A brown belt for Big Guy – not that it’s important
Mon, 12/03/12 – 12:49 | Comments Off

It was testing week in karate and, as usual, Big Guy was under the gun. Not as much as he used to be, when he didn’t have a clue and had to frantically cram, but …

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Food

Picky eaters and allergy-safe cooking — the two aren’t necessarily unrelated.

Girl Gone Wonk

From policy to politics, this rant’s for you.

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The day’s events in a family way — unless something else amuses me.

School days

From preschool to kindergarten — so far

Simple Gifts

Inexpensive homemade gifts, creative parties and low-cost projects, for Christmas and beyond. Many are easy enough for children to help.

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Articles tagged with: business

When the ‘profits first’ policy fails – disastrously
Thursday, 8 Apr, 2010 – 19:02 | Comments Off
When the ‘profits first’ policy fails – disastrously

It’s not as if big coal companies ever have been benevolent societies – the song “Sixteen Tons” and its lyrics about owing your soul to the company store stemmed from a miner’s reality.
It’s not as …

Sometimes, bayonetting tradition is the smart thing to do
Sunday, 31 Jan, 2010 – 19:56 | Comments Off
Sometimes, bayonetting tradition is the smart thing to do

Bayonets – he calls them “knife guns” – crack Big Guy up.
“Why are they using those?” he asked recently as we watched one of the “Pirates of the Caribbean. “Why don’t they just use their …

Wal-Mart’s on the cutting edge of cutting costs
Tuesday, 12 Jan, 2010 – 21:37 | 2 Comments
Wal-Mart’s on the cutting edge of cutting costs

It’s early yet, but give Wal-Mart credit for the public relations coup of the year so far.
Last week, the retailer began charging 15 cents for regular bags and 50 cents for oversized ones in three …

Underwater? Go ahead, take a walk
Wednesday, 9 Dec, 2009 – 22:19 | One Comment
Underwater? Go ahead, take a walk

If you listened closely last winter, you could hear the soft drum beats in the background as Washington moved to help homeowners facing foreclosure.
“Unless we reduce the principal on loans, people will just walk away,” …

A SWAT for tearing down the walls between advertising and news
Thursday, 3 Dec, 2009 – 22:11 | Comments Off
A SWAT for tearing down the walls between advertising and news

Once upon a time, in a land long ago and far away, news was news and ads were ads and never the twain did meet.
Oh, sure, the advertisers would try and occasionally succeed. I can’t …

Shopping’s no fun? No kidding
Tuesday, 1 Dec, 2009 – 22:45 | Comments Off
Shopping’s no fun? No kidding

When it comes to shopping I’m not quite in the mainstream, but the other side doesn’t have a majority either.
According to a Rasmussen Report poll released over the weekend, 39 percent of Americans consider holiday …

Five days to stop a pandemic? Nah. It’s too much
Tuesday, 17 Nov, 2009 – 22:32 | 2 Comments
Five days to stop a pandemic? Nah. It’s too much

What would it be worth to you to stop swine flu from spreading? Would $290 a week be too much of an investment?
That’s how much it would cost to let a minimum-wage worker stay home …

Pay-per-mile auto insurance could be the new HMO
Thursday, 5 Nov, 2009 – 0:43 | 2 Comments
Pay-per-mile auto insurance could be the new HMO

Why would someone who barely drives not jump at the chance to buy “pay per mile” auto insurance, which the Brookings Institute estimates will cut most people’s yearly insurance costs $270 per car?
Well, for one, …

The next generation of business leaders will have to be flexible
Monday, 5 Oct, 2009 – 22:33 | Comments Off
The next generation of business leaders will have to be flexible

We are raising a generation of children who have had access to on-demand movies from birth. Cartoons are not a half hour every afternoon and all morning on Saturdays – they’re 24-7.
These kids are not …

Stopping credit-card fraud by stopping credit-card use
Thursday, 27 Aug, 2009 – 13:45 | Comments Off
Stopping credit-card fraud by stopping credit-card use

Want in on a little secret about how your credit card company is going to guarantee that you won’t be responsible for any fraudulent purchases?
They’re going to do it by stopping anyone – including you …

Net commerce not quite ready for prime time
Saturday, 22 Aug, 2009 – 9:31 | Comments Off
Net commerce not quite ready for prime time

A newspaper video goes viral after FOX news links to it, but the video quickly becomes inaccessible when a contractor can’t handle the traffic. The contractor adjusts within an hour, but that’s 60 minutes that …

In the right WiFi place at the right time – sort of
Wednesday, 29 Jul, 2009 – 0:29 | Comments Off
In the right WiFi place at the right time – sort of

Usually, I buy the car and someone offers zero percent financing two weeks later. Or I order the computer only to have someone wave free printers and cameras at me the next day.
Oh, but not …

Notion of banning links misses a link in why readers go online
Sunday, 28 Jun, 2009 – 23:03 | Comments Off
Notion of banning links misses a link in why readers go online

In about an hour each morning, I can browse five newspapers – two national, two state and one local – without killing a single tree.
When I’m finished with that, I survey a dozen or so …

Waiting for the Net to fizzle? Don’t
Wednesday, 17 Jun, 2009 – 18:58 | Comments Off
Waiting for the Net to fizzle? Don’t

Been sitting back on your haunches and dismissing this whole online thing as a preoccupation of the kids, the techies and the well-heeled?
You might want to stand up so you can get a clearer look …

Peanuts and pets at altitude
Friday, 29 May, 2009 – 22:34 | 2 Comments
Peanuts and pets at altitude

Want to kick off a cat fight? Confine hundreds of people in a cramped, narrow tube 30,000 feet above the ground and put them in proximity to something they can’t stand.
In the case of Southwest …

Rules are rules are rules. But …
Monday, 18 May, 2009 – 12:20 | Comments Off
Rules are rules are rules. But …

Evan’s overweight and tried to buy two seats on an airplane so he wouldn’t inconvenience fellow travelers.
That’s a good thing, right? Courteous and considerate, not to mention expensive for Evan.
Delta said “no.” We have rules …

Don’t you just love being a cliche?
Friday, 15 May, 2009 – 23:52 | One Comment
Don’t you just love being a cliche?

The salesman where I bought my Blackberry cost himself a bit of extra commission last week when he included a hot pink cover in the pile of accessories he was pushing on me.
Even Big Guy …

A SWAT with a rolled-up newspaper for the nonprofit proposal
Friday, 27 Mar, 2009 – 1:29 | Comments Off
A SWAT with a rolled-up newspaper for the nonprofit proposal

The obvious punch line to Sen. Benjamin Cardin’s bill that would make it easier for newspapers to become nonprofit organizations is that many companies have mastered the “nonprofit” part.
The reasons are partly economic, partly corporate.
The …

Tales from the customer service crypt
Thursday, 26 Mar, 2009 – 13:30 | Comments Off
Tales from the customer service crypt

Sometimes, the easiest answer is “no.”
It takes little time to say it and requires no effort to implement. I’ll admit that too many times it’s my go-to response with the guys, when I’m too tired …

You’re right: The commoners just don’t get AIG
Tuesday, 17 Mar, 2009 – 1:18 | 2 Comments
You’re right: The commoners just don’t get AIG

Go ahead, tell us we just don’t understand.
Patiently explain why the $165 million in bonuses American International Group is paying 400 people are necessary to keep “some of these brainiacs in their seats.” Tell us …

Watching an industry pass on in slow motion
Tuesday, 3 Mar, 2009 – 1:44 | 3 Comments
Watching an industry pass on in slow motion

My God, this is like watching an old lover stricken with cirrhosis and emphysema hobble around with a drink in one hand and a cigarette in the other.
Your heart aches for him. You want to …

Evil Microsoft’s latest trick: Giving it away
Tuesday, 24 Feb, 2009 – 1:20 | Comments Off
Evil Microsoft’s latest trick: Giving it away

Funny how a company can’t even offer something for free without critics landing on it with both feet.
Such was the case Sunday when Microsoft rolled out “Elevate America,” a three-year program that will offer technical …

How a 7-year-old law surprised the auto industry
Tuesday, 27 Jan, 2009 – 3:02 | Comments Off
How a 7-year-old law surprised the auto industry

Did auto makers fall for the conspiracy theories that President Bush would declare martial law just before the election and remain in office forever?
Not that they could be faulted for fantasizing about that. Up until …

Working with food-allergic families makes good business sense
Sunday, 25 Jan, 2009 – 12:30 | Comments Off
Working with food-allergic families makes good business sense

There is one, and only one, pizza place we go to in town.
We don’t even go there often, because we’ve cut back drastically on eating out. Still, the guys deserve a treat once in a …

Make sure that perky, agreeable personality shines through online
Wednesday, 14 Jan, 2009 – 1:34 | One Comment
Make sure that perky, agreeable personality shines through online

Note to self: Do a 180 on entire parenting philosophy or the guys will never be fired at Finish Line. Or Best Buy, Circuit City or Blockbuster.
I’m too set in my curmudgeonly ways, so it’s …

Even in bankruptcy lessons not learned
Monday, 24 Nov, 2008 – 12:49 | Comments Off
Even in bankruptcy lessons not learned

Dear Mervyns,
Oh, how I loved you in my single days.
I’ll admit: I was more of a blitzkrieg buyer that a bargain hunter back then, rolling through the store to restock on professional but stylish …

Motrin’s slings and arrows problem due to having a quiver full of quiet
Sunday, 16 Nov, 2008 – 23:36 | 2 Comments
Motrin’s slings and arrows problem due to having a quiver full of quiet

Someone in that room knew.
Maybe it was a junior executive with Taxi New York, the agency that won the $18 million Motrin account in August. Just returning from maternity leave and trying to reassert herself, …

Kids and Allergies: Throwing out the allergic kid not good business
Tuesday, 4 Nov, 2008 – 0:31 | Comments Off
Kids and Allergies: Throwing out the allergic kid not good business

Talk about dogmatic adherence to rules that backfired big time for a Washington State skating rink.
The rink has a policy that any food not purchased on site must be eaten in the lobby. That requirement …