Sunday, November 30, 2008

Mumbai On My Mind

The next time you consider that you local neighborhood police are too, how shall I say this, police-like..keep this in mind, at least they will use their guns when necessary.

From the Belfast Telegraph
Mumbai photographer: I wish I'd had a gun, not a camera. Armed police would not fire back

From Sebatstian D'Souza, the photographer who took this photo

But what angered Mr D'Souza almost as
much were the masses of armed police hiding in the area who simply
refused to shoot back
. "There were armed policemen hiding all
around the station but none of them did anything,"
he said. "At one
point, I ran up to them and told them to use their weapons. I said, 'Shoot them,
they're sitting ducks!' but they just didn't shoot back."
The militants returned inside the station
and headed towards a rear exit towards Chowpatty Beach. Mr D'Souza added: "I
told some policemen the gunmen had moved towards the rear of the station but
they refused to follow them. What is the point if having policemen with
guns if they refuse to use them? I only wish I had a gun rather than a

Then we have this from
Doctors shocked at hostage's torture

Doctors working in a hospital where all the bodies,
including that of the terrorists, were taken said they had not seen anything
like this in their lives.
"Bombay has a long history of terror. I have seen
bodies of riot victims, gang war and previous terror attacks like bomb blasts.
But this was entirely different. It was shocking and disturbing," a doctor
Asked what was different about the victims of the incident, another
doctor said: "It was very strange. I have seen so many dead bodies in my life,
and was yet traumatised. A bomb blast victim's body might have been torn apart
and could be a very disturbing sight. But the bodies of the victims in this
attack bore such signs about the kind of violence of urban warfare that I am
still unable to put my thoughts to words," he said.
Asked specifically if he
was talking of torture marks, he said: "It was apparent that most of the
dead were tortured.
What shocked me were the telltale signs showing
clearly how the hostages were executed in cold blood," one doctor said.
other doctor, who had also conducted the post-mortem of the victims,
said: "Of all the bodies, the Israeli victims bore the maximum torture
marks. It was clear that they were killed on the 26th itself. It was obvious
that they were tied up and tortured before they were killed. It was so bad that
I do not want to go over the details even in my head again," he

(Hat tip Instapundit)

Finally, Harry Fenton who blogs on Linda Grant's The Thoughtful Dresser had to fly to Mumbai after hearing that his son and his son's girlfriend were in the Taj hotel when it was under attack.
Here is their story from the Guardian.
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Holiday Gift Tips - Wall Street Journal Goes Long On Vintage!

Have they been reading my blog?
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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Around Town - The Best Of LA?

I thought that I would check into the Modern Luxury blog to see what was posted on its Best of LA list which they might want to re title the Best of PR.
Restaurant by chef Michael Mina with design by Philippe Starck
Too much going on...not only in the design but in the menu.
Here's the desert menu

I find these dishes to be completely unappetizing.
(You can check out their website if you wish to be inundated with obnoxious French music)
So obviously, I'm just a troglodyte when it comes to food.
As with all things in life, I prefer the straightforward rather than the pretentious.
So what I would add to my personal list of the Best of LA?
Anisette Brasserie with the traditional decor and menu.

Anisette Brasserie

Bon, à la table!

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Friday, November 28, 2008

A Little Break

For Miss de Ville who has final exams coming up.

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The Wonders of Google or History in a Click

I recently came across some family photos that I had stored a decade or so ago and found a picture of a tow haired boy with the face of an angel playing in his backyard in Los Angeles. The photo was signed by the photographer and dated 1944.

Without any context this could have been any little boy playing outside with the sun shining off of his hair. But what I knew about this picture was that this boy was 6 years old and German was spoken in his home. I remembered that there was some story about the photographer but I just couldn't remember it.

And that's where Google comes in.

In a matter of a couple of clicks I found this picture of the woman who photographed the little boy.

Valeska Gert, avant guard dancer from Berlin, 1924.
She made a nice photographic subject herself, didn't she?
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Chandelier Chic on Dancing With The Stars

Diamond Earrings

So here's the pictures from the two finale shows of Dancing With the Stars
with Carrie Ann sporting some super chic chandelier earrings
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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Instead of a Thanksgiving turkey I give you a little Autumn in Paris
Parc Monceau Paris
(note: the hats)
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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Diamonds Are For Disappearing

From the Times Online

Huang Guangyu, China's richest man, disappears amid corruption investigation

How does the richest man in China....or anywhere for that matter disappear?

A better does bazillionaire disappear and continue to live in the style that he has grown accustomed to?

It's all about the assets.

Cash in suitcases? How much luggage can you travel with and still remain incognito?

Bearer Bonds? Do they still even exist?

Gold? How do you store it?

Diamonds? Bingo!

Something small and indestructible, easy to carry and conceal, that keeps its value and is easy to liquidate.
The ultimate asset if you want to change your world

As they say, diamonds are forever.
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How About A Hat?

Murder in Mumbai
Tyranny in Thailand
Riots in Reykjavik

Let's chat about hats!

What did women do to improve their complexions before micro dermabrasion, fractal laser facials, botox injections, face lifts and a multibillion dollar cosmetics industry?
They wore hats, of course, the natural sunscreen!
Not that I'm suggesting that you cover your head....
We wouldn't want to put those Bedford Drive and Madison Avenue plastic surgeons out of business, would we? The unemployment rate is high enough.

For your reading pleasure, the always clever Miss Cavendish has a little Thanksgiving tale about a hat.

In the Spirit of Thanksgiving
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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Lucien Lelong - A Little Illumination

There are so many stories of acts of personal courage from Paris under the Nazi Occupation...we will never know them all.
But author and fashion blogger Linda Grant has brought us one that I think you will find interesting.
Lucien Lelong: the man who saved Paris
Where would French fashion be without Lucien Lelong? Probably in Berlin, that's where. Linda Grant on the dressmaker who stood up to Nazis – and won.

Paris struggled on, but when war was declared on 3 September 1939 the couture houses closed down, some for ever. Mainbocher and Schiaparelli left for America. Vionnet never reopened. Lelong was now president of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture and, after the invasion, it was his job to negotiate with the occupying German regime. The Nazis wanted to move Paris lock, stock and barrel to Berlin by any means, including violence. On 20 July 1940 five Nazi officers arrived at the headquarters of the Chambre Syndicale on an 'inspection'; five days later they broke into the building and requisitioned the archive.

Under the Nazi plan the Paris ateliers would be moved to
Germany or Austria, where they would train a new generation of German
dressmakers. The designers would also be moved. Within a generation, the Nazis
expected, couture would be German, not French. It was a breathtakingly arrogant
ambition to believe that they could appropriate a whole industry.

Lelong pointed out that the plan was unworkable. French
fashion was dependent on thousands of skilled artisans in tiny ateliers, each
specialising in one small detail of finish, such as embroidery. The skills, he
explained, were unteachable. You could not transfer them, and it took decades to
reach the necessary levels of craftsmanship. The intransigence of the Germans
was nothing compared with that of French couture. Lelong asserted the right of
each country to produce its own fashion and argued that it was their home
environment that allowed the workers to do what they did. The Nazis backed down
and returned the archive, and Lelong negotiated to keep a supply of fabric that
would maintain production. The only fall-back the occupiers had was to conscript
into the army its labour force. They started by demanding 80 per cent; Lelong
got it down to five per cent.

I've always wondered about the adulation and iconization of Coco Chanel, with the ongoing barrage of books, articles and films about her life. There were so many talented designers, not just in Haute Couture but in jewelry too (Van Cleef, Cartier,Boucheron), who managed to continue their work during this period, without sleeping with German officers like Coco Chanel chose to do.
Today Lelong is forgotten while everyone remembers Chanel.
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So Many Predictions of So Few Outcomes

From Drudge today

A leading Russian political analyst has said the economic turmoil in the United States has confirmed his long-held view that the country is heading for collapse, and will divide into separate parts. Professor Igor Panarin said in an interview with the respected daily IZVESTIA published on Monday: "The dollar is not secured by anything. The country's foreign debt has grown like an avalanche, even though in the early 1980s there was no debt. By 1998, when I first made my prediction, it had exceeded $2 trillion. Now it is more than 11 trillion. This is a pyramid that can only collapse."

Gratuitous Photo Of Vlad
(I know he's no longer president, but he is more photogenic than Dmitry Medvedev)
When asked when the U.S. economy would collapse, Panarin said: "It is already collapsing. Due to the financial crisis, three of the largest and oldest five banks on Wall Street have already ceased to exist, and two are barely surviving. Their losses are the biggest in history. Now what we will see is a change in the regulatory system on a global financial scale: America will no longer be the world's financial regulator." When asked who would replace the U.S. in regulating world markets, he said: "Two countries could assume this role: China, with its vast reserves, and Russia, which could play the role of a regulator in Eurasia."
Well yeah, maybe it's time for a country that is currently best known for corrupt oligarchs and hot models should take over the role of regulator in Eurasia.

Gratuitous Picture of Russian Models

Meanwhile, we've got California in a crisis
California is now a valuable touchstone to the country, a warning of what not to do. Rarely has a single generation inherited so much natural wealth and bounty from the investment and hard work of those more noble now resting in our cemeteries—and squandered that gift within a generation. Compare the vast gulf from old Governor Pat Brown to Gray Davis or Arnold Schwarzenegger. We did not invest in many dams, canals, rails, and airports (though we use them all to excess); we sued each other rather than planned; wrote impact statements rather than left behind infrastructure; we redistributed, indulged, blamed, and so managed all at once to create a state with about the highest income and sales taxes and the worst schools, roads, hospitals, and airports. A walk through downtown San Francisco, a stroll up the Fresno downtown mall, a drive along highway 101 (yes, in many places it is still a four-lane, pot-holed highway), an afternoon at LAX, a glance at the catalogue of Cal State Monterey, a visit to the park in Parlier—all that would make our forefathers weep. We can’t build a new nuclear plant; can’t drill a new offshore oil well; can’t build an all-weather road across the Sierra; can’t build a few tracts of new affordable houses in the Bay Area; can’t build a dam for a water-short state; and can’t create even a mediocre passenger rail system. Everything else—well, we do that well.

Yeah, things are ugly. But I wouldn't short the American economy for the long run.
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Monday, November 24, 2008

Deep Glamour on Diane Pernet

Admit it
You want to know more about a woman who can pull off wearing an outfit like this.
Here's the Deep Glamour interview with fashionista Diane Pernet.
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Beladora Bling On Dancing With The Stars

And now for something completely different.
How great does Dancing With The Stars judge Carrie Ann Inaba look in major diamond chandelier earrings provided by

This photo is from last week's show.

In this week's two show finale, tonight and tomorrow, Carrie Ann will be rocking more bling.

(The earrings btw came from a real princess....not a wanna be princess)
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Robert Rubinites To The Rescue

One more thing about Citigroup where Robert Rubin is a key member of the Board of Directors.

From the International Herald Tribune
Rubin protégés change their tune as they join Obama's team

WASHINGTON: It is testament to former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin's star power among many Democrats that as President-elect Barack Obama fills out his economic team, a virtual Rubin constellation is taking shape.

So, will the new Rubinites and their Rubinomics mismanage the US like Citigroup was mismanaged?
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Citigroup - Banking on a Bailout

Citigroup 1977-2008

Citigroup has the farthest international reach of any U.S. bank, with operations in more than 100 countries. The bank was widely felt to be too big to be allowed to fail.

The plan calls for Citigroup, America's second-biggest bank, to issue $27 billion in preferred shares to the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

The Fed, Treasury and FDIC in return will shoulder most of the potential losses on Citigroup's $306 billion portfolio of debt assets, beyond an initial $29 billion in losses which Citigroup would be responsible for.

Even after everything that has happened in the last few months this blows me away.

Long ago when I worked for Citigroup which was headed at the time by Sandy Weill, it was like working at GE under Jack Welch, demanding but rewarding. There was something truly special about working for a firm where everyone around me had the patina of the best and the brightest.

I wonder how many Citigroup employees will lose their jobs because of the mismanagement at the executive level.

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Rocking It Saudi Style

Times, they are a changing
Check out this music by an all Saudi female rock band.

Change happens...even in the KSA
(Hat tip Instapundit)
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Vintage Value Venture - Ice Baby Ice

While it is warm enough today to go hiking today in my cargo shorts and wife beater t-shirt, most of the rest of the country is feeling a cold snap.
It is Autumn after all.
So, how do deal with the chill?
With a little blue ice of your own of course!

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Right Here Right Now

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

SAG Seeking Strike - Are They High?

So let's see
We've got genocide in action in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Somali pirates taking over cargo ships and demanding ransom
Millions of jobs in danger next year
Citigroup...CITIGROUP!! in need of a bailout
The IMF chief economist warning that the worst is yet to come


Those overpaid, underworked members of the screen actors guild are going on strike.
Good timing guys
We feel your pain
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Around Town - November in Beverly Hills

It's not all about the shopping

One of the reasons why I like Beverly Hills is that it is a small town in the middle of a big extended city and there's stuff to do besides shopping. Tonight, for example was the lighting of of the chandeliers on Rodeo.
For a complete list of what's happening around town check out Beverly Hills Be Here

Monthly Wine and Cheese Tasting
Every Wednesday and Thursday» Cooking Classes
Every Saturday» Tea Tasting Classes
Every Saturday and Sunday Kick the Weekday Blues at blue on blue
Every Friday and Saturday» Candlelight Fridays and Saturdays at The Blvd
Every Wednesday» Jazz After Work at Café Rodeo
November 1 - November 30, 2008» November Screenings at The Paley Center for Media
November 12, 2008 - January 11, 2009» 24: Redemption Photo Exhibit at The Paley Center for Media
November 15 - December 14, 2008» Vittorio Matino Exhibition at Sundaram Tagore Gallery
November 22, 2008» Beverly Hills Lighting Ceremony and Holiday Celebration
November 22, 2008» Tango Adamor at the Wilshire Theatre
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Savvy Shopping - Making Merry in Mikimoto

Well, it's that time of year again and all of the sleigh bells and tinsel can't take the dread out of the annual office Holiday party.
As usual, you want to look good so that you can tactfully leave early and meet up with your friends at the bar at the Thompson or the Bel Air Hotel.
So here's the outfit.
And, the perfect accessory

Beladora Mikimoto pearl necklace with spinel and diamond detail

If your boss compliments you on the necklace while ogling your cleavage, just say thank you and smile. And...when your co-workers ask where you got the beautiful pearls, just say that you inherited them from your grandmother.... or they might think that you and the boss have been doing a little extra curricular work on the side and that the necklace was part of your year end bonus.
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Celebrity Style Silliness - Divorce Settlement Style

I guess that Madonna didn't get the memo that Halloween is over

I don't even know what to say about this outfit except
woodland elf meets lost boy from peter pan

No wonder Guy couldn't take her for long
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Japan's "Princess Girls" - Oh Grow Up Already!

As reported in the Wall Street Journal

From the country that made Hello Kitty a cultural icon
we know have the Princess Girl.

Ms. Yamamoto is a hime gyaru, or princess girl, a growing
new tribe of Japanese women who aim to look like sugarcoated, 21st-century
versions of old-style European royalty. They idolize Marie Antoinette and Paris
Hilton, (!!!!) for her baby-doll looks and princess lifestyle. They speak in soft,
chirpy voices and flock to specialized boutiques with names like Jesus Diamante,
which looks like a bedroom in a European chateau. There, some hime girls spend
more than $1,000 for an outfit including a satin dress, parasol and
rhinestone-studded handbag.

36 year old Myumi Yamamoto spends $3,000 per month on little girl dressing

24 year old Keiko Mizoe sells $95,000 per month in hime fashions
Japan has been famous for its extreme
fashion fads, mostly among teenagers. These have ranged from the Lolita look, in
which women dress up in baby-doll dresses and bonnets
But the princess boom is seen as a more
polished and sophisticated look that's popular among working women in their 20s
and 30s, perhaps as a bit of escapism from workaday stress and economic
"There's a longing for a happy-ending fairy tale," says Asuka
Watanabe, a sociology professor at Kyoritsu Women's Junior College, who
specializes in street fashion.
Can I ask why the Japanese have a fetish for infantalizing women?
Are Japanese men secretly pedophiles?
Admittedly, most little girls want to be a princess at sometime in their lives....but it usually goes away by the time they reach 2nd grade.
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Friday, November 21, 2008

Brainiac Beauties Pass The Bar Exam!

After months of anticipation I'm thrilled to find out that my son's girlfriend, the lovely Laura and my very capable assistant, the ravishing Renée, received their Bar Exam results....
and they both passed
Mais Bien Sûr!

There was a time not too long ago, OK maybe yesterday, that I felt that California had too many lawyers....but I couldn't be more pleased to know that now I know that there are at least two great attorneys out there.

Time for champagne!
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Global Warming Causes More Sex - Or So They Say

Here's a little something for a hot Friday in November.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Vintage Value Venture - Alhambra Acquiescence

Something "sexalicious" for those night when you just can't fly off to the south of Spain.
Spain's Alhambra Palace

I love the description
In Jersey World, This Is As Good As It Gets! Simple And Oh-So Sexalicious. Softest Fluid Slinkiness That Moves All Around As You Do; Floor Length. Totally Liquid And Stretchy. A Lot Of Why We Love Joy Stevens So Much Is That She Unfailingly Used The Very Best Quality Nylon Jersey. It Feels Cool To The Touch And Sensual On The Skin.Gorgeous Shimmering Rust Color. Twisty Knot Detail At The Center Of The Halter-Style Bust. Back Zipper.All Unlined (Except For Doubled Fabric Inside The Halter Cups) And Fresh And Minty, So Let The Boyfriend Be Warned--It Feels So Good You Won't Be Wearing Anything Underneath.

No sexy description needed for the bracelet
VCA price $2850
Beladora price $2150
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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bling Biz - The Glitter Gulch is Growing

So according to the New York Post

Despite the financial crisis, a slew of upscale jewelers are opening and expanding new boutiques on some of the priciest blocks of Madison's venerable shopping strip on the Upper East Side.
For some reason I find this very amusing
Last week, the British diamond merchant Graff staged a lavish cocktail party to open a giant boutique at the corner of Madison and 63rd Street. The four-story, 4,000-square-foot store - built over two years at a cost of $14 million - has been decked out with imported marble and an array of solid bronze fixtures including a commode from a French designer.
"Other people would use regular brass and stain it to look like bronze," said Henri Barguirdjian, CEO of Graff America. "But no."
It must be the "But no" response...obviously no price is too high for Graff's interior decor.
While Luxe clothing boutiques are cutting back on expansion the jewelers are on a jaunt.
And while Asprey, Chopard, Pomellato and Leviev all opened new boutiques last year, new shops are coming soon - David Yurman, Girard-Perregaux, Carat and Jack Vartanian to name a few, she says.
"We used to call Madison the Gold Coast, but now it has become the Jewel Coast," Consolo said, comparing the strip to Bond Street in London and Place Vendome in Paris, where jewelry giants like Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels make their home.
And here's the economic reasoning
But jewelers offer another reason for the flurry of fresh leases: In a down economy, jewelry sales hold up better than clothing and accessories. If a super-wealthy shopper frets about buying a $10,000 handbag from Hermes, she might feel less guilty about a $50,000 diamond necklace because it's more likely to hold its value.
"When people are looking at their portfolios and moving money into cash, jewelry becomes an attractive place to invest," says Greg Kwiat of Kwiat Diamonds.
and high expectations
Alain Nemarq, president of Mauboussin - a 181-year-old French jeweler that opened a boutique two doors away from Graff last month - said despite the financial crisis he's sticking to a forecast for $2 million in holiday sales.
"It's always a very good time to love," Nemarq says.
Well now that the Stock Market has reached 2003 levels,
they better be hoping that there's a lot of love going around.
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Is Seth Rogan the new Cary Grant or More on the "Menaissance"

The Hymowitz article I posted about has solicited quite a bit of commentary across the blogosphere.
Such as this article
The Peter Pan Myth: The Real Reason Men Won’t Settle Down
The question isn't "Why aren't more men getting married before age 30?" It's "Why are any?"

The article solicited a large amount of comments, many of them with the usual complaints of the unhappily divorced..."She was a bad wife and took my money" - "He was a bad husband and left me for a younger woman" - "Women are all greedy sluts" - "Men are all cheating cads"
blah, blah, blah.

Out of the 50 or so comments I found this one of note

It’s ALL about unrealistic expectations and lack of adulthood on both sides.
If you’re sitting on your butt with your buddies watching CartoonNetwork, you are not an adult. If you’re hanging with your girlfriends and your most serious topic of discussion is affording new shoes, you’re not an adult. Being not an adult is not a lofty goal, nor is it an excuse. It’s just a fact.
Society is supporting a generalized overall tilt towards remaining in adolescence. Like the lifelong hunt to stay 18 is something laudable and to be glorified. From looks to behavior, the grownup is dying.

Sorry, one can talk about the woman’s movement or the men’s movement, or anyone’s movement and it only touches on a part of it. It truly is about a global avoidance of all things adult, unless there is some sort of payment for it.
It was never meant to be easy. It was never meant to be completely fulfilling or one big date. It was never meant to meet all of one’s needs, that is what a balanced life is for.
And if you spend your time blaming someone else for what you cannot do, that makes you basically lame. But it fits the basic picture. Children blame others, adults own their own lives. This attitude is gender non-specific in my eyes. I’ve met just as many adolescent females as I’ve met males.

So why do I find all this worth pondering. After all, I don't have a dog in this fight. I don't need to get married, nor do I need to have children. Been there, done that.

Well, In the aggregate I'm fascinated with the subject because I have an interest in History. And something historical has certainly happened in the second half of the 20th Century.

And, In the specific I'm concerned because I have two 20 something year old children and this brave new world is their reality. How will they navigate it?

Hopefully son doesn't have any delusions that any of "The Girls Next Door" are examples of the ideal woman and my daughter doesn't waste her time reading women's magazines and watching Oprah.
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Big 3 Bailout or When First Class Isn't Good Enough

All three CEOs - Rick Wagoner of GM, Alan Mulally of Ford, and Robert Nardelli of Chrysler - exercised their perks Tuesday by flying in corporate jets to DC. Wagoner flew in GM's $36 million luxury aircraft to tell members of Congress that the company is burning through cash, asking for $10-12 billion for GM alone.

"This is a slap in the face of taxpayers," said Tom Schatz, President of Citizens Against Government Waste. "To come to Washington on a corporate jet, and asking for a hand out is outrageous."

Wagoner's private jet trip to Washington cost his ailing company an estimated $20,000 roundtrip. In comparison, seats on Northwest Airlines flight 2364 from Detroit to Washington were going online for $288 coach and $837 first class.

Ford CEO Mulally's corporate jet is a perk included for both he and his wife as part of his employment contract along with a $28 million salary last year. Mulally actually lives in Seattle, not Detroit. The company jet takes him home and back on weekends.
I just thought you might want to know.
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Paris For The Pleasure - Not For The Shopping

Christmas on Rodeo Drive

Christmas on the Champs Elysées
From EuroSoc

Oh, Champs-Elysées------------------
Tonight, Oscar-winning actress Marion Cotillard will switch on the Christmas illuminations on the Champs-Elysées, still described by Parisians as "the most beautiful street in the world."
Unfortunately, though, the rest of the world no longer agrees. A survey carried out by "mystery shoppers" of the most prestigious shopping streets in the world ranked les Champs bottom out of sixteen famous names. Surly shop assistants and poor service in the flagship boutiques on les Champs are identified as the major cause of its poor grades, and the pollsters also claimed that the entire avenue wasn't as clean as it should be. With an overall score of only 69/100, the Paris street came far behind Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, Oxford Street & New Bond Street in London and even less well-known contenders such as la Calle Serrano in Madrid and even Istanbul's Bagdat Avenue.
Oh come on...surly shop assistants, poor service and dirty streets have always been the tradition in Paris....
Certainly if I had my choice between Christmas in the City of Lights or Christmas in the City of Palm Trees, I'd choose Paris.
Wouldn't you?
I just wouldn't shop there.
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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Darwinian Dating or No More Mr. Darcy

As a follow to her controversial article about the current state of the American male, Child-Man in the Promised Land, Kay s. Hymowitz has just published her new article in the City Journal.
She begins with.
Now, men and women have probably been a mystery to one another since the time human beings were in trees; one reason people developed so many rules around courtship was that they needed some way to bridge the Great Sexual Divide.
Apparently the time honored established rules of courtship no longer apply.
In other words, Ladies, don't bother looking for Mr. Darcy
and Gentlemen, don't bother trying to be Mr. Darcy.
We all know about the eternal conundrum "What Do Women Want?"
Well the answer it seems is even more elusive now.
Today, though, there is no standard scenario for meeting and mating, or even relating. For one thing, men face a situation—and I’m not exaggerating here—new to human history. Never before have men wooed women who are, at least theoretically, their equals—socially, professionally, and sexually.
But then, when an SYM (single young man) walks into a bar and sees an attractive woman, it turns out to be nothing like that. The woman may be hoping for a hookup, but she may also be looking for a husband, a co-parent, a sperm donor, a relationship, a threesome, or a temporary place to live. She may want one thing in November and another by Christmas. “I’ve gone through phases in my life where I bounce between serial monogamy, Very Serious Relationships and extremely casual sex,” writes Megan Carpentier on Jezebel, a popular website for young women. “I’ve slept next to guys on the first date, had sex on the first date, allowed no more than a cheek kiss, dispensed with the date-concept altogether after kissing the guy on the way to his car, fucked a couple of close friends and, more rarely, slept with a guy I didn’t care if I ever saw again.” Okay, wonders the ordinary guy with only middling psychic powers, which is it tonight?
Add to this decades of socially accepted male bashing from the media, academia and popular culture which has trashed the idea of traditional manhood and promoted the new male ideal, the emasculated metrosexual.
Adding to the bitterness of many SYMs is the feeling that the entire culture is a you-go-girl cheering section. When our guy was a boy, the media prattled on about “girl power,” parents took their daughters to work, and a mysterious plague seemed to have killed off boys, at least white ones, from school textbooks. To this day, male-bashing is the lingua franca of situation comedies and advertising: take the dimwitted television dads from Homer Simpson to Ray Romano to Tim Allen, or the guy who starts a cooking fire to be put out by his multitasking wife, who is already ordering takeout.
Add to that the constant mixed messages that men are confronted with.
Young men grew up hearing from their mothers, their teachers, and Oprah that women wanted sensitive, kind, thoughtful, intelligent men who were in touch with their feminine sides, who shared their feelings, who enjoyed watching Ally McBeal rather than Beavis and Butt-Head. Yeah, right, sneer a lot of veterans of the scene. Women don’t want Ashley Wilkes; they’re hot for Rhett Butler, for macho men with tight abs and an emotional range to match.
So what's a guy to do? Go Darwin of course and let loose that alpha male.
So, men like Wytchfinde conclude: No more Mister Nice Guy! They will dump all those lessons from their over-feminized childhood and adolescence. They will join what the Boston Globe has called the “Menaissance.” And they will buy titles like The Alphabet of Manliness (K is for Knockers, Q is for Quickies), The Retrosexual Manual, Being the Strong Man a Woman Wants, and actor Jim Belushi’s recent Real Men Don’t Apologize.
For one illustration of dating à la Darwin, consider what’s known as the Seduction Community. The Community is a loose network of dating coaches, gurus, and their followers whose philosophical origins lie variously in Darwin, Norman Vincent Peale, and hyperlogical geekdom. Women want alpha males, the Seduction Community agrees; with some effort at self-improvement, any man can learn the game—Game, as it is reverently known—that will turn him into a Pick Up Artist (PUA). A highly skilled PUA can get any woman, even an HB10 (Hot Babe who is a perfect 10; Game has more acronyms and rankings than the Department of Defense does). It’s impossible to know just how many wannabe PUAs there are out there, but judging from the multitude of websites like AlphaSeduction, Fast Seduction 101, Grow Your Game, SeductionTutor, and The Seduction Chronicles, as well as chat rooms, conferences, ads for seduction gurus, boot camps not just in the United States but all over Europe and parts of Asia, and books, including Neil Strauss’s 2005 best-selling The Game, their numbers are considerable.

Darwinist dating may explain the litany of stories you hear from women about the troglodytes in their midst. “We can be slovenly from the start,” one interview subject told Amy Cohen in her dating column for the New York Observer, “because we can get laid anytime we want.” Remember those women who want a guy who will open the car door for them? They may be lucky if they find one willing to add “please” to “Pass the ketchup.”
Game goes even further, actually encouraging men to “neg” their “target” women—that is, to undermine their confidence subtly by ignoring or mildly insulting them. The hotter the woman, the more essential it is to neg her.
Then we get the ranking system.
Darwinian mores, or anti-mores, also explain the brutal status jockeying that pervades the contemporary dating scene and that makes the high school cafeteria look like a feminist utopia. Check out, a matchmaking website “created exclusively for beautiful, desirable people.” Members rank your picture on a scale of one to five and vote on whether to let you join their honored ranks or throw you into the slush pile of “saggy,” “hairy,” “sweaty,” “nerdy” rejects. My 28-year-old daughter tells me of a friend, a Yale alum and Stanford business school graduate, who asked her, apropos of nothing, “If you ranked women from one to ten, one being Ugly Betty and ten being Elizabeth Hurley, what number could I get?” Jillian Straus describes a 34-year-old sales manager from Dallas who says that his current girlfriend meets just six out of his ten requirements for the perfect girlfriend. When they go out together, he’s constantly looking for an “upgrade.”
And this Darwinian stuff isn't just for men.
Men are convinced that they are no worse—and probably a good deal better—than women in making these calculations. With good Darwinian logic, though, they believe that women tend to do their reckoning on the basis of wallet size rather than pulchritude. “Girls are really good at that kind of math,” one jaded twentysomething man writes to me about his entry-level salary. In a review of the movie Sex and the City, the English author Toby Young remembers the five years he had lived in New York: “Attractive single girls not only dropped their ‘dates’ at the slightest whiff of a bigger, better deal, they routinely betrayed their girlfriends, too.” (As his only half-facetious name suggests, Carrie’s Mr. Big is pure alpha—rich and, as if proving the conclusions of recovering nice guys everywhere, a bit of a jerk.)
So it's all just evolutionary biology.
We are animals, the new Darwinians seem to say; get used to it. They define manhood as alpha-style toughness and unsentimental promiscuity. And in that spirit, they cultivate manipulation, calculation, and naked (in both the literal and metaphorical sense) self-interest. “Nature doesn’t care about hurting people’s feelings,” explains dating coach Mike Pilinski. “It cares ONLY about reproductive success.”
Is this our new norm?
Nevertheless, you might ask, are there really so many dating Darwinists on the prowl? Is dating really hell, as the website would have it, for the majority of contemporary SYMs and Fs? Probably not. It’s a safe bet that for all the confusions and humiliations of dating, most men will still try to be nice guys who say “please” and avoid asking a woman about her sexual history until, say, the third date.
Well it seems that it is.
The behavior of men is simply a response (which is actually a quite logical one) to the changing behavior of women. Simply put, men are a breeding experiment run by women. You reap what you sow—and when a man can sow all he wants and leave the reaping to others, well, why not?”
So the end result is that it all comes down to survival of the fittest.
If you are looking for Mr. Darcy pull out your copy of Pride and Prejudice.
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Maverick Mark Cuban in a Crisis

Mark Cuban - a piece or work
or just another billionaire who thinks he's above the laws that the rest of us have to abide by.

A picture of class - Mark Cuban on the dance floor
From today's Wall Street Journal

SEC Calls a Foul on NBA's Cuban, Alleges Insider Trades in Web Firm

The Securities and Exchange Commission filed civil
insider-trading charges against Mark Cuban, saying the Dallas Mavericks owner
dumped his stake in an Internet company just after he heard confidentially that
the company was about to issue low-priced shares.

In the SEC complaint against him, a witness described
how Mr. Cuban allegedly flew off the handle in June 2004 when he was told about
a proposed private offering in, an Internet company in which he had
taken a roughly 6% stake earlier that year. Such an offering was likely to
trigger a decline in the stock's price.

According to the complaint,'s chief executive
emailed Mr. Cuban asking him to call as soon as possible. Mr. Cuban called four
minutes later from the arena where the Mavericks play.
"Well, now I'm screwed," Mr. Cuban reportedly said.

Well I can only hope so.

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Graff on a Gambol or Betting on the Billionaire Boys

Recession...What Recession?

Certainly that's the view from Larry Graff's glamorous world. reports that London's uber jeweler to Saudis and Socialites, Graff, has just opened his flagship New York store.

Larry Graff and Stephanie Seymore aka Mrs Peter Brant

“We’ve had a record six months,”
said Laurence Graff. “Not in spite of the credit crisis but because of the
credit crisis.”
He continued, spelling out the jeweler’s clearly
winning take on navigating global economic discord: “In times of chaos, you have to go back to the basics, one of which is treasure. Treasure never becomes worthless. And that’s what we sell.”

Opposite of what I read on Idex and RAP, I'm glad to know that someone out there in retail land is making big bucks with big bling.
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Monday, November 17, 2008

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Glowing Gaia - The Godess of Guile

I know that many people look at Nature as a thing of benign beauty
all hills and dells, rainbows and bluebells
all butterflies and buttercups, baby bunnies and babbling brooks

But Mother Nature isn't benign. She's a Bitch.
And she doesn't discriminate.
Whether you live in a mansion or a mobile home, when that fire is coming there's nothing you can do but flee.

Just another beautiful day in paradise!

Across the world there were reports of unseasonal snow and
plummeting temperatures last month, from the American Great Plains to China, and
from the Alps to New Zealand. China's official news agency reported that Tibet
had suffered its "worst snowstorm ever". In the US, the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration registered 63 local snowfall records and 115
lowest-ever temperatures for the month, and ranked it as only the 70th-warmest
October in 114 years.

satellite images were showing Arctic sea-ice recovering so
fast from its summer melt that three weeks ago it was 30 per cent more extensive
than at the same time last year.
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Quantum of Solace or Quantum of Confusion?

When I wasn't sleeping I found the movie to be visually interesting with a gritty dark realism. No sexy locales(unless you consider Bolivia and Haiti sexy), no silly gadgets and no stupid double entendres. Daniel Craig was great, but the new bond girl was unremarkable.

Unfortunately I found the plot to be convoluted. Maybe it was the script, or maybe it was because I dozed through the first 30 minutes, but I walked out of the theater a little confused. And I wasn't the only one.
So far in my humble opinion, the best Daniel Craig film is still Layer Cake.
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