Blog Review: Flyaway Cafe
Monday, July 31, 2006
What I like about it - nice design (easy to read), with long meaty articles.
What made up my mind was her review of The Lebanese Taverna, one of my all time favorite easy places to eat in the DC area. I had no idea it had so many sub-eateries scattered in the area.
Be sure to read the piece on cell phones and airplanes from a real live flight attendant. I probably would have ended up the politeness tips with "or we'll kill you and give your overhead space to a more deserving member of the public." But that's why I'm not in a service job.
Anyway, excellent blog, lots of good content, right onto the blogroll it goes!
According to the ever so predictable people at Business Week, female oriented phone accessories are the next big thing. Now, just because Moto has sold 700K or so pink Razr phones doesn't mean this erases my memory of BW touting Volvo's new "female designed" car.
Can you imagine three women showing up at meeting wearing the same "jewelry?"
Not freaking likely. Nope, if they're going to sell bluetooth to women, they're going to have to find women who don't mind looking as silly as men while at work. Based on my corporate learnings, that won't be all that hard.
(Ok, just got three emails from female readers complaining that we are starting a "hot chick Monday." Nope, but good idea. I'll do it if I can get both male and female pix.)
AA Flight Schedule in Outlook
Now why didn't they do that 10 years ago?
Sunday, July 30, 2006
I remember one chain (Residence Inn?) where they used to bake choco chippie cookies. I had to switch to Courtyard because I was eating a half dozen a day, usually right before bedtime.
I was in the lobby of my very very nice hotel in Chicago and this guy comes sailing through with a platter of fresh steaming cinammon sugar buns. Five minutes later he comes back through with another one. So I waved him over and asked if I could have one and he informed me that they weren't for eating but for "atmospherics."
It did smell nice, but it made me very very hungry and when I got to my meeting I had three of the crappy little danishes they always put out.
I mean, you come home from the crappy chain dinner of your choice, half in the bag, and you see a plate of chocolate chip cookes.
Bad, very bad.
Air Conditioning Revisited
During the several days that it was 112 degrees and I had no AC, all I wanted to do was build an IED and kill the AC guy who kept driving right past my office and helping other people. In fact, I wanted to kill everyone who didn’t agreeMaybe it's not democracy we should be exporting, but air conditioning!
with me on just about any point whatsoever.
But maybe there is a serious point here - you can just about count on airports like Newark, JFK, LAX, and Austin to be hot and crowded on a Friday afternoon. Plus half the planes are gonna be late or cancelled or full of standbys. And yet we rush to the airport in our suits and pantyhose (ok, really, one or the other), cram into the bars, and choke down the BK food. (I guess we're just lucky not to be performing that particular dance with our children in tow!)
How much would you pay for a gym where you could workout and take a shower and change into your casual clothes? Easy $50 from me to the first person who figures that out.
Reader Email - Receipt Guideline
Saturday, July 29, 2006
I emailed him back to let them find-the-boots, if you know what I mean.
There's lot of good advice in there for new business travelers, perhaps the best one being learning how to say "receipt please" in the local language. I understand that "avoid alcohol when flying" is the party line, but how are you supposed to survive those long flights completely sober?
One odd thing about the article is that it pretends that the tips have more validity because they're offered by Joe Schmo, head of IT at some MegaCorp. But the best tips will come from people that don't sign their names...
I mean, think about it, if some guy has his secretary book him a business (or first!) class ticket and then expense his entire Amex bill, do you think he has anything to tell you?
Here's a few tips that you won't see in articles like that:
- When traveling in a third world country where the exchange rate is favorable and you're staying in the same hotel for more than a few days, introduce yourself to the floor attendant and lay a big tip on him. Everything will go much smoother.
- Always get the hotel to send a driver to pick you up or drop you off at the airport. Alternatively get an account with Boston Coach and use them every time - the heck with the hack line in Chicago on a rainy day.
- Never underestimate the power of an American $20 bill. It can get you out of most problems.
- If you call the airline and they don't give you the answer you want, hang up and call back later. You'll eventually find someone on the other end of the phone who will give you what you want. Write down their name and the time/date. They won't honor it, but you can use it as leverage to get free miles or extra upgrades.
- When in doubt, just ask yourself, what would boondoggie do? (Hint: it involves not getting caught doing whatever it is we'd do!)
Good travelling and don't lose your boots!
Credit Card Blocking
Friday, July 28, 2006
What is blocking? Read this disaster story:
I guess I've been using Amex too long - just don't have problems with stuff like that. But I did like the part where the hotel made it worse and worse and worse.
I checked in to an extended stay hotel (Staybridge Suites) for a 30-day stay, and was smart enough to know they'd want to block 30 days at $80/day. I asked them to back it down to a week at a time, which the clerk said she'd do. I wake up the next morning with the week's block along with the 30 day block, effectively locking $3K up on my debit card. I called my bank, they needed a fax to Visa Merchant Services, which I had the desk guy at the hotel put together.
No dice this morning, and they blocked ANOTHER $660 from me to total my hostage funds at $3700. I did get the bank and the hotel to kiss and make up and got the 30 day charge knocked off, which was pretty painless. Chase telephone banking knew the right answer and got me squared away pretty quick. Still, know what you're asking for and don't assume the desk clerks know what the hell they're doing even if you're asking.
Now what I could really use would be some way to get my ^&*!@# expense reports approved and reimbursed before my flipping Amex bill was due!
Actually, I think DBD may be the Pogo of our day. Ok, that's overstating it, but I do read it ever day.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Last month we had to go to Lithuania for a conference on something we can't remember too well because of the local booze being, apparently, what Mutual of Omaha uses to stun and transport rhinos. (You will remember that we have a passing family resemblance due to expense account dinners....)
Anyway, what the heck is up with the service industry in the former Soviet Bloc? The hotel was nice enough, if you like Saddem-esque excesses in marble, and it was certainly very clean. But the staff was, to say the least, krep.
First I had to argue with the staff to get the room I reserved (non smoking king - how hard is that?) How is that strange, you ask? Well, it was my freaking conference and I was bringing 25 people from around the world to the hotel.
In the US they would have met me with the manager. In Hyderabad they'd have met me with the entire staff (wearing flowers if it was Friday). In Singapore there would have been booze and cigars in my room.
So in the end I had to upgrade to a suite in order to get a non-smoking room with a bed where my feet didn't hang over the end.
Yes, silly people, of course I expensed the upgrade, even though a suite is against policy. Think of the money I saved the company on health care due to sinus infection and the cost of a black market Z-pack!
Ok, this is not something you whip out at the conference table and no-one notices.
But maybe you're at a table full of slash-dotters so that's what you're looking for.
Very very expensible. Unless you're still working for a dot bomb.
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
It's not that I care that my employer Gigantitaco has to pay for it. They don't care. It's just offensive that I have to go to all the trouble of singing into the flipping ORD wifi provider for an hour for $9.95.
So I was very intersted to see in Gizmodo today about FON in Spain acquiring 1M of the last gen wifi and preparing to distribute them for $5 each to people who promise to mesh them into a public network.
Sign me up!
I'm thinking getting through security at DFW might be a chore. Plus the beating they'd give this guy anyway. (Have you noticed that the tough cafeteria ladies all now work at the TSA there?)
FTB votes this a thumbs down for travel.
W W W Wonderful!
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Ok, so the only connection between this Puma Trainaway setup and the W is that you could wear this in and still get a drink in the bar full of tragically hip bulemics.
That and Puma say that you could buy it in the gift shop.
Hmmmm, betcha this costs exactly the same as lunch with two clients, no?
I give you Mogo, the first mouse to fit in your PCMCIA slot.
Yes, yes, the ergonomics will be horrid, though these guys liked it.
And we don't know the price, but what price happiness? Especially when the company will pay for "reasonable computer peripherals related to business travel?"
Top Boots, my friends, Top Boots.
Soup and Three Martoonis
Monday, July 24, 2006
Side note: why can't we ever have a corporate travel policy designed by someone who used to, you know, travel?Let's just say that he has much received wisdom about proper receipt maintenance!
On second thought, it'd be full of working and effective anti-Boots rules, so never mind.
On the other hand, through the judicious use of trackbacks (who thought of that? great stuff!) there is this particular tight-a** who seems to think that someone is being ripped off by expensing alcohol, stuff stolen whilst travelling, etc, etc.
Ok, let's think about this. You leave home on Sunday afternoon, Delta breaks the handle and wheels on your Tumi (when you gate check it for the RJ!), you spend all week in Cleveland (oh tempora, oh mores!), carry the freaking rollaboard home, and you arrive Friday night around 11;30 to find that your car has a scratch on the door from the Airport parking lot.
I will say it now: no matter what your expense policy is, you are a fool if the company doesn't pay for the repair. One way or the other.
And if you need to consume a significant percentage of your bodyweight in Vodka to make it all work, expense that too!
How Many Do You Need?
Well, how many movies do you watch on a trip?
Ok, well, if that doesn't motivate you, then, could you imagine that the cool blue diody display might save your life in a darkened hotel room full of smoke?
Then put down the Cohiba and get this spiffy 8G microdrive.
With smmooottthhh blue diode light. Only $150 or so.
Fun With Excel
Sunday, July 23, 2006
But if you use Excel the following trick might get your attention:
Let's say the employee recently took a client out to lunch and is claiming a fairly reasonable $100 for it. This sounds good to the manager, so she approves the request and sends it on to the payroll team. Unbeknownst to her, the $100 in the expense report was not a static value added by the employee, but rather a formula that would change to the fraudulent amount of $1,000 when viewed by the payroll employees. The payroll guys see the value for $1,000, verify that it was approved by the manager, and promptly over-pay the employee to the tune of $900.Ok, lemmie break that down for all the other PHB's (PHB = Pointy Haired Boss in Dilbert) out there: if your boss looks at the spreadsheet it says lunch for four (cough) was $100, but when accounting brings it up do do data entry the amount is $1000 and the total increases.
Wow, that is really cool. No, I mean it's BAD BAD BAD.
What would be even WORSE would be if the spreadsheet was opened in, say, six months that it would go back (permanently) to $100 and thereby confuse the audit department forever.
Whatta pair of boots!
No Air Conditioning?
Saturday, July 22, 2006
What is it with the rest of the world (outside the US)? I'm sitting in the British Airways First Class lounge in Heathrow Terminal 4 in the afternoon and it's easily more than 90 degrees. I don't think it was even that hot outside. I don't expect it to be air conditioned to a cool 70 degrees like it is in civilized places, but why does the rest of the world think conditions that would normally cause heat stroke are acceptable in a premium lounge? If my company is going to lay out $10K for a ticket, you would think I wouldn't have to sweat through my layover. The conditions are actually much more tolerable out in the terminal.Well, my advice is to get into the lounge, drink as much premium booze for free as you can before you start sweating it out, and then go back out in to the terminal and enjoy a Czar Nikolai Filet of Salmon at the Seafood Bar. No use dropping dead of protein deficiency!
BA usually does an excellent job all around, but this is the third time this year that I've been in this lounge and it's never even approached comfortable.
Eastern Block Booze
Friday, July 21, 2006
I am in part of the former Soviet Union - it's very cosmopolitan, the ladies are lovely, and if I felt less hungover, I would try to spell Checkoslovokia.
Last night, at a very very nice eatery I ordered a Johnny Walker Black (even I would not try to expense the Blue) and got what tasted like cheap Canadian whiskey. Possibly something that was supposed to taste like Seagrams.
So the next glass I ordered was Crown Royale. What came was completely different and much rawer. "Well" whiskey for mixed drinks in a college town raw.
I can only presume that they have brands of fake whiskey.
The next glass of "Crown" was even worse - a completely different rotgut from the previous one. More like a cheap brand of flavored vodka, really. Fanta maybe.
Then it stabilized and I got the same thing for a few more drinks.
Today I am dying, and I will never buy booze in the former-USSR again.
Bummer. Stick to the beer, I guess.
Thursday, July 20, 2006
PDA, maybe, but cell phone?
Personally, I prefer a nice bottle of booze and lots of tape and blank paper.
Then I can expense the booze as a business related expense, natch.
GG on "Retreats"
I'd recently accepted a new job, and my prospective boss called to tell me that his division was being rewarded with a five-day all-expenses-paid trip to the Bahamas. This adventure was scheduled to happen a few weeks before my official start date, but he invited me along anyway, thinking it might be a swell way for me to bond with the crew. Now, the thought of meeting my future colleagues unser such circumstances - shirtless, sunburned, and hungover - wasn't exactly appealing. but I like palm trees and string bikinis [ed - or speedo's for our female readers, natch] as much as teh next guy [ed - gal], so might have scammed the free vacation if the guy hadn't gon on to explain that this even was not a good old corrporate boondoggel but an elaborate planned "retreat."
Ok, well, that is beautiful in its own way.
When you come home from a retreat you have a binder. When you come home from a boondoggle you have a logo'd golf cap, balls, a sunburn, and a hangover. Or silk shorts, whatever.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
I emailed him back to let them find-the-boots, if you know what I mean.
A Pleasanton, CA, engineering manager walked away from a work team of more than 100 people that he’d trained, stock options and a generous pay package after the administrator refused to give him administrative staff or revenue-and-profit information to calculate bonuses and finish reports.Wonder if that was before ORCL bought SEBL?
Personally I'd have worked on my tan and my abs first. (Old joke: My six pack is behind my twelve pack!)
Site Review: One Bag
Check out the wisdom at One Bag!
Personally, my rule sorta works the opposite of the "how much can you pack in" theory. If it don't fit in easily I leave the darn thing at home.
If you really need it, you can buy it and bring it back with you.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
When it is not possible to get receipts for these expenses (e.g., portageSure, as soon as someone tells me what portage is.
in remote locations), submit an itemized list indicating what the expenses were.
If You Want a Great Meal
If you want a great meal, try a restaurant. If you want to get there fast, try an airplane.Alas, the two never seem to go together.
Which I why I've been honing the following trick: Eat before the flight.
Most airports have a good place to eat nearby. If you're flying international on an overnight across the pond, get to the airport 2 hours early, check-in, and then take a cab (or a car service if you have a black belt in boot hiding) to a nearby restaurant. Most airports seem to have a very good steakhouse nearby.
Have a nice meal and a few glasses of wine, then back to the airport to clear security as you glance at the giant line at the international ticket counter. Get on the plane, have a few drinks, and drift off into blissful slumber (not an an AA Business Class seat!) while your fellow passengers are "enjoying" their in-flight meal. This adds at least two hours to your sleep time. Just get the window seat so the Flight Attendant isn't passing stuff over you.
The only question for you, dear bootster, is whether you'd rather have a great meal on the expense account, or a "free" meal on the plane.
My Favorite Meal [Airline Category]
Monday, July 17, 2006
Ok, not my favorite, but way up there...
A bacon roll with brown sauce and a glass of Johnny Walker Blue. For free, in a British Airways First Class lounge or as a snack in BA First Class.
BA First Lounges (and First Class service) have the best booze list in the air as far as I'm concerned. Where else can you get a complimentary bottle of JWB?
I noticed a bottle was almost empty at a BA lounge this weekend and informed the attendant. No problem sir, we'll get another one. When I asked how many of these they go through in a day, the answer was "5 or 6." They're going through $1,200/day in Scotch! Take that, American Airlines, you penny-pinching losers!
BA understands that premium flyers that spend a ton of money with them should be treated well. If my company is spending $5K to send me across the pond in a business class seat, the least the airline can do is offer me more than cheap champaign, orange juice, or water before takeoff.
Nasty Blankets and Pillows
Sunday, July 16, 2006
I recently flew from Chicago to Delhi on American in Business class. While the service was a poor as I expected, the plane was even filthier than I can imagine. But the pillows and blankets were absolutely disgusting.Yes, Ruby, we can. I recenly bought a, wait for it, silk travel pillow, that I keep in a stuff sack in my carry on bag.
Do they clean those things?
I was worred about lice, if you can imagine.
Well, actually, my wife bought it for me, but I had to send her the link and assure her that I'd be able to expense it before she'd make the buy.
It's not like I want that catalog coming with my name on it!
Anyway, I do use the blankets, but I figure my clothes are touching the seats, and we all know what people drop and expel into those!
Isreal/Lebanon Thread Over on Flyertalk
Saturday, July 15, 2006
Bad Idea of the Week
See, what you do is take that unused PC Card slot (PCMCIA to us old guys) and use it to hide your credit cards and spare cash.
Then, see, when someone rips off your airport while the TSA are taking 12 hours to do your complimentary body cavity search in ORD, they get your credit cards, cash, AND computer.
Wait, that is probably not the real selling point here.
I think, since it's only $9.95, we should all buy one and keep our list of corporate passwords in it. Yeah, that's the ticket.
Just think, some guy holds a patent on this.
Can I Get That Delivered to Pune?
Friday, July 14, 2006
Yes, American breakfast fans, it's the Bacon Of The Month Club!
Twelve different artisan bacon delivered to your door each month
Sign me up - can I expense a $310 breakfast in 12 clips?
Flying in Style on the Water
Of course the interior is early Hugh Heffner (Mr. Not Safe For Work!)(What the heck do the sexual harassment courses at that company look like?) but it looks like a pile of fun.
Next corporate outing anyone?
Be Careful with Them Boots
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Freaking atheletes, don't trust or work for them. Stick with the gluttons and boozers - they have things to hide too. Plus they know good places to eat.
I took a staff member out to an extremely expensive Brazillian steak place style lunch the other day as a reward for the hours he'd been putting in. The company is fine with picking up a lunch tab once in a while, but we managed to run up a tab that would have been more appropriate for four fat people than two normal sized pudgy middle aged guys. Plus the wine.
I IM'd the employee and asked for "names of people that had lunch with us." He responded with "Mr. L is someone I know that is an expert in Machine Insertion layout [Ed: what the h*ll is that?], use him."
Turned in the expense report and my VP gives me a call to ask "How do you know Mr. L?" Turns out, my VP, who is on the other side of the country, met Mr. L on a bike ride through France 10 years ago and became friends...
The good news is that the expense report got paid and we all learned a lesson from Mr. D's mistake.
Bad Brit SciFi
The Oriental lady from Starnes sitting next to Bob whips out one of these:
and starts lecturing him about how wonderful it is. According to the manufacturer:
The Eyezone Massager was developed using the principles of Chinese acupuncture and massage and magnetic therapy. Massaging the eyes stimulates circulation which tones the surrounding muscle tissue, reducing bags, dark circles and the signs of swelling or puffiness. Your eyes will look brighter and feel less tired and strained.
If my seatmate was wearing that I would have been afraid to go to sleep!
Wacky Off Site
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
He has some funny (and unprintable) stuff about sushi, scotch, and puking on the police, but the second night (!!) they went to a concert and Jackie Chan got up on stage drunk and disrupted the show.
Ok, the cool part is coming: by the time they got out of the concert someone had printed up concert t-shirts with photos of the incident on them. So he bought a dozen for his group at home and expenses the whole mess.
Cool boots, man.
Breaking Rumor: Lie Flat Business on AA/777
Couple of thoughts:
1> Training for sevice on AA overseas? Whoda thunk it!
2> Whoo, hoo! Make that DEL/ORD flight a lot more manageable.
3> Wonder if they'll ever get edible food on longer flights?
Holy Crap am I in the Wrong Bracket
Additional supporting data can be analyzed when you plot this information against compensation levels earned. Those earning over $500,000 misappropriated $2,010,000 per fraud incident while those earning $100,000 to $149,000 committed frauds totaling $429,000 per incident.Man, I so gotta get a raise.
And does that put my beautiful Tommy Bahama Silk Shorts from the golf shop into perspective or what?
So he says:
Can I claim back my travel expenses for trips to the Centre for Anxiety Disorders & Trauma?
So I says: Sure, if you're worried about it. :-)
$40M Expense Report
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Before debating the payment of $2.3 billion the private lawyers are demanding out of the Texas tobacco settlement, we should first require them to document their $40 million in expenses.You think so? Oh, golly, I've been laughing at that for fifteen minutes.
You gotta believe that these guys were padding like monsters:
including a $952 business lunch, $725 for a Texas State Bar exam and $3,100 for a charter aircraft.
But you'd be wrong:
Fifteen Florida firms incurred expenses of $12 million for litigation that lasted a year longer than the Texas case.Pikers. Losers. Can't get the bootsers. (Ok, that was a stretch.) The FL guys, not the guys in TX who apparently know how to get this stuff done.
My prediction: they'll get every last dime.
Is Your CFO a Moron?
Can you imagine a guy smart enough to make CFO who is dumb enough to fall for that? How about "the CEO assured me that this trip was an off-site retreat that happened to be family friendly." Or even: how did that get on the tax return?ATTORNEY: Mr. Wilson. You were the company's chief financial officer. Is that right?YOU: Yes.ATTORNEY: And you have the highest standards of integrity?YOU: That's right. (What else are you going to say?)ATTORNEY: But yet, it's okay with you if the company's executives commit fraud and embezzle, isn't it?YOU: No. Of course not.ATTORNEY: Isn't this your signature on the company tax return?YOU: Yes.
ATTORNEY: Then how do you explain this $5,000 for the CEO's personal trip to Las Vegas the past five years?YOU: But it's only a small amount. We're a $250 million company.
ATTORNEY: So your company saved $2,500 each year in taxes. Now Mr. Wilson, who had to make up that shortfall? (Answer: the members of the jury.)YOU: (Dumbstruck at this point and fidgeting for an answer. [No answer will get you out of trouble with the jury.])ATTORNEY: Clearly, it's okay with you if the CEO steals a little bit. So tell me, Mr. Wilson, how much does the theft have to be before it's not okay with you?
I did like his description of hiring ex-cons to talk about stealing from companies. You gotta know they're fun to travel through seccurity with!
Bottom line: wish all our CFO's were so gullible but no such joy. We all know that expense account rules are getting tighter (see previous post about fricking travel cards!) not looser.
Better boots is what we need.
The administrative staff gets a copy of all the expenses charged by employees to their travel cards. We are notifying managers of even small amounts ($1.50, $2.95, etc.) that cannot be accounted for by travel expenses when they show up on the listing, and we ask that supervisors query their employees about these charges to see if they meet the guidelines for travel card use.Man, I'd kill myself.
Monday, July 10, 2006
Only $120 bucks!
The X5 Stereo Bluetooth Headset is a portable multi-function device utilizing the latest cutting edge technologies allowing you to stream high quality music and make voice calls using a mobile phone, pda, or computer - without wires attached to the headset. Connect directly to A2DP* compatible phones and computers or utilize the supplied BlueAnt Audio Streamer to connect to any MP3 player, iPod, or DVD etc and stream music direct while answering calls from a phone. Open your favourite VOIP program and talk anywhere in the world. With a detachable microphone, USB and AC charging options, the X5 is a complete mobile communications accessory for people who require wireless freedom.
I think I can expense that as a "cost savings" relative to maintenance, don't you?
Mr. Noisy Smellyfeet
Why do I love it so, after just meeting it? Well, start with this post about Mr. Noisy Smellyfeet.
Oh, and while I have no idea what Shures she has, I'm sure it's something as good as my EC4's so I can only imagine how bad the guy must have been.
Thank god we don't have cell phones on airplanes. Yet.
Safes and Newspapers
Sunday, July 09, 2006
I just found out that I've probably paid hundreds of dollars for McPaper (USA Today) and in-room safes over the last several years. When did they start charging for these things?
Hotel Rating Site....
Why do I care? I don't really, I pick my travel hotels based on:
- Location (cab is better than car, car if the hotel will be quiet and the drive easy)
Oh, yeah, and adherence to the corporate travel policy (long may it wave).
But I recently had to get a hotel for my wife for a non-refunded business trip (she's self employed) so the decision came down to two hotels that were almost the same price. I chose the cheaper one as, well, when was the last time someone gave you $50? But it turns out the hotel I'd put her in was not nearly as nice.
And, yes, I considered such obvious stuff as wifi and brekky. Duh.
Readers, let me know if you would like me to start a DB of hotels and workout facilities.....
Hey, we're listed in a business web directory!
10 Laws for Cell Phone Use
Saturday, July 08, 2006
1. Thou shalt not subject defenseless others to cell phone conversations.Today in the DFW airport I got to listen to an executive with Intel tell me:
1> His wife found a wart on his, er, cell phone antenna, if you know what I mean;
2> Sales figures for embedded devices were really really going to miss the internal number; and
3> The new secretary in marketing wasn't wearing underwear at the group dinner on the last offsite. (Donna, you know your mama wouldn't have approved!) (Yes, that was not on the same call to his wife! :-)
I was also able to get his name, home address, and mastercard number when he ordered Omaha Steaks. (No, not from Amazon, he got 'em directly. And thus I got his home and cell phone numbers as well 'in case there is a problem with my order.')
Jeeze, could identify theft be any easier than buying a $89 refundable Southwest ticket and sitting around the power outlets?
Farking USB Ports....
Friday, July 07, 2006
The USB ports are only on the back which means that plugging in thumb drives et. al. is sometimes impossible when using small desks or, horrors forbid, flying coach.
Check this $7 beauty:
I was gonna go for this for $20:
but it's really more than I want to carry, you know? But if you have lots-o-USB goodness you have to faff around with, then it is pretty darn neat.
Perhaps one of each? (heh)
Boots, we need more boots!
SALES: "You want answers?"
ACCOUNTING: "I think I'm entitled."
SALES: "You want answers?"
ACCOUNTING: "I want the truth!!"
SALES: "YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!!, Son, we live in a world that requires revenue... who's going to find it? You?...in Accounting?? We have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You scoff at Sales & Marketing and your curse at our incentives. You have that luxury...You have the luxury of not knowing what we know, that while tragic, current expenses are driving new sales. And that our efforts and tactics, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, drives REVENUE!
You don't want to know the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at staff meetings... you want us on that sale; you NEED us on that sale! We use words like comps..., upgrades..., discounts...; we use these words as the backbone of the time spent building a relationship with a customer and negotiating something... you use them as a punch line!
I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to people who rise and sleep under the very blanket of income I provide and then question the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said "thank you" and went on your way... Otherwise I suggest you pick up a phone, solicit some customers and CLOSE A DEAL! Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you're entitled to!!"
ACCOUNTING: "Did you expense the lap dances?"
SALES: "I did my job..."
ACCOUNTING: "DID YOU EXPENSE THE LAP DANCES????"
SALES: (shouting) "YOU'RE DAMN RIGHT I DID!!!!!!!!!!!!"
An internal hospital review in 1998 documented the expenses, and concluded that Urciuoli "may have committed a serious fraud upon the hospital" when he billed $5,998 for an eight-day trip to the Scottsdale Princess Resort in Arizona.
Urciuoli, who acknowledged that there was no health-care conference, conceded that he had made "a bad error in judgment."
The hospital's board of directors voted to keep Urciuoli. He repaid $16,000 in expenses, and later agreed to a civil settlement with the Rhode Island attorney general in which he reimbursed the hospital $85,000 that it had paid a Boston law firm for the internal review.
Ok, well, certainly an EXPENSIVE error in judgment.
It also goes to prove that while you and I would be fired this guy got a slap on the wrist. Of course it was an $85K slap but...
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
And better yet, the pay-per-view movies show up on your hotel bill as "Room Service."
Sweet old boots!
(By worthwhile I mean fun and at least slightly justifiable.)
Found this instead - How to Pad Your Expense Report.
Hard to imagine expensing a book on how to pad your expense report, but, luckily, I was able to use Amazon's "whats inside" feature to see that this is full of relatively obvious stuff on gaming the travel and points system for your benefit.
My conclusion is that this is good for beginners and people wanting to slightly expand their expense account use (in a fair fashion, but without being caught, natch) but probably not too handy if you've already got a black belt in expensing three martini's and a bowl of soup.
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
American Express offers reports highlighting the gap between in-policy
compact car rentals (what the traveler reserved) and out-of-policy upgrades to
luxury cars (what the traveler actually drove and paid for)
On the other hand, perhaps these guys are just full of, er, beans:
U.S. business travelers are most likely to believe in full auditing of expense reports, as 77% of those polled agreed that all expense vouchers should be checked, followed by 72% of British respondents, 70% of Germans and 64% of French travelers surveyed.
That reminds me of one of those polls where they ask frat boys about condom usage.
I could imagine those compliance numbers if you were asking someone in AP management!
GPS for Travel...
Also I never wanted to lug a 'full sized' GPS around with me. Not that I wouldn't have liked to figure out how to expense one, it's just that there are a lot of cords and I like to travel light.
And I'm sure I'd lose the dang thing.
From our friends at Gizmodo it turns out you can get a teeny receiver that communicates with your new Q phone.
Now that is dang coolio! The software/hardware is called CoPilot Live and the phone shown is the Q from Motorola.
Find them boots!
Education Expense Account Hall of Shame....
Monday, July 03, 2006
Institution and Ex-President
Symbol of Excess
Anonymous reports about Ladner’s spending are sent to the university’s board and The Washington Post in the summer of 2005. Ladner is first suspended and then fired.
Alleged affair with daughter-in-law, who was on payroll
Roche, who had made the college prominent in conservative circles, quit in 1999, following the suicide of his daughter-in-law, who (along with his son) was a college employee.
In the early 1990s, federal investigators looked at Stanford’s overhead costs for
$860,000 house renovation
Perkins quit as president in 2002, after less than a year on the job, amid criticism that renovations on his home cost more than the home itself. The renovations cost the university hundreds of thousands more than the budget plan.
Massages while traveling on university business
Altman quit as president of the
$650,000 kitchen renovation
Keller quit in 1988 amid an uproar over spending on his office and on Eastcliff, the president’s home. The kitchen and dining room were a focal point of renovations that cost well over $1 million.
Using university plane for personal visits.
Shumaker had the university replace the presidential plane and used the new plane several times for visits with a woman who was the president of another university and with whom he had a personal relationship. While Shumaker reimbursed the university after the flights became public, he could not ride out the scandal and quit in 2003, a little more than a year after he arrived.
Wow. I shoulda got an advanced degree from Boondoggle U!
Presidential Expense Accounts...
Sunday, July 02, 2006
Title 3, Section 102, Compensation of the President.
The President shall receive . . . compensation of $400,000 a year, to be paid monthly, and in addition, an expense allowance of $50,000 to assist in defraying expenses relating to or resulting from the discharge of his official duties.”
ATM card? Folded over roll of the new Big Head $100? Make a secret service agent carry that and the keys to Crawford in their man purse?
Oh, yeah, and the best part of all:
Act [of] Jan. 19. 1949 gave President a yearly expense account of $50,000 for which he was to make no accounting.Yea verily, he is the LEADER of the expense report free world.
More Reader Mailbag....
Saturday, July 01, 2006
Anyway, his suit was ruined by the hotel during cleaning (naming no names, Hyatt, oops) and the y got a tailor to come in to fix it.
You can see where this is going? He got the tailor to make him a whole suit and bill it to his hotel room. Dinner for six on the expense report.
I sit, mohito in hand, impressed as H-E-Double-Toothpicks.