Handling an Estate Sale Responsibly

Disclaimer:  I am neither an attorney nor a professional fiduciary, and I have no expertise on dealing with estate matters.  The concerns expressed in this post are based on personal observations. Yesterday (Sunday), I went for a walk through one of San Francisco’s relatively upscale residential neighborhoods. On my way to the public library branch, I saw a sign announcing an estate sale.  I had to give this some thought, before unwisely deciding I’d stop by the house and possibly buy something. I remembered going to a couple of estate sales, and assisting in one other.  If you have the … Continue reading Handling an Estate Sale Responsibly

The Rainbow Flag or a Gimmicky Toy? Given Marketing Tactics, Some Won’t Know the Difference

(Disclosure:  This post appears in shorter, different form in a private social media post.) In June, I temporarily removed the rainbow icon from my Twitter profile.  It was Pride Month, and in theory that was one of the best times to keep it visible. I removed it after a day of window shopping in Downtown San Francisco.  Clothing stores in particular were displaying the rainbow as the proverbial toy hammer that a toddler plays with: everything in the house required hammering. After seeing the glut of color that was meant to make people like me feel welcome — and spend … Continue reading The Rainbow Flag or a Gimmicky Toy? Given Marketing Tactics, Some Won’t Know the Difference

Looking Closely at Conflicts of Interest

This month, Ronan Farrow published an excellent piece on The New Yorker’s site, describing how Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) accepted financial contributions from Jeffrey Epstein after it was clear they shouldn’t have been associating with him. Some people’s immediate reaction may be to ask, “What’s the problem?  They need the money, and this doesn’t mean they were abetting his crimes.” There is a problem, though, especially when it isn’t just sincere generosity.  Some charities receive small donations from average people with no implied quid pro quo agreement, and those charities might innocently stay ignorant of donors’ backgrounds with no problems.  However, when the … Continue reading Looking Closely at Conflicts of Interest

Curbing the Public’s Bag Consumption

There are many theories on how to do this. In San Francisco, we’ve had a local ordinance for a while, demanding a ten cent fee for each paper or “reusable” (thick) plastic bag used by customers when they pay for store merchandise.  It’s meant to encourage customers to bring their own bags, or use no bags when buying just one or two things. I got into the habit of using my own bag way before there was a law, and I’ve been making general allowances in my routine to reduce waste since the early 1980s. “Save the dinosaurs,” I used … Continue reading Curbing the Public’s Bag Consumption