Recently Filed in Musings

Everyone seems to have some sort of diet issue these days. Whether you're avoiding gluten, nuts, dairy, or anything else, here's what I've learned from over 20 years as a vegetarian (2 of them vegan).

And now a counterbalance to my last post...

Today's Mercury News has a great article about Hector Vega, a San Jose valedictorian who has come forward as an illegal alien. He came to the US just 5 years ago speaking no English, and not only got out of remedial language classes within a year, he recently graduated with a 4.0.

Kudos to Santa Clara University who grants scholarships to worthy students regardless of immigration status, and to Coca Cola who did not have a standing policy but stood behind their scholarship as well.

While Vega's visibility is building support for his eventually becoming a citizen, it has raised his profile in a country where an Immigration and Customs official will state "Anyone who's in this country illegally is in violation of our immigration laws and is subject to arrest." Meanwhile, it would be nice to see the DREAM Act passed. After all, the contribution one has already made to an adoptive country should be at least as important as having tidy paperwork.

A few days ago, my Mercury News 60 second business break e-mail listed three companies restating earnings—two in response to formal or informal regulatory investigations.

Half the time when I log into the Wall Street Journal there's yet another mention of options back-dating. These were cases where executives were miraculously granted options on days the price took a dip, such as these to one CEO. The Journal crunched this as 1 in 300 billion odds but the CEO called it "blind luck":

chart of three options grants

One of the columns I read regularly in the Wall Street Journal is McCartney's "Middle Seat" about the airline industry. He writes today "With liquids banned from passenger cabins..."


I'm high maintenance, I admit it. Not only am I picky about my toiletries, I'm also a vegetarian which means I'm schlepping food on flights. This means that I pack a lot of gels, lotions, and liquids when I travel. If it's a short business trip, I'm doing my best to get everything in a (barely) allowed pair of carry-on bags because in most airports checking will add 15+ minutes to check-in and 45+ minutes to exit.

Right now the TSA is listing this as an "enhanced security" measure so I hope they get carry-on screening sorted out soon. I figure I have a better chance of that happening (slim) than airports developing efficient checked baggage handling for 50% more load than they're currently managing (none).

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Google has snuck out yet another service (no doubt to be terminally in Beta). This one I heard about through an article about eBay stock dropping, despite having both AdWords and Analytics accouts.

I find Google Checkout very intriguing for two reasons.

First, they've undercut most of the reputable merchant account services, even Costco which was the least expensive last time I crunched the rates. Not only are the basic discount rate, per-transaction and monthly/annual fees lower, the fact that you don't need a separate payment gateway like Authorize.Net for real-time processing is another savings. Their simplified rates are also a nice change from the bait and switch experience with many merchant services companies. Many will advertise rates which can only be achieved by brick and mortar or high volume vendors, and it's only when you dig through the fine print that you learn you'll be paying a full percentage point more.

The trailers for Nickelodeon's "Barnyard" coming out in August depict a group of 4 cows who have very male voices—and udders. How many people forgot to mention the emperor was running around without clothes?

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Here it is, a picture perfect Seattle June weekend, and what am I doing? Sitting inside with a pot of mint lemon tea, a bowl of dry Cheerios, and blogging about TV as I miss today's SIFF flick. I hate being sick.

I killed my cable in January, when the most recent rate hike put my Expanded Basic—no premium, no digital, no PPV—over $50/month. Since I only watched a handful of shows regularly and also had a TiVo subscription to grab eps at odd hours (TiVo rocks), it just wasn't making sense when I could get box sets on Netflix.

That was the rational financial justification. The emotional justification is I was tired of giving $50/month to a company that ticked me off.