April 28, 2005
Say 'Cheese' — The Artisanal Cheese Center Welcomes You
Yesterday's New York Times Dining In section front page story by Dana Bowen was all about the rage for cheese that appears to be taking the country by storm.
Of interest to me was that many grown men and women are abandoning their jobs and families to come to New York City to study cheese at the Artisanal Cheese Center.
Wrote Bowen, "In the last decade women in particular have been dropping their day jobs to devote their lives to cheese."
Cheesediaries.com appears to be the most popular cheese blog.
Wearable Lawn Aerators
For those who find summer without their Yaktrax nearly unbearable, your ship has come in.
"Aerating your lawn revitalizes hard, compacted soil and helps prevent thatch buildup (I think that's the garden equivalent of plaque on your teeth — don't quote me), but lawn services charge a mint for this service."
"Why not do it yourself?"
And to think I thought you'd never ask.
"Just strap these over your shoes and take a walk over your lawn."
It'll never be the same.
"Twenty–six 1.5" steel spikes create open–air passages down into the lawn to allow air, water and nutrients to reach the roots for a healthier lawn."
Originally $12.99, now priced to move fast at $8.67 here.
Also excellent for golfing during heavy rain.
Not recommended, however, if lightning is present.
'Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid' — but one vetted ex–Tyco CEO Dennis Kozlowski's $25 million bonus
I like it!
Stephen Kaufman, Kozlowski's defense attorney, yesterday took the risky course of putting the once–mighty, now–humbled former grand panjandrum of Tyco on the stand in Kozlowski's ongoing trial for grand larceny, conspiracy and fraud, with a potential sentence of 25 years — essentially, life — in prison.
In his direct examination of Kozlowski, Kaufman elicited the information that all but one of Kozlowski's grotesquely inflated bonus payments "... were vetted by Philip Hampton, a lead director who died in 2001," according to Christopher Bowe's story in this morning's Financial Times.
How convenient, really, and what an creative approach to testimony: say you revealed everything as you should have, only the person you told died.
Probably from an intestinal obstruction due to the homework he ate — or maybe it was a grand mal seizure related to ketoacidosis and a critically elevated blood sugar level after ingesting too many Twinkies.
Hey, you could even call that one the "Twinkie defense."
Oh, someone already did that?
Better stick to the homework theory then, huh?
None of the other directors at Tyco said they were told about Kozlowski's bonuses: I guess he just happened to tell the one guy who happened to die afterward.
Gimme a break.
Kozlowski also couldn't explain why a $25 million loan from the company that was forgiven in 1999 hadn't made an appearance on his tax return.
"He said he forgot," wrote Bowe in The Financial Times.
I don't know why he didn't simply tell the court and the jury, whom I have a feeling weren't swallowing this all too easily, that he was far too busy informing the now–deceased Tyco director of the details of his bonuses to look closely at his tax return.
I mean, this was a very important — well, at least self–important — man with many important things to attend to: he couldn't be expected to be checking his tax forms line by line, could he?
It seems the British aren't nearly as withholding of judgment re: Kozlowski's looting of his company as is the American press.
For example, the Wall Street Journal coverage of the trial doesn't have nearly the incredulous tone of the British stories.
Here's Bowe's Financial Times story.
- Kozlowski Says Bonuses Vetted By Dead Man
Dennis Kozlowski, the former Tyco chief executive on trial for fraud and theft, testified yesterday that he told a now-deceased board member about bonuses that prosecutors allege are illegal.
Mr Kozlowski and Mark Swartz, former chief financial officer, are accused by New York City prosecutors of stealing $150m in unauthorised compensation, and benefiting from $575m in share transactions under false pretences.
Mr Kozlowski said that all but one of the disputed bonuses had been vetted by Phil Hampton, the dead board member.
"Phil said he would handle it," Mr Kozlowski told the court. He said the final disputed bonus was discussed with another director, Stephen Foss.
Several former Tyco directors have testified that they had no idea that Mr Kozlowski and Mr Swartz were receiving the bonuses and that the board did not approve them.
Mr Kozlowski's testimony in his retrial represents a reversal of his strategy in the first trial, in which he did not take the stand.
The first trial ended in a mistrial last year when the jury stalled after a juror's behaviour in court led to threats against her.
In his testimony, Mr Kozlowski said he could not explain why $25m in loan forgiveness had not appeared on his tax return.
He said neither his assistant nor his tax adviser noticed the missing information despite filing for two extensions for the tax return in the late 1990s.
"It did not appear on my W-2. I cannot explain why not," Mr Kozlowski said.
"I was just not thinking when I signed my tax return that I had loans forgiven."
Mr Kozlowski told the court he had not stolen money from Tyco.
Forgiven loans and bonuses are at the heart of the case against Mr Kozlowski and Mr Swartz, who did give testimony during the first trial.
In earlier testimony at the start of the retrial, defence attorneys argued that Mr Kozlowski and Mr Swartz earned every penny of compensation taken, did not lie about pay and recorded their actions in company records.
'Disguise yourself as a dragonfly and the mosquitos will leave you alone'
Now they tell us.
All these years we've been providing blood samples for our flying nemeses and all we had to to do is dress up like a dragonfly.
But maybe your dragonfly outfit is at the cleaners, or needs to be let out — then what?
With summer just around the corner (those of you outside England, did you know that in the U.K. they're already on British Summer Time [BST]? You could look it up! But then, you just did, didn't you? I know you so well... but I digress) you're gonna need something to help fend off the pesky critters.
"Just get the Mosquito Hawk™."
It's "a small electronic repeller that simulates the low frequency wingbeat sound of the dragonfly, the mosquito's mortal enemy!"
Pictured up top, it measures 2.5" x 1.75" x 1.5".
"Solid–state electronics produce a clicking sound barely audible to humans, but when mosquitos sense it, up to 30 feet away, they turn tail and leave fast!"
Runs on one 9V battery (not included).
Strangely enough, "Not for sale to Colorado residents."
Wonder what that's about?
Could you get arrested for using one on your Aspen or Telluride patio?
World's Best Fight Song Ring Tones
No cheesy, slightly whiny over– or undertones like most cellphone ringtones.
You get the full marching band version of "Hail to the Victors," Notre Dame's "Victory March" or whatever your alma mater marches to for 99 cents apiece.
Rock your friends back on their heels.
Laura Busch, the website's owner, told Robert Strauss in this past Sunday's New York Times that
fight songs account for nearly 90% of her ring tone business.
"Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder"....
[via Robert Strauss and the New York Times]
Name that cord
Can't do it, can you?
No wonder, looking at the snake–pit–like mess under your desk or near your TV.
I've got them too, so you're not alone.
I've taken to using sticky labels that I wrap around the cords near where they plug in, then writing what the device is with a Sharpie.
But now comes a dedicated solution (above).
Called — surprise! — Name Clips, they're small white plastic clips that appear reusable (at least the website says they're "... for temporary or permanent identification").
"Just write the description on the 1.5" x .75" self-adhesive label (20 included) and stick it on the clip."
You get 20 clips here for $7.99.
"Perfect for computer set–ups, stereo systems, entertainment centers and more."
The Best Peaches in America
You can get them fresh picked in the flesh, as it were, every Saturday morning at the Ferry Plaza Market in San Francisco.
They're from Frog Hollow Farm.
Al Courchesne will sell them to you.
They cost $3 to $4.
Thomas Keller of The French Laundry and Per Se uses these peaches in jelly he makes to coat his foie gras.
Kim Severson of the New York Times wrote in her story in yesterday's Dining In section that Frog Hollow peaches are "... perfectly grown and sweet beyond reason. They are the 'Juicy Couture' of produce."
"Sweet beyond reason" sounds good enough to me.
If you can't make it to the market, which Severson describes as "... what many consider to be the best of the 3,700 farmers' markets in America," don't despair: Frog Hollow Farms will sell you their exquisite produce by mail.
You can order here.
'Moonlight Sonata' Musical Bedding
Sure, it's nice to go to sleep listening to Beethoven's elegiacal composition; why not do so on it as well?
200–thread-count cotton sheets and pillowcases.
I'm already feeling drowsy.