Dirección General de Migraciones en los casos que se determinen en la reglamentación. Los que por ausencia injustificada hubieran perdido su calidad de residentes permanentes, para recuperarla deberán acreditar nuevamente el cumplimiento de los requisitos legales establecidos.

Translation, legalese:

Foreigners admitted for permanent residence lose this quality if they unjustifiably depart from the Republic for more than three years. This period may be extended by the Department of Immigration in the cases determined by regulation. Those who have lost status as permanent residents, to recover, must certify compliance with the legal requirements again.

Translation, plain old English:

You lose your legal resident status if you do not set foot in Paraguay at least once every 3 years, or extend it somehow with the Department of Immigration. If you lose it, you must re-apply as if you were a new applicant. Despite the cedula being valid for 10 years.