Saturday, November 28, 2009


"You think I should put the gratuity on," Antonio asked as Alexis and I stood by the terminal. It was a slow day, but a good day to sharpen our wits.
"They are sorority girls," I replied.
"But what does that mean,"" Alexis replied. The sorority girls chatted while downing their beers with ease.
"Maybe you'll get over the 18% if you put on your best winning smile."
"Yeah, practice," Alexis said.
"Okay like this," Antonio said. He put his hands together praying to the restaurant gods and widened his mouth.
"No, you gotta show some teeth," Alexis said.
Antonio broadened his smile and displayed his teeth slightly.
"That's what I'm talking about," I said.
"I have fucked up teeth though," Antonio said with dismay.
"Don't worry about it," Alexis said.
"Go, do it," I said.
Antonio walked over to the table and set down the checkbook. He opened his hands and smiled widely showing teeth. Alexis and I laughed and then walked away. Ten minutes later we reconvened at the terminal.
"So how much did you get," I asked.
"It was $12.00. I think that's like 17%," Antonio said as he punched in the numbers into the terminal closing out the sorority girls check.
"Those fuckers," I said. "You got a dollar ripped out of your pocket!"
"You definitely should have grated them," Alexis said.
"I think it was my teeth."

"So the other night I was at the party," Chris began as I stood by the wait terminal. I sipped on some water as Chris slowly put away some glasses on to the shelf. "There was this ugly girl that I slept with. It was really awkward, although every time I went into a room she disappeared into another."
"Why was it so awkward," I said.
"Well it was a mistake to sleep with her. I talked to a friend earlier in the evening and she did the same thing to him."
"What was that?"
"She learned me into the room saying 'I have some whiskey,' I was drunk and said okay. Then she shut the door and got naked."
"Sounds pretty devious," I said.
"Yeah what a mistake."
"The good thing about not drinking as much is that I don't make those mistakes anymore. The bad thing is that I never get laid."

Friday, November 27, 2009

Soon to be Picturesque Ruins

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – For years, Dubai seemed unstoppable, an oasis of excess boasting indoor ski slopes and manmade islands, the world's tallest tower and dreams that reached even higher.

Now the bills are coming due, and the emirate's debt problems are tarnishing a place built on borrowed time and money — and threatening to spill into other Gulf Arab nations.

State-owned conglomerate Dubai World's call for a delay in repaying some of the $60 billion it owes creditors will likely make international investors view even more fiscally conservative countries through a lens of uncertainty, analysts say.

The announcement is "impacting everybody in the region — the good and the bad," said John Sfakianakis, chief economist at Saudi-based Banque Saudi Fransi-Credit Agricole Group.

"Right now we're still seeing the impact of this, and the impact will be that everybody is being negatively perceived," Sfakianakis said.

In Dubai and in other Gulf nations, rulers keep tight control over information on their fiscal standing and dealmaking even as they draw in hundreds of billions of investment dollars.

For example, in Saudi Arabia, the Arab world's largest economy, few were aware of the $22 billion debt crunch confronting two of the kingdom's largest privately held conglomerates earlier this year. The news filtered out as the companies fought each other in court, with one accusing the other of fraud.

While international investors were once willing to gamble on Gulf countries, largely because of their oil wealth, the global financial meltdown made them less willing to take risks. The Dubai crisis will only heighten those concerns, analysts say.

"Foreign investors will sharply divide the way they recognize investment opportunities in the Gulf based on which countries have oil and which don't," said Simon Henderson, a Gulf energy specialist at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Unlike Saudi Arabia, Qatar or even Dubai's neighboring emirate, Abu Dhabi, Dubai lacks oil wealth. The government-backed entities known as Dubai Inc. tapped credit markets to engineer the city-state's spectacular growth.

Over the past decade, the tiny emirate, one of seven that make up the United Arab Emirates, transformed itself into a regional financial hub, a magnet for tourists and foreign workers.

It constructed high-rises with stellar Persian Gulf views and an indoor ski slope, and offered a freewheeling lifestyle frowned upon elsewhere in the UAE, as well as the region. A manmade island shaped like a palm frond beckoned. Dubai boldly built the world's tallest skyscraper, Burj Dubai, set to open in January.

The global credit crisis derailed the dream. Property prices have plunged by 50 percent since last year. Projects were canceled, and expatriate workers left en masse. Today, buildings sit unfinished, apartments unsold or empty.

Dubai World's announcement that it was seeking at least a six-month delay in paying back its debt sent shock waves around the world Friday. Oil prices dived to near $74 per barrel, and Asian markets tumbled for the second consecutive day. In the U.S., the Dow Jones industrials lost more than 150 points.

Dubai's overall debt load is seen as at least $80 billion, underscoring how grave Dubai World's announcement was for the emirate's financial health.

Later comments by one of the emirate's top financial officials that the call for a delay was a "sensible business decision" and "carefully planned" did little to mitigate the damage.

Henderson said it was "an extraordinarily arrogant decision," made public on the eve of Thanksgiving in the U.S. and just before a three-day Islamic feast.

"It's impossible they don't realize this will be taken as a personal insult by the world's financial community," Henderson said, adding that it would not be surprising if creditors were unsympathetic.

Fears about the debt problems were compounded by lack of detail provided by Dubai authorities. The announcement also raised worries that reassurances provided by Dubai over the past few months were just an attempt to hide the magnitude of the problem.

"When people don't know what the extent of the problem is, their concerns deepen," said Jane Kinninmont, a London-based specialist on Gulf economies at the Economist Intelligence Unit. Kinninmont said that there is a "real shortage" of economic data to assess the recession's impact on Dubai.

Two Abu Dhabi majority-owned banks had already bought up $15 billion in Dubai bonds as part of a $20 billion program earlier this year. Analysts are concerned that Abu Dhabi may not back all of Dubai's assets, and that international lenders will take a second look at investing there and in other Gulf countries with a history of a lack of transparency.

Already, the effects have begun to surface. Standard & Poor's downgraded its ratings of several Dubai government-related entities, linking its decision to the Dubai World announcement.

"In our view, such a restructuring may be considered a default under our default criteria, and represents the failure of the Dubai government to provide timely financial support to a core government-related entity," said S&P analysts.

Elsewhere in the region, Bahrain-based Gulf International Bank said it was delaying a sale of $4 billion in five-year bonds that had already garnered 60 orders, pinning its decision on Dubai and the "best interest of investors participating in the deal."

The latest news is at the very least a wake-up call to investors, analysts say.

"Dubai's current problems are a long overdue consequence of the bursting of the global property bubble rather than the start of a new financial crisis," analysts at Capital Economics concluded in a research note Friday.

Analysts said they were troubled by Dubai's apparent determination to downplay its financial predicament.

Dubai's ruler, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, had continually dismissed concerns over the city-state's liquidity and denied for months that the economic downturn even touched the glitzy city-state. Two months ago, he told Dubai's critics to "shut up."


AP Business Writer Tarek El-Tablawy contributed to this report from Cairo.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Its a heartbreak beat

I just recently watched this video. Man are psychedelic furs douchebags! That said I love their music. Tonight at karaoke I sang "Love my way." It garnered four dancers on the floor. All four people knew me, but not the song. Shame! I hope to rope, slash guilt, more people into attending next time, that way I gain a larger crowd and win the coveted $50 prize for most dancers during song. Anyways here's a bitchin' embed. If you don't watch consider yourself a loser. Dress like them and consider yourself a loser as well.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Bling Ring

Nicholas Frank Prugo

Nicholas Frank Prugo is suspected of burglarizing the homes of Lindsay Lohan and Audrina Patridge, as well as other young Hollywood celebrities. (L.A. County Sheriff's Department

Authorities arrested suspects accused of burglarizing the homes of Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and other young celebrities after a member of the alleged "bling ring" confessed, according a search warrant affidavit obtained by The Times.

The search warrant said the crew would surf the Internet to find where the celebrities lived, then watched the locations and worked out ways to break into the homes.

In many of the cases, the doors were simply left open. In the case of Hilton and actress Rachel Bilson, the crew broke in numerous times, according to the search warrant affidavit filed at a Las Vegas court.

The ring of predominantly young women who once attended an Agoura Hills high school netted more than $3 million in merchandise.

An unidentified person initially tipped Los Angeles Police Department detectives that Nicholas Frank Prugo and Rachel Lee were responsible for a burglary at Lohan's Hollywood Hills home early this year, the search warrant states.

Prugo was arrested in connection with burglaries at the homes of Lohan and Audrina Patridge. At first, he did not cooperate with authorities, the warrant states. But on Oct. 6, Prugo, along with his attorney, Sean Erenstoft, met with LAPD detectives to "return some stolen items and report information."

Prugo provided a full confession and implicated Lee and several other suspects: Jonathan Ajar, Courtney Ames, Alexis Neiers, Diana Tamayo and a man he knows only as Roy, according to the affidavit by Det. Craig Dunn of the Las Vegas Police Department.

Las Vegas police were involved because its officers helped the LAPD with two searches in Las Vegas.

Roy Lopez and those named were subsequently arrested and charged in connection with at least one of the 10 burglaries, which occurred from December to September.

Prugo has been charged in eight of the burglaries, prosecutors said. Lee has been arrested, but not charged.

"Prugo admitted to committing all the burglaries and that Rachel Lee was with him during the residential burglaries of Audrina Patridge, Lindsay Lohan, Orlando Bloom, Rachel Bilson and the Hilton family," the affidavit states.

Prugo told detectives that they gained entry into the homes through unlocked doors, with the exception of the Lohan and Hilton residences.

Prugo told detectives that the group used such websites as and to learn the location of stars' homes and figure out their travel itinerary, according to the affidavit. boasts that users "will be able to see behind the tall hedges, big gates and security systems" and "get unprecedented access to the sort of lifestyle your favorite celebrity can afford."

Once a target was chosen, the group then visited the location and searched for a mode of entry, Prugo told detectives, according to the search warrant. Prugo stated that they entered the Hilton home approximately three times before the December burglary.

According to the court document, the crew removed cash, narcotics and thousands of dollars worth of jewelry.

At Bloom's home, they allegedly stole several expensive watches and artwork, the records state. Prugo later told investigators that a piece of Bloom's artwork was hanging in the bathroom of one of his alleged co-conspirators.

Authorities said the "bling ring" also allegedly broke into Bilson's home three times and, on one occasion, took a television, the search warrant states. Prugo told investigators that he removed as much as $300,000 worth of Chanel clothing from Bilson's residence.

During the search of the Las Vegas home where Lee lived with her father, detectives turned up items from Hilton, Lohan and Patridge, including three personal photos of Hilton, two pairs of jeans and a white hat, according to another search warrant.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Much more about getting hurt

This weekend had one of the world's greatest boxer's ever, Manny Pacquiao against a decent opponent, Miguel Cotto. I was able to enjoy the bout at a friend's house along with a few other people from the gym. The host and my boxing trainer got into a lively debate about celebrated pugilists, arguing back and forth who was the best, which fight was the best, which era etc. The lively conversation had me lost in the woods.
One of the bouts they mentioned was the bout between Gerald Mccellan and Nigel Benn. Mccellan knocked Benn out of the ring in the first round, and the floored boxer was pushed back into the pit by ringside officials, and newspaper reporters. Benn went onto win the fight punishing Mccellan with sharp hard hands. Those blows would send Mccellan into a coma for two weeks and the boxer would end up with severe brain damage.

This short interview with him is worth watching. Unlike most sports boxing has always had the threat of death looming over it. It is the only sport where inflicting pain is the goal. While giving is a huge part, the inevitable fact is that the sport is far more about receiving blows than it is about giving them. That said I don't think the sweet science is something that should be avoided, even with its drawbacks, its damages, and its risk, the game invokes people to rise above themselves, an otherwise mundane person can become a hero in the ring for a few minutes.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A "Bad Nigger"

I've been collecting and reading boxing literature for a couple years. There is quite a bit for an enthusiast to devour; short stories by Hemingway, Jack London, FX Toole, full length novels by WC Heinz, Leonard Gardner, and finally there is a plethora of books that compile articles on boxing. The infamous "Sweet Science," by the regular New Yorker writer AJ Liebling is considered a sports classic and perfectly represents boxing literature. The series of articles is both recounts of fights, and depictions of the life surrounding fighters.

Over the last two years I've picked up a handful of books and most recently I picked up "The Art and Aesthetics of Boxing" and "Boxer: An Anthology of Writings on Boxing and Visual Culture." While I haven't gotten to the former I have read most of the latter. "Boxer..." is a beautiful coffee table book with great pictures, and interesting yet short essays. Included, of course, is Joyce Carol Oates famous essay "On Boxing," which is part of virtually every compilation of boxing writing post '95.

The compilation also includes an essay by Keith Piper, entitled "Four Corners, a contest of Opposites." The essay briefly hits on the careers and lives of four african american fighters; Joe Louis, Jack Johnson, Mike Tyson, and Muhammed Ali. Specifically the writer highlights the struggles with racism each fighter as had during his career. It should be noted as well that all four were heavyweights, heavyweights have typically had a larger political burden placed upon their careers as their size is a mitigating factor. Smaller fighters "'... do not sybolise the nation or their race since the biggest fighting men have always had that burden.'"

Piper points out the complexities of being a black fighter succinctly; "The black fighter is forced to negotiate a precarious line between, on the one hand, the prescriptions of the white staus quo, the boxing promotions industry, the press and to an extent, apologist portions of the black middle class; on the other hand, the aspirations of black audiences yearning for an empowering antidote to their powerlessness."

Keith argues that Jack Johnson and Ali contested a symbolic war against the racial status quo while Tyson and Joe Louis conformed to and reinforced the dominant messages about the nature of black masculinity. Tyson's compliance with the spectacle of black masculinity is "expressed in the uniquely late twentieth century terms of individual redemption and condemnation. It attempts to convince us of the possibility of meteoric rise, which it portrays as the All American Way." Of course the subsequent fall of Tyson's career is put on his shoulders as an individual. Yet there are other readings of Tyson's story that go unsaid. "The ones which suggest that Cus D'Amato's only interest in Tyson was as a fighting machine, as product. The teenager's evident sexual aggression was allowed to devolp unchecked as long as he kept knocking other boys over in the ring. ...At the same time Tyson's intellect was deliberately left underdeveloped in order to hone his persona into that of an American pit-bull terrier."

The truth of the situation is probably lost in the dizzy oscillation between individual autonomy and the power of social constructs. It is in this space that we all live.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Sweet Science

My feet are tight in my black and white shoes. The shoestrings are woven through the holes of my high top shoes, the sensation in my toes is gone. The only feeling there is, is one of anticipation, of anxiety, of calm excitement. Soon the staccato of my bag work will turn into a tattoo into someone's head. I take a deep breath and walk into the ring...

I've been focusing on boxing lately. Partially due to the infrequency of muay thai fights, partially due to my hands being my weakness. Good fighters, good strategists, focus on their weaknesses as much if not more so than their strengths.

I like Mike Tyson. He is a man and yet he is spectacle, he encompasses both. I suppose that is what part of being the spectacle is, that contradiction. One is a star, and yet human. Living above and beyond the normal human life (reputedly) and yet being all too human. For me Tyson is real because of his errors, his blatantly tragic life. I think what is poignant about him is that he showed the monstrosity of what being human is. He lived a life of obvious error, obvious because he was on stage, constantly viewed by the panoptican of the ever filming spectacle (a certain nod to "reality tv" should be made here). I actually don't think that he has done worse or better than any of us out here in "tv land" but because he is on tv, his position is different. His being a star makes his errors more acute. Sadly Tyson is not the only man to do to violence against his lovers, loved ones, and or playmates, he is just the one who has been caught on camera.

On a completely unrelated note I hope to be writing regularly again here. Once a week being my goal. More comments from readers is always an encouragement to write on the regular.