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Q&A: 'Home Companion' discontinued

Engelbreit's magazine ends

What happened to Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion magazine? I had a full year's subscription and was informed it was transferred to Martha Stewart's magazine. I called the office and was told the workers had no idea what happened.

After 11 years of publication, Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion magazine was discontinued last July.

Engelbreit penned a note on her Web site that read, in part: "It was a business decision by our licensed publishing partner based purely on the lack of advertising income, certainly not on circulation or subscriber numbers, both of which remained very strong thanks to all of you."

She left open the door to restart the magazine if the economy improves, and stressed that the end of the magazine does not mean she is retiring. She continues illustrating greeting cards, calendars and books and her company will still develop products based on her illustrations.

For more about Engelbreit, read her blog and other news at

Both Pepsi and IBM are 'Blue'

In a recent story, PepsiCo was referred to as "Big Blue." I always thought that "Big Blue" was the nickname of IBM. Are both corporations nicknamed "Big Blue"?

IBM has traditionally had the nickname "Big Blue." However, in beverage circles, Pepsi is sometimes referred to as "Big Blue" or just "Blue," said Tim Halloran, a marketing instructor at Emory University.

One factor is the preponderance of blue in the Pepsi logo. A more important factor, he said, is that Coke often is referred to as "Big Red," due to the "Coke Red" color that has always been part of its heritage.

Because Coke and Pepsi are bitter rivals, it has become corporate shorthand to sometimes refer to Pepsi as either "Big Blue" or "Blue" to Coke's "Red."

Tax-deductible Haiti donations

If we make a donation to the Haiti Relief Fund before March, can we take it off our 2009 income taxes?

Yes, taxpayers can write off donations made to the relief efforts in Haiti on their 2009 income tax returns. President Barack Obama signed the bill, HR 4462, into law on Jan. 22. It applies to cash contributions made to U.S.-based, tax-exempt charities after Jan. 11, 2010, and before March 1, 2010.

Otherwise, individuals making the charitable contributions would have had to wait to claim the deductions on a 2010 tax return.

You will need to show bank records or a written document from the charity that reflects the amount of the gift and date, and that also could include a telephone bill for money donated via text message.

Q&A: 'Home Companion' discontinued 02/25/10 [Last modified: Thursday, February 25, 2010 7:47am]
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