November 24, 2013 |
Back in the 1980s, when I lived in Nairobi, foreign residents had a simple way of obtaining Kenyan shillings. They'd write a check in, say, U.S. dollars on their U.S. bank accounts to the Indian man who owned the ice cream store down the block. He'd pay over shillings at the current black market rate. Then he'd mail the check to his brother in Toronto, who would deposit it in the merchant's name in a Canadian bank account. Presto! The expatriates got shillings to spend locally, and the shop owner spirited his profits out of the country for conversion to a hard currency, secure for his retirement.
December 1, 2013 |
The opportunity to be reborn is a rare gift indeed, granted to few beyond the mythical phoenix and some adherents of the Baptist faith. Them - and the Affordable Care Act, which this week will undergo what its supporters hope will be a second launch much different from its first. Reports are flowing in that HealthCare.gov, the federal enrollment website serving residents of 36 states that didn't bother to set up their own sites, is working much better than at any time since its calamitous launch on Oct. 1. There may still be glitches ahead, especially if the Dec. 1 relaunch brings a torrent of attempted enrollments all at once, but the feds' confidence that the worst of the consumer-facing problems are behind them seems reasonable.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 24, 2012 |
"You're not going to believe what happened last night," Jeff Galfer said as he opened the door to his Atwater Village apartment. "I got another ticket. " Galfer and I had been talking for weeks about his Kafkaesque battles with the Los Angeles Parking Violations Bureau. Galfer would contest what he thought was an unfair parking citation, and the bureau would tell him his fine was on hold while the appeal was under review. The next thing he knew, a letter would arrive saying he owed not only the original fine, but late fees and penalties.
February 22, 2012 |
Welcome to this rite and ritual of an American spring, breaking in a new glove. As with anything in baseball, there are 100 views on the proper way to do this, all argued passionately. Glove gurus, some more guru than others, recommend treating a stiff new glove as either your best friend or roadkill. You can drown a glove, you can bake it, you can run it over with the car. Breaking in a baseball glove isn't science so much as a form of testosterone-fueled witchcraft. Tony Pena, former major league backstop and current New York Yankees bench coach, reportedly goes ape on a new catcher's glove, turning it inside out, outside in, punching, prodding, mugging it into submission — it's almost hard to watch.
November 18, 2013 |
What if a shadowy organization told you it had been quietly keeping its eye on you and had concluded that you were exactly the sort of person who should be privy to its secrets for wealth and power? What if that organization promised the success and youthful vitality of investment guru Warren Buffett and Viacom chief Sumner Redstone, who already possess these secrets? And what if all this could all be yours absolutely free? "I'd think it was a scam," said Los Angeles resident Jim York, 60, who recently received a 10-page letter from a recruiter identifying himself only as Bill.
December 17, 2013 |
Peggy Nugent wasn't sure what to make of an offer that arrived recently in the mail. "Congratulations!" it said in big letters. Nugent, of Manhattan Beach, had been selected to receive a three-day vacation in San Diego, including free hotel accommodations, two tickets to SeaWorld and a $100 restaurant coupon. The notice included what looked like a check - but wasn't - bearing the logo of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment. What caught Nugent's eye was the fine print on the back.