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Category Archives: Life in General

I think I may have just discovered the next generation of the UPS Store; Earth Class Mail.


  • ECM takes your mail and scans it so that you can view it online!
  • You can then view the mail online and decide to have ECM personnel open it (and scan contents), forward it to another address or trash it.
  • How cool is that for the busy consultant?


  • ECM is only in a limited number of major cities. This limits your ability to pick your mail up if you choose.
  • Most of these locations are P.O. Boxes.  FedEx and UPS won’t deliver to P.O. Boxes.
  • The service is fairly expensive for a limited number of mail items.


  • This is worth a try if I ever find myself traveling again for an extended time.
  • I wonder how long until the UPS Store catches on?

After years of living in West Los Angeles, I decided to compile my list of favorite dive bars and maybe a few dive restaurants. Having lived in the Midwest for almost 10 years I feel qualified to know and judge the real dive bars in my hood. I have also come up with a ranking system to determine the” realness” factor associated with each dive bar. Each bar below with be ranked in “Old Dudes” at the bar at any one time, with 5 bald heads being the max. As any dive bar aficionado knows, a legit dive bar is often empty with only a handful of “Old Dudes” in the place at any one time with as many as half of them asleep at any one time.
Here goes:

1. Philly West (

The food at Philly West is awesome. I recommend the chicken sandwich and the cheeseburger. The kitchen is open until 11 PM and the fries are great. Brian is the mainstay behind the bar. I miss Kim, one of the old bartenders, who left a few months ago. One thing is the free Christmas Eve spread that the owner Mark puts on for the regulars. It’s really a place where everyone knows your name. You would be surprised by some of the conversations that go in there; everything from post WWII occupied Japan to Marcel Proust.

“Old Dude” Rating – Full 5 Bald Heads

2. The Joker (

This place is also pretty “real” with respect to it’s dive barness. The only bartender I have ever seen in there is some older gentleman with a heavy English accent. I think it’s English. Do not try and bring the TV remote into the bathroom if you happen to have it on you (which I am not sure why). I almost saw the bartender drop some B’s on a patron for doing that. Also, I would not order food at this place. There is a pool table in the house as well.

“Old Dude” Rating – Four Bald Heads

3. Del’s Saloon (

Okay, if you click on the link, and view the pictures on the Del’s Saloon website, you might get the impression that this place could be filled with young, attractive 20 somethings. This is not the case. This place is divey and is great. Let me put it to you this way, if you want to eat at this place, you can bring your own food. They also open at 6 AM, which coincides with their happy hour, which is hardcore for LA.

“Old Dude” Rating – Four Bald Heads

4. San Francisco Saloon (

This place is a little more on the nicer side of diveyness, if that is indeed possible.  While the SF Saloon may be a good place to start off the night at happy hour, it’s not really a place you want to end up at the end of the night, unless you are heading off to 4Play, located a few down.  The inside is old skool and everyone is made out of wood, expect for the TVs.

“Old Dude” Rating – Two and 1/2 Bald Heads

4. Karaoke Bleu (

This place is the best Japanese dive/karaoke bar in existence. It is hit or miss. Some nights it is packed, other nights the only thing going is some older Japanese gentlemen chilling and smoking cigarettes. It’s like something out of an old movie. The crowd is a mix of students and people from Japan. The drink pricing seems random and weird. The decor looks like something from an early 1980’s Miami dance club. There is something about this place though I love. Maybe it’s the wasabi peas.

“Old Dude” Rating – Three Bald Heads

6. Backstage (

Okay, this is where the realness starts to end. There are simply too many young people that frequent Backstage to warrant a true dive bar rating. This place is always packed though and has the typical dive bar set up. It also has what I consider to be one of the greatest inventions since the Internet, which is Karaoke. This place is fun, packed and everyone is there to have a good time.

“Old Dude” Rating – No Bald Heads

7. New Japan Also Takeout (

I love the signage above New Japan. Not only does it say “New Japan”, it also has in cursive just below the name the wording “Also Takeout”. This place underwent a massive overhaul in 2004 that saw the replacing of its aquarium-like decor with a sleek all black look. The old cracked projection TV was also replaced which reduced its divey-ness but allowed you to actually, well, watch TV. This is also the only dive restaurant to make the list. If you want American chow, try the Delores diner down the street. It’s also divey.

This is pretty much all I can think of at this minute. I did find a good resource that I hope can also help point you in the right direction: The My Dive Bar Website

And: The World Dive Bar Tour Website

I guess we have some homework to do.

If made, this is going to be one sweet movie ala “Wall Street”, “Boiler Room” and hopefully the upcoming movie “Money Never Sleeps”.


“Based on the true story of John D’Agostino, “Rigged: The True Story of an Ivy League Kid Who Changed the World of Oil, From Wall Street to Dubai” is about an Italian kid from Brooklyn who matriculates at Harvard and lands on the Merc Exchange. After establishing himself, the protagonist hooks up with another young trader and a mysterious Middle Easterner to engage in a dangerous scheme to revolutionize the oil trading industry.”

As an MBA admissions consultant I often have to take a step back with my clients.  Over the years I have learned a lot from my clients and have come to realize that the definitions of proper interview dress or attire varies by region, country and even culture.

This is the deal, and I dissuade anyone from thinking anything to the contrary:

  1. Wear a dark colored suit (Grey, Black, Charcoal) with a white or light blue shirt.
  2. Wear a tie that has as little design or pattern in it at possible.  Solid colored ties are good.
  3. Wear shoes that are polished with dark socks.  By shoes I mean dress shoes with dark laces, not “comfort” shoes, timberlands or Uggs.  By dark I mean dark blue or black.
  4. Do not wear anything that is tight-fitting or shows body parts excessively.  This is an interview not a club.
  5. Cut the tags off your clothing.  Nothing says Men’s Wearhouse $199 special than tags still sewn onto the sleeve of a jacket.  Don’t laugh too much, I have seen this as an MBA admissions interviewer.  It tells me the applicant is clueless at worst or knows a good sale when he sees one at best.
  6. Get a shave and a haircut……shower.

Airplane Crash – Safest Seat – How to Survive Plane Accident – NTSB Data – Flight Records – Popular Mechanics

A few weeks ago, aboard an American Airlines flight, the left engine blew out on take off and I almost had a heart attack and the plane plunged towards the ground for a few terrifying seconds.

So that got me thinking, “what is the safest place to sit on an airplane?”  Well, I found an answer for all you road warriors.

ABC News: Cell Phone in Flight: Dangerous or Not?

Okay, I will admit, I forget to turn off my phone during flights.  This happens all the time.  Is this really interfering with the pilots or any communication equipment?

There’s No Shame in Renting, Home Prices Will Fall is a great site IMO.  I love the easy to understand information about home buying and the mortgage market in general.

I particularly like the article above.  As I think the mortgage failout will last another 18, I will continue to rent.  The aritcle above describes how there is no shame in this game.

Business school applications are all about laying out how you have exhibited the qualities of a leader.  After all, this is the quality that b-schools, in general, desire the most in their applicants.   A lot of my admissions consulting clients struggle with a succinct definition of leadership.  That is, one that they as the applicant can use as a succinct model.  To this point, my clients and prospective MBA students ask me what my definition of leadership is.  I believe Stephen Covey covers it well in this article.

This is important as a lot of b-school applications ask for the applicant to provide meaning leadership experience and examples in their essay. Follow Covey’s pillars of leadership and you should have a good start to your essay.  The trick is to not only discuss how well you fit this definition but also how you have displayed this style of leadership during your management responsibilities.  Take your essays a step further by showing how you have sought to “pay it forward” and instill these values in those you have led.

Dear Yahoo Mail:

We’ve been together for over 11 years now.  You were my first email account.  You’ve seen me through different relationships, schools, jobs, unemployment; you’ve seen me through the good times and the bad.  I think I love you, but I’m not in love with you.

You see, I’ve been having problems with you over the last few months.  It’s really not your fault per se.  It’s just that I’ve been growing and branching out and you have, well, you have basically been the same.  I know, I know, you’ve tried.  You’ve changed storage limits, you’ve become fee-free, you’ve even gone beta on me.  I appreciate that and that is part of what I love about you.

All these years you’ve served me well, through the Hotmails, the Squirrelmails, the johnnycomelatelymails.  However, there are just certain things that I have not been able to get over.  Remember when you used to charge me $25.00 a year for unlimited storage and then you handed it out for free?  Remember when you wouldn’t offer up free pop access?  Remember when I couldn’t get messages on my smartphone that I set up Yahoo Mail inbox filters for? Remember when you went into Beta and kept crashing my computer?  Remember Yahoo Briefcase?  You just haven’t kept up Yahoo Mail and now I’ve found something better.

I’m leaving you Yahoo Mail and I’m getting with GMail.  It’s not you and heck, it’s not necessarily me.  It’s the user community.  To my knowledge, no one has built a Yahoo equivalent of GDrive, Google Docs, a GTD plug-in, and Remember the Milk integration?  Why now, you ask?  Well I downloaded Yahoo Go and it well stinks.  It keeps crashing my phone and it’s too little, too late.  Google beat you too it.

Good luck Yahoo Mail.  I wish you the best.

20 timeless money rules – Be humble (1) – Money Magazine

This is an excellent Money Magazine slide show on high-level money rules.