Business Expenses

Our Feelings Aside, Sex Work Is a Labor Issue

Melissa Gira Grant is a writer and freelance journalist covering sex, politics, and the internet. In past lives she has worked at a feminist foundation, been a member of the Exotic Dancers’ Union, and co-edited a book with me back in 2010. Her latest book, Playing the Whore: The Work of Sex Work, is not a juicy memoir, and it is not a debate about whether sex work should or shouldn’t exist. Instead it challenges the myths we perpetuate about sex work, and examines how our ‘feelings talk’ and theoretical debate can be a distraction from the more immediate labor and human rights issues that sex workers are actually dealing with, and dying from, all the time.


Abba Dressed Like That For a Tax Deduction

To celebrate the fact that I am editing my to-do list from “finish taxes by Tuesday morning” to “finish taxes by end of week,” here is a fun tax season story, courtesy of the Guardian.


The Rise of the SAHD

More and more men are staying at home with the kids while their wives work outside the home, and the New York Times is ON IT.

When people ask what he does, Mr. Langley could say artist — he gives the buildings and landscapes he paints expressive personalities of their own — but he has just begun trying to sell his work. Other fathers in similar situations say they often tell white lies: They are retired, they are consultants, they work at home.

Mr. Langley generally goes with “stay-at-home dad.”

“That’s what I call myself,” he said over lunch at a restaurant in Rye, the other tables filled with groups of women. “I wouldn’t say I like it.”

What response does he get?

“There’s usually a long pause,” he said.


A Sales Pitch from a Funeral Home Director

The caskets are as opulent and beautiful as a fleet of limousines. The top-tier models sell for upwards of $5,000, but Holland begins his sales pitch to prospective clients with a humble gray container in a far corner of the room. “I bring ’em to this little $995 jobbie right here. I say, ‘Okay, this will get you from point A to point B. Now, water and worms will get in there, and if you read the Scripture it says “Ashes to ashes and dust to dust,” and that’s what this is really all about. What you are buying is $995 worth of dignity to keep me from tying a rope to your heels and pulling you into the hole, which would accomplish the same thing.’ Then they’ll come buy this shit over here.” Holland indicates a box that retails for $3,495. “And ka-ching-ka-ching-ka-ching. Forty years I been doing this. It’s fucked! I mean, the [funeral] services are incredible. I love the services, but all this merchandising-pagan-ass-crazy-certified-lunatic-damn bullshit—it’s so fucked. God bless America!”

Wells Tower’s GQ story about the man who allegedly sent highly toxic ricin laced letters to Mississippi Republican Senator Roger Wicker, Mississippi Judge Sadie Holland, and President Obama is pretty incredible mostly because of how eccentric the people allegedly involved are. Rep. Steve Holland, the son of Judge Sadie Holland, and the political rival of Everett Dutschke, the man who allegedly tried to frame another man for sending the letters, has this part in the story where he talks about his funeral business that probably could have been cut out by the editors. I’m glad they decided to leave it in, if only for Holland’s brazen honesty in the above passage.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons


The Cost of Operating a Hot Dog Cart

You may not think that it could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to operate a hot dog cart, but there you have it.


Ads Everywhere, Including a Bathroom Stall

Ads, they’re everywhere on every blank surface imaginable, including toilet paper at a restaurant, which offers a two-for-one dessert coupon if you pull enough of it. Now, that’s something: Would you use a two-for-one dessert coupon you found in a bathroom stall? The answer has been yes for a lot of people, especially if they have a QR code reader on their phone.


A Conversation with a Photographer Who Earns $50,000 a Year

Grant: I’m 28, live in Chicago, Ill. My fiancé and I just moved to a neighborhood called Logan Square last weekend. I am a photographer.


How Two Friends Turned Their Online Shop Into a Brick and Mortar Store

High school friends Yoko Kumano and Kayoko Akabori started Umami Mart as a food blog in 2007 and now have a brick and mortar store in the San Francisco Bay Area. Here’s how they got to where they are today.


I Co-Founded a Collective Business to Get a Second Job

At parties, I tell people that I’m a hair stylist, which is true. Sometimes I’ll let on that I also make lattes, which is also true. If it seems like they’re ready for a truth avalanche, I’ll mention that I’m a partner in a cafe, but I always feel weird about it.


Rich People Gonna Get All the Good Blood, As Usual

When the rich can afford synthetic blood, and the poor have to make do with regular blood.


Burlington’s Economy After the Bridge Collapse

The value of infrastructure to a local economy can be found in the aftermath of last week’s bridge collapse in Burlington, Wash., where businesses are now struggling to find customers. Cars still go through the town, but the traffic is now so thick due to detours that few people want to stop.


So Like Here’s My Business Card With My Contact Info Or Whatever Cool

Jesse David Fox is a writer, cat person, and Jew (in that order). He is an associate editor at and has about 495 unused business cards that say as much. This is where he plugs his twitter.