Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Yesterday, my good friend Laura told me she had received a catalogue in the mail from some Heifer organization. She's an art director so she gets weird stuff from any company with a computer and a laser color printer.

Heifer is not a word you hear everyday. And as Laura reminded me it's not a word any woman wants to hear at all.

But it conjured up an old memory that quite frankly I hadn't thought about for a long, long time.

Years ago, my dad and a friend went in on a dairy farm in upstate NY, near Sarasota Springs. Though a skilled CPA, he had terrible luck picking investments. My dad was the anti-Warren Buffet. When he called me to tell he bought the farm I thought my inheritance had literally bought the farm.

A Bronx-born tough guy who could handle himself on the streets, he didn't know the difference between a Holstein and a Jersey. In fact if you had asked him, I'm pretty sure he'd tell you a Jersey Cow came from Newark.

Nevertheless the dairy farm served its purpose. As my dad explained, it was a tax shelter. A device to write off additional income expenses. So the more expenses he could write off as a loss, the better.

I never mastered the confusing terminology and practices of modern accounting, but if losing money was good thing, my dad's ill-fated dairy farm was a raging success.

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