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Matthew:

My fiancée recently gave me some vintage Varga[cq] pinups, part of a series of drawings from a calendar, year unknown. For each month there is the expected hottie and a bit of rhyming verse appropriate to that month. The one for March caught my attention: "March taxes all my patience/ For Daddy's such a crank,/ You ought to hear him swearing/ At that blankety-blankety-blank!" Was tax day at one time March 15 rather than April 15? When did it move and why?

-- Mike Elliott, Vista

Every March 14, the IRS staff would be sitting around yawning, flying paper airplanes, twiddling thumbs or whatever was handy and twiddlable. On March 15, the office doors would open and in would flood all the nation's personal and corporate income tax returns for the year before. And every year the same routine. In 1954 someone got the big idea to give us an extra month to file our personal taxes to give the IRS a month's head start on processing the corporate returns. The new April deadline went into effect in 1955, right around the prime of Peruvian artist Alberto Vargas's popularity. He drew his exaggeratedly perfect, naughty Vargas girls for Esquire magazine, later for Playboy, and for just about every fighting guy in World War II. (Esquire called them "Varga" girls.) Antonio was definitely a leg man. A Vargas girl makes Barbie look like Bella Abzug.

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