Top Trends in the Sports Betting Industry - The Rocky

Best companies to take advantage of the online sports betting trend?

I’m just starting to get into this world and was curious what you guys thought?
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DKNG - Fundamental DD Inside - DKNG

This is an example of fundamental DD that takes place at ‘smart’ money institutions based on my professional experience in IBD, Private Equity & most recently at a HF (mods can message me for proof). Not thoroughly fleshed out b/c you autists have limited attention spans, but a summary. Figured I’d take the time to give back to this community that has provided many lolz, & should be a good measuring stick when evaluating other forms of fundamental DD posted here.
NFA.
DKNG - DraftKings, Inc.: vertically integrated US mobile betting operator that also provides retail sports betting & back-end betting solutions through SBTech. Think of SBTech as the tech ‘market-maker’ for traditional sports betting, they do all the funny math to set the betting odds & seem to be working on back-end solutions for DKNG Casino
The Big Picture
Only ~2% of the ~$90Bn gambling revenues were placed online which is the lowest in the world where betting online is legal. For example, in other countries online gaming activity represents ~6% - ~52% of total gambling revenues, with ~12% being the average.
Wall Street expects online gaming revenue to be $20Bn-$40Bn within the next 10 years. For this to be achieved, the online gambling market will have to achieve a ~30% penetration rate on total country gaming revenues. There is an expectation that this is could be easily achievable given penetration trends overseas - see page 11 of this: https://s1.rationalcdn.com/vendors/stars-group/documents/presentations/TSG-Investor-Day_March-27-2019.pdf
Other catalysts include increasing adaptation of sports betting in more states. States that have both legal sports betting + online sports betting permitted: NV, NJ, WV, PA, IA. Sports betting permitted but no online: DE, MS, RI, MO, AR. Prior to COVID there was ongoing discussions across many States, especially ones with growing deficits to explore how permitting sports betting could create a fresh avenue of tax dollars. Post COVID there is an expectation that these discussions will be given extra focus as many States will be hungry for incremental tax dollars. Important to note that currently 43/50 States allow DFS, but given the small share DFS has on total Gaming Revenues, it increasingly looks like DKNG is banking on traditional sports betting for a variety of reasons, more later. There are entire articles on Google arguing this catalyst so I’ll end this here.
Digging Deeper
DKNG’s main offerings are Daily Fantasy Sports (“DFS”) products & traditional sports book products to its clients. Long story short, a metric to look for in my opinion (that is curiously not reported by management or remarked on) is the hold % in traditional gaming sector parlance or the ‘rake’ & compare it to the ‘traditional’ gaming products like sports betting & Blackjack.
For DFS: DKNG takes ~15% of the prize pool (note: used to be ~6-11% [2]). Curiously, their main competitor FanDuel also has moved up to a ~15% rake recently. Google searches show the smaller competitors have a rake in the ~13% range.
This ‘rake’ has grown ~2x in 6 years, but it has been a delicate move on behalf of management. Why? B/c the more ‘sophisticated’ DFS players (equal to autistic day traders on Robinhood) have noted this increase & based on some Googling, some have moved down market to the smaller players. As a side note, many live casino games have their rules altered to grow the Hold %. For example, Blackjack games with 6:5 payouts on 21 have materially higher Hold % than the traditional BJ rules that pay out 3:2. Given the findings so far, DKNG may not have much room to materially increase its hold % in DFS games in the near-term from current of 15%. More on this later.
Now why the fuck is this important? This is important b/c the typical sports book (ex-Parlays) have a ~5% hold %/rake. Parlays have up to a ~30% hold (which is why it’s commonly known as the sucker’s bet), & just for reference, the average Blackjack table clocks in 14.5%. What this means: Every dollar put into these games, the “House” or DKNG, will take 15% of your money for DFS games, for sports bets they will be pocketing ~5%, up to ~30% if you’re into parlays, & we’ll just use the standard 14.5% BJ hold for the DraftKings Casino platform.
So why the acquisition of SBTech & a foray into the traditional sports gambling market? As you can see previously, the illegal sports betting market is >30x the size of the current daily fantasy sports market. So it’s clear that the DFS providers including DKNG are foraying into the space to capture this user base & hopefully convert them into games that have a higher hold %, such as DFS/DKNG Casino.
As of May 2020, DKNG has achieved a 30% penetration rate on its ~4mm ‘monetized’ DFS clientele to its Online Sports Book (OSB), from the OSB+DFS clientele, DKNG has converted 50% into its DraftKings Casino platform.
Including non-monetized users, user base totals at 12mm. Based on these unit economics: every 1mm of additional users -> 333k monetized users for DFS -> 100k users for OSB -> 50k users for DraftKings Casino.
Some Numbers – Italicized/Bolded the important
Numbers that represent Risks to Long Thesis
Things to look for when going Long
- Progress of additional States legalizing sports betting – specifically, States with DFS already legalized
- Cost structure evolving to a more fixed mix vs. the mostly variable mix currently as this will be the forward figure that determines profitability
- Increasing User Base (Curr.: 12mm) -> Monetized Base (Curr.: 4mm) -> MUP (1Q’20: 0.7mm)
Share Price Target
Given the cost structure of the company, I’m going to base the price targets around Enterprise Value / Revenues (driven by MUPs & ARPUs).
Bear Case MUP: 5mm -> $20.32 - $45.73
Base Case MUP: 5.5mm -> $22.27 - $50.10
Bull Case MUP: 6mm -> $24.21 - $54.47
These MUPs imply a monetized customer base of 28mm – 33mm. At the high-end, this implies that DKNG monetized customer base will equal MGM’s current total user base.
At yesterday’s close of $43.70, DKNG is trading at 3.5x – 4.5x forward Revenues on an expected >5,000 MUPs.
Share Price drivers / considerations:
- Continued multiple expansion
- MUP Growth exceeding beyond targets
Management Team
Jason Robins, 39 – Co-Founder & CEO. Duke BA, started DraftKings from day 1 in 2011. The 2 other buddies he started the Company with are still at DKNG. Dude navigated the Company through the scandal that rocked them in ’15 & ’16, and was the trailblazer in getting DFS labeled as a non-gambling product that enabled it to open in States without a gaming designation. This shit is the stuff that gets people in history books. His accomplishments make him seem like a very competent guy. Has 3 kids now, and only ~3% economic ownership in DKNG but has 90% of the voting power through his Class B share ownership. Also he actively participates in venture investments, sitting on 10 boards.
His comp plan performance bonus target is pretty murky, but main drivers are EPS growth, revenue growth, then a bunch of margin & return metrics, along with share price returns. Overall, very open-ended & it’s safe to say as long as shit doesn’t hit the fan, he will be eligible for his max payouts year over year. I’m assuming the lawyers tried to encompass everything possible for maximum flexibility to justify him earning his max comp as long as DKNG is still around.
Since he’s got voting control of 90%, I’ll end the specific-person overview here, but want to note that they have a very bloated C-suite. 12 folks at DKNG, 8 folks at SBTech, all with C-suite designations. Whereas their main competitor FanDuel, has 3 guys with a C-suite designations & 1 EVP, but is a sub under a larger ParentCo that has its own management team of ~5 guys.
Looking through glassdoor you can see the biggest complaint among employees giving bad reviews is based on management, all of the specific issues they point out IMO are a result of a top-heavy company. Seems like a good starting point to optimize their cost structure, but given Robins' history of sticking this entire thing through with his co-founders since '11 stuff like this doesn't seem to be a part of his playbook. They’re a public company now though, so it’s going to be interesting to see going forward.
TL;DR:
If I were to initiate a position in DKNG, the stock would have to fall to the $35-$37 range for me to be a buyer of the stock, and based on this rough intro analysis I'll be considering Put options if it breaches $50. I would not touch Calls at this level.

[1] Susquehanna Research – U.S. Online Gambling 6/27/19
[2] https://rotogrinders.com/articles/bang-for-your-buck-a-look-at-dfs-industry-rake-153302
[3] https://draftkings.gcs-web.com/static-files/8f3a5c5a-7228-45bf-aab2-63604111c48d
[4] Goldman Sachs Research – DKNG Initiation 5/19/20
[5]https://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/223071/Dont_monetize_like_League_of_Legends_consultant_says.php
[6] https://rotogrinders.com/threads/how-many-people-actually-play-dfs-regularly-252044
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Wrestling Observer Rewind ★ Jun. 17, 2002

Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives.
PREVIOUSLY:
1-7-2002 1-14-2002 1-21-2002 1-28-2002
2-4-2002 2-11-2002 2-18-2002 2-25-2002
3-4-2002 3-11-2002 3-18-2002 3-25-2002
4-1-2002 4-8-2002 4-15-2002 4-22-2002
4-29-2002 5-6-2002 5-13-2002 5-20-2002
5-27-2002 6-3-2002 6-10-2002

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Some of you may have missed last week's post because I didn't do it on Wednesday. Ended up posting it Thursday instead, so it's there in the archives below if you missed it. I know this 2002 series of Rewinds doesn't really have the momentum or appeal that it had back when I was posting them 3 times a week for years on end. Sorry about that, like I said before, I just decided to post these on a whim when the virus started and didn't really prepare for it so it's all kinda haphazard. But just didn't want anyone to miss the one from last week if it flew under the radar.

  • Steve Austin walked out of WWE this week and threw everything into upheaval. As a result, Raw featured Vince McMahon challenging Ric Flair to a match for ownership of the entire company. It was the ultimate final blow-off to a huge long-term angle, and they did it with only 2 hours of build-up. With Vince now in charge of both shows, questions are swirling about whether this spells the end of the brand split, only a few months in. The reason this all happened is because, only 6 hours before Raw went on the air, Steve Austin showed up to the arena and found out he was scheduled to wrestle (and Dave thinks put over, though he hasn't confirmed that yet) Brock Lesner. Dave immediately points out the obvious, that an Austin vs. Lesnar match is something you should build up ahead of time, not throw it on free TV with no build up at all. Plus, he's still so new, he's incredibly green, and he's spent the last few months selling way too much for people like the Hardyz and Bubba Ray Dudley. Hell, before he debuted in WWE, he wasn't even the most over guy in OVW. He's nowhere near the level you'd expect for him to be winning matches with Steve Austin un-hyped on free TV. In fact, Lesnar should probably go through just about everyone else on the roster before putting him against Austin. That's a potential Wrestlemania-level match and Dave seems befuddled that they would just book it for Raw like this.
  • Apparently Austin felt the same way because he and his wife Debra left the building and flew home before Vince McMahon even arrived to the arena, the second time since Wrestlemania that he has walked out on the company. A source who was there when McMahon learned of the news said that, for the first time anyone could remember, Vince seemed to drop his "game face" and there seemed to be genuine panic about what to do. Rock has one foot out the door to Hollywood. Undertaker and Triple H are banged up and won't be around forever (bet). Business is already collapsing. And now the biggest star the company's ever had just walked out the door. Last time Austin walked out after Wrestlemania, he was only away for 2 weeks. This time, there's a feeling it could be much longer. Those close to Austin say he's been unhappy for months and this decision wasn't anything specifically to do with the Lesnar match. That just happened to be the final straw. Austin made news last week when he went on the WWE's Byte This show and voiced his frustrations with the company's creative direction. Plans had been put into motion over the last couple weeks for Austin to feud with Eddie Guerrero and then Chris Benoit, which he was happy about (he was enjoying his recent house show matches with Eddie and Benoit is one of Austin's favorite opponents) but that's out the window now. Austin and Vince McMahon reportedly haven't been on good terms for several months now and word is the night before Raw, the two of them had a very heated conversation over the phone that left Austin pissed off and frustrated even before this went down.
  • And that's the deal on Austin. He has more money than he'll ever be able to spend and doesn't have any financial need to wrestle. He only does so because he enjoys it. And if he doesn't enjoy it anymore, then by all means, it's his right to leave and he doesn't owe the business anything if he wants to hang up the boots. But Dave does feel like Austin owes WWE at least a few weeks to write him out of storylines since he's such an important piece of the company. Walking out from a live TV taping is unprofessional and it leaves guys like Guerrero and Benoit left hanging, thus screwing up their future plans and money-making potential too (yeah, that's something that doesn't get talked about much. Austin walking out fucked Guerrero over pretty hard here. It would take him another 2 years to get back into that main event scene that he would have been involved in here). That being said, pretty much everyone in the locker room sympathizes with Austin and agrees with his complaints about the creative direction of the company, but not many of them were defending the way he walked out. And given that this is the second time he's done it, the feeling is he shouldn't be allowed back without facing some actual punishment this time.
  • So anyway, the day of Raw, they went into panic mode and had to re-write the entire show. And with the feeling Austin won't be coming back anytime soon, Vince felt they needed to do something big. So they went with blowing off the dual-owners angle in a match that was designed to turn Flair babyface again and establish Vince as the heel owner of everything. There was also discussion of turning Undertaker babyface again, since he's been getting more cheers than RVD when they work together at house shows lately but they decided against that for now (they end up doing it in a couple weeks). So now Flair has been abruptly turned back, after only turning heel a few weeks prior. The brand split may or may not be dead. And there we stand.
  • In what would have been a major story during any other week, DDP has officially retired from wrestling at age 46. Unfortunately, Austin's walk-out overshadowed everything. The decision on DDP's retirement was actually made by Vince McMahon and Jim Ross, who pretty much made the choice for him after they got his medical reports. DDP has been advised by multiple doctors that his spine is shot and he needs to retire. For the company's own liability, WWE decided to listen to the doctors and DDP agreed. There has been talk of finding ways for DDP to work the remainder of his contract for the company in a non-wrestling capacity. (He obviously ends up wrestling a handful of matches in the years since, but for the most part, this really was the end of DDP's in-ring career as a full-time wrestler).
  • There were a couple of moments on Raw this week where Shawn Michaels was cutting a promo and made a comment about Austin "losing his top spot" and another comment later about Rock "stealing Triple H's spot." A lot of people in the company backstage were upset, feeling like this was the same ol' Shawn, going into business for himself and trashing on Austin and Rock and yada yada. Not the case. Those comments were actually scripted for Shawn to say because they want to get over the idea that Shawn on the mic is a loose cannon and you never know when he might start "shooting" and say something he's not supposed to. It's all very dumb, you see. Almost like Vince Russo is coming back any day now or something.
  • Dave gives a big preview and rundown of the Jarrett family's new NWA-TNA promotion, which has its debut show next week on PPV. Not all cable systems are carrying it, however. Cablevision and Dish Network both declined to carry it, but DirecTV is. This cuts down on the number of available homes for the show and probably cuts 20-30% off their potential revenue. The main PPV provider in Canada, Viewer's Choice, has also declined to carry it. Steep mountain to climb here. Dave expects them to do decent numbers for their first show but predicts an XFL-like collapse after that. By week 3, Dave is scared for their chances. From here, Dave gives the whole history of other promotions who've tried to make it on PPV in the U.S., with varying degrees of success and failure. UWFI, UFC, ECW, WCW, PRIDE, etc, WWF has even toyed with similar ideas. In 1991, they did the one-off Tuesday In Texas PPV as a test to see if they could run PPVs back-to-back (Survivor Series was only the week prior) and it was a flop. The original concept for Shotgun Saturday Night was for it to be a weekly Saturday night PPV with a similar >$10 price point, but that idea got scrapped before it got off the ground and it became just another TV show. Dave doesn't think TNA is going to make it without a TV deal. This PPV exclusive plan just has too much working against it. The Jarretts have talked about the millions of disenfranchised fans that stopped watching after WCW died, and it's true. Those people are out there. But those millions of fans all checked out between 1999-2001, and TNA isn't going to win them back by using the same people and the same concepts that ran those viewers away from WCW. All your wacky booking ideas, your Vince Russos, your Jeff Jarretts as champion, bringing in guys that even WWE won't touch (Scott Hall), etc. Those are all the same things that ran away those WCW viewers. Dave just doesn't see how this experiment can work in its current form.
  • Vince McMahon himself was the latest guest on WWE's Byte This show and needless to say, it was interesting. Vince denied the idea that the wrestling business is "cyclical" and said it's more like a series of peaks and valleys that have slowly been trending upwards over the years. Vince also admitted WWE doesn't always make the best decisions but says their batting average is good overall. Vince also said he's proud to have the word "wrestling" in their company name, which is a pretty big about-face from all the years he's tried to publicly claim they were "sports entertainment, not wrestling." He admitted things are rough right now but said there are huge changes coming soon that will change the entire industry but wouldn't elaborate on what he had planned (I think time has proven that the answer to this was nothing whatsoever. They had no idea what they were doing during this time and were just making shit up as they went along). Vince acknowledged that Austin has been frustrated lately and said Austin is the most demanding of all the wrestlers in WWE. Vince also said he pays no attention to the internet because everyone thinks they're a booker. He also complained that it's hard to live up to people's expectations because fans all think they know everything now. Acknowledged ratings being down and played it off like, yes, WWE is sick. But it's only a cold, not pneumonia or anything, so don't panic.
  • More notes from Vince on Byte This because huge unbroken paragraphs suck: he hinted at producing movies starring WWE talent. Dave thinks that's a bad idea. "No Holds Barred," anyone? Criticized backyard wrestling, which Dave actually agrees with him 100% on. Was asked about bringing Vince Russo back and said he hasn't given it any thought but he has an open door policy (see you next week, Russo! Jeez, it almost makes you wonder if Vince got the idea from this interview or something). When asked about the recent Jim Cornette/Ed Ferrara incident, Vince basically seemed disinterested but said he admires Cornette's passion for wrestling but felt spitting in Ferrara's face was unprofessional. When asked about NWA-TNA, Vince said he didn't understand how they could do it without television. Trying to get people to pay $9.95 a week for a 2 hour show (a minor league product at that, because anything other than WWE is basically minor leagues at this point), when they already get Raw and Smackdown on free television. Otherwise, he said he has no opinions on it because he hasn't seen it, but Vince seems to share Dave's opinion. He doesn't see this PPV model as sustainable and doesn't seem particularly threatened by it.
  • NJPW's latest Best of the Super Juniors tournament is in the books and was a disappointment, just like everything else in NJPW lately. Koji Kanemoto won a pretty boring tournament. There was only one new name involved, which was Michinoku Pro wrestler Curry Man (Christopher Daniels under a mask). He's talented and charismatic but he's not even that big a star in Michinoku Pro, much less to the NJPW audience. Otherwise, it was more of the same, with no real notable matches.
  • Zero-1 in Japan is hoping to put together a working relationship with NWA-TNA. Specifically, they're hoping they can do a Shinya Hashimoto vs. Ken Shamrock feud, perhaps over the NWA title.
  • While training for his comeback, Kenta Kobashi messed up his shoulder doing bench presses, because of course he did. Doctors have told him not to return too soon but he still plans to be back in the ring by next month. Because of course he does.
  • NJPW's latest show at Budokan Hall was a disaster. From photos Dave saw, he figures there couldn't have been more than 3,500 fans in the building. Even at its weakest after the NOAH exodus, AJPW never fell below 7,000 at Budokan and this show looked to be half that. It's likely the smallest crowd NJPW has ever drawn to that arena. The whole show was said to be terrible because of the depressing atmosphere of a building that was 2/3 empty.
  • This week's World Cup game between Japan and Russia did a 66.1 TV rating, making it the #2 highest rated sports broadcast in the history of Japan. This is notable because by doing so, it surpassed the Rikidozan vs. Destroyer match from 1963, which did a 64.0 rating, knocking it down to #3 (for what it's worth, it's believed that a Rikidozan vs. Lou Thesz match in 1957 was actually watched by even more people, but official ratings weren't kept as detailed back then, so it can't be counted for sure).
  • Dave has read some excerpts from the new Shaun Assael book on Vince McMahon called "Sex, Lies, and Headlocks." From what he's read, Dave says it's a very good and accurate portrayal of how the WWE has grown to what it is today. Vince's former close friend and VP of Titan Sports during the expansion era Jim Troy and Jim Barnett were both interviewed for it, among others. If you're a hardcore fan who's been following the Observer for years, there's nothing new here that you probably don't already know from a major story standpoint, but there's some interesting details at least that were new to Dave. But to the average fan, this should be pretty eye-opening. Dave expects to have a full review soon.
  • CZW held its second annual Best of the Best tournament at the old ECW Arena and the show got rave reviews. Particularly British wrestlers Jodie Fleisch and Jonny Storm, who tore the house down in their match. Trent Acid defeated Fleisch to win the tournament.
  • The Coen brothers, producers of the movie "Fargo", have had talks with Bobby Heenan about doing a movie based on his life (this pretty obviously went nowhere).
  • New Jack is no longer working with XPW and has jumped ship to work with a rival local promoter in Southern California. Perhaps not coincidentally, the last check New Jack received from XPW promoter Rob Black for $800 ended up bouncing. Dave says New Jack probably isn't the guy you want to write bad checks to.
  • NWA-TNA has changed its taping plans and no longer plans to tour, and they will now be live every week. The first two shows will be taped this week in Huntsville and after that, all future shows will be live from Nashville at the 9,000-seat Municipal Auditorium. Apparently the rent for that building is really cheap because a newer, more modern arena was just built nearby, so TNA can afford it. That being said, with as much trouble as they're having selling tickets for the debut show in Huntsville, Dave thinks it's pretty optimistic to start trying to run live tapings in the same 9,000-seat building every week. He thinks they would be much better off running a small 800-seat building every week, with a smaller, more intimate atmosphere that would come across a lot better on TV than a big cavernous arena that, inevitably, is going to be mostly empty (to this day, 18 years later, TNA/Impact has never once drawn a crowd of 9,000 fans. Never even really close actually).
  • Various other TNA notes: Dave runs down the list of confirmed names for TNA's first taping. Rick Steiner, K-Krush (formerly K-Kwik in WWF), Konnan, Steve Corino, The Harris Brothers, Psicosis, and a bunch of others. Don Frye has talked to Jeff Jarrett about coming in to work a match with Ken Shamrock. Jackie Fargo is going to be there doing something. They made an offer to Shane Douglas but he only agreed to come in if they didn't hire Francine (some kind of falling out between them). TNA decided they'd rather have Francine. They're expected to be doing some kind of old school vs. new school angle so....yay. More latter-years WCW shit. Mike & Todd Shane are coming in as a tag team called Dick & Rod Johnson and will have costumes that apparently look like penises, just in case you were still on the fence about whether Vince Russo is involved. The top stars are basically making around $3,500 per week which is a pretty decent salary for one day's work every week. The guys without name value, on the other hand, are getting $300 per show and are covering their own transportation. Just in case you were still on the fence about whether Jerry Jarrett is involved.
  • Ken Shamrock did an interview and acknowledged that he hasn't done pro-wrestling in a few years and knows he's going to be rusty. He also said he's worried because with only 1 show per week, he won't really be able to get enough matches under his belt to get good again. He also said he's signed a 3 fight deal with UFC and will be fighting Tito Ortiz in September, which turns out to be a pretty huge damn deal.
  • Dave saw the K-1 match with former WCW developmental wrestler Bob Sapp vs. some dude. Doesn't matter. What matters is Bob Sapp is enormous ("makes Brock Lesnar look like Jerry Lynn"). And he mauled this poor guy. In fact, it looked like Sapp was trying to get DQ'd, as he started kicking and kneeing the guy while he was down and just treating it like a street fight, violating lots of rules in the process. He was DQ'd but then K-1 booked Sapp and this other dude for a rematch in July. That leads Dave to think this was planned as an effort to get Sapp over as a lunatic, but if it was a work, somebody should have told the other guy because Sapp fucked him right on up. "This was like everyone feared Mike Tyson would behave, but 1,000 times worse and from a man far more scary." Furthermore, Sapp came out in a full Ric Flair robe and to Ric Flair' ring music, and the arena went insane. Sapp has massive superstar appeal in Japan right now and promoting him as a violent psychopath who has no regards for the rules in a shoot fight appears to be getting over huge.
WATCH: Bob Sapp vs. some dude. Doesn't matter. K-1
  • Edge will not need surgery for his torn labrum injury, so he'll only miss a few weeks of action instead of a few months. Edge is in the midst of the biggest push of his career and this is his chance to finally break through to the next level so needless to say, good news.
  • Notes from Raw: show opened with Vince walking out, which was unexpected since this is Flair's show. He said Austin wasn't there and made a point of saying Austin was too much of a coward to be there. Pretty well buried Austin and buried Raw as a bad show (blaming Flair in kayfabe for all the show's real life problems. Sorta like last year when they actually turned the bad ratings into a storyline by trying to blame it on Corbin. Some things never change). They're doing a storyline with Trish making fun of Molly Holly for allegedly having a fat ass because, again, some things never change. Former Tough Enough contestant Chris Nowinski debuted doing the Harvard grad gimmick like the heel jock in every teen movie. "The heel jock." Never change Dave. Shawn Michaels made his big return, cut his promo joining the NWO and turning heel on the fans before superkicking Booker T out of the group. So theoretically, this should mean Booker T should have to work his way through the entire NWO one by one before getting to Shawn at the end, in what should be Shawn's first match back. "I'm not holding my breath," Dave says. And of course, Vince beat Flair to take control of both shows. Horrible match but considering it was a last minute panic move, understandable under the circumstances. Lesnar ran in and helped Vince win the match.
WATCH: Vince McMahon opening promo with Ric Flair on Raw
WATCH: Ric Flair vs. Vince McMahon for sole ownership of WWE
  • Notes from Smackdown: during a big pull-apart brawl, several agents ran in to break it up. Among them were Dean Malenko and Fit Finlay, appearing on TV for the first time in their new backstage roles, and John Lauranitis who was also shown on TV last week. More gay jokes with Billy and Chuck and Rico, which Dave calls Russo-esque. Not quite yet. Jamie Noble was introduced with Nidia from Tough Enough season 1 as his valet, in a feud with Hurricane. There was a big effort to make Bob Holly a star this week, starting a feud with he and Kurt Angle and they really pushed Holly hard as a star and Angle busted his ass to try and get him over. And they did a show-long angle with Maven in the hospital (he's legit injured) and Torrie Wilson shows up, it's implied that she gives him a blowjob, and then Dr. Tajiri shows up, mists Torrie and beats up Maven. Dave is at least happy that they're trying to make an angle out of Maven's injury so he has a storyline to come back to, which is more effort than they put into most stuff these days.
  • Various WWE notes: referee Tim White suffered a torn rotator cuff in the Backlash Hell in a Cell match and will need surgery that will keep him out of the ring for months. Rey Mysterio is scheduled to debut on WWE house shows this week and, as of now, is expected to be wearing his mask again. Terry Taylor has been reaching out to get hired, but the company won't return his calls (they eventually re-hire him in September).
  • There's been a lot of praise for the new Spiderman comic "Tangled Web" which was written by Raven (I had to research this, but yeah. "Tangled Web" was a Spiderman anthology series that lasted about 2 years and had 22 issues. Each issue was written by different authors. Issue 14 was called "The Last Shoot" and sure enough, it was co-written by Raven alongside Brian Azzarello, who is the mind behind one of my favorite comic series of all time, 100 Bullets. And I had no idea. Wild).
  • The long-discussed plan of having Arn Anderson as Chris Benoit's manager seems to be off the table now. The thought is Anderson has been devalued so much in recent months (they pretty much wheel him out every time they need someone to take a beating for heat in a Flair feud) that he wouldn't be effective as a manager for a strong, serious heel.
  • Tough Enough II winner Linda Miles made her in-ring debut on Velocity, against Ivory. She was accompanied by fellow winner Jackie Gayda, who turned heel on her and cost Linda the match. Dave thinks it's waaaaaay too early to put these 2 women in a feud against each other considering how green they both still are.
WATCH: Linda Miles vs. Ivory - WWE Velocity 2002
  • The Rock, Vince McMahon, Undertaker, Jerry Lawler, Jm Ross, Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, and Shane McMahon were all in Memphis at the Mike Tyson/Lennox Lewis fight last week. Rock could be seen on camera a few rows deep throughout the fight, while Vince was shown on camera as a celebrity in attendance before the fight. The others were never shown on-camera, but they were all there. The PPV is estimated to have done 1.8 million buys and grossed a record $103 million, which are numbers that WWE can only dream of. Prior to the PPV, Rock co-hosted a pre-show party with guests such as Halle Berry and Britney Spears.
NEXT WEDNESDAY: Steve Austin accused of abusing Debra, much more on that situation and Austin's walkout, Jesse Ventura not running for re-election, Rock wrestles in Hawaii, and more...
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Ranking every PM Chapter/World until TOK releases: #01

Ranking every PM ChapteWorld until TOK releases: #01
Welcome back to the Top 10s everyone. If you're just now joining us, this project has been ranking one or two chapters a day to count down to The Origami King's release, but also just to reflect and take a walk down memory lane. The rankings positions are purely the opinions of me and u/ulk96. More information can be found on the first post, Rank #36, and every previous entry is linked at the bottom of the page.
I just drove down to Gamestop to reserve a copy of The Origami King for myself. In 14 hours, I'll have a physical case in my hands and less than half an hour later, I'll be playing it for real. I can't believe it's already here. It was two months ago when I first heard this game's existence, one month ago when I first join the Mario RPG discord and started defending it with Klu, and one month ago when I began this series expecting it to go on forever.
This may be the last entry for this particular series, at least until my thoughts on TOK settle. I'll release another post with my overall thoughts on this whole project and my experience in making it and interacting with the Paper Mario community as a whole. For now though, welcome to the Glitz Pit.
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ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!?!
Chapter 3: Of Glitz and Glory, Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door
A lot of people may be disappointed in how basic a selection this ultimately is. A significant portion of the fanbase has this chapter as their absolute favorite, and with the spicier silver and bronze picks just preceding, a lot of people have voiced their disappointment. I've expressed earlier today in Twilight Town (Rank #02) that shock value does NOT play into the position these went to. Chapter 3 ultimately earns it's position for a reason, as many many fans will attest to.
Ultimately, however, I do want to stress that by no means is this a perfect chapter. The most significant set back is the fact that Chapter 3 doesn't have much exploration or level behind it. This ultimately works in it's favor, because Thousand Year Door is routinely terrible at map design outside of cities and dungeons, and a chapter that drops all that to do it's own thing ultimately has a higher success rate in the vacuum that is TTYD. However in the end, this does mean that the chapter ultimately suffers from missing one of the elements that make fans adore this series. How much that matters is ultimately subjective, and personally I do like the elements Gltizville brings to the table in exchange. If I didn't, this wouldn't be gold.
The floating Island of Glitzville has an absolutely fantastic design, that's both a loving spoof of consumerism and pro-wrestling media. The sheer variety of advertisements and swarming fans are a joy to behold, and the Glitzville NPCs have more dialogue than any, constantly changing to reflect Mario's status in the ranks. The abundance of NPC lines, Easter Eggs, and more ultimately make Glitzville feel like it has a more distinct culture than most places in TTYD. The city brings a specific theme, and a fantastic design, and ultimately feels so alive despite the face we have no idea where the civilians live or stay.
Upon arrival via the Cheep Cheep Blimp, which is an absolutely gorgeous introductory cutscene which really establishes the setting, you're immediately shown a match between Rawk Hawk and the Koopinator, where Rawk reveals the Champions belt is the next crystal star. You realize that as there isn't much level to begin with in the Glitz Pit, this is going to be a tournament arc. If you've been enjoying TTYD's battles, you probably feel super excited for that. You'd have had no idea what you were getting into.
Cleftor bring back painful memories of Jasperoid, brah.
The first thing you might notice is the sheer variety of characters you're introduced to, almost all of which end up with genuine roles to play in the narrative. I'm honestly at a loss for how to go down the list, so I'm going to start with the minor leaguers, because ultimately, even after you graduate from this place, it never quite stops feeling like your home.
Master Crash and Cleftor ultimately don't contribute to the narrative of the story, but they are fairly amusing in their own right. Their verbal ticks are largely used for gags, but I appreciate there presence for a reason I'll cover when I get to the actual gameplay of the chapter. The way Cleftor gradually opens up to you and Crash attempts to mentor you with advice unrealizing how much you outrank him is genuinely sweet, and as unexplored as they are, they ultimately contribute to the feeling of home the minor league has.
King K. is ultimately the main attraction here. Upon your arrival, he immediately decides you're his best friend and boy is he willing to work to make that mutual. The man is so friendly and such a good sport to you that you ultimately wish you could hang out with him. Sure, he talks a bit... overtly modern, but he's such a friendly character. He doesn't begrudge you for kicking his ass, he constantly wishes you luck and chats with stuff with you. When he says he plans to retire, you ultimately feel bad for him, but it's fairly understandable why when we have cutscenes establishing the dangers with the paramedics in the hall. Of course, after he goes missing, you assume he retired like he said he would. This leads to one of the bigger twists in the series, honestly, and is phenominal.
Bandy Andy I personally consider a super underrated character. He's essential to the design and narrative of the Glitz Pit. Not only does the fact that he's uninterested in climbing the ranks make the fighters within the Glitz Pit feel more alive and varied, he's also the first clue you have that the chapter is going to subvert your expectations and engage in the elements of mystery. Finding him in the hallways and hearing about the Seven Wonders of the Glitz Pit is ultimately an extremely fascinating read through and ultimately foreshadows so much of the Chapter in a way that doesn't spoil anything. Most notably, when he says he plans to investigate the mysterious lights under the ring, it directly foreshadows just what's going to happen and which one of these Wonders ultimately leads to the problem of the chapter.
The Armored Harriers are probably among the best ways they could introduce Yoshi and his kit this chapter. First of, having a pair of sore losers serve as the gate between the minor and major leagues is awesome. The dialogue from the Harriers is so unintelligent that you can't even blame Grubba for directly pissing them off because it makes the fight so much more interesting. You know you'd be more invested watching that with the audience, but also... the Glitz Pit ultimately has very little time to establish Yoshi and this was the best way they could. Having him join your party as the specific answer to a battle situation was a good way of introducing his macho, brawler type persona and the fact that he sticks to the wrestling scene is great. I bet he has fun moping the floor with these losers all the time.
Rawk Hawk is a fantastic red herring as well and the perfect example of a wrestling heel. He's underhanded, dirty and the kind of person you root to lose but ultimately have to respect for the sheer power and charisma he brings with his arrogance. His antics at keeping his belt ultimately become a fantastic red herring for the mystery, and helps preserve the Mario charm in what gradually ends up a darker chapter. Once he's defeated and you arrive at the Champion's room however, he lets the real story kick in and sound off the finale once he's dealt with, serving his role in style. Shout out to the poisoned cake trick and the foreshadowing about how NPCs note that he sent a cake to Prince Mush before their fight as well, strongly implying that he might be responsible for the Prince's disappearance. While he ultimately probably tried to poison Prince Mush, he doesn't turn out to be willing to go as far as kill the man like the true culprit did.
Have you noticed a trend yet? I'm listing character after character with nothing but positive things to say, not only for how humorous they all are but for how well they all fit into and serve their role in the narrative. The tale of the Glitz Pit is honestly told beat for beat to perfection with the exception of the random Bowser our of nowhere. Every character has a role to play with the lore of the arena, and the word of mouth and gossip from all NPCs paint interesting pictures as well. They talk about Prince Mush and let you know the old champion went missing. They talk about the red herrings, they talk about the mysteries. The sheer amount of character and strength that goes into the chapter could fill an entire, independent game.
In the right corner, we have this writer, Toad! And in the other, we have the twelve hours until her local gamestop opens and she can buy Origami King! Can she survive?!
So we've talked about the setting. We've talked about how the characters are fantastic and add to the mystery and plot. But before we gush about how the plot plays out, can Chapter 3 successfully stand the test of gameplay? I think it ultimately does. A lot of the detractors of this chapter will point out that the core gameplay of fighting twenty waves of enemies ultimately feels padded and I could not disagree more.
Of the enemies encountered, only the Goombas, arguably the KP Koopas, the Dull Bones, and the Mind Bogglers are not original enemies that debut in this chapter. Every round provides a unique challenge, and 20 battles ultimately isn't any more than any other chapter demands from you, unless you're like, doing a low level run where you dodge ever enemy. You have a lot more unique fights here, and Grubba's orders generally aren't too difficult, and are just a nice additional challenge. I especially appreciate the fact that they exist, because it's totally a jab at real world fighting tournaments where fighters are encouraged to balance actually trying to win with telling a good narrative to keep the audience hooked. Source: competitive boxer.
What's most important to balance how much fighting is in this chapter is the sheer amount of content that happens between rounds. Most notably, every single fighter in each locker room has unique dialogue for each and every rank. After each battle, the first thing I'd do is to talk to Cleftor, or Master Crash, or Hamma Jamma, because the amount of effort spent writing for them is genuinely insane. The NPCs outside are hardly any slouches in the writing department either, changing every few fights as well, I believe the number is five. This ultimately helps to make the Pit feel more alive, in addition to all the events that pop up.
Within the context of the minor league, generally speaking you mostly talk to King K and explore the tone of the Glitz Pit. He tells you about the Hot Dog stand and the Yoshi Egg, but you also overhear an injured fighter in need of paramedics. But when you get to the Major League and no longer have King K to hang out with, you get X, who has you run various chores that are very well spaced out in order to prevent the chapter from staling. Which leads me to the final part of my extended gushing about the Glitz Pit. The story itself.
This is the final caption in the write ups. The picture is suitably blurry. Thank you all.
In a lot of ways, the mystery of the Glitz Pit is the greatest chapter specific story every told in a Paper Mario game. Not only is it intensely tied with the setting, but also builds on a lot of it's themes and has a suitably diverse cast of suspects. Prince Mush's ghost hangs over the NPCs surrounding and just talking to them and realizing the man disappeared will have you realize that something more is going to happen but you have no idea what. It stays so simple. The crystal star is the Champion's belt, right? Just become the champion and walk away. It shouldn't be hard.
Until Rawk Hawk comes in and you realize that the belt is fake, then you start getting emails from X. There's four real email chains from X throughout the ten remaining Major League fights, but you also get emails from another person threatening you to stop following X's emails. You begin to realize that there's two players present and you begin to try and figure it out.
Grubba, Jolene and Rawk Hawk are ultimately the suspects for the master mind behind the Crystal Star, who's attempting to protect it through the emails. Rawk Hawk has been plotting against you already, for selfish reasons, which makes him an effective red herring. He's also in the perfect position to swipe the Crystal Star. Grubba's been nothing but kind but when you overhear him talking to Jolene from above the store room, he implies he knows about the stars. This is also where you find out that fighters have been going missing and King K never actually retired. You're invested in King K as a friend so this in particular raises questions immediately. But it could also be Jolene. She's been stopping your investigations, implies she's hiding something, and shows up just at the right time to confiscate the papers that X wanted you to see. And who's X? Grubba? Jolene? Someone new? Bandy Andy who's investigating the Glitz Pit?
But despite all the possibilities, every motivation is consistent and sensible, and the timing of how the information and hints are fed to you ultimately slowly whittles it down. When you find Bandy Andy and King K, drained and crushed under a block, the latter warns you about going into the arena when no one is around. This moment instantly elevates the tension and stakes, and gradually, Rawk Hawk is eliminated as a suspect when he comes clean about his motives in the championship bout.
At the end however, when the mysteries are solved one by one, the last one remaining is "Why is Grubba still so young?" Combined with the fact that fighters are disappearing, you realize just what's going on, and the confrontation through the airvent in the Champion's room is not a moment too soon after the last red herring was eliminated.
Grubba as a whole is a fantastic antagonist on par with Doopliss, because he's both very amusing throughout the chapter and maintains the Mario charm while being utterly heinous and terrifying. One it's revealed how he's selfishly using the Crystal Star to stay young by draining the strength of fighters with the machiene under the stage, puzzles begin to start falling into place. Bandy Andy's testimony, the disappearance of Prince Mush, everything. And he puts up an awesome and engaging final confrontation as well. All in all, he's extremely well done and it helps that despite his shallow motives, he still ends a graceful loser and compliments Mario on a good fight.
This is also the moment Jolene steps in and reveals herself as X, a twist that ultimately makes a lot of sense once everything is put together, and she's reunited with her brother, Prince Mush in an incredibly heartwarming moment. This is also the chapter that best exemplifies how the Crystal Stars do not distinguish between good and evil, something that Frankly brings up but is often not shown. Grubba uses the Star for selfish desires, but once he's defeated, it answers the will of Jolene and Mario in freeing her brother, adding an example to the over all plot of TTYD.
Ultimately, the mystery, story and characters of this chapter create a polished and ingenius contender among the best of the best chapters in all of Paper Mario. From the best presented mystery of the series, that isn't super challenging but is ultimately very well written, to the sheer ton of dialogue from all the NPCs that are surprisingly intertwined with the narrative of the chapter, and the fact that the game play is both engaging with completely unique battles throughout and plenty of things to do and mystery to solve between them. In the end, the Glitz Pit may be one of the most skillfully polished Paper Mario Chapters throughout all time, and it's an experience that leaves many players completely unable to put the game down. At the end however, this chapter is not untouchable. It manages to accomplish a lot using the tools it has, but it does depend a lot on broken expectations and on treading new ground. It's hard to call it the perfect Paper Mario Chapter, when it avoids many of the strengths of the series such as the exploration. But for all the polish and sheer spectacle it presents through it's narrative, it has soundly earned it's position as my favorite Paper Mario Chapter... at least, before the release of The Origami King.
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In a few hours, I will release a longer and more mushy post thanking all my readers for following me on this journey. You've all been fantastic. But if you're uninterested in all that touchy-feely good bye stuff, then I still want to make a brief farewell here.
This has been a fantastic month and I've hoped you all enjoyed my writings. I've appreciated all the fantastic discussions we have and I hope I'll have you back whenever I launch another project in the future. For now, thank you for reading.
Previous Rankings (to walk down memory lane): Rank #36 Rank #35 Rank #34 Rank #33 Rank #32 Rank #31 Rank #30 Rank #29 Rank #28 Rank #27 Rank #26 Rank #25 ( Bonus ) Rank #24 Rank #23 Rank #22 Rank #21 ( Bonus ) Rank #20 Rank #19 Rank #18 Rank #17 Rank #16 Rank #15 Rank #14 Rank #13 Rank #12 Rank #11 Rank #10 Rank #09 Rank #08 Rank #07 Rank #06 Rank #05 Rank #04 Rank #03 Rank #02
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I Can Make You Hot!: The Supermodel Diet (by Kelly Killoren Bensimon) -- Part Two

I hope you all have taken full advantage of the past 48 hours or so to regain some sense of normalcy after our adventures through Part 1 of Kelly Killoren Bensimon's I Can Make You Hot! Without further ado, Part Two:
I resume my journey through the truly incomprehensible mind of Kelly Bensimon with a chapter entitled, "Thursday: Tricks of My Trade." Now that we've learned about the basic building blocks of hotness, Kelly promises to share even more hard-earned advice to help us really kick things up a notch. And, as she reassures us:
I'm actually glad for the mistakes I've made because anyone who doesn't make mistakes doesn't learn, and if you don't learn, you're boring!
And if you're boring, you're not HOT! I think I'm starting to get the hang of this!
One of Kelly's most important life lessons came at her first horse show, when she made an unbelievably devastating misstep: "I decided to have an egg on a bagel from the food-service van." What kind of unimaginable ripple effects did this poor decision set off? I continue on to learn that Kelly "did all right in the competition." And…that's literally the whole story. Kelly legitimately refers to this as "one of my biggest lessons," as it taught her "to never eat more than I normally would." If life-changing breakthroughs were this easily sparked in my own life, I can't even begin to imagine how self-actualized I would be at this point.
At this point in my reading, I have reached the book's first insert, which contains about a dozen glossy color photos from various phases of Kelly's life. Unfortunately, I am far too preoccupied by this picture, in which a carefree, wind-swept Kelly clenches her infant daughter under one arm with all the grace of an NFL wide receiver, to pay the rest of the spread much mind.
We continue on as Kelly introduces new dimensions to the basic tips she's previously introduced. For example, you may have had some vague idea that water was important, but Kelly -- always there to help us learn and improve -- digs into the specifics to make sure we're up to date on the HOTtest tricks of the trade:
Staying hydrated is important no matter what you're doing, so I always try to drink eight glasses or about a liter of water a day. Soda isn't water. Coffee isn't water. Water is water. Drink throughout the day; don't try to get it all down at once. You wouldn't drown an orchid, so don't drown yourself.
I am putting in my formal request for a Public Service Announcement in this format, but using the last line of that passage. Also, Kelly clearly does not know how poorly I tend to my houseplants.
The next page informs us that, "hot isn't just caliente; it's also spicy and sultry." Kelly promptly launches into yet another list of miscellaneous grocery items, this time focused specifically on "red-hot foods." Except it includes entries like "popcorn with sugar and cinnamon," and "Mike and Ike candy," so I'm not convinced Kelly didn't just lose track of the thread entirely by the time we got a few items in. However, this does seem like an appropriate time to introduce this picture, from the book's second photo insert, which clearly depicts the sleep paralysis demon that has haunted my dreams for the past several nights. We're also treated to this chapter's first "hot button issue" panel, in which Kelly pulls back the curtain on the shadowy, pro-salt cabal trying to control us all with their anti-sodium legislative agenda:
We keep reading about how bad sodium is for our health, but if you eat fresh foods that you prepare yourself, you can determine and control the amount of salt you want to use. I, Kelly Killoren Bensimon, am perfectly capable of deciding how much salt I want to put on my food. I don't need anyone else to salt my food for me. I know that the amount of salt I choose to sprinkle on my food is not going to hurt me.
I read on to find a two-page spread in which Kelly expounds, in rhapsodic praise to rival that of Song of Solomon, upon her ardor for her beloved dehydrator -- "I though I was in love with coffee, but now I think my dehydrator is my truest love." Most of the passage is taken up by an unstructured list of the various things Kelly has attempted to dehydrate ("cucumber," "mangoes," "avocado") but she does manage to squeeze in a few infomercial-ready lines -- "Really, you should buy one; I promise you won't be sorry."
Since repetition is the key to reinforcing new concepts, I appreciate that Kelly's next list (of "a few more lean tricks I've learned along the way") repeats a note she originally relayed to us just a few pages ago:
Drink water throughout the day (not all at one sitting).
She's also been thoughtful enough to provide a list of resources for us to use as we soldier on along the perilous journey to HOT. After all, as Kelly says, "I don’t expect you to carry this book wherever you go -- as much as I would love that." As someone who has never before ventured into the wild world of cyberspace, I really appreciated Kelly introducing me to so many fun, useful websites that I might want to check out! In case you, too, just haven't figured out how to navigate this whole Internet thing, I've included a few examples below:
www.amazon.com
One-stop shopping for just about any book, periodical, or product you might want to read or buy in order to get HOT.

www.espn.com
Everything you need to know to stay up to date on any sport.

www.webmd.com
Useful, up-to-date, trustworthy information on medical and health issues.

www.yummly.com
Claims to have "every recipe in the world"
Can't wait to check these out later! That Amazon one sounds super cool!
I'm reminded quickly just how inelegant the transitions in this book are as we move directly from that list into the following:
I suggest that you take a picture of yourself every day…Some days when you're feeling your fattest, you may be surprised to see that you really look great.
Okay, so fat is NOT HOT. Except being comfortable in your body is HOT. And trying to be skinny is NOT HOT. But being skinny is HOT. Thank goodness I still have a few more chapters to go -- I clearly still have a ways to go before I truly understand the logic of HOTness. As it stands, I must admit that I'm a bit baffled.
Of course, returning to the previous bit of advice, Kelly doesn't actually have to worry about taking her own pictures like us plebeians -- "Having been photographed so often has provided me with a permanent retrospective catalogue of my life." The chapter closes with these words of wisdom:
The best kind of vanity is being vain about what you put in your body.
Friday's chapter promises to introduce us to the world of "Hot Couture," and I am excited to see what tips and tricks Kelly has managed to accrue over her lifetime in the cutthroat world of modeling . But first, we abruptly transition to a story about Kelly meeting Madonna shortly after both women had given birth. Kelly had "gained a healthy fifty pounds," which I am led to believe, from the context of the anecdote, is NOT HOT. Madonna, on the other hand, was "flat-stomached" and therefore "HOT and cool." Of course, Kelly reassures us hurriedly that she lost all the weight within the following six weeks and was "actually thinner than I'd been prepregnancy." I am at an utter loss as to what the point of this story could possibly be, but -- blessedly -- Kelly is gracious enough to explain:
So what's the lesson here? That Madonna had personal trainers and chefs to whip her back into shape, and I didn't -- and still don’t. I shouldn't have been comparing myself to her in the first place. My advice to you is: don’t compare yourself to anyone else, only to your own personal best.
This is a perfect example of something Kelly does throughout this book, which is to present a completely reasonable piece of advice (don’t compare yourself to others), but couched within such a bizarre and logically disorganized narrative that by the time I reach the ultimate moral of the story, my brain feels like it's been run through a series of meat grinders, and I'm reduced to just nodding along in bemused acceptance.
We get a "Kelly's Cardinal Rule" reminding us to "let your body be what your body is and be happy with what you've got." I'm starting to wonder if there is some sort of Dr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde thing going on behind the scenes here, in which two versions of Kelly are frantically grappling over control of the book's body-positivity dial. I'm literally don't even have to flip the page to see Kelly commiserating with us that "we all have days or occasions when we feel fat" and quipping about her "go-to fat outfit." But also:
Stop praying for what you don't have and be grateful for what you've got.
This amount of cognitive dissonance is truly proof that Kelly contains multitudes. Or has recently acquired some sort of debilitating short-term amnesia. Nevertheless, we continue:
But whatever your shape, show it off. Don’t try to hide it. Hiding is not hot.
Kelly next walks us through figuring out which "season" we are, based on the wisdom extolled in "Color Me Beautiful, the groundbreaking book that was so wildly successful in the early 80s." It's no surprise to me that Kelly, who earlier encouraged us to make our lives easier by using our PDAs, finds this to be an exciting new trend to share. Also, in case you weren't aware, "hair color is also important. You can lighten it or darken it or cover the gray." Lighten it or darken it? The boundaries of my mental universe are truly expanding.
Some more fashion tidbits:
Scarves are hippie chic, cool, and always HOT.

If you're narrow, show off how narrow you are with a monochromatic palette.

Ankles are the new cleavage!
Narrow ankles only, I presume. Kelly's selfless, giving nature is highlighted yet again in the following passage, in which she explains:
All these celebrities have stylists who pull the clothes, accessories, and shoes that make them look the way they do. They charge a lot of money for what they do, so why not get some free advice based on my experience.
And what, pray tell, is this coveted advice that Kelly is so lovingly sharing with her readers, free of charge?
  1. Save sweatpants for the gym.
  2. Save PJs for the bedroom.
  3. Dress as if you were the boss.
  4. Remember what Carrie Bradshaw says: "Nothing is casual anymore, even when it says so on the invitation."
  5. Manolo Blahniks are a girl's best friend.
Okay, so far be it from me to complain about the quality of free advice. But. Out of the five pearls of wisdom that make up the "KKBStyle Rules," two of them are rudimentary instructions to wear somewhat-situationally-appropriate clothing, and the other three are the kind of cute sayings that you would find on a piece of poorly bedazzled wall art in the clearance aisle of your local TJMaxx. I'm not impressed.
Kelly next tells us how important it is to eat well and exercise, even "when you're premenstrual or having your period." That way, as she continues on, "you'll feel better because your endorphins will be flowing while your body is sloughing off unwanted endometrium and mucus." To be fair, Unwanted Endometrium does sound like a sick band name.
Thankfully, the mental image of Kelly's mucus slough is promptly booted from my mind by a careening diatribe about the color red (HOT!):
I even painted my nails red the minute I started writing this book. I wanted to see my short red nails tapping away on my Macbook Pro. Almost every red dress is smokin' HOT, and I've never met a guy who doesn't think a woman in a red dress isn't hot. He's a liar if he denies it.
To repeat, Kelly says she's "never met a guy who doesn’t think a woman in a red dress isn't hot." Poor dear got a bit carried away with her negatives, but I'm sure she'll redeem herself in no time:
When I was sitting in the front row of a Marc Jacobs fashion show a few years ago, I wore a full, red short skirt, a tight red sweater, and red open-toed shoes. One of the editors from The New York Times was sitting across from me, and as we were waiting for the show to begin I kept crossing and recrossing my legs to make him laugh.
Sure, Kelly. To make him laugh. I can only assume she must have written some kind of hilariously clever joke on the gusset of her underwear to have had this editor so tickled pink red.
It was a long wait and after a while some guy I didn't know who was at the other end of the row, leapt towards me and screamed that he was obsessed with my feet. How crazy is it that red open-toed shoes and red toenails could create such a reaction. Red is HOT, even stalker HOT. Yikes!
I'm not clear where "stalker HOT" fits into this whole complex web, but it's reassuring to know that a wise soul like Kelly has such a nuanced appreciation of all of the different ways to be hot. She also gives us some "HOT tips for heating up your image." Like,
Put on a pair of jeans and a white tee shirt.

Put your hair in a ponytail.

Put on a pair of hoop earrings.
And also
Wear your jeans a size smaller instead of a size larger.
For some reason not entirely clear to me at this moment, wearing jeans in your actual size does not seem to be an option.
The chapter continues with a reminder to "remember what's on top of your head!"
There's nothing hotter than a HOT head of hair (unless it's a hunky bald guy).
Kelly follows up by offering a list of what she calls "HOT healthy options." Based on the preceding paragraph, you might assume that these tips would have something to do with haircare and hair styling. However, you would be wrong. Instead, we're instructed to:
Enjoy as much watermelon as you like.

Pack a picnic lunch of dehydrated fruit, chamomile iced tea, and mini pizzas made with corn tortillas, cherry tomatoes, and mozzarella cheese. Eat your picnic in the park.

Come up with something fun you want to try and do it!
Personally, it seems like a bit of a cop-out to make one of the items on your list of fun things to do "make up your own fun thing to do." But who knows? Maybe cop-outs are HOT!
Before my faith in our fearless leader starts to waver, however, I read on through the end of the chapter, and my surety is promptly restored:
Besides my hair and my legs, the one thing people always ask me about the way I look is how I keep my teeth so white. And yes, that's also a matter of genetics. I'm blessed with the whitest teeth on the planet, and, no, I've never had them professionally bleached.
The weekend begins as I turn the page to the penultimate chapter -- "Saturday: Heat Up Your HOT Image with Healthy Options Today." Saturdays, as Kelly tells us, are for fun activities. For example:
If you're in the mall, go to different stores and figure out which looks will make you HOT. Ask other shoppers for advice.
Also:
Parks are great for people-watching. Who looks fit and healthy?
I sincerely hope that any and all of my friends would give me a stern talking-to if I informed them that my weekend plans consisted of going to a park and…pointing out people I think aren't healthy enough?
Kelly then warns us against overindulging on late-night snacks or alcoholic beverages, lest we wake up Sunday feeling "bloating, sluggish, and with deep regrets." Presumably, Kelly then proceeded to rail a massive line of cocaine and hammer out the following frenetic spiel:
You're not going to get fat from having a few drinks a week. You will get fat if your routine is to drink, eat late, and then lie around watching television the next day, eating and making bad food choices. Going out is fun, but when you sacrifice the next day, it's never fun enough. Don't have regrets; enjoy every day. This is a life plan, and yesterday isn't coming back ever again.
The chapter comes to a close with a reminder to "wrap up every day with a great big bow and be ready for your next adventure. But before we close out our week of HOT, we're provided with what I anticipate will be an incredibly useful reference material for us all, the "KKBfit HOT Quiz." If you'd like to take the quiz yourself, you can find it here. However, I'm not entirely sure I would classify it as a "quiz," since it seems to be mostly a set of questions followed by Kelly's feedback on various possible responses. For example:
  1. How Kelly Green are you?
I had a Kelly Green Juice -- Wasn't it yummy?
I had a smoothie from the health food store with a splash of spinach -- Great choice!
I had kale chips, spinach, and quinoa for dinner last night -- I bet you woke up feeling great this morning!
Other?
I presume that the lack of response after the "Other?" choice is supposed to represent Kelly staring at me in deranged disappointment for a few painfully protracted seconds. Some questions, like the one above, don't seem to have any wrong answers at all. In contrast, other questions have clear wrong answers, which Kelly wastes no time in making apparent:
  1. Are you getting enough protein? How many days did you eat chicken, fish, or meat for at least one meal?
I had a grilled chicken salad for dinner on three different days -- That's good, but I wish you'd get a little more adventurous in your choices.

  1. How KKBfit are you?
Haven't had a meal since last night, but I'm going to skip breakfast and go on a run. I won't eat anything until lunch. -- Sorry, but starving your body is not KKBfit.

  1. Are you drinking enough?
I drink when I'm exercising but that's about it -- Not good enough! Try harder next week.
The quiz ends, leaving me entirely unsure of whether or not I've actually made any forward progress towards my HOTness goals, but the next page does promise help for those who "still need more inspiration." Here, it seems that Kelly has compiled a loose assortment of quotes, most of which (I have a sneaking suspicion) were found by searching the keyword "hot" on BrainyQuote.com. Also, this masterpiece from Kelly's ex-husband, noted fashion photographer Gilles Bensimon:
HOT--
It is not about the look,
It is not only about the charm,
It is the perfect combination:
Sweet and tough,
Sexy and reserved,
Fragile and powerful,
And definitely smart.
-- Gilles Bensimon
Move over, Rupi Kaur! I hope with every fiber of my being that Gilles Bensimon has published his collected poetry in some kind of volume that I could purchase, read, and have, I'm sure, nothing but positive things to say about. After about a dozen similar quotations, Kelly continues:
Now, as you get ready for Sunday Funday, take a few minutes to think about how you define HOT. Has your definition changed or evolved since you started reading this book? If so, I'm doing my job.
In all honesty, my definition of HOT has definitely been…affected by this experience. So we'll call that a win! Kelly tells us a few stories about times when her friends and family members have come to her for guidance on how to be hot. She explains:
I'm not the food police, but I've made myself the Sven-arbiter (as opposed to Svengali) of what's HOT and what's not.
Case in point:
It's just not hot to belong to the clean plate club.
The chapter closes with a list titled "Why Don't You," which I believe is supposed to be a list of fun activities we can try during a Sunday Funday. Or possibly a list of terrible life hacks for stoned college freshmen:
Use an electric teapot as a clothing steamer.

Make grilled cheese sandwiches or press wraps using a hot clothes iron.
There are very few things sadder to me that imagining someone taking Kelly up on this last bit of advice as a fun way to liven up what must be the most preternaturally boring existence possible. If your idea of fun is white bread and Kraft Singles getting slowly warmed over on your clothing iron, I can only imagine the fit of hysterics that you'd be thrown into by a passable Minions meme.
And that brings us to the end of the week. But not -- lucky you! -- to the end of this book. Au contraire -- the remaining 100 pages or so of I Can Make You Hot! feature dozens of unique recipes from the culinary mind of none other than the indomitable Kelly Bensimon herself. In her intro, however, she makes it clear that
No one on earth would ever call me a chef.
Of course not, Kelly -- they'd call you a cook. Otherwise, it's creepy.
This portion of the book begins, reasonably enough, with Breakfasts. These include such thoughtfully named delicacies as "My Favorite Cereal" and "My Favorite Pancakes." The recipe for the latter begins with the following introduction:
I'm not the greatest pancake maker, and I probably never will be. But what I am very good at is thinking of unusual things and doing them.
Frankly, I can't argue with that. As she continues:
When in pancake doubt, have fun, add fruit, and see if pancakes can be a vehicle for creating great memories for your family.
Next time I'm in pancake doubt, I'll know just what to do! We move right along into the Soups and Salads section, and are promptly introduced to Kelly's "Jimmy Achoo's Chicken Soup." Which is apparently a play on Jimmy Choo and also described by Kelly as "filled with veggie exploitation," which sounds terrifying. Of the next recipe, "Rich and Skinny Cauliflower Soup with Kale Chips," Kelly reflects:
I adapted this recipe from one I found on the Internet. I wish I could tell you exactly where, but I can't.
The recipe calls for kale chips, which Kelly goes out of her way to inform us can be purchased "at health food stores and many well-stocked supermarkets." We also get a few general "HOT salad tips" that can be applied to many of the recipes throughout this book, such as
There are so many different types of lettuces available today! Try different ones to see which you like best
and
When you order a salad in a restaurant, ask for the dressing on the side. You're a grown-up and you should get to decide how much you want to use.
With that under our belts, the grown-ups among us move on to "Meat, Chicken, and Fish." In her recipe for "Grilled Rib Eye with Herbes de Provence", Kelly tells us about meeting the famous chef who inspired this dish:
When I met Eric, who was still in his thirties at the time, he still had dark hair. I was caught off guard because I thought all chefs were older, had gray hair, and smelled like garlic.
So perhaps Bethenny should have taken it as a compliment? Kelly continues,
He's since invited me many times to go into his kitchen and cook with him, but my fear of losing a finger by being overzealous has prohibited me from accepting.
It's unclear to me exactly what this means or why Kelly would even be particularly worried about this possibility. Does she have habit of excitedly snatching vegetables out from other people's knives? Does Eric have a reputation for slicing anyone who dares to get in his way? Before I make any headway with this particular mystery, we're introduced to the next recipe, the "Pencil-Thin Skirt Steak." As we learn, "Everyone looks slim in a pencil skirt, so it's only fitting that skirt steak is one of the leanest cuts of beef you can buy." We get a recipe for "Sultry Roast Chicken" in which Kelly shares with us that "in fact, chicken without ginger doesn't taste like chicken to me anymore." This would be more believable if we weren't, a mere two pages later, introduced to a notably ginger-free recipe for "Second-Chance Chicken." As Kelly explains,
I hate the idea of leftovers. To me, eating leftovers means you're too lazy to start over, and I've never wanted my girls to think that we weren't starting fresh.
In the introduction to the recipe for "Bad Girl Wings," Kelly gives us yet another poignant insight into her life as a mother:
These chicken wings are Sea's favorite. I'm sure she loves them because she knows I love wings (she's a cutie like that).
It would obviously be ludicrous to assume that Sea actually enjoys chicken wings authentically. Much more likely that she just loves them because Kelly does. HOT! In a segment labeled "hasta la vista taco bell," Kelly recounts a traumatic experience in which she "discovered that my favorite food choices [at Taco Bell] added up to 580 calories." To me, this seems like a perfectly reasonable amount of calories for one daily meal out of three, but according to Kelly, I am embarrassingly off the mark. Rather, she sighs, "I guess that means my Taco Bell days are over -- unless I decide to chance [sic] Sunday Funday into Fatso Food Day." Not HOT.
Kelly tells us about the creative process behind the development of the next recipe, "Spicy Sultry Shrimp and Mango Stir-Fry" (which, for the record, is the second recipe to have the word "sultry" in its title).
This was one of the first dishes I made when I started to cook -- as a science experiment. My "method" was to think of foods I loved and which ones I thought would go well together.
Fascinating! Think of ingredients you like and combine them into a dish that you will then likely also like! The next recipe, for "Kelly's Kalamari," features the following introduction:
I still love fried calamari, but it doesn't love me. Whenever I eat it, it goes right to my stomach and makes a little pooch -- eww!
As a reminder, this is the same Kelly Bensimon who told us that loving our bodies is HOT and dieting is die + t. But also, eww!
We trek along into the next portion of the recipe book, succinctly titled "Pizza, Pasta, Potatoes, Grains, Vegetables, and Sides." We get a recipe for "Pizzzzzzzza!," which instructs the reader to obtain pizza dough, pizza sauce, mozzerella cheese, salt and pepper. Spread out the dough, add sauce and cheese, and cook! This is yet another time I'm glad Kelly told us early on in this book to take detailed notes -- these kinds of nuanced culinary creations can only come from the mind of a true master.
The same kind of true master who would, as we soon learn, conceive of this particular travesty -- "Pink Pizza." Imagine with me, for a moment, that a dear friend invites you over to their house for dinner. I'm making pizza! they implore you. Come over -- we'll hang out, have a couple beers, catch up on old times! Excited for a chance to relive the glory days, you eagerly accept, only to be met -- upon your arrival -- with this abomination. I thought you said we were having pizza? you sputter nervously. This is pizza, your friend intones, as their eyes slowly fade to black and their hands reach out to wrap themselves around your throat.
Kelly goes on to share a recipe for an "Asian-flavored noodle dish" that she has christened (and it truly pains me to type this), "Me Love You Springtime Noodles." Somewhere, the last ember of hope for humanity quietly fizzles out.
The following recipe, for "Pasta with Oddkavodka Sauce" begins with a warning:
When you make this (especially for children) just be sure you cook off the alcohol so that you aren't serving vodka to minors or have to assign a designated driver for your guests.
This seems like reasonable and conscientious advice. Until I read on and learn that the recipe calls for 1/8 cup vodka, and makes four servings. If your guests need a designated driver after consuming a half-tablespoon of vodka each, I would strongly encourage them to seek medical advice forthwith.
I am reminded once again how different Kelly's and my worlds are with the following exclamation:
Try using quinoa in this recipe instead of the rice -- I call that having your cake and eating it too!
Oh, to live a life in which your most selfish indulgence was quinoa. I suppose this should have prepared me for a few pages later, when Kelly remarks:
Both hummus and guacamole make great toppings for steak or fish. They're my version of béarnaise sauce.
I love hummus. Hummus is great. But there is no possible existing parallel universe in which hummus and béarnaise sauce are interchangeable. One of the final recipes in this section is cryptically titled "Have an Impromptu Pepper Party" and instructs the reader to scoop out the insides of a bell pepper and stuff it with "whatever ingredients suit your fancy." Again, I feel like this fails to meet the definition of an actual recipe, per se, but it is supposedly "quick, fun, and satisfying."
We're nearing the book's end (for real this time) with a section on "Breads and Desserts." This includes an inspirational passage in which Kelly shares a personal anecdote:
On Season 4 of the Real Housewives of New York City, I made a mixed fruit pie for my kids with what was left over in the fruit bowl…Don't be afraid to try new things, make mistakes, and have fun doing it.
I can only hope to someday be brave enough and fearless enough to make a mixed fruit pie.
Blessedly, the final section , titled "Beverages", looks like it might have exactly what I need in the aftermath of finishing this book. The "GIN-Ginger Beertail," for example, which "was originally made with gin, but I don't like serving gin drinks because I think it makes people mean." We also get a recipe for something called "Babylove," which (thankfully) seems unrelated to another of my favorite reality TV cesspools.
It only seems appropriate to share the final recipe of I Can Make You Hot! with all of you. I will definitely be downing approximately seven of these tonight, and I hope some of you will be joining me in spirit. Cheers:
Gummi Bear Martini
If you don't have a paper umbrella handy, Gummi Bears are a great way to put more fun in your drink.
Makes 1 Drink
2 parts orange, grape, or other-flavored vodka
1 part Triple Sec
1 part white grape juice
Splash of cranberry juice
Gummi Bears, as many as you like
Combine the vodka, Triple Sec, grape juice, and cranberry juice in a tall glass. Add ice and fill the glass with Gummi Bears.
ETA: I am so disappointed in myself for forgetting to include that Kelly has a ceviche recipe that instructs you to marinate raw fish in lemon juice for exactly two minutes before serving. In the interest of food safety, perhaps it was for the best that this nugget momentarily slipped my mind, but sharing this information with you all is the burden I have been cursed to bear. 🙏🏼
submitted by efa___ to BravoRealHousewives [link] [comments]

Macedonian Mafia

I am a Macedonian from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Macedonia. The Macedonian Mafia is a term used to describe illegal gangs and criminal organisations operating in my country Macedonia and within the Macedonian diaspora.
Macedonian organized crime figures operate mostly in Europe and North America (countries such as Germany, Austria, United States, Canada, Monaco, Italy, France, Spain, Cyprus, Turkey, Greece, Switzerland, England, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo and Bulgaria are primarily favored by Macedonian organized crime figures for operating in or for forming partnerships with local organized crime groups, primarily from other Balkan or Eastern European countries as well as Italian syndicates, for their cultural, linguistic, ethnographic and geographical similarities as well as because of existing mutual ties between the organized crime groups or their members abroad and in the home countries, or the use of countries such was Switzerland, Monaco, Luxembourg and Cyprus for off-shore banking and money laundering), as well as Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand. Macedonian organized crime groups co-operate with other Balkan organized crime groups including the Serbian, Bulgarian and Albanian groups, both in the Balkans and in other places around the world, as well as the Italian mafia and the Russian mafia (through Bulgaria). Macedonian organized crime is usually centered around all types of legitimate businesses alongside typical organized crime activities such as smuggling, import and export, drug trafficking, extortion, arms trade, fraud, auto theft, racketeering, gambling, human trafficking, murder, contract killing, bodyguarding, prostitution and money laundering. Macedonian organized crime is also involved in security companies like the Bulgarian mafia, as well as with them, especially operating out of cities in eastern Macedonia, such as Štip. They are thought to have ties with the Janev Clan and the Albanian Mafia when concerning the trade of tobacco. Macedonian organized crime in Australia and Toronto, Canada is predominant among youth.
Macedonian organized crime, similarly to Bulgarian, Serbian, Albanian and Russian organized crime, utilizes the concept of using security groups to protect their businesses, enforce their power and eliminate competition. These security groups are usually composed of ex military, special forces, martial artists/MMA fighters and bodybuilders. While most security groups are responsible for low level activities such as posing as nightclub bouncers(nightclubs are a Macedonian gangsters' favorite meeting and party place, along with the kafana). These security groups hide behind and operate mainly under a corporate structure, but some are more militarized than others and have been labelled as terrorist groups. It's also safe to say that the Macedonian military itself is also heavily influenced and involved in organized crime activities and is a breeding and training ground for some gangsters. Some well known and higher quality security groups usually possess Macedonia's best and most infamous enforcers, and aside having checkered backgrounds these criminals have gone to be the top ranking Macedonian politicians(presidents and prime ministers) and businessmen's personal security detail and bodyguards. They have even killed people on their behalf.
Same as the above, the banking system in Macedonia heavily relies on organized crime in order to flourish, with limited foreign funding from its umbrella banks in Western European countries, it's unable to flourish on its own. It's also safe to say that some Western European, Russian and Middle Eastern banks have set up money laundering centers in Macedonia in the form of banks, companies, religious and educational institutions. Recently, a growing trend in Macedonia used by organized crime groups to launder money(because of the country's poorly organized justice and financial system and widespread political corruption it's hard for law enforcement officials to find evidence highlighting any type of illegal activities in terms of financial crimes when the Macedonian legal statues on financial crime is still heavily based on the Communist Yugoslavian one which does not apply in any way to the modern Capitalist system) is through the use of gambling institutions such as sports betting and casinos.

Macedonian Mafia - Key People


_ Marjan Tushevski (aka Bokser) (killed July 2001): head boss of the Macedonian underground. -Goran Georgievski (aka Mujo) (1969–2005) (killed April 2005): Former member of the Lions special police force. Georgievski, along with several ethnic Albanian criminals operating in the Republic of Macedonia, was listed on a black list issued by the European Union. - Nikola Mojsovski (aka Koljo) (killed July 2005): 2001 Macedonia conflict combatant who was involved in racketeering in Prilep. Head boss of the Prilep underground. - Zoran Manaskov (aka Skrseniot): The alleged leader of the Frankfurt mafia, a huge Macedonian led heroin ring operating in Germany and Austria based out of the city of Veles, Macedonia.
submitted by StellaDanielson1977 to Mafia [link] [comments]

The Spaaaaaaaaaa.......... v2.0

With the Saratoga season quickly approaching, I’ve had my arm twisted enough by the Discord team to revise my primer from last year. I live about 20-minutes east of Saratoga and it’s my home track; my first real memory of a horse race was betting on Forty Niner in the ’88 Travers……I was 6…… During the 40-day meet, I do most of my wagering for the year and consistently show a nice positive ROI.
What is Saratoga: The Saratoga Racecourse is the oldest continually operating sporting venue in the United States. The town of Saratoga was founded around dozens of natural mineral springs which were turned into bath houses at the end of the 19th Century. Those fighting conditions like Polio sought out the healing properties of the springs; FDR was a regular visitor. The town is about a 3-hour drive north of NYC, so it’s a major summer retreat for those looking to escape. During most of the year, Saratoga is a sleepy town of 25k; on a major race weekend that number will be 5x that.
Why is it Important: The 40-day long meet has 71 stakes with $14.45 million in purse, 39 of those being Graded. Most tracks best day of racing for the entire season is a regular Saratoga Thursday afternoon, the field size and quality here is just unmatched. The feature of the meet is the Travers stakes which this year is Derby Points earning but normally sees Triple Crown pointed horse gearing back up for a BC Campaign. Saratoga also sees a huge number of very talented maiden races where you will often see next year’s Triple Crown contenders get their start. Owners and Trainers want to show off their very best and a win at Saratoga means massive bragging rights for most. Due to its northern latitude and numerous training tracks, Saratoga is a massive training track that sees horse shippers from around the country even if they have no intent on running there. For the month of July and August, Saratoga really is the focus of all horse racing east of the Mississippi.
What you should know before going:
· With Covid, the track will NOT be accessible to spectators, even owners cannot get on the grounds. All vantage points have a police presence to keep away spectators. Your best option for viewing is sitting on your couch.
· Watch Talking Horses the morning of. Its on locally in Saratoga or you can watch on YouTube or with NYRA bets. While Andy Sterling can come off as a bit of a jerk (he is but I like him), he knows a lot about horses. However, he's always looking for a price and overemphasizes troubled trips, so keep that in mind. He does try to beat some really tough horses. Either way him and his associate will give you great background for all the races of the day with replays.
Angles to Consider:
· Having good friends is a massive benefit here. Fields are deep and competitive, so having a 2nd or 3rd set of eyes looking at PP’s is huge. A group of us Handicap a couple of days before each card, so hop on Discord and go through the races as a team, it will substantially boost your ROI.
· Saratoga is the land of Maidens, so Workout Reports are key. All the major east coast trainers will bring the best of their best 2yr old’s to Saratoga as winning a race there is massive. The only true way to gauge these horses is with workout reports. Always remember that PP’s are rearward biased; you care about the horse today, not when it last ran a month ago. Due to the time of the Saratoga meet, it’s very common to have improving 2 or 3yr old’s take a massive step up here.
· Best way to make money at Saratoga is to pay attention to track biases and to make out your own odds. Track tends to be very speed favoring one day and then it’s all closers the next; watch not just what horse is winning but how and adjust accordingly. Saratoga also sees a lot of "dead money", people with no clue who are betting names, colors, jockeys, trainers...etc. These people LOVE to chase favorites and they are very often overlay’s more here than any place else in the country. If you handicap with no ML and have a horse's fair value at 3-1 its often common to see it drift to 10-1 because a Pletcher firster is 1-9 when it should also be 3-1.... etc....
· Saratoga is also the land of crazy weather. It’s not abnormal to have half the card be 80 and Sunny then a pop-up Thunderstorm rolls through and you have mud with off-turf. The public has no ideas how to manage this and will still bet a turf horse who hates running on the dirt. This leads to some massive overlay’s if you’re prepared.
· Although the bias was much less pronounced last year than most, on all three tracks between 5 and 6.5f you want to fade the inside path. This is partially due to those distances seeing younger horses, but also due to the shape of the inner rail entering the far turn. Also watch for a dead rail that plagued the track for the first few weeks last year until it was re-graded which made it less pronounced.
· Fade horses in the 8 path and beyond in 2-turn routes, they have terrible statistics even when accounting for field size. The most problematic races are 1 mile on the Mellon turf where early positional speed is huge. 9 & 10f races on the main track also favor the inside as a shorter runup into the first turn can leave outside horses stranded.
· Jose Ortiz won the 2019 Jockey title, but it’s always super competitive. Saratoga has one of the best jockey colonies in the country but take note of big names taking choice. If you saw that JJ was on three horses last out but choose one of those this time over the others, it’s likely that horse is very live…. etc.
· Chad Brown also dominate the Trainer title in 2019, with it not even being a contest. His entire barn points for the meet so if it’s a CB horse, its live, just deal with it.
· With all the CB love at Saratoga, certain trainers also have TERRIBLE statistics and should be faded or avoided. Those trainers who have solid numbers of starters and do well at other tracks but suck at SAR are: Amoss, Arnold, Keneally, McPeek, Moquette, Rivelli, Romans, Stall, Stewart and Wilkes. You’ll notice a KY trend there; yes, it is real….
· Pay attention to “well meant shippers” meaning oddball ships and weird drops. Look for horses coming out of smaller tracks like a Penn, FL, GP West, OP... etc... who are trained by small time trainers who have limited starts. Betting public tends to feel a lot more comfortable backing a Pletcher horse than a guy who sees 25 starts a year from a 5-horse stable. You'll often see a horse who ran in a couple MSW races at a Penn for say 12k, took a two month break with little work pattern, then shows up at Saratoga in an MCL 32k and wins. Also, huge class drops are less of a concern at Saratoga as traineowner title are so important, hell just winning a race is huge so often people will be OK being claimed away to say, "My horse won at Saratoga". You also tend to see a lot of horses who have one or two not very impressive starts, go on the bench for a month or two and then appear at Saratoga and win from a no-name trainer and connections, things often don't pass the sniff test and are often live in doing so.
Some of the Reddit/Discord group will also be doing a daily Saratoga focused show with information on our impressions from the day along with what to look out for tomorrow which can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/onthewronglead
submitted by pakratt99 to horseracing [link] [comments]

Stock Alert / MCS / LSC

Hi. This is the first time I'm posting such a thing on here - and most probably will be rare, if I'm ever going to post another at all.
DISCLAIMER: To be fair, I could assure you you're going to make profits with my forecasts rather on real stocks than on TCSE (which is funny indeed). I have experience regarding fundamental and technical analysis of the stock market IRL, though TCSE works in a whole different manner than the real stock market - as any stock simulation I have seen until now. There is very few fundamental analysis aspects in TCSE that can give an analyst a ground to work with - atleast as far as my knowledge goes. I cannot assure you to make profit with my predictions in TCSE, even though until now I was trading profit on all my bigger and thus more thought out positions in TCSE.
  1. MCS (@1000$/share): Solely technically analyzed, this stock is a huge win potential. It seems like there was a recent flash crash and since we don't even know what technical factor this stocks price is calculated from in TCSE, we can most probably assume this stock was influenced by a drastic change of something we don't exactly know - possibly even multiple values. As Torn progresses further, though, we will most probably see a quick normalization in whatever influenced this stock so badly for the while being in the near future. To the more defensive trader, I'd suggest to price-average* their position over the course of the next few days and see where it goes. By normalization of the initial influence we could see it climbing back to where it was before very quickly (my own minimum target is at 1750); and I suppose the only way for a downward trend to continue would be another drastic change of the same kind, though keeping in mind that another such jump would have to be even more drastic and out of norm, it's safe to assume we won't see such a flash crash again anytime soon - win potential for the foreseeable future in my eyes would be specifically around 100%, I'd assume downward volatility to be way less than that, which is why I bought that stock.
*Price-Averaging or Dollar-Price-Averaging is a technique that allows a Trader to consistently keep their average position price on the average value of a share during a certain timeframe. Quickly explained - A Trader opens a position of volume x at time y, then for example increases their position throughout the same value x daily over the next 7 days. That way, the trader will have their average price of their subpositions all aligned together around the average price of the stock throughout their timeframe, and they're less vulnerable to high volatility the longer their timeframe is.
  1. *LSC: There is both a technical and fundamental factor to this one that makes up for a pretty obvious buy, though it might be that it'd rather be a position to someone who can allow themselves some time on their position to develop. LSC has been constantly going down the past few months; LSC is dependant on Players Total Casino Win/Loss. While this is what LSC explicitly says, what I'd atleast assume to be rather true it's also dependant on the amounts of money used in all the casino games that go 1:1. That means - keeping it to the relevant game for this analysis, for example - the Bookie. If you're not living under a rock, you probably know there is a pandemic going on.. this pandemic has led to a ton of sports matches to be cancelled. And there is the point. No sport matches? No Bookie betting. No Bookie betting? Well, LSC's short-term graph. And looking into the (possibly distant..) future: No Moronavirus? No Bookie Match cancellations... you get the point. The best time to invest into LSC, aside of what I'd call now, would be when you see that there is an increasing number of sports matches being played again and thus Bookie opening up to more options again - though even now you might want to go for a short-term position and possibly renew it afterwards.
Honestly, I got no idea how much the Bookie influences LSC. It might be that this indeed almost doesn't influence it at all, it's all solely based on assumption that it influences it *enough* to actually make a noticable difference. Be cautious and understand that I cannot assure you for my assumptions to be right as there is so little info on the fundamentals of stocks given out to the players of Torn, so that my analysis can be reasoned, but whether the reason is the actual reason for what I assume it to be the reason for is a whole other piece of cake (yes that sentence is a little brainf- I know).
I wish yall whoever reads this good profits :)
Alpha3K (if you want to know my Torn ID, message me).
submitted by Alpha3K to torncity [link] [comments]

SOAC - The next best thing besides a SPAC ESG ETF

SOAC - The next best thing besides a SPAC ESG ETF
Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) has risen greatly in popularity in recent time. With many factors (including Covid) raising awareness around ESG it would appear there has never been a better time to invest in this market trend/values (besides maybe six months ago).
Government subsidies, decarbonization, climate change, industrial/infrastructure upgrades, technological advancements, ESG popularity, greenwashing and police brutality are but a few of the catalysts favouring ESG focused companies (ETFs, funds and SPACs like SPAQ/SOAC). The recent growth in EV market, solar stocks, renewable energy, Tesla, the Juneteenth stock’s and the green energy market (including SPACs - NKLA SHLL SPAQ) are but a few of the benefiters of this “movement” to date.
It’s not just day trading millennials (beckys/RH) who love this stuff but hedge funds are also benefiting from this trend (that is here to stay). It might be a personal belief of mine coupled with my passion for environmentalism but market trends do not lie (although can pop) – and if I can profit from this, why not?
SPAQ SHLL SOAC FMCI BMRG HCCH NKLA BLNK DGLY SOLO EVSI NIO UONE BYFC FMCI BYND RUN WKHS TSLA SHRM.. - a few quick/recent examples of companies with strong ESG verticals absolutely crushing the market. I watched the rise of DKNG (Atlanta fan haha) and NKLA (no product lol) but took a pass because I didn’t fully understand SPACs at the time - don’t be that guy..
Furthermore, ESG funds tend to outperform traditional investments (during downturns - like covid – and some SPACs were a safe haven (because of something called Escrow).
It seems like we need a SPAC ETF ESG focused on some of the above mentioned.. more like needed it six months ago (imagine the returns $$$)??
Very Basic (and inconclusive without further) Market Research:
https://preview.redd.it/67m3itponva51.png?width=548&format=png&auto=webp&s=b54b45c60f193d10497d083b8fe48f10a99fa1be
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** all info sourced in links**
“A poll … by JP Morgan of 50 global institutions with $12.9 trillion under management found that 71% of respondents felt the economic shock of Covid-19 would increase awareness and actions globally to tackle climate change and “high impact, high probability” events like it. “Over the long run, COVID-19 could prove to be a major turning point for ESG investing,” said Jean-Xavier Hecker and Hugo Dubourg, co-heads of ESG and Sustainability at JP Morgan. “
https://www.barrons.com/articles/spartan-fisker-spac-electric-vehicle-stocks-51594646511?mod=hp_INTERESTS_technology&refsec=hp_INTERESTS_technology
The ESG SPAC Space:
There are a few (openly) ESG focused SPACs right now - SOAC is arguably the best. When you invest in a SPAC remember – you are investing in the team ie management, UW, legal and institutional backing (follow the money) C.R.E.A.M.
Sustainable Opportunities Acquisition Corp.SOAC
Structure:
345m - 100% still in Trust18mo term – I like the short term (maybe we see a CCXX or BMRG early announcement)IPO May 6 2020 – Love the confidence of IPOing in the face of Covid½ Warrant/UnitCitigroup running the books soloKirkland and Ellis & Davis Polk and Wardwell are lawyers involvedCrescent term threshold of $9.2
Business Proposal:
“We believe that there are significant, attractive investment opportunities that exist within industries that benefit from strong Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”) profiles. While investing in ESG covers a broad range of themes, we are focused on evaluating suitable targets that have existing environmental sustainability practices or that may benefit, both operationally and economically, from our management team’s commitment and expertise in executing such practices. We believe our management team’s experience allows us to evaluate targets in industries such as manufacturing (including auto, building materials), chemicals, services (including waste, environmental, construction), logistics (including transportation, distribution), technology (hardware, software, devices), agriculture (including biofuels) and energy (with focus on renewable generation, utility services, energy efficiency/management), among others. Furthermore, our target universe could include companies undergoing a transition to increase their environmental sustainability profiles, reflecting an opportunity to bring environmentally sustainable practices to companies that may not have historically been focused on environmental sustainability. We believe there is a wide array of companies undergoing this “brown-to-green” transition in our target universe. Companies in our target universe tend to have stable growth rates and would greatly benefit from access to public market capital.”
Management:
“The SOAC management team has extensive experience in operating and managing sustainability initiatives within a wide range of companies and industries throughout the U.S.”
Scott Honour (the one and only**) serves as the Chairman of our board of directors**. Mr. Honour has over 30 years of private equity investment experience and has been involved in over 100 transactions totalling over $20 billion in transaction value. Mr. Honour is Managing Partner of Northern Pacific Group (“NPG”), a private equity firm, which he co-founded in 2012. Prior to that, Mr. Honour was at The Gores Group, a Los Angeles based private equity firm, for 10 years, serving as Senior Managing Director and one of the firm’s top executives. During his time at The Gores Group, the firm raised four funds, totaling $4 billion in aggregate, and made over 35 investments. Mr. Honour also served on the investment committee for The Gores Group. Prior to joining The Gores Group, Mr. Honour was a Managing Director at UBS Investment Bank from 2000 to 2002 and was an investment banker at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette from 1991 to 2000. Mr. Honour began his career at Trammell Crow Company in 1988. Mr. Honour has served on the board of directors of numerous public and private companies including Solar Spectrum Holdings LLC, Anthem Sports & Entertainment Inc., 1st Choice Delivery, LLC, United Language Group, Inc., Renters Warehouse LLC, Real Dolmen (REM:BB) and Westwood One, Inc. (formerly Nasdaq: WWON), and is a co-founder of Titan CNG LLC and YapStone Inc. Mr. Honour earned a B.S. and B.A., cum laude, in Business Administration and Economics from Pepperdine University and an M.B.A. in Finance and Marketing from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
David Quiram serves as our Chief Financial Officer. Dr. Quiram has over 20 years of leadership experience in technology, strategy and finance organizations with a deep understanding of the chemicals, emerging technology, bioscience and energy sectors. Previously, Dr. Quiram served as Head of Financial Planning and Analysis and Tax at GenOn Energy (“GenOn”) from 2017 until 2019 where he was responsible for standing up the financial and administrative functions of GenOn as a stand-alone entity from NRG Energy Inc. (NYSE: NRG). Prior to that, Dr. Quiram served as Head of Investments for Enterprise Services of Hewlett Packard Enterprise (NYSE: HPE) from 2014 until 2017 where he directed investments into products and services. From 2010 to 2014, Dr. Quiram was with Accenture (NYSE: ACN) as a Senior Manager in their Strategy practice focused on transforming utilities, independent power producers, and energy retailers. From 2006 to 2009, Dr. Quiram worked at multiple roles at TXU Energy starting in finance and later served as Vice President of Retail Pricing and Procurement where he led the pricing and hedging for TXU Energy’s retail portfolio. Dr. Quiram began his career at McKinsey & Co where he worked as an Engagement Manager from 2001 until 2005, and as a Research Scientist at DuPont (NYSE: DD) from 1998 to 2001. Dr. Quiram earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Rick Gaenzle has agreed to serve on our board of directors. Mr. Gaenzle has over 30 years of private equity investment and corporate finance experience; he is the founder and currently serves as a Managing Director of Gilbert Global Equity Capital, L.L.C., the principal investment advisor to Gilbert Global Equity Partners, L.P. and related entities, a $1.2 billion leveraged buyout and private equity fund. Mr. Gaenzle has spent the last twenty-eight years at Gilbert Global and its predecessor entity, completing over 110 direct equity investments, co-investments and add-on acquisitions for portfolio companies. Previously, Mr. Gaenzle was a Principal of Soros Capital L.P., the principal venture capital and leveraged equity entity of the Quantum Group of Funds and a principal advisor to Quantum Industrial Holdings Ltd. Prior to joining Soros Capital, Mr. Gaenzle held various positions at PaineWebber Inc. Mr. Gaenzle currently serves as a Senior Advisor to Impact Delta, an impact-investing and impact-measurement advisory firm; an Operating Partner of NPG; and Chairman of Lake Street Homes, a single-family rental investment vehicle. Mr. Gaenzle holds a B.A. from Hartwick College and an M.B.A. from Fordham University.
Isaac Barchas has agreed to serve on our board of directors. Mr. Barchas is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Research Bridge Partners (“RBP”), a socially-driven investment company, which he founded in 2016. RBP uses both concessionary and nonconcessionary investment to create startup companies based on university research and advance those companies into the venture capital markets. Prior to founding RBP, Mr. Barchas led the Austin Technology Incubator (“ATI”) at The University of Texas at Austin from 2006 to 2016. ATI’s Clean Energy Incubator was the first university clean tech incubation program in the United States. During Mr. Barchas’ leadership, ATI companies raised over $1 billion in the capital markets. Mr. Barchas joined the university from McKinsey & Co., where he worked in the Chicago, Sydney, Auckland, and Dallas offices, from 1996 to 2006 and served on the leadership teams of McKinsey’s North American Healthcare Practice and Global Organization Practice. Mr. Barchas has served on multiple private company boards and on philanthropic boards including Pecan Street Inc., the largest analytically-focused clean energy and climate data consortium in the United States, where he was a founding board member. Mr. Barchas earned a J.D. (honors) and M.A. (Century Fellowship) from The University of Chicago. He received an A.B. from Stanford University (honors and Phi Beta Kappa).
Justin Kelly has agreed to serve on our board of directors. Mr. Kelly is currently the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Investment Officer of Winslow Capital Management, LLC (“Winslow Capital”), Nuveen’s center of excellence for growth investing. Mr. Kelly also serves as lead portfolio manager on the firm’s flagship U.S. Large Cap Growth Strategy. Mr. Kelly has been with Winslow Capital for over two decades and has transformed the firm from a single strategy, niche investment firm to a thought leader globally in growth equity investing with four strategies. Prior to joining Winslow Capital in 1999, Mr. Kelly was an equity analyst at Investment Advisors in Minneapolis. Prior to that, Mr. Kelly worked at Prudential Bache, from 1993 to 1996 as Investment Banker, and Salomon Brothers, from 1996 to 1997 as Investment Banker. Mr. Kelly earned a B.S. in Finance/Investments from Babson College.
Our management team will be supported by NPG, a technology and business services focused private equity firm based in Wayzata, Minnesota. NPG has considerable experience investing in ESG related portfolio companies with community impact, workplace diversity and integrity, and environmental resource management acting as cornerstones to key investment decisions. NPG has offset its carbon footprint to net zero, achieving CarbonNeutral® status. The partners of NPG have been involved in acquisitions, financings and advisory transactions totaling over $20 billion in transaction value and have significant experience investing across a variety of economic cycles and a track record of identifying high-quality assets, businesses and management teams with significant resources, capital and optimization potential. We believe that we will benefit from NPG’s prior experience.”
PRESS RELEASE
ESG RESOURCES
CEO BREIF INTERVIEW
https://www.greenspac.com/ceo-scott-leonard-explains-why-now-is-the-right-time-for-a-spac/

SPAC Risks:
SPAC’s tend to be 50/50 after merger IMOPotential EV or ESG bubble might be formingDoes anyone have an example of a SPAC in the last 15 years (or later) that has liquidated and didn’t pay out?(I honestly haven’t looked)I see 0.1% risk in SPAC shares/units long term (thanks to escrow)
Final Thoughts:
Future (disruptive) ESG companies (like PureCycle) might want to try and avoid previous mistakes (like UBER) by going the public via the SPAC route... Its kind of a thing these days (thank you Covid) and helps them to make more money faster, price their deal properly/more efficiently and gain (those all-important wall street) connections – I see you SPAQ .. also anyone else see spacs drop in the WSJ?
Completely speculative possible ESG SPAC’s – IPOC/IPOB, HCAC/JIH, GMHI/NPA, SBE/ALUS/TDAC, **KCAC/**SSPK, or JWS/PTSH? Who else are we missing?? Who else will pivot like SHLL, SPAQ, HCCH or get a BlackRock PIPE??
Disclaimer: This is not investment advice and I have positions in some of the above.
TLDR: ESG trend is here to stay and SOAC is a ESG SPAC with great a great team
**check out the discord link for more info, resources and tools**
submitted by GhostfacexProdigy to SPACs [link] [comments]

I Read It So You Don't Have To: Secrets of the Southern Belle (by Phaedra Parks)

I hope the past few days have been restful and rejuvenating for you all, but -- as I'm sure you must have learned by this point -- the journey to personal betterment is an eternal endeavor. We haven't got a moment to waste, so let's bid adieu to the sunny serenity of the California coast and settle in down South with Real Housewives of Atlanta's Phaedra Parks, as she descends from her ivory porch swing and illuminates the esoteric in Secrets of the Southern Belle: How to Be Nice, Work Hard, Look Pretty, Have Fun, and Never Have an Off Moment.
True to the title's descriptive and straightforward sentiments, Phaedra begins the book with a concise synthesis of the worldview she hopes to present:
I believe every woman should be a Southern Belle or minimally aspire to being more ladylike, charming, and intelligent, because we should all be treated well.
As she continues, we get our first glimpse of the deep well of compassion that underlies Phaedra's mission to improve the lives of those around her.
Honestly, I sometimes feel sorry for women of northern persuasion. There they are rushing around in their baggy, drab clothes, doing everything for themselves and looking like they just rolled out of bed. They don't seem to understand there's a better way.
Thankfully, I no longer have to count myself among that witless horde. I feel like, until this fateful moment, I have been living like one of those people from the black-and-white "before" footage of an infomercial -- haphazardly bumbling through the most menial of daily tasks with no way of knowing how much brighter my world could be. Phaedra has freed me from Plato's Cave, and I have no choice but to follow her instruction and strive to shape myself in her image.
A true Southern Belle is known -- first and foremost -- for her fundamental kindness and compassion towards others, so it is only appropriate that the book's first section is succinctly titled, "Be Nice." However, even this simple directive has been trampled by the corrupting influence of the modern world. As Phaedra laments,
Unfortunately, as we see more migration from other parts of the world, we also see an increase of poor manners and rude behavior.
She elaborates, providing specific examples of the personal injuries incurred as a result of these unmannered interlopers.
I find it particularly odd in business, when the salespeople or tellers don't speak or thank you for your patronage. Don't they realize that without customers they would not have a job?
I, too, find it offensive when minimum-wage workers have the nerve to act like actual human beings rather than automatons at the mercy of my personal whims, and I appreciate that Phaedra is bold enough to ask the question that has undoubtedly been on the tip of our collective tongue. Yet somehow, she still remains humble enough to freely admit where she has room to learn; here, she lets the reader in on "something I've never quite understood about non-southerners:"
They're suspicious of basic southern warmth because they're worried it's insincere. But at the same time, they will tell you the most inappropriate things! They tell you stuff about their health that you don't want to know. They launch into crazy stories about their terrible childhoods and how misunderstood they are. They complain about what happened long ago, and they fret openly about the future. Then they tell you what they paid for things and you want to crawl under the table.
Frankly, that's not very attractive.
What is attractive, then, you may ask? Effusive compliments, for one thing -- "I don't know why some people are so concerned with being sincere, when being nice is so much more effective." We also learn to "never contradict anyone, even if you know they are wrong." Phaedra illustrates this particular lesson with the following example:
If someone tells you that your taxes are due on April 30 instead of April 15, you look puzzled and say, "Goodness, I had no idea. Did they change the date?"
And what happens after that? Either the person says yes and you're forced to play along with whatever bizarre delusion and/or power-play your companion is currently indulging, or they say no and you say -- what? "Right, of course, I knew that the whole time!" Or, "Gotcha! It's April 15th, you incompetent fraud!" Or maybe, "I don't even know what taxes are -- money is for menfolk!" I just can't imagine any of those scenarios playing out with less discomfort than a simple correction, but after four years living in New England, I can only assume that's just northern negativity clouding my vision.
We are next presented with a list of "compliments that come in handy," a few of which I've transcribed below for immediate incorporation into your own phrasal repertoire.
What an interesting way to think about it. (Good for a point on which you disagree with someone.)

You thought of every little detail; I love a meticulous lady!

Wow! That is so original. I would never have put it together like that. (In this South this might mean, "I hate it," but in a polite way.)
Boss Babe is out -- Meticulous Lady is in! Phaedra reminds us to keep health concerns -- "especially female issues" -- far from polite conversation, then shifts gears to a much-needed lesson in verbal comportment. It's not just their "attractive regional accents" that distinguish Southern Belles from their less-attractive northern counterparts; they also devote great attention to evoking grace through their cadence and tone.
Sometimes northern women can sound awfully abrupt. It's just a habit they have, poor things.
If you'd like to take your place amongst esteemed gentility, however, I urge you to change your ways! For one thing, when speaking, "slip in something affectionate so that a very harsh reality doesn't come across as rude or abrupt." For example, see how much unpleasant confrontation is avoided with the following turn of phrase:
Darling, don't you know you're too smart and pretty to be the town drunk?
Silly girl, haven't you heard? Addiction is for ugly people! You should also feel free to use these compliments liberally throughout conversation -- "You don't have to mean it, you know." As an example:
If you can tell that someone has put a lot of effort into a particular aspect of her outfit, just draw attention to it. Sparkly stars-and-stripes high heels could be terribly tacky, but you bet they're supposed to be noticed, so go ahead and do it. "Those are certainly patriotic shoes!"
Let me take a crack at it -- This book certainly has a lot of words in it! Writing a book is such an impressive achievement -- I'm sure it feels so rewarding to finally see it In print! And I love the way you occasionally use infinity signs as bullet points -- it's so evocative! I think I'm getting the hang of this!
"Another southern difference?" As Phaedra informs us, "we try not to make direct requests. It just sounds so forward and frankly unpleasant if someone comes right out and says what they want from you." Phaedra's Starbucks barista must really despise her -- If it isn't too much trouble, could I bother you for something to drink? No, anything's fine -- I wouldn't want to impose.
Almost like a modern-day Rosetta Stone, the next passage introduces us to the nuanced connotations that pervade a true Belle's vocabulary. For example, Phaedra tells the reader that "if I tell someone 'Goodness, you must have spent all day on your hair. I am so impressed!' it really means I hate it." Before I manage to convey how impressed I am by the book before me, I read on to learn that "when you're discussing a homely girl, you generally say, 'She's so smart!' The general thought is you can't be both ugly and dumb. God wouldn't be that cruel." Please excuse me while I take a few hours to re-analyze every compliment I've ever been given in my entire life.
Now that that's done, here are a few more translations to help you decipher the Belles in your life.
Belle-Speak: She's a nurse-in-training.
Unvarnished Truth: She dates only old men.

Belle-Speak: She's a butter face.
Unvarnished Truth: Everything looks good but her face.

Belle-Speak: Hope he's got money.
Unvarnished Truth: He's unattractive and pays for affection.
The second one is not even really a euphemism so much as Phaedra trying to demonstrate her knowledge of hip modern slang, but I digress. We transition into advice for conversation starters -- "don't throw them complicated or controversial subjects like politics, animal rights, or local zoning." Truly, I can't tell you how many times I've been approached at a party with an opener about municipal ordinances, and it just kills the mood like nothing else. Worried about how you'll ever find something to talk about under these restrictions?
Don't worry about sounding interesting. "Interesting" is an overrated notion. Just fill the empty air.
That…explains a lot, actually.
Our next lesson is in reference to dinner parties -- "don't make a fuss, unless you're complimenting the cook." In case you're confused as to how this guidance should be interpreted, Phaedra clarifies with some examples -- "'Is there meat in here? I'm a vegetarian' is the wrong kind of fuss." Since I typically ask this question while flailing my arms wildly and making intermittent whooping noises, I completely understand how it could be disruptive amongst refined company. Although I'm starting to get a bit nervous that I won't be able to keep track of these seemingly countless rules, Phaedra's next assurance puts my mind at ease: "If all else fails, remember the secret weapon of the Southern Belle is delicate helplessness."
In the next passage, we learn that, "if there's any characteristic that defines a Southern Belle, it's her habit of firing off little notes on any occasion." Just as with verbal compliments, these notes require little to no basis in factual reality -- "obviously it's perfectly all right to exaggerate." But while truthfulness is more or less dispensable, your choice of writing implement could have grave repercussions. As Phaedra exhorts, "Never, ever write a letter in pencil. You might as well not bother at all." Within the realm of pens, however, "blue and black are perfectly acceptable, even if they do lack panache."
We return once again to the topic of appropriate subjects for conversation, and are cautioned against asking anyone their age. Of course, wild speculation is encouraged, "as long as you're out of earshot." In the next tip, Phaedra declares: "Don't discuss the cost of anything. Any discussion of cost is just in poor taste." I just can't help picture how much of a nightmare this woman must be at a fast-food drive-through. Our final instruction?
Don't discuss hair color. Men always pretend they don't dye their hair, so you just have to go with it.
At first glance, this seems reasonable enough, especially in the context of the social graces espoused by the book so far. However, Phaedra's attempt at further explanation quickly begins to careen off-course.
For women, it's a little bit more complicated because you have the question of whether the drapes match the carpet, so to speak. And I do know some who dye the carpet to match -- that was the big thing in high school. Now with all this weird waxing, you don't have to do as much dyeing, but that's another thing you don't talk about either!
Let's see if I've got this straight: I should always believe a man about his purported hair color no matter what, but if a woman tries to lie about hers, she'll get caught…because I will inevitably be forced to confront the realities of her pubic hair? An intimate partner, sure, but I just can't imagine this situation arises with enough frequency to merit even the few lines its given in this text. And honestly, at this point, I don't even think I want to know what Phaedra means by "weird waxing."
This section of the book concludes with a final catalog of "the 'She did what?' mistakes." The list starts off strong with "wearing white to another woman's wedding." However, by the time we end on the most unimaginable of atrocities -- "drinking beer from a bottle" -- I'm beginning to wonder if this list was actually supposed to have been titled "things the sexy homewrecker does in a bro-country music video."
The following section is titled, "Work Hard," and I am immediately inspired to do exactly so by the implicit challenge thrown down in Phaedra's opening lines, in which she coquettishly asks, "Who always delivers a presentation on time, with the printed materials perfectly written and proofread?" I'm usually quite good at taming my most pedantic impulses, but contrarian passions I never knew I had are foaming at the mouth to find an upcoming typo and self-righteously call her bluff. Although perhaps I should find a more feminine way to phrase that; as Phaedra cautions, "we don't like to think of ourselves as driven, because that sounds so neurotic and unpleasant."
We next learn that "you cannot be a Southern Belle unless you understand what it is to be ladylike." But unfortunately, it is all too easy to be caught up in the ways of the world and lose sight of this primary calling.
A lot of women today enjoy being the feisty, brassy, foul-mouthed kind of gal who drinks with men and shows a lot of flesh. They think it's cool.
Phaedra continues and reflects that, "I've heard the argument that this is progress, from the feminist point of view, but I don't necessarily agree." I can never remember -- which wave of feminism was the one with all the feisty gals? But clearly, their agenda has gone too far! How, in contrast, does a delicate Southern Belle behave?
She looks as if she's heard of sex, probably has had sex, but has no plans to have sex with anybody in the immediate surroundings.
I'm not sure exactly how to convey this highly specific sentiment in any other way than purchasing a t-shirt custom-printed with the phrase, "I have heard of sex, have probably had sex, but have no plans to have sex with anybody in the immediate surroundings," so I hope that approach will suffice for now. Phaedra follows up by cautioning us that,
A lady never puts in the shop window what isn't for sale.
Personally, I like to think of myself as more of a museum than a gift shop, but to each their own! We next learn more about the delicate balance a Southern Belle must achieve in order to maintain her esteemed position. For example, while "she doesn't cuss and doesn't talk dirty," frigidity is similarly unbecoming -- "if somebody tells a good dirty joke in her vicinity, she'll laugh." I'm barely a third of the way through this book, and I'm already exhausted at the prospect of having to remember all of these hyper-specific edicts. It's no surprise that the Southern Belle has to remain consistently vigilant; as Phaedra intones, "coming from a Pentecostal family, I hate to see a woman down more than two drinks." It seems to me like the simplest way to avoid such emotional turmoil would be to simply refrain from compulsively tallying the beverage intake of strangers, but I soon learn there are far more perilous hazards lurking around every corner. Phaedra shares her personal strategy for avoiding the very implication of incivility in the following excerpt:
I don't ever go to the bar at a party; I think that just looks terrible. If I must have a glass of wine or crave a fruity adult libation, I'll ask a nearby man to procure it for me.
Sir! Procure me a fruity adult libation -- tout de suite! But I would hate to diminish the male gender by implying that they're only good for the acquisition of potables; no -- men can be leveraged in an increasingly broad array of day-to-day tasks. As Phaedra shares:
I have friends who have never in their lives pumped gas for their own cars. They will ask a complete stranger to do it for them. One of my besties from New Orleans will flag down a man, give him her credit card, and have him pump and pay for her gas.
Honestly, I can't help but wonder if this might actually be some kind of avantgarde performance art, in the tradition of Marina Abramović's Rhythm 0. Because the idea that this gambit has never gone horribly, horribly awry truly strains credulity. As I read on, however, I learn that my current train of thinking is sorely misguided.
Sometimes when I'm at a grocery store the fellow bagging the groceries will ask if he can take them out to my car. Why would you say no to this? But sometimes women do. And I look at them and sigh and think, "Poor thing. She has a lot to learn."
Thankfully for my personal development, the next chapter -- titled "A Crash Course in Being (Selectively) Helpless" promises exactly the sort of content that I so desperately need to understand. As Phaedra explains, a Southern Belle is "never intimidating, because some things she just can't do on her own." She goes on to offer concrete examples of how to incorporate this ethos into your life on beginner, intermediate, and expert levels.
Experts: assume help will arrive. Flat tire? Pull over to the curb, and don't sweat it. Can't figure out which wrench to buy at Home Depot? Or how to program your DVR? This is what former boyfriends and other gentlemen are for. Believe me, the age of chivalry is not dead.
Rent due? Don't sweat it -- a gallant gentleman likely already has a check in the mail. House burning to the ground around you? You should know a Belle doesn't walk down the hallway on her own two feet! Bear attack? I'm sure a male bear is just around the corner, ready to jump in and defend your honor!
Without a hint of irony, we transition to Phaedra's advice for the workplace. We learn that the quintessential gentlewoman is savvy, competent, and always at the top of her game. For instance, at her workplace, "she figures out how to work the coffee machine and the copy machine." With that kind of go-getting attitude, the Southern Belle will be bound for the C-suite in no time! Provided, of course,
She never does that thing I hear of in the North sometimes of telling you how little she paid for something. Why would you brag about bargains?
I can't hear the phrase that thing I hear of in the North in anything other than the voice of Tinsley's mother, Dale. Except she would probably use it in reference to something like "giving compliments to your daughter" or "weight gain." Regardless, a more appropriate question at this juncture might be, "Are you sure this book was proofread quite as judiciously as you claimed?" As I scan the page, my eyes happen upon the line:
10 percent for tithing, if your religion encourages tithing, which mines [sic] does.
Of course, it would be entirely uncouth for me to brag about my typographical superiority in this context, so now seems as good a time as any to exercise some of my newly acquired techniques. Oh, Phaedra -- bless her heart! I suppose we can't all be detail-oriented, can we? It must be nice to be so casual and carefree when you express yourself!
Without further ado, however, we move along to our next lesson -- "People don't know when you're hungry, because they can't hear your stomach growling, but they definitely know when you're homeless." To be honest, the more I think about this statement , the less sense it makes to me (people…can hear your stomach growling?). Luckily, with the jam-packed schedule of a Southern Belle, I simply don't have time to dwell on the issue for a moment longer!
Our next tutorial? " If you have one fabulous pair of shoes, you will wear them to church. It is the very least you can do for Jesus." As we all know, Jesus loves sweet kicks, so he loves nothing more than to see you rock the newest styles when you drop by on Sunday. And besides -- the higher the heel, the closer to heaven! Phaedra summarizes the Southern Belle's can-do attitude with the line: "We all may not be sitting around big ugly Formica boardroom tables, but we get things done." As someone who has only ever attended meetings held around moderately sized tables, I find this to be a validating sentiment.
When it comes to extracurricular pursuits, "beauty pageants are important." However, "as much as she loves performing, the Belle will not take to the stage: some of those theater people are just too peculiar, bless their hearts." Honestly, Phaedra and I come down on the same side on this one. But I will have to heartily disagree with her next passage -- with respect to traditions of stepping within Black Greek Life -- in which she states,
The traditionally white organizations don't have anything comparable.
Um, excuse me? Have you never seen this iconic video?! However, Phaedra does reassure us that she's far from ignorant in the ways of the world. As she states, "I have read about hookup culture and known a few easy women." Of course, easy men don't exist -- or at least, that's what I've read in all the most prominent textbooks regarding hookup culture. But don't mistake Phaedra's awareness for acceptance -- "that doesn't mean I like any of it." However, this sentiment is belied just a few paragraphs later, when our author recalls:
I offended the mother of one of my best friends once by booking some exotic entertainment at this friend's birthday party. My friend loved the anatomically exceptional dancer, but her mother was livid.
I'm sure that it was only your friend who loved the "anatomically exceptional" dancer, and I assume this must have been one of your aforementioned token "easy" friends, besides. A Southern Belle, in contrast, is interested in serious, long-term relationships. And for this purpose, "it would be much better to marry a young man that you can train. I have always said that I would rather be a babysitter than a geriatric nurse." Yet even these kinds of discrepancies seem trivial in comparison to the boundless passions of eternal love. As Phaedra shares,
I want Apollo and me to celebrate our fiftieth anniversary, so I try to overlook momentary annoyances.
That aged well. Bless her heart.
We're soon treated to a cheeky list of "what her husband doesn't know," which echoes several key themes from earlier in the book -- most notably in its bizarre fixation with pubic grooming.
He doesn't know what her true hair color is, because the curtains always match the carpet.

He doesn't know how often she waxes, or exactly what waxing entails.

He doesn't know that she has her own credit card, her own savings account, and a safe-deposit box.
I've got to say, that last one hits just a little bit different with hindsight. Always timely, however, are Phaedra's views on the importance of the homemaking arts. In this evocative passage, she describes the primal horror of an encounter with a woman tainted by an unimaginable curse:
A nice lady from another part of the country recently confessed to me that she doesn't know how to do any crafts. In fact, she said, she gets all nervous and antsy in crafts stores, because they're so full of things she doesn't understand. I laughed like I thought she was joking, but really, I felt bad for her. Imagine not knowing how to make all those cute objects that brighten up lives in the South! I shudder to think what the inside of her house looks like!
With that fable still ringing in my ears, we transition to the next section of the book: "Look Pretty." Phaedra reflects, "I am always shocked when I leave the South and encounter the enormous number of women who don't seem to understand how their clothes should fit." Now feels like an appropriate time to draw attention to the book's back cover, in which an open-mouthed Phaedra swivels her torso in such a way as to create a bulging protuberance across one half of her chest. In awe of her commitment to inclusivity, I now realize this could only have been an intentional choice to make herself seem more approachable to us northern oafs, and for that I am eternally grateful.
Phaedra goes on to inform us that, "personally, I prefer skirts and dresses over pants." However, although "high-waisted pants and pants with visible hem cuffs are quite elegant and ladylike," one should take care never to forget that "minimalism and menswear looks are just puzzling and not appealing to a Belle." I, too, must admit that I find menswear looks puzzling -- a girl? in boy clothes? I just can't make heads or tails of it! And this is far from the only contemporary fad that baffles the true Southern Belle. As Phaedra continues:
I've never understood the appeal of the natural look. It's so easy to improve your appearance; why wouldn't you take advantage of the many beauty aids available to you?
In a frankly unexpected dig against the ceramic arts, Phaedra notes that "unless you are a professional potter (and I don't think Southern Belles generally are), your nails need to be clean and filed." More generally, your physical proportions should remain mild and inobtrusive:
Ever since voluminous behinds became fashionable, I often see these lumpy, huge derrieres on women with legs as thin as a chicken's, and I think God would never put a rump roast on toothpicks, so why did you do that?
That's why I always caution my friends to pair their butt implants with a battery of leg implants, in order to really round out the overall contour of the body and mimic that structurally stable, God-given look. After all, as Phaedra quips: "'Knowledge is power' -- that's my motto." But this knowledge doesn’t come without a price; being as world-wise as Phaedra often requires direct confrontation with the atrocities of today's world. As she recounts, for example: "I was astonished to find out that not every woman possesses a lint roller." It's truly a tragedy to learn how the other half lives!
We are next informed that, "you have to have your ears pierced, but only one hole in each ear." The consequences for an infraction of this critical edict are left unvoiced, from which I can only assume that they are swift and merciless. Any self-respecting Southern Belle has a taste for the finer things in life, and Phaedra is no exception. As she remarks:
I love diamonds; I'd have a diamond duvet if I could afford it.
Because I am less fiscally endowed, I have had to settle for stuffing my duvet with assorted Swarovski crystals, at least for the time being. However, I'm eager to upgrade -- I can only imagine that the extra hardness of the diamonds will add a satisfying acupuncture affect to my nighttime regimen!
Phaedra moves on to fashion advice, and cautions the well-heeled Belle to remain conservative in her fashion choices. But don't worry -- there is a time and a place to let loose and express your more artistic side. Or, as Phaedra says, "something a little funky or ethnic may even be appropriate from time to time." To further illustrate this principle, she explains: "If I were going out West, for example, I might wear some turquoise bracelets."
But some things are a bridge too far! Any woman with a modicum of dignity would know never to be caught dead in "polar fleece," "a naughty-nurse costume," or "footed pajamas." We are also encouraged to carry around a hand fan -- "the elegant way to stay cool" -- as well as a "small leather-bound notebook for jotting down inspirations." I lose my train of thought for a moment, caught up in a daydream about the ingenious wonderings that must be contained within Phaedra's hallowed journal. But I'm brought back to reality by a declaration of "what's not in my purse," beginning with the stern pronouncement: "any kind of contraband substance."
Our pilgrimage to polite society continues with a comprehensive exploration of the monogram's social gravitas. As Phaedra intones, "I've even seen cars with a very discreet monogram on the driver's door." But with light must come darkness, and the next chapter bravely confronts an issue many others would fear to face: "Looking Like a Tramp" ("There, I came right out and said it," Phaedra breathlessly gasps below the harsh text of the passage's title). She gathers herself together and courageously reports, "some women look downright sleazy."
Alas -- even more tragically -- couture catastrophes are not restricted to those of legal majority. Phaedra heroically pulls back the curtain on a nationwide epidemic of wardrobe misconduct being perpetrated against society's most vulnerable:
I saw a picture not long ago of some hippies or hipsters or whatever you call them from some remote city. The parents looked the way you'd expect them to look, a little bit bedraggled, but the worst thing was they had this adorable little baby all done up in a black onesie. And as far as I could tell, it wasn't even Halloween!
How to combat this terrifying trend? Phaedra offers words of wisdom: "Little Southern Belles always look sweet and appropriately girlish." Specifically, we are encouraged to incorporate design elements like "tasteful, conservative rickrack." By way of further explanation, she clarifies that, "what they don't do is dress like Lady Gaga in dresses made of butchers' best cuts of beef." I'm disappointed to learn that my idea for an Etsy store selling bespoke meat-based children's clothing might be a nonstarter, but I suppose I appreciate our author giving it to me straight.
Another childcare commandment?
No costumes outside the house. Of course every little girl loves to play dress-up. But I truly dislike seeing Snow White or a fairy princess trailing along behind her mother at the Piggly Wiggly.
As she sits in her living room, most likely waiting for a man to come to her aid for some reason or another, Phaedra is struck by a sharp, blazing pain. As the flash of blinding torment subsides, she catches her breath and shakes her head wearily -- another costumed child has gone into a grocery store. Forgive their guardians, for they know not the harm their actions have caused to our author's delicate and genteel sensibilities.
But it does us no good to dwell on the darker side of life! Rather, we'll move right along into the book's final section, "Have Fun." However, this does not seem to be exactly the same kind of "fun" colloquially mentioned in mainstream circles. Rather, the Southern Belle defines fun with the principle, "everybody needs to know that you made an effort." For example, "if you're pouring punch into paper cups for a gaggle of seven-year-olds, put a spring of mint in it." My previous experiences in the general vicinity of children lead me to believe that at least 75% of the seven-year-olds in this group would respond to this elegant enhancement by dumping the punch out on the ground because it has a gross plant in it. Maybe that's part of the fun?
No analysis of Southern culture would be complete without a discussion of that most hallowed of pastimes -- college football. And although "only a really unusual woman watches football alone," it is imperative that a Southern Belle attend the social events associated with the on-season. What's more, she should take care to do with impeccable style. As Phaedra laments:
Sometimes I see pictures of women in store-bought football jerseys and I feel sorry. A store-bought jersey does nothing to flatter the feminine body.
As for the game itself, minimal understanding is required -- "Naturally a Belle knows how much men enjoy telling her things, so she isn't shy about asking questions." True to her generous spirit, however, Phaedra nevertheless provides a basic primer in the rudiments of the sport:
Basically each team is trying to get the ball through the tall H-shaped goalposts at the end of the field. […] The problem is that the ball can look awfully little from pretty much anywhere in the stands. There's no shame in watching the video replay to see what really just happened.
As a final tip, Phaedra suggests that "belles whose husbands have season tickets might even invest in matching linens and china." Our next unit of instruction concerns the arrival of a newborn bundle of joy; as we learn, "the birth of a baby is a big deal in a southern family." It's so interesting to learn all of these unique cultural details! I don't know if I've ever heard of another culture that places such importance on birth -- I'd love to get an anthropologist's take! There are also strict guidelines to which one must adhere regarding the naming of a debutante-in-training:
A Southern Belle's name:
-- is obviously feminine.
-- is two syllables or more (names like Ann or Joan seem abrupt, like so many Yankees).
-- is a real name, not a geographic feature like Sierra.
-- means something. Preferably something nice.
Once born and appropriately christened, children should be painstakingly shielded from the contaminating influences of the world at large. Phaedra explains that "pop culture is full of children behaving disrespectfully." Without the slightest suggestion of self-reflection, she goes on to declare that "besides, we think TV characters are basically tacky."
Phaedra reiterates a few of the courtship commandments mentioned previously, most concisely in the adage, "Belles don't date losers." And, as any suitor worth his salt should know, "a date with a Belle is no time for a boy to experiment with 'alternative' clothes or grooming either." Instead, a Southern Gentleman takes care to keep his language clean from distasteful or offensive language -- "For instance, why say 'liquor' when you can say 'adult refreshment'?"
As we near the end of the book, it seems only fitting that we take a few pages to cover the traditions and rituals associated with life coming to a close. Buttressed by her extensive knowledge of mortuary science, Phaedra instructs us:
Postmortem is no time to experiment with cosmetics. No one wants their sweet aunt Gertrude looking like some ashy Jezebel when she meets Jesus.
The passage concludes with the brassy observation, "we don't usually cremate in the South; we figure if we wanted to burn we'd just live recklessly and go to hell."
Before the book closes in earnest, Phaedra shares a few of her special, meticulously developed recipes. The most evocative of her culinary optimizations is a recipe for sweet tea, in which she thoughtfully informs us, "sweetness can be personalized by adding more water or ice to the tea."
The book's final pages contain an instrument designed to measure the effect of the preceding 252 pages on one's essential courtesies, charmingly titled "The Belle-O-Meter Quiz." As Phaedra explains:
So, ladies, how are you doing? I'm sure you've all been very attentive to my suggestions and are amazed by the results. You're probably totally used to a steady diet of compliments and flirtation and invitations. But here's a little quiz in case you feel the need to measure how far you've come.
If you'd like to take the full quiz, you can do so here. But if your busy Belle schedule doesn't permit you to devote that much time to something so self-indulgent, a few example questions are provided below:
Your routine greeting when you meet a new person is:
a. A surly glare.
b. "Hi."
c. "Well, hello! How are you today?"

If your gentleman friend brought you a corsage to wear on a date you would:
a. Put it in the refrigerator. Nobody wears corsages nowadays!
b. Pin it to your coat collar and check your coat.
c. Pin it in an unusual spot like your waist or behind your ear, after extracting one little blossom to put in his lapel.
The answer key informs us that answering mostly C's means that "you are a genuine Southern Belle." As Phaedra goes on to suggest, "maybe it's time to share your new skills with a friend and pass along this book. I hope it's been helpful to you." As a book hoarder of the highest order, I will have to skip that suggestion, but I am nevertheless thankful to move one step closer to self-actualization with the help of another Real Housewife. Until next time!
Upcoming plans in comment below!
submitted by efa___ to BravoRealHousewives [link] [comments]

Best of June - Sports Betting with Joe Osborne Betting Odds for When the NBA Season will Start Odds & Picks to Lead MLB in Home Runs Sports Betting Trends 2019-2020 discussed  NFL NHL CBB ... Guys & Bets: Three NBA Picks, Plus XFL, Premier League, La Liga and NCAA Picks for Feb. 28, 2020

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