Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

While surfing Veoh.com yesterday, I ran into this channel. A love expert. Curious as to why a woman would ever brag about dating lots of men in “6 cities, 4 countries and 2 continents,” I googled her to see if she was for real or if she was just some loon with her own video channel. Well, she is real. Lucia Demasi, dating and relationship expert, has done a good job of carving out her niche, between radio, TV interviews, a book, the Learning Annex, and of course, the web.

I’ve been out of the dating game for 10 years now and am not up to speed on what’s trendy or how what sort of street cred a love expert needs these days. So here was my naïve question- is she married?

From her website bio:

She’s caused an ex to sob hysterically when she told him she was seeing someone new; She’s inspired a man to climb a tree outside her apartment to try to find out why she stopped returning his calls; And she’s reduced a self-described “player” to a frustrated mess, forcing him to seek advice from his famous rap star friend on how to win her over. Most recently, a man flew across the country just to see her for 5½ hours and another man said, “I love you” only one hour after meeting her.

Substitute “He” for all the “she’s”  on that paragraph and, well, yikes. I still don’t know if she’s married, but I suppose it doesn’t matter. Everyone has got to earn a living. Salùd Lucia, eh.


Read Full Post »

I was going to have my 2nd appearance on ABC World News tonight. The usual drill: the producer calls in the late morning, Ronnie and Ann drop everything to find me, and multi task by reaching the producer and a client that fits the story. I speed home to get changed, meet them at my listing in Mt Vernon, and then we shoot. I’ve learned to hope that when this happens to hope for a slow news day, because the last time the Space shuttle delayed the story running for a week.

Alas, it was not to be. Some piece of garbage in Texas just shot up Fort Hood. Lots of deaths. Such a horrendous tragedy, and one of the casualties is my TV appearance. Thoughts and prayers for the real victims.

Read Full Post »

$365 Million

The record $365 Million Powerball jackpot from this past Saturday had one winning ticket in Nebraska. They have not come forward, so it remains to be seen if there was a lone winner or if the ticket was purchased by a pool of people. I always feel a twinge of disappointment when the really large totals are won by 12 guys from the same tool and dye shop as opposed to a single person, but for the winners’ sake it is good to have a little support after coming into such a life-changing windfall.
Jack Whittaker has become the poster boy for post-jackpot misery, but that probably has more to do with the sheer size of his winnings (over $100 million as opposed to the 5 or 10 million you read about with the other sob stories) than his character. The lottery organizations never tell you about the suffering winners experience after their lucky day.
I actually had a client who was a New York Lotto winner. He was the prototypical winner: a blue collar worker from the Bronx who lived paycheck to paycheck, and came into the right six numbers at the right time. The one thing the lottery couldn’t do was give him a long life, and he passed away too young this past year. I won’t disclose anything about him beyond that, but I will say this: the law of unintended consequences is alive and well even with jackpot winners. The bills may be handled, but life doesn’t suddenly get any easier for the suddenly wealthy.
At some point, I may indulge in a small fantasy about what I’d do with the money. In the meantime, I have my dollars, such as they are, and my dreams.

Read Full Post »

Ebay’s Problems

Ebay, that giant garage sale in cyberspace, is experiencing problems with fraud and counterfeit merchandise. I used Ebay rather often, buying everything from a laptop to Tupperware. However, I honestly can’t recall the last time I bought anything there because I got tired of the horrendous lack of recourse for deadbeat sellers. The first time it was half of an electronics order, where a $15 item was never shipped, and I couldn’t get anywhere with the seller. The second time, a $75 wooden children’s table never arrived. The best I could do was leave a negative feedback rating.
Even though both were purchased through Ebay subsidiary Paypal, I couldn’t get anywhere through "Safe harbor" or any other means, including contacting the sellers directly. It would seem to me that if Ebay owns Paypal, then they could penalize the deadbeat seller and refund my money. However, it was plainly obvious they couldn’t, or wouldn’t help me out, and I was caught up in the catch-22 of not being able to lodge a complaint until 30 days past the purchase, at which time I would be informed that pertinent things necessary for recourse expired after 30 days.
So to hell with them.
More thoughts at Dave Friedman’s Soul of Wit.

Read Full Post »


The two red-headed stepchildren of TV networks, UPN and (the) WB, have announced that they will be merging.
Elsewhere, Liechtenstein and Luxembourg have signed a treaty to form an economic superstate.

Read Full Post »


A significant component of my business is the mail.
  1. Postage rate increases became effective 12 days ago.
  2. Most of the discussion in the post office lobby, where I am daily, centers around how many people were caught unaware of the change. It is usually a customer speaking with the clerk, who explains it was in all the newspapers and so forth.
  3. I still cannot purchase postcard stamps at the new price, which forces me to buy 1 cent stamps, which they promptly ran out of, so now I use 2 cent stamps.
  4. The excuse for the dearth of updated postage is the overwhelming demand.
  5. In light of point #2 this makes no sense.
Why can’t they have updated postage 12 days after the fact?
And there are people that think government is a solution to our problems. They can’t even raise their revenue efficiently!

Read Full Post »


This is a rant I have harbored for many years.
Anyone who has worked for gratuities is usually a good tipper. I have, over the years, bussed tables, waited, delivered pizza, and tended bar. I always hustled and tried to be personable, so I was typically happy at closing time. I also know the sting of busting your rear end for some Prima Donna, only to get stiffed when they pay the check. It is for that reason that I have always enjoyed the sardonically titled website Bitter Waitress. Among the features on the site is the STD, or "Shitty Tippers Database," where servers submit the names and locations of persons guilty of being  less than generous. Among my favorite entries is this one on Michael Moore: "Dude, where’s my tip?" Moore appears more than once, as do John Kerry, Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears and Omorosa Manigault-Stallworth of reality TV fame.
My experience is that as ingrained as tipping is in our culture, people do not really understand it. This slob certainly doesn’t get it. Given that I have some experience in the subject, I will tell you how tips really work in American restaurants.
If you don’t tip the server, they don’t eat. It is as simple as that.
Tips aren’t an option in the sense that they are a compliment. They are literally the labor cost of the establishment. Shift pay, hourly wages, or whatever you want to call it, is simply a vehicle by which the business withholds taxes and social security. Typically, they equal less than minimum wage. The real wages are the server’s tips. I always shake my head when pompous windbags, especially those who are used to the way things are done abroad, pontificate on how tips are some optional, if-I-feel-like-it, discretionary sort of pat on the back for heroic effort. No. Tips are part of the check. If you tip someone less than 15% in the United States of America, and they have given you anything equal to or above acceptable service, you are a jerk. If you are an annoying and unpleasant customer and you tip less than 15%, you are a worthless scumbag. This is why, in many restaurants, parties of 6 or more are automatically charged an 18% gratuity. A table that size is too much time and effort for the server to risk getting stiffed.
I don’t care how they do it in France or Ireland. We aren’t there. If you don’t believe me, come out for a beer on McLean Avenue in Yonkers and we can talk to some Irish bartenders I know. They’ll set you straight. If we were in Ireland, the server would get 15% of the check automatically, so a tip there truly is a generous option. But here we don’t build the cost into the check, it is added on. Chalk it up to the entrepreneurial spirit. Maybe we like risks more, or we’ve gambled that we could do better. I don’t know why, but it is the way it is, and that is 15% or more for anything better than bad service. 17 – 20% for excellent service is in order as well.
In my experience, the best tippers are working folks: mechanics, small business owners, carpenters. The worst? Trophy wives, politicians, government employees and middle management types. Feast or famine: lawyers, doctors, the affluent and celebrities. I say that the world would be a better place if everyone waited tables for at least a summer in their life. Nobody would ever stiff anyone again after that, and they’d certainly never be rude to their waitress or bartender ever again either.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »