Friday, June 30, 2017


"‘Workations’ blur line between jobs and time off" by Katie Johnston Globe Staff  June 29, 2017

The line between work and the rest of our lives is becoming increasingly blurred — and the ability to stay connected to co-workers 24/7 is invading vacation time in a big way, and as expectations for constant connectivity rise, some resorts are making it easier for their guests to build work into their time away. The Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa in Rancho Mirage, Calif., just started offering a poolside cabana with a workstation, office supplies, and a waterproof safe. Co-working spaces are popping up in destinations such as Cape Cod — there’s CapeSpace in Hyannis — and Lake Tahoe, where a business center just opened in a mountaintop lodge at the Heavenly ski resort. A number of “workation” retreats have been established in exotic locations, for people who want to spend a few weeks in, say, a safari park in South Africa, but still have access to an office with high-speed Internet service.

Even without access to such amenities, people are finding ways to work on vacation. They scout out coffee shops and libraries before they book a trip, travel with portable scanners and printers, and sneak out of bed at 5 a.m. to answer e-mails. They work in campers, on sailboats, and in vineyards. Some set aside as much as six hours a day to work, even building in time between activities to check e-mails.

One MIT professor rented a two-story roomin Australia so he could work in the middle of the night during US business hours without disturbing his wife. While traveling in Spain, the owner of a Boston marketing and public relations firm took a middle-of-the-night Skype call in a friend’s living room to close a business deal.

Americans take fewer vacation days than they used to, according to Project: Time Off, an initiative of the US Travel Association.  Many blame millennials for the rise of the working vacation — and indeed, they are the group most likely to do so, according to multiple surveys. Sixty-two percent of 18- to 34-year-olds check in during time off, versus 48 percent of 35- to 54-year-olds, according to a recent survey by the staffing firm Accountemps, but entrepreneurs and small-business owners also find it nearly impossible to unplug, and a growing number of independent contractors are scrambling to earn money whenever, wherever.

See: 21st-Century $lavery

“We can see it as this lovely freedom, but we need to think about what’s behind the desire to work even during a planned vacation,” said Erin Kelly, a professor of work and organization studies at the MIT Sloan School of Management. “Often, that’s anxiety about having to prove yourself to your employer. Or it’s anxiety about where my next gig and next chunk of income is going to come from.”

You know, there was a guy in Germany not long ago that pushed that idea.

In France, where workers get an average of 30 days’ paid vacation a year and companies with more than 50 employees are legally obligated to establish hours when employees can’t send or respond to e-mails, this anxiety is less acute. At Daimler, the German carmaker, employees on holiday can activate a system that informs e-mail senders their messages will be automatically deleted while the employee is out.

Macron is looking to roll those back is I expect the French to get little more stressed.

But in the United States, truly getting away sometimes requires going to extremes.

A year ago, Chatham Bars Inn started offering a “digital detox package.” Guests’ devices are collected, and televisions in the inn’s rooms are disconnected; in exchange, they get a $200 resort credit, a gift certificate to a local bookstore, and complimentary bike rental.

Jehan Hamedi doesn’t even bother trying to avoid work when he’s on vacation. Hamedi, founder of the Boston artificial intelligence-driven marketing startup Adhark, takes advantage of every spare moment, reviewing product designs while in line at Starbucks and jumping on conference calls as he walks, brushes his teeth (on mute), or flips burgers in his parents’ backyard in Wisconsin.

Hamedi, 27, carries a portable phone charger wherever he goes and scopes out spots where he can duck away to take a call — especially if an investor’s on the line.

“You kind of go into Jason Bourne mode,” he said. “You walk in and you find the exits. You look at the bottlenecks; you look at your phone and see how much charge you’ve got.”

(Blog editor just shakes head)

Hamedi’s girlfriend, Anne Yoder, is understanding of his need to build the company, though she has requested some work-free time during their trips to New Jersey and St. Louis this summer.

“The idea of a vacation” — she laughs.....

It's a good idea. I haven't had one in 11 years.



"Millennials no longer have to choose between a home and avocado toast. At least, that’s the deal online lender SoFi is offering. The company said Thursday that it will give a month’s worth of avocado toast to anyone who takes out a mortgage with it in July. The promotion plays off jokes that have been circulating for the past couple months: that millennials can’t afford their first homes because they are spending too much money on trendy avocado toast brunches. SoFi says it will send those who qualify the avocados and bread in three shipments to keep them fresh. And yes, gluten-free is an option."

The condescending insult is all in a day's work!

Making a video of the vacation:

"A stunt turns deadly for a couple seeking YouTube fame" by Matt Stevens New York Times  June 29, 2017

Over the past several weeks, Monalisa Perez of Halstad, Minn., and her boyfriend, Pedro Ruiz III, began their quest for YouTube fame by creating and posting videos of mostly harmless pranks: Ruiz climbing onto a tenuous tree branch and falling a short distance, or Perez feeding him a doughnut covered in baby powder rather than powdered sugar.

On Monday evening, the couple upped the ante when, authorities say, Perez, 19, shot at a thick book that Ruiz, 22, was holding, apparently believing that the bullet would not make it through the volume.

But the high-risk stunt went horribly wrong: The bullet entered Ruiz’s chest and he died at the scene.

“I really have no idea what they were thinking,” Sheriff Jeremy Thornton of Norman County said in a telephone interview late Wednesday. “I just don’t understand the younger generation on trying to get their 15 minutes of fame.”

It was a preventable death, the sheriff said, apparently fostered by a culture in which money and some degree of stardom can be obtained by those who attract a loyal internet following with their antics.

So that damn Internet is just going to have to be censored!

As for the culture of money and celebrity, welcome to AmeriKa!

In the couple’s last video, posted Monday, Perez and her boyfriend considered what it would be like to be one of those stars — “when we have 300,000 subscribers.”

“The bigger we get, I’ll be throwing parties,” Ruiz said. “Why not?”

Instead, just hours after she posted that video, Perez was arrested and booked into Northwest Regional Corrections Center on suspicion of reckless discharge of a firearm, the sheriff said. Then, Wednesday morning, prosecutors charged her with second-degree manslaughter. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $20,000, or both.

Perez, who is pregnant with her second child, appeared in court Wednesday afternoon for a hearing and was released in the evening after $7,000 bail was posted.

And she is 19? 

Someone get Maury Povich on the phone.

The department has video recordings of the shooting, the sheriff said, adding that he would not release them.

In an interview with The Star Tribune of Minneapolis, Lisa Primeau, an aunt of Ruiz, said, “We called him our little daredevil.” Her nephew put “a dangerous twist on everything he did,” she added, once even “jumping into the swimming pool from the top of the house.”

Tempting the fates, 'eh?

Perez told investigators that she had shot Ruiz from about a foot away while he held a 1.5-inch thick book to his chest, authorities said. She described using a firearm that matched the pistol that was found at the scene.

Ruiz had been “trying to get her” to fire the gun “for a while,” Perez told investigators, according to court documents. They state that he had set up two cameras to capture the stunt.

To help persuade her to pull the trigger, Ruiz had even shown Perez a book that he had previously shot himself, she told investigators. In that case, she said, the bullet had not gone all the way through the text.

Claudia Ruiz, another aunt of Ruiz, told WDAY-TV in Fargo that before the fatal shooting, her nephew rationalized the stunt as a way to get more viewers and “get famous.”

Now he is a legend.



"Boston 2024 may have failed to score an Olympic bid, but one of the group’s chief officers just scored a new job. Erin Murphy Rafferty, who was the COO of Boston 2024 and previously worked for the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, was recently appointed CEO of the Massachusetts charity the Wonderfund. Previously called DCF Kids Fund, the Wonderfund is a private nonprofit that supports kids in the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families system. The charity supports enrichment opportunities like sports and arts lessons, tutoring, and prom fees, and offers emergency aid and clothing to kids being moved into foster care. Rafferty will join Lauren Baker, the wife of Governor Charlie Baker, who is the vice chair of the Wonderfund. Rafferty will focus on external communications, growing the organization, and raising money in her role as CEO.

"Mark Levine, a corporate legal veteran of 20 years, has joined Flexion Therapeutics, Inc. as senior vice president, general counsel, and secretary. Prior to joining the Burlington biotechnology company, Levine held the same positions at Minerva Neurosciences Inc. He was assistant general counsel at athenahealth Inc. and associate general counsel at Clinical Data Inc. Flexion develops drugs for the treatment of patients with osteoarthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions. In an e-mail to the Globe, Levine said, “I am looking forward to supporting the company as it continues to grow and advance its mission of developing transformative therapies for musculoskeletal conditions.” In December, Flexion applied for Food and Drug Administration approval of Zilretta, a steroid hormone injection to treat osteoarthritis in the knee."

"A former executive of Boston-based State Street Corp. has pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud at least six of the bank’s clients through secret trading commissions. Edward Pennings, of England, entered guilty pleas in federal court Wednesday to conspiracy to commit securities fraud and wire fraud. Prosecutors say Pennings conspired to add secret commissions to fixed-income and equity trades performed for clients of the bank’s transition management business. Pennings was a senior managing director of the bank and headed its Portfolio Solutions Group for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. He was charged in a 2016 indictment with a former executive vice president. Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 11. The charges against his codefendant are still pending. An attorney for Pennings did not immediately respond to a request for comment."

They used to call that $kimming.

So where are the blue and whites?

Find a place to stay yet?

"Former Quincy real estate broker indicted in $1.7m scam" by Felicia Gans Globe Correspondent  June 29, 2017

A disbarred lawyer and former Quincy real estate broker who is accused of bilking Massachusetts investors out of $1.7 million before fleeing to Florida is now facing federal charges in Boston, according to the US attorney’s office.

Scott J. Wolas, who was known to Massachusetts investors as Eugene Grathwohl, was indicted on seven counts of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft, Acting US District Attorney William D. Weinreb wrote in a statement. Wolas, 68, was a fugitive when he was found in Delray Beach, Fla., in April.

Wolas’s former wife, Cecily Sturge, 69, was also indicted Wednesday after being accused of making a false statement to a federal agent. Law enforcement officials had interviewed Sturge in November 2016, at which point she said she had not been in contact with Wolas in 15 years.

However, federal authorities allege, communication on her cellphone appeared to prove otherwise, and she was arrested earlier this month.

Federal prosecutors allege that from 2014 to 2016, Wolas operated a real estate business called Increasing Fortune Inc. and worked as a licensed real estate agent for Century 21 in Quincy. During that time, Wolas allegedly collected money from at least 20 investors for the development of the Beachcomber Bar property on Quincy Shore Drive and promised to pay out at least 125 percent of the profits.

A week before he was scheduled to close on the deal, Wolas fled Massachusetts, authorities allege.

According to papers filed in US District Court in Boston, documents indicate the money Wolas collected had been used “mostly for his personal expenses unrelated to development of the real estate projects.’’


Did you see who he hired for lawyers?

First thing I want to do after selling in? 

Check the stock quotes:

"A steep slide in technology companies pulled US stocks lower Thursday, erasing gains from the previous day. Investors also sold big-dividend stocks as bond yields rose. Banks and energy stocks bucked the broader market decline. Crude oil prices closed higher for the sixth straight day. The shift out of the tech sector came as investors bet central bankers may be ready to lift interest rates. That spurred many traders to move out of growth sectors, like technology, and into value stocks, such as banks, said Erik Davidson, chief investment officer at Wells Fargo Private Bank. The stock market was coming off its biggest gain in two months. The market slide came about despite some encouraging news on the economy. The Commerce Department said the nation’s gross domestic product, the broadest measure of economic health, increased at an annual rate of 1.4 percent in the first quarter -- more than expected....."

Also more than expected:

"Slightly more people sought unemployment benefits last week, but the number of applications remained at a historically low level suggesting a strong job market, The Labor Department says...."

And with that, I quit.