Taking the tax man to the cleaners

All it took was one phone call and I saved more than $100 — over the next 29 years!

It hit me recently that the check I cut to the county for my property taxes was $1 short so I called Contra Costa County to try and set things right with "The Man."

The last thing I need with a baby due next month is to be thrown onto the mean streets of Contra Costa County over one lousy buck.

Fortunately, the operator at the tax collector's office told me not to worry about cutting an extra check for $1 because the agency always accepts payments that are $1 or $2 shy.

With that little nugget of inside information I hit the jackpot.

If I pay in two installments that are $2 shy for the next 29 years while I finish paying off my home loan I'll come out $116 ahead.

I love sticking it to "The Man!"

* THESE COLORS SCORE RUNS:  After the United States' inspired 9-3 win versus the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic on Sunday (http://sports.espn.go.com/extra/baseball/wbbc/recap?gameId=290315115&league=wbbc) I am proud to be an American again.

I despise the Dutch almost as much as I fear and loathe Canadians so it was nice to see America kick Bert Blyleven's boys around.

What a difference one night makes.

On Saturday, the U.S. was pounded into submission by Puerto Rico, 11-1, and I was getting ready to lead an Internet campaign to have Jake Peavy stripped of his citizenship after he coughed up 6 runs in 2 innings of work.

Now I can look forward to a potential rematch against Puerto Rico and the awesome facial hair of Felipe Lopez.

* NOTE TO THE SAN DIEGO PADRES: If there's one thing the Friars' front office can learn from Sunday night's World Baseball Classic game it's this: Sign as many Korean hitters as possible.

Major League players have always complained about how hard it is to hit at Petco Park but Korea's sluggers didn't have any problem while blasting 3 homers in an 8-2 win versus Mexico.

Bum-Ho Lee? Tae Kyun Kim? Young-min Ko? Sign'em up and let'em swing away.

That can't be any worse than letting the remains of last season's 63-99 Padres roster play punchless baseball for 81 games at Petco Park this season.

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