Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Break Out the Purina!

I was reading Bottomline -- a long-time favorite quick read of mine. In it, there was a blurb from author Barbara Weltman (who wrote J.K. Lasser's 1001 Deductions and Tax Breaks 2008: Your Complete Guide to Everything Deductible), on unusal tax deductions. Here's one: if you put food out for feral cats so that they drive away the mice from your place of business, the expense may be tax deductible. if you provide tech kibble (pizza and bagels) to your worker bees to keep them from going feral, can you claim the expense?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Does the idea of cellphone use on planes send you soaring or leave you flat?

Air France is testing in-flight cellphone service on their Airbus A-318's in Europe. In the first part of the 6 month trial, users can send and receive text messages (including pictures) as well as emails. At the end of the trial, passengers can use the on-plane system, Mobile OnAir, to place and receive phone calls. The costs for these services will be charged to the user's mobile device account at standard international rates.


Thinking about this left me wondering as I consider my upcoming trips to France whether it's better to having that fellow passenger going on to me about his recent gall bladder surgery or to some poor, faceless sod on the other end of a phone line.


PS: Bonus points to me for skipping all the "Snakes on a Plane" references I was dying to work in here like, "I can't stand all these mutha... cellphones on this mutha... plane. OK, so I didn't exactly resist.....sigh*

You can chime in here or read what others said on at

Friday, January 18, 2008

Venus If You Will...

Imagine, if you will. It's the Australian Open. Venus Williams is readying herself for a return volley. The commentators are, um, commenting about....her behind.

Now, I'm of two minds about this. The announcer, clearly a fan of Venus' assets (couldn't resist) left the door open for male announcers everywhere to wax prosaic (and suggestively) about women's bodies. Not a good thing. The other thing is a strange turn of mind (so follow me). World opinion about Black women has certainly changed to a state where Black men, still rapping about Black women as "bitches," "hos" or "skeezers" are being bypassed by other men who, startled by the beauty of Halle Berry, Beyonce, Garcelle Beauvais, Janet Jackson and others, are gaining appreciation for the beauty of the darker berries.


Do you read?

Markoff and Pogue Interview With Steve Jobs 

Steve Jobs on the Kindle:

“It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don’t read anymore. Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don’t read anymore.”

So, either (a) Jobs think the Kindle is a bad concept; or (b) Apple is working on a portable e-book reader.

Blogged with Flock

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Quality TV for the Highbrow Set

Simply the very best in television. See, before the spector of writer's strikes, television was exemplary. Thirty years ago to this very date...the greatest moment of entertainment occurred.


Often imitated:

Never duplicated:

(H/T to the good folks at Rising Hegemon)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


There's now a Youtube for ideas. It's called and it should be a barn burner. It asks well-known thinkers like Richard Branson and Moby to weigh-in on topics...and then asked us "regular Josephines" to do so as well.

Trouble is, I've tried to get to the site (it's in beta mode) and haven't gotten there yet. More when I find it.

Friday, January 11, 2008

A Soldier's Final Blog Post

This is one blog post that left me very, very, terribly sad, thinking about the other solidiers who've done the same--even my brother, who shares the same, delightfully oddball references as Andy and who could have written a post like this while serving in Iraq 1. Having said all that, I can say I also laughed like a goon when I read it.

Major Andrew Olmstead, who was re-deployed to Iraq, was the first US soldier killed in 2008--struck by a sniper's bullet. Before leaving for Iraq, he prevailed upon a friend, Hillary Bok, to post this, his final blog entry in the event of his death. She cried when she read it months ago, and, like a good friend, she posed it on 4 January, the day of his death. Be sure to listen to her conversation with NPR's Madeleine Brand.

It contains --no. I'm not going to even try to comment on what he wrote. That would be weird, like the gold leafed roses you can get at Sybaris--completely unnecessary.

January 04, 2008

Final Post

"I am leaving this message for you because it appears I must leave sooner than I intended. I would have preferred to say this in person, but since I cannot, let me say it here."
G'Kar, Babylon 5

"Only the dead have seen the end of war."

This is an entry I would have preferred not to have published, but there are limits to what we can control in life, and apparently I have passed one of those limits. And so, like G'Kar, I must say here what I would much prefer to say in person. I want to thank hilzoy for putting it up for me. It's not easy asking anyone to do something for you in the event of your death, and it is a testament to her quality that she didn't hesitate to accept the charge. As with many bloggers, I have a disgustingly large ego, and so I just couldn't bear the thought of not being able to have the last word if the need arose. Perhaps I take that further than most, I don't know. I hope so. It's frightening to think there are many people as neurotic as I am in the world. In any case, since I won't get another chance to say what I think, I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity. Such as it is.

Greg the Bunny, cover art from DVD"When some people die, it's time to be sad. But when other people die, like really evil people, or the Irish, it's time to celebrate."
Jimmy Bender, "Greg the Bunny"

"And maybe now it's your turn
To die kicking some ass."
Freedom Isn't Free,
Team America

Be sure to read the rest...

Goodbye Andy.

Cross-posted at the American Values Alliance or read what others posted on

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Are we a little too sensitive these days?

I spent a number of years leading diversity and anti-harassment trainings (back as far as the 1980's) and used to be an AA/EEO officer. As a woman and ethnic minority, I was a fearsome thing; let me tell you, though my views were much more moderate than people, on first glance, thought.

I'm now of the opinion that "sensitivity training" has left people, well, sensitive. Whites and men seem to have shifted from blatant, though mostly unintentional, bigotry to tiptoeing around on eggshells. It's this tendency to try to "look good" (See? I'm cool.) and not be accused of being a ___insert your poison here___ that, I think is getting in the way of being authentic and building solid workplace relationships. I’m not sure whether we have the stones to clash with each other over projects so we can find that “shining spark of innovation.” I’ve also seen instance after instance where men, fearing even the possibility of an accusation of harassment, refuse to meet with women over lunch or at closed door meetings. Losing our ability to share tacit knowledge assets (like the things a mentor pulls you aside to tell you...the kind of inside dope that helps you find resources, approach people more effectively and, hell, get things done), to my mind, is an untenable loss in the workplace.

What do you think (your experience and opinions are welcome here) and, better yet, what do you think will turn the tide here?

Thanks for weighing in on this question, which I've been thinking about for some time now. I’m looking forward to some juicy and productive discussion.

You can chime in here or read what others posted on