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Creative Accounting

"Fowler was a master of creative expense account writing. In 1921, while on Hearst's New York American, he traveled to northern Canada to interview three US navy balloonists who had turned up, after being missing for a month, at a remote spot called Moose Factory.

"While most of their fellow journalists waited at Toronto, Fowler and five colleagues loaded a private railroad car with choice food and drink and set out for Moose Factory. The cost of the expedition worked out at $7,200 -- $1,200 for each of them.

"Fowler got back to the American offices and began drawing up his expense account. He listed all manner of items that might be thought necessary for an expedition to the far north -- mittens, parkas, snowshoes -- but was still short of the necessary total.

"He added on the purchase of a secondhand dogsled and a team of huskies to draw it. The American's auditor returned the account; it still did not balance. Fowler added a mention of the death of the lead dog and compensation of $80 paid to its owner, plus a commemorative headstone for the same dog -- $20.

"Again the account was returned, this time just a trifle short. Fowler added the final item: 'Flowers for the bereft bitch -- $150.'"

[In 2003, Fort Lauderdale's All Saints Episcopal Church launched a monthly service for pets and their owners -- including doggie treats at communion time. "If they start getting boisterous don't worry," said associate priest Roger Allee. "They're praising God as only they know how to do it."]

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