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(Tax) Exile on Main Street

April 15, 2002

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Burrow into The Gay Blade’s enclave. The Spork Boards

His springtime collection of pastel-toned Mao jackets, Emma Goldman spectacles and Che berets might not pass muster with John Ashcroft’s fashion police, but don’t be fooled by the seasonal/sartoriopolitical excesses: Beneath The Gay Blade’s studded patent-leather cummerbund beats the heart of a True Son of Liberty.

And like his fellow Joes Public, most of this utensil’s early-April cycles were devoted to the mundane task of rendering a suitable accounting to the Internal Revenue Service; his dog-eared I Ching and oil-slick “Twister” mat bear mute witness to the cerebrum-pummeling strenuousness of his accounting efforts.

The new quadraphonic eight-track system cunningly plastered into the walls of the retiring room? A business procurement, of course, intended to put the fidelity of Apple’s iTunes to the ultimate torture test. The seven-foot-long, steel-ribbed rawhide papoose board? An entertainment expense, pure and simple. Those four pounds of psychoactive cactus buttons? A charitable contribution to the Native American Church.

And if his reasoned appeal to fiscal fairness don’t fly with the Feds, internal tax exile is always an option: This burrow’s nooks and crannies run almost as deep and twisted as its proprietor. Roll over, Mark Rich, and tell Randy Weaver the news!


Speaking of mazelike escape routes, members of the Blade’s ZZ Top-bearded high-country militia have emerged from their mountain redoubt long enough to shed a small pool of light on the Byzantine doings within the Quark compound.

Since the departure of cuddly terrycloth mommy Tim Gill back in October 2000, they confirm, the scratchy chicken-wire administration of CEO Fred Ebrahimi has become ever more restrictive; those strictures include widely reported changes to Quark’s laissez-faire culture and mass redirection of programming resources from the company’s HQ in Boulder, Colo., to an offshore hydroponics farm near New Delhi (a move foreshadowed in these virtual pages way back in July 2000).

But where’s all that code-crunching energy being channeled, Maynard? Certainly not into the recently delivered QuarkXPress 5.0, which (handsome and XMLicious though that release proved to be) took four years to concoct and still doesn’t afford native support for Mac OS X.

Instead, these hirsute sources report, Quark has trained its muskets on a bigger prize: delivering enterprise publishing’s next generation of comprehensive client-server goodness in the form of a radical rewrite to QuarkDMS (Digital Media System), the content- and asset-management software media moguls ask for by name.

Besides beefing up its current arsenal of features, the revamped QuarkDMS will reportedly cop the workflow-management chops of the company’s Quark Publishing System and armor-plate them (via Quark’s dogged XML development efforts) as a truly industrial-strength multipublishing system designed to make Adobe Systems’ HQ look like Tora Bora on a bad day.

Indeed, Ebrahimi apparently envisions this project as Ground Zero in a final, apocalyptic battle between his burgeoning colonial empire and the forces of Adobe; Il Duce has been swinging his beloved riding crop with increasing abandon of late to ensure the trains keep running on time for a fall launch date. Tutto nello stato, niente contro lo stato, nulla al di fuori dello stato!

Take it from the Blade’s school of hard knocks: Even if diapered, the IRS doesn’t consider an organ-grinder’s monkey a dependent. Got a tip of your own, possibly pertaining to the Mac industry? Drop a line to The NMR Report, and a neatly bundled mole rat could be yours!

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