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Friday, January 06, 2006
  Warped, but interesting, with broader ramifications than the absurd
Legal Affairs: "Arriving near the end of the workday, I took a chair until my number was called, and then approached the help desk, where a tax official named John Knight looked up at me with a mix of weariness and curiosity. I took a deep breath and proceeded to describe my business and the economy that sustained it. I cited publication 525. I inquired about barter income, specifically the difference, if any, between a painting for which the owner paid $6,000 bartered for half a year's rent and a virtual castle with a value of $1,200 established on eBay bartered for 10 million pieces of virtual gold. If John Knight's response was typical, the IRS hasn't done much thinking about the matter.

'O.K., so I got a fake jewel that's worth 80 million points, gives me all kinds of invincibility,' said Knight, striving doggedly to nail down what I was talking about. 'But I got two of them, or don't want to play [anymore]. And I can go on eBay and sell my jewel to some other character?'

'Uh, yeah,' I confirmed.

Knight considered the facts and offered a nonbinding opinion: 'That's so weird.' "
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