“Business Expenses” as Tax Write-Offs

Vanguard Logo

Too bad businesses can write-off their costs of doing business because, at least in the case of Vanguard, the mutual fund company, that makes them sloppy and wasteful.

I had an account at Vanguard that I closed oh, roughly eight or nine years ago.  Today, as I have every year since, I got a letter asking me to verify my beneficiary designation for the account and to call if I wanted to make changes.

I presume Vanguard can write-off the cost of the paper and the postage for this thing and meanwhile, I can only wonder when I’ll stop getting them.  Geezus.

September 29, 2014 at 1:23 PM 2 comments

Sunday Treat: “Ode to Joy” Flash Mob in Hong Kong

There has been a growing global phenomena over the few years or so for musicians to organize flash mobs to play Beethoven’s Ode to Joy in places like shopping centers and town squares, bringing unexpected happiness to those fortunate enough to be in the area.

As a tribute to the pro-democracy activists who’ve been demonstrating in Hong Kong over the weekend, here’s one that took place there last year featuring the Hong Kong Festival Orchestra.  The music and singing are spectacular and the crowd explodes with appreciation at the end.  Take 8:30 minutes out of your Sunday and treat yourself to it:

September 28, 2014 at 4:12 PM Leave a comment

Sexism That’s Tucked Into Nooks and Crannies

Look at this headline from the U.K.’s Daily Mail:

Daily Mail 9-28-14

Image via DailyMail.co.uk)

It uses two words that, when used together, are one of my pet peeves:  “Man and wife.”  From now on let’s make that either man and woman or husband and wife.


September 28, 2014 at 12:07 PM Leave a comment

Japanese Mountain Climbers Flee When Mountain Erupts

When you’re hiking in the mountains, particularly above tree line, and an electrical storm moves in, the first thing you should do is get the hell Off.  The.  Mountain.  That’s happened to me many times.  It’s scary.  But that’s been put into a bit of a different perspective by this:

Japan Volcano Mt Ontake Erupts, Injuring Climbers and Forcing Evacuations

At least one person has been seriously injured following an eruption at Japan’s Mount Ontake volcano.

Several others, including mountain climbers caught out by the sudden and unexpected eruption on Saturday, have also been reported injured according to Japanese media reports.

A number of people have been evacuated from a mountain lodge near to the volcano while hundreds remain stranded. Aircraft have had their routes diverted.


And this:



September 27, 2014 at 3:30 PM Leave a comment

At Pre-Launch Presser, First Female Russian Cosmonaut to Visit the Int’l Space Station is Asked About Her Hair

yelena serova via wikipedia

(Image via Wikipedia)

Will this kind of thing e-v-e-r end?

The first Russian female cosmonaut to visit the International Space Station criticised journalists for focusing on her hair and appearance during a pre-launch news conference.

Elena Serova became the fourth woman in Russia to enter space when she joined the mission to the International Space Station (ISS) on Friday. She has spent seven years training for the flight.

But during a conference with two of her male colleagues ahead of the launch, the 38-year-old was forced to refocus questions from the press, who appeared more interested in how she would wash her hair in space and continue her relationship with her daughter while in space.

The BBC reports that after initially humouring reporters, she responded to one who asked her how she would maintain her hair style in space with: “Can I ask a question – aren’t you interested in the hair styles of my colleagues?”


Geezus.  Serova trains for seven years for the flight and at the pre-launch press conference she’s asked how she’ll wash her hair up there? Aye yie yie.  It’s enough to make me scream.

September 26, 2014 at 3:28 PM Leave a comment

Army News Service: Obama Orders Boots on the Ground in Iraq

Homepage of the United States Army at army.mil:

(Image via Army.mil)

Yo, Americans, are you all-in with your tax Dollar$ and your sons and daughters on this?  This is the beginning of a new  war that was supposed to be over but will probably last for years.  We’ll spend untold billions of dollars.  Again, raise your hand if you’re in.

From the “official homepage of the United States Army:”

1st Infantry Division HQ Deploying to Iraq

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Sept. 25, 2014) — Soldiers from the “Big Red One” 1st Infantry Division headquarters will deploy to Iraq next month from Fort Riley, Kansas, DOD officials announced today.

“Yesterday the secretary (of Defense) signed a deployment for about 500 Soldiers from 1ID headquarters,” Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said at a Pentagon news conference.


Something tells me that those who’ve already died in Iraq are screaming from the grave:  Don’t do it! It isn’t worth dying for!  Nothing good will come of it!



September 25, 2014 at 7:10 PM Leave a comment

Ebola: One Million More People Placed in Quarantine in Sierra Leone Today

Ebola Virus via

(Image via CDC.gov)

Wow.  This is not going to end well, at least for these people.  I would think chances are good they’re going to panic (who wouldn’t) and riot and who knows what else.  Ugh.  Just an awful, awful terrifying situation:

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) — Sierra Leone on Thursday took the dramatic step of sealing off districts where more than 1 million people live as it and other West African countries struggle to control the Ebola outbreak that has claimed thousands of lives.

With three new districts under quarantine, about one-third of Sierra Leone’s 6 million people are now living in areas where their movements are heavily restricted. In parts of Sierra Leone and in neighboring Liberia where these cordons have been used in this outbreak, food prices have soared, some markets have shut and the delivery of goods has slowed.

“There is a desperate need to step up our response to this dreaded disease,” the Sierra Leone government said. “The prognosis is that without additional interventions or changes in community behavior, the numbers will increase exponentially and the situation will rapidly deteriorate.”

This is worrisome because two months ago the government put one million people in a different region under quarantine, which apparently didn’t do any good:

Two districts near the outbreak’s epicenter – Kenema and Kailahun – were isolated about two months ago. In all, the movement of more than 2 million people is now restricted in Sierra Leone.



September 25, 2014 at 5:11 PM Leave a comment

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