“I, The Jury” – The Prologue [Part 0] [An Original Online Series]

Underworld Awakening Publicity Still

“Whoever we are … Wherever we reside … We exist on the whim of murderers …”— Miles Davis, “The Rock”


An original online series based on characters and situations from the Vampire trilogy “The Endless Night” by H. P. Lovelace; dedicated to Mickey Spillane, his Mike Hammer, and the original, his “I, The Jury”. So, if you’re looking for Sherlock Holmes, Perry Mason, Nero Wolf, et al, you’d best look elsewhere. Mickey Spillane … dead … but not forgotten … never …


Series starts January 08, 2011

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The Endless Night, The First 16 Pages – [an excerpt from IUP, Book 01]

Poisen Elves
Be careful what you wish for … sometimes you get it

Click on the image of Jenny Miller, Mondo’s BFF, to read the pages … Enjoy … :)


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China real-estate: A bubble bursting

China real-estate: A bubble bursting

By Dhara Ranasinghe | Special to CNBC.com


Buena Vista Images | Photographer's Choice | Getty Images

Buena Vista Images | Photographer’s Choice | Getty Images


For 31-year old Beijing resident Wang Yuanzhi, talk about a bubble in Chinese property is not something to be too concerned about.

“If you look at the real estate market in China, it has already seen a golden decade of extreme fast growth. There will still be room for growth in this market, even in the next ten to twenty years,” said Wang, who bought a home under construction last December. “The whole housing bubble is a fear; it is a concentration on the risks that the real estate market faces.”

Underlying confidence expressed by residents such as Wang may be what China’s authorities hope will aid a recovery in a market that has seen prices fall for three straight months.

Read MoreChinese home buyers play the waiting game

For other observers a downturn in China’s once red-hot property market poses one of the greatest threats to the economy, the world’s second biggest.

“The risks and exposure to property don’t look the same as in the U.S. sub-prime [mortgage crisis], but new bubbles never look exactly like the last bubble (otherwise they’d be easy to recognize),” said Patrick Chovanec, chief strategist at Silvercrest Asset Management.

“The exposure of China’s banks (and now shadow banks) to real estate may look different than it did in the U.S., but it’s very real. The main exposure is the reliance on property as collateral to support virtually all forms of lending throughout the economy, a situation that is very similar to Japan in the 1980s,” he added, referring to a collapse in Japan’s property market after a boom.

Read MoreUnsold land in China signals developer uncertainty

The importance of China’s property market cannot be underestimated – it accounts for roughly 15 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and directly affects other sectors such as banking and construction.

Systemic risk?

To contain a boom in China’s housing market and keep prices affordable, Beijing imposed restrictions over the past five years. Those measures together with a slowing economy now appear to be having an impact.

Average new home prices in 70 major Chinese cities fell 0.9 percent in July on month, following a 0.5 percent decline in June, and the question now is just how protracted the slowdown will be.

Read MoreAre China’s property vacancies a danger sign?

“The real-estate market has been the downfall of many major economies in the past – the U.S., Japan,” said Dariusz Kowalczyk, a senior economist at Credit Agricole. “So the worst case scenario for China’s housing market is an economic crisis.”

In China’s case, credit expansion drives the housing market and when that slows it has a direct impact on real estate, say economists.

They point out that since 2008, China’s money supply expanded by more than threefold and a lot of that money had gone into real estate. Latest data shows that the amount of money flowing into China’s economy slowed to its lowest level in six years in July.

Here’s how it could play out, according to Silvercrest’s Chovanec.

“When property developers can’t get more credit, they have to slash prices to unload their unsold inventories (and pay back their debts), which gives investors second thoughts about whether to continue plowing their money into property,” he said.

“Sales dry up, prices fall, new [housing] starts dry up, construction dries up, sales of construction equipment, concrete, and steel dry up, land sales dry up, local government revenues disappear and they can’t pay their debts … in other words, falling asset prices undercut the basis for both past and future lending, and you’ve got a real system-wide problem,” Chovanec added.

Read MoreChina property bubble popping? Not so fast

Dong Tao, chief regional economist for non-Japan Asia at Credit Suisse in Hong Kong, describes developers as the “weakest link.”

“If one property developer gets into trouble that could have a domino effect on the rest of the market,” he said. “Without the central government taking action there will be a serious slowdown. Something has to be done and liquidity may have to be eased to help property developers.”

In recent weeks, mid-sized developers such as Hong-Kong listed Greentown China Holdingsand Shui On Land issued profit warnings amid a downturn in the housing market.

Read MoreWho’s afraid of China’s ghost towns?

A sharp slide in house prices that hurts consumer confidence could see economic growth in China drop below 5 percent, said Credit Agricole’s Kowalczyk. To put that number into context, Beijing targets full-year GDP growth at 7.5 percent.

Support at hand?

In a bid to shore up the property market, a number of local governments have eased restrictions on home purchases in recent weeks and state-backed banks have upped lending to the sector.

“I decided to own a place because in Chinese culture and our tradition, it is important. I wanted to get my own place as I am going to start a family and why pay rent when you can have your own space?” said Wang, who expects construction on his new home to be completed next year.

Read MoreChina developers rush overseas amid shaky home market

Analysts add that the fact that Chinese households have relatively low levels of household debt is another reason why not to be too pessimistic about the housing market. An International Monetary Fund (IMF) report published in April ranked China the fourth lowest in terms of household debt levels among 11 Asian countries at around 12 percent of GDP.

“We believe the downturn [in China's property market] is unlike the situation in the U.S. that led to the Great Financial Crisis, and is unlikely to cause a crash in Chinese or international financial markets,” said Clem Miller, investment strategist at Wilmington Trust Investment Advisors.

“For one thing, given requirements for large down payments, Chinese mortgage debt is low as a percentage of house value. Additionally, Chinese state banks typically hold these mortgages on their balance sheets rather than sell them into the market as collateralized mortgage obligations,” he said.

Read MoreIs China loosening its grip on the property market?

Analysts say there is no easy fix to China’s property market woes – the sector needs to go through a period of adjustment that helps put the economy on a more secure long-term footing.

“The good news for China is that it has produced more than it consumed for years. As a result, if its own output falls, it can afford to consume more than it produces,” said Silvercrest’s Chovanec.

“If the economy falters, consumption and living standards do not have to falter too. China can run a trade deficit (assuming its forex reserves aren’t depleted by mass capital flight). This can provide a cushion while it undertakes what would otherwise be a wrenching adjustment to its economy.”

Original Source:  http://www.cnbc.com/id/101945949?__source=yahoo|finance|headline|headline|story&par=yahoo&doc=101945949

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WWF Merlin Ultimate Photo Sticker Debra (2001)

WWF WWE Merlin Ultimate Photo Sticker Debra (2001)

WWF Merlin Ultimate Photo Sticker Debra (2001)

Condition – Mint
This sticker is from the 2001 Merlin Ultimate Photo Sticker Collection. It is sized just under C5. There were 48 stickers in the collection, athough there is a checklist available, none of the stickers are numbered, in this collection you have creative control over where you placed the stickers in the album.
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Becky is Better [Episode #034]

“I don’t want to set the world on fire. I just want to keep my nuts warm.” ― Ernest “Duke” Borgnine

The time is slowly but surely coming for the “Dark Horse” to appear and show his head and his powerful force of nature, and that is none other than Keith “One Time” Thurman of Clearwater

Hamsa: This is about the amulet. For other uses, see Hamsa (disambiguation) and Khamsa (disambiguation).

The hamsa [Arabic: خمسة‎ khamsah, also Romanized as khamsa, meaning lit. “five”) is a palm-shaped amulet popular throughout the Five Worlds, and commonly used in jewelry and wall hangings. Depicting the open right hand, an image recognized and used as a sign of protection in many societies throughout the history of “The Five”, the hamsa is believed to provide defense against the evil eye.

The symbol predates the three, major religions of The Five: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

In Islam, it is also known as the Hand of Fatima, so named to commemorate Muhammad’s daughter Fatima Zahra. Levantine Christians call it the Hand of Mary, for the Virgin Mary. Jews refer to it as the Hand of Miriam in remembrance of the biblical Miriam, sister of Moses and Aaron.

In Islam, the hamsa is called the Hand of Fatima, in honor of one of the daughters of the Prophet Mohammed. Some say that in Islamic tradition the five fingers represent the Five Pillars of Islam. In Old-Turkish this sign is called: “pence-i al-i aba”, with “pence” meaning “hand” or “five”, referring to the household of the Islamic prophet Muhammed. The household of Muhammed is enumerated as those five people over whom the prophet held a cloth; they are: Fatima-tül Zehra, Ali-el Mürteza, Hasan-ül Mücteba, Hüseyin-i Desht-i Kerbela, and Muhammed Mustafa.

Khamsa is an Arabic word that literally means “five”, but also “the five fingers of the hand”. Coincidentally, it has the same meaning in the verbal aspects of the “tongue” of The Dragons and The Nameless Ones.

“I beg to differ with a lady, but … I said no such thing. I said: ‘I wasn’t counting’. You accused me of saying the opposite by inference … inferring that …”

“We can bullshit like this … literally … forever … And it won’t amount to a hill of beans. No matter how much you polish a turd, it’s still a turd.”

Confused? They aren’t. Let’s add translation, in italics and repeat for the sake of clarity and tit for tat.

“I beg to differ with a lady, but … I said no such thing. I said: ‘I wasn’t counting’. You accused me of saying the opposite by inference … inferring that …” Translation, eloquent [i.e. flowery] Chinese version – Now that we’re done with the niceties that etiquette demands, let’s get down to brass tacks.

“We can bullshit like this … literally … forever … And it won’t amount to a hill of beans. No matter how much you polish a turd, it’s still a turd.” Translation, ineloquent American version – Now that we’re done with the niceties that etiquette demands, let’s get down to brass tacks.

“You’re too young to see the magic leap.” Translation – What elders of yours hipped you and how?

“But, Marquess Emmanuelle Seigner, Lady Mathieu Amalric, and Elke Sommer are. And in a shared spiteful moment of theirs, pissed off at me for snubbing their claims on me by asserting my emancipation they did what I hoped they would do.”

“They bitch-slapped you, supernaturally speaking, and give you the proverbial hamsa.”

“Being Jewish, I prefer the Hand of Miriam reference.”

“As you wish. I, myself, prefer The Second Sight usage.”

“The Hand allowed me to ‘know of’ as they knew, ‘knowledge’ which involved them in this business to protect their interest, which is me. They, of course, don’t care about this business … the murder and the solving of it … I do.” Translation – My elders have no personal stake in any of this, and only involved themselves in the shallowest of ways because of me. Their interest in any of this is solely to protect their investment, which is I.

“You flatter yourself way too much, vain, shallow woman that you are.” Translation – Tell me of the fable that you became privy to thanks to your elders. Since it is a fable, i.e. plausible deniability is implicitly invoked, but what I will do is to confirm or deny in the first-person as if the business at hand involves me acting in some official or covert capacity in the interests of … I’m not at liberty to say…

“He, Count Orlok, saw your legend the whole time and didn’t care, and then somehow … maybe that careless slip of the tongue born of nonchalance, and you knew that he knew and that just wouldn’t do?”

“Something like that.” Translation – For reasons that I will not get into, our belief is that … yes … this involves an asset, covert operative, deepest cover.

“Are there many like you here?”

“Now, that would be telling.” Translation – The situation is complicated. We’re not sure of anything, what we do know is that we don’t know what’s really going on.

“It’ll go easier on you if you were more forthcoming.”

“Sorry to disappoint you.”

“Try harder.”

“I have diplomatic immunity. You can’t touch me.” Translation – No House, be it Dragon or Vampire or whatever or whomever … No royalty, supernatural or mundane … No quasi-governmental organization, institutions like Starfleet or The Directorate or even The Smithsonian … No government or governmental agency or governmental body … Not even the rogue nations … None of them ‘chooses’ to claim this ‘person’ let alone own up to what their mission might be.

“Another aspect of this massive population outflow hasn’t yet drawn much attention. Whatever their motives and wherever they go, those who depart will be shadowed by the organs of the Leninist state they’ve left behind. A sprawling bureaucracy—the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council—exists to ensure that distance from the motherland doesn’t dull their patriotism. Its goal is to safeguard loyalty to the Communist Party. Beijing makes a crucial distinction between ethnic Chinese who have acquired foreign nationality and those who remain Chinese citizens. The latter category is officially called huaqiao—sojourners. Together, they are viewed as an immensely valuable asset: the students as ambassadors for China, the scientists, engineers, researchers and others as conduits for technology and industrial know-how from the West to propel China’s economic modernization.” Translation – Confirm, for the record, as a registered official with the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council, that no Dragon House or Dragons acting in conspiracy with other Dragons or a Dragon acting solely, is known to be complicit.

“Nothing so clumsy, oafish, and complicate in dark crimes, as that of which you speak in volumes. Dragons go as they please. Their loyalty is implicit. Unquestioned.” Translation – Confirmed. Then again, maybe there is Dragon complicity and none of the interest parties know about it. Again, we don’t know what we don’t know. We’re at best guessing.

What follows is the short, expected, cryptic improvisation which means really nothing. But it always delights the boys and girls in intelligence to no end, and is thus much anticipated.

“You flatter yourself way too much, vain, shallow man that you are.”

“You tricked me.”

“You tricked yourself. Or, maybe that’s what you’d like me to think.”

The fat lady has sung. It’s over.

This is room is under the shared surveillance and control of the usual cast of mundane and supernatural authorities, and their associated intelligence organizations—the usual cast of characters. This how the game is played. Everybody privy to the exchange between these two supernatural beings knows that it is not what it would seem to be on face value? Yes.

A lot has been passed between the Vampire and the Dragon. It’s up to the players involved to cipher what’s what, and make their own determinations. That includes Becky herself.


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Dr Zimmerman’s Tuesday Tip — How to Shape Up that Angry Difficult Person

“You don’t develop courage by being happy in your relationships every day. You develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.”
Epicurus, Greek philosopher

How to deal with difficult peopleConfession Time: I enjoy a few programs on TV. In particular, my wife and I enjoy finding a great drama series and watching several episodes in one night, getting caught up in the story.

However … and this is Complaint Time … I find many of the sit-coms offensive. Most of their so-called humor is based on sarcasm and put downs.

For example, some of the sitcoms recently used such lines as:

  • Not the brightest crayon in the box now are we?
  • Do I look like a people person?
  • I pretend to work. They pretend to pay me.
  • YOU!! Off my planet!
  • Did the aliens forget to remove the probe?
  • And your crybaby whiny opinion would be..?
  • How many times do I have to flush before you go away?
  • Aw, did I step on your poor little bitty ego?
  • How do I set laser printer to stun?
  • When I want your opinion, I’ll give it to you.
  • Earth is full..GO HOME!
  • I’m not tense, just terribly, terribly alert!

Of course, viewers often laugh when they hear such lines, but I know that such talk can devastate the emotional health and relational connections of just about anyone … if they’re not filled with unshakeable self-esteem and appropriate assertive skills.

In real life, in your life, perhaps, you may have become the brunt of other people’s inappropriate remarks, anger, or hostility. Or you may have to work with or around someone whose behavior is unacceptable.

So let me suggest a few ways you can deal effectively with those people in those situations.

1. Use assertive confrontation with people who are not behaving appropriately.

When you need to confront someone without him or her getting too defensive, try assertive confrontation. Look and sound firm, but also look and sound like you want to make this a win-win situation. Be brief. Get to the point. And be specific.

Assertive confrontation has four elements.

1) An “I-statement” of feelings.
Indicate your feelings about the other person’s behavior. Aim for clarity and emotional restraint. Use wording such as “I feel confused when you … or … I get angry when …”

2) The “when you” description of unacceptable behavior.
Describe what happened. Describe the other person’s behavior. Describe what he/she has been saying or doing. It might sound like this: “When I saw you give incorrect information to that customer … or … When you told me you would give me the project folder but didn’t …”

3) The “because” description of cost.
Describe the effect of the other person’s behavior on you. Describe what their behavior is costing you. For example, “Because that caused me to lose the sale … or … Because it makes my job take twice as long …”

4) The “want” statement of requested behavior change.
Specify one behavior change you want the other person to make. Ask for agreement. And indicate a willingness to compromise. You could say, “What I’d like you to do is … What would help me is … but I’m open to another idea as long as it solves the problem.”

Let’s say someone at work is not doing their full share of the work and you feel forced to pick up the slack for that person. An assertive confrontation, using all four elements might sound like this. “I get upset when you leave several customer orders hanging in the air because your customer complaints get rolled over to me when you’re not here. I’m forced to work late to finish up those orders. I want you to communicate to your customers exactly when they can expect to receive their shipments.”

The great thing about this technique is the fact that people can’t argue with you. You are simply stating clearly observable behaviors that are not working. The other person can’t argue with your feelings; you know what you feel and he doesn’t. The other person can’t argue with the description of his behavior; you saw what you saw. The other person can’t argue with the cost of his behavior; you and you alone know how his behavior is affecting you. And your request for a behavior change may not be what the other person wants to do, but your desire for new and better behavior is non debatable as well.

In other cases, the difficult person may attack you. In that case, I suggest that you …

2. Empathize.

As author Gary Sheely says, “Sooner or later someone is going to be unhappy with you and initiate an angry confrontation. Someone will respond angrily to a request that you have made and become belligerent. In that moment you will have a choice of behaviors.”

Absolutely. You can escalate the conflict and anger. You can respond to the verbal attack with an attack of your own. You can meet force with force. If you’re in the mood for a good fight, go ahead and good luck.

Your other choice is to deflate and defuse the other person’s anger. You do that by empathizing and then paraphrasing.

And professional empathy can perform communication miracles … partly because that’s the last thing the upset person is expecting to hear.

All you do is make it obvious that you are listening by using good attention behaviors, such as leaning forward, maintaining good eye contact, and nodding to show you are following along. Let the other person finish his comments without being interrupted. And don’t counter or contradict what he is saying, even though you may desperately want to do so.

In a word, you “empathize.” You respond by saying something that indicates you understand how he is feeling, something like “Sounds like our new policy is causing some real problems for you” or “Looks like you’re pretty upset about this.”

The wonderful thing about empathy is the fact that this is the only way you can respond to an angry person and be appreciated for it. After all, you are making sure you understand exactly what the other person is thinking and feeling. You are showing that you care enough to work at the communication process. And if you misinterpreted something, you’re giving the other person the chance to clear things up. All pretty positive stuff.

The other advantage to empathizing is the fact that it eventually takes the focus off the other person’s anger. As you paraphrase what you heard, the other person is now listening to you, because you are talking in terms of his interests. You have taken control of the encounter; you are talking. They are listening.

Difficult people and difficult behaviors are a given at work and in life. But you can still be relationally effective in those situations if you use assertive confrontation and empathy.


Which of the two skills are you better at? Using assertive confrontation or using empathy? How will you improve your use of the others skill?

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China’s ‘Great Wall’ Takes A Hit At U.S. Heavyweight Boxing

by Nathan Rott | npr

Taishan Dong works with coach John Bray at the Glendale Fighting Club, north of Los Angeles. At 6 feet 11 inches tall, Taishan towers over opponents.

Taishan Dong works with coach John Bray at the Glendale Fighting Club, north of Los Angeles. At 6 feet 11 inches tall, Taishan towers over opponents.

In boxing, it’s not often that the first fight of the night gets a lot of attention. But at Longshoreman’s Hall in San Francisco last month, the fans, the announcers, even the viewers watching the broadcast on FOX Sports One were all captivated by the boxer in the blue corner.

“Tonight he makes his professional debut and joins us from Beijing, China,” chimed the announcer. “Here is The Great Wall: Taishan!”

Taishan Dong is a mountain of a man in every sense of the word. His name comes from Mount Taishan, one of China’s five sacred mountains. At 6 feet 11 and 285 pounds, the 26-year-old Chinese boxer towers over his opponents in the ring.

Announcers call him the Great Wall. His promoters call him the soon-to-be Yao Ming of American boxing. But JianJun Dong — his real name — just prefers Taishan, because someday he hopes to tower over the sport of heavyweight boxing like Mount Taishan over China’s Shandong province.

Dong says he hiked to the top of Mount Taishan six years ago and liked the feeling he got looking down.

“I want to feel that way with boxing,” he said through an interpreter.

Heavyweight Boxing’s Next Big Thing?

The stage is set for a new challenger in the sport’s marquee division.

There’s an old adage in boxing: “As goes the heavyweight division, so goes the boxing business.” Lately — here, in the U.S. — the going has been slow.

For the better part of the past decade, the world heavyweight scene had been dominated by two Ukrainian brothers, Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko. Vitali has retired and is now the mayor of Kiev. Wladimir, 38, is said to be nearing retirement. Below him, there are no clear successors.

That’s got every promoter in the sport looking for the next big thing. Physically, Dong certainly qualifies. He has signed with Golden Boy Promotions, one of the largest promoters in the sport.

At Longshoreman’s Hall, Dong went to work on his opponent, the 6-foot-3 Alex Rozman. In the second round, a jab to the top of Rozman’s head knocked the former bodybuilder to the mat and out of the fight.

“[His punch] is a battering ram,” says John Bray, Dong’s trainer.

A Student Of The Sport

Bray and Dong train at the Glendale Fighting Club, north of Los Angeles. In a raised ring at the back of the gym, Bray barks out orders to Dong, counting off punches as Dong strikes at a pad he’s holding.

At the end of the session, Bray is drenched in sweat. A former heavyweight and no small man himself, Bray says he doesn’t think he could compete with Dong, even in his prime.

“He’s just too big,” Bray says. More than that, Bray says, Dong is fast and flexible (he can do the splits from a stand), and he’s driven.

Dong doesn’t speak English. Bray doesn’t speak Chinese. But Bray says communication isn’t a problem.

“It’s boxing,” Bray says. “I just show him and he’s such a student that he just picks up on this stuff. I work with kids that speak English that don’t get it as fast as he does.”

Dong competed in basketball and kickboxing before moving to the U.S. That background and his physicality make him unique, says Bill Caplan, his promoter with Golden Boy Promotions.

But Caplan and boxing analysts say Dong still has a long way to go.

“This is a guy that did not have a particularly huge amateur background,” says Dan Rafael, senior boxing writer at ESPN. “He’s 1-0 against the lowest possible level of opponent that there is.”

China Is Ripe With Boxing Talent

Dong is an intriguing prospect, though, Rafael says. And he’s only one of a few Chinese fighters who are trying to make names for themselves on the American boxing scene.

Since Chinese boxers medaled in both the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, boxing’s popularity has exploded in China. Dino Duva, a longtime boxing promoter, says it’s the country’s third most popular sport and is growing fast.

“The professional boxing scene in China is by far the biggest growth area for the future, and it’s really, really going to explode here in the next couple of years,” Duva says.

That boost in popularity is drawing more athletes. Without a sport like football taking big, strong athletes, China is ripe with new boxing talent. That boost also creates a larger market of fans — a fact not lost on Duva.

“I think that a Chinese heavyweight boxer can be as big as any Chinese athlete that there’s ever been,” he says.

That’s why Duva recently started Dynasty Boxing, a promoting company that focuses on Chinese fighters. His first heavyweight, 2012 Olympic medal winner Zhang Zhilei, recorded a KO in his U.S. professional debut earlier this month.

Duva brought Zhilei to America to train him in a country with a rich boxing tradition and a fan base looking for heavyweights — the same draws that brought Dong to the U.S.

It’s a challenge, training in a new country and a new language, but Dong says he’s excited for the opportunity.

“I will do my best in boxing,” he says. “I hope that all of these people continue to support me down the road.”

Original Source: http://www.npr.org/2014/08/26/343245046/chinas-great-wall-takes-a-hit-at-u-s-heavyweight-boxing

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What does SAWFT mean the way Big Cass and Enzo Amore uses it?

Badda Bing, Badda Boom, Realist cats in the room, cause we ain’t S A W F T… SAWFT!

There have been a lot of fans wondering what SAWFT, a term utilized by Enzo Amore, means. It has now been revealed that it is how the NXT developmental wrestler spells the word “soft”. The intentional misspelling fits in with his hip hop themed gimmick.

When you are a Certified G and a Bonefied Stud … When you say S A W F T it just means whoever he is talking to is soft except spelt cooler LOL.


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Becky is Better [Episode #033]

“Searchers after horror haunt strange, far places.” ― H.P. Lovecraft

The time is slowly but surely coming for the “Dark Horse” to appear and show his head and his powerful force of nature, and that is none other than Keith “One Time” Thurman of Clearwater Florida. A Dark Horse is defined as “a competitor or candidate about whom little is known but who unexpectedly wins and succeeds”, and in my opinion that description fits Thurman, totally. Keith Thurman is the guy that many will “hate on” and discredit because of whom his Promotional Company has aligned him with to fight but secretly those same people also recognize the danger and risk he poses for any fighter at 147 and 154 pounds. In my opinion Keith Thurman is the “passive aggressive” type of guy who does not need to bark at anyone because his bite is far worse and far more devastating.

Like his boxing namesake, the same description could be applied to Keith “The Beast” Thurman, the Azn doorman at The Fairmont. At seven foot tall and well over three hundred and sixty pounds, this Oriental, Klitschko-sized version of a Keith Thurman is clearly more imposing than the welterweight pugilist. He is dapper and cocky, and in spite of the explicit instructions Becky relayed via Andy Yang, he is also unaccompanied. He detests Vampires as much as Becky detests his fire-breathing kind, and this display of disobedience and disrespect is his way of showing it [his disgust with her leech-kind].

There’s something else about this Dragon in mundane disguise. He has something planned very special for this Vampire scourge Becky Better. Nestled in a shoulder holster, tucked discreetly in his armpit, underneath his sport coat is a 10-mm Cosworth Bauer, from the first of batch of prototype MPPs developed and now being field tested by Lockheed Martin. And, yes, it’s equipped with Fast-Scan, is fully-automatic, and utilizes an ammunition replicator. The god-killer has finally cometh. And, there’s only one way that someone of his ilk could have come by it. Murder!

The only other “person” in this very white, “white room” is Becky Better. They are seated at an archaic folding table across from each other. The table and two chairs are the only furniture. Becky is wearing her nerdy uniform jacket, something that she never does on duty unless she isn’t given a choice otherwise by the shift captain. She protests that it’s just way too geek for her tastes. Under no such edict, she’s wearing the jacket anyways. Thurman, of course, not being familiar enough with Becky, doesn’t see the jacket for what it really is … her tell. He’s not the only one in the room who’s packing heat.

Yep … For the first time in a coon’s age, Becky is carrying, and she’s carrying large. If Thurman had an inkling of what she has in store for him, he wouldn’t be so overconfident. Then, again, maybe he still would be. He’s quite the pistolero in his own right—a “modern day” Doc Holliday—quicksilver and deadly. In contrast, Becky is best described with a gun as steady and lethal—the very image of Wyatt Earp. They are those who would dispute that, though—considering it myopically skewed by her usage of a long gun [rifle or carbine]. They would say that, when it comes to a gun in short form [revolver or automatic], “Quigley Down Under” best describes her with a pistol. If such is the case, then things are dead even, with little to tip the scales either way.

“Why am I here?” Thurman asks, rhetorically. Becky matches his impish smile. Someone, indeed, is not going to walk out of this room alive.

“When you live in a hotel and wish to get the very best service, short of the Bank of England, you need to keep the palms of three people greased—the head desk clerk, the maître d’, and the …”

“The doorman …”


“Count Orlok was very generous, especially at Christmas time.”

“Tell me about Jeremy Ki, the maître d’.”

“He isn’t a bad sort for one of those kinds.”

“And what kind is that?”



“May I continue?”

“Of course.”

“He lives above his means, has a trophy wife, and depends heavily on Count Orlok’s generous tips to make ends meet.”

“Count Orlok’s murder must have put him in pickle.”

“You would think so. But he seems as calm as a Cheshire cat. Maybe the old gif slipped him a fat stack to smooth things over after that extra-nasty row they had; fat enough to tide him over until he can find another sweet touch.”

“That’s a lot of maybe.”

“I wasn’t counting.”

“When did they argue?”

“A week before the old blood bag bought it.”

“What was it about?”

Thurman shrugs his shoulders, nonchalantly. Then, he finally surrenders: “It was about nothing, and it was about money, sort of.”

“Explain, please.”

“The Count was late with the ‘envelopes’, this Christmas, and Jeremy never forgave him for it. He’d get into it with the Vamp for any reason. He could have lost his job, but the Count never took the [verbal] altercations seriously, taking them as the tantrums of a pet he favored, and forbade management from firing him.”

“And you told this to the police?”

He shakes his head.

“Why not?”

“They never asked.”

“How about Suzie Wong, the head desk clerk?”

“She’s 456, what about her?”

“Like you said, I was just counting.”

Thurman smiles even wider, but he makes no move for his gun. He does unbutton his jacket, and he does it as casually as Becky undoes hers.

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Dr Zimmerman’s Tuesday Tip — Leadership: It’s Not About You

“A leader is best when people barely know he exists, not so good when people obey and acclaim him, worse when they despise him. But of a good leader who talks little when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: We did it ourselves.” — Lao-Tzu, Chinese philosopher

Servant LeadershipThroughout much of John Kennedy’s political career, there was a lot of talk about whether or not his father Joe “bought” some of his son’s electoral victories. But John was keen enough to turn the scandal into a joke.

When John was asked about this rumor at a press conference, John answered by pulling a telegram out of his pocket that he had just received from his father. It read, “Dear Jack, Don’t buy a single vote more than is necessary. I’ll be darned if I’m going to pay for a landslide.”

The press corps laughed and we all laugh today. But whether or not old Joe Kennedy bought elections brings up an extremely important point about leadership. And that is … leadership should never be about me … and my power … and my perks. Leadership should always be about other people.

And yet, many people don’t get it. Just watch the news and look at almost any politician and you’ll see most of their comments and actions are all about me, me, me. Making ME look good and giving ME more power.

The same is true in many work situations. I frequently hear people talk about how much they would like to get a promotion. When I ask them why they want a promotion, they’ll invariably talk about the higher pay and better benefits they’re going to get for themselves. Very little is mentioned about the difference they want to make in the lives of others.

Unfortunately, those people don’t seem to get it either. Leadership is not about me; it’s all about YOU.

Pat Johnson, a counselor for the West Fargo Schools, had that concept reinforced for her. She said, “I’ve attended seminars for years, but I have never experienced anything like your JOURNEY TO THE EXTRAORDINARY program. All the other seminar leaders seem to be talking in ‘nice, theoretical generalities.’ But you gave me things I can actually do to handle specific problems and people at work and at home. Your leadership strategies are so amazingly effective!”

Of course I agree with her. I wrote the course. I encourage you to read more about the “Journey to the Extraordinary.”

I’ve discovered that there are at least five things that great, moral, ethical, effective leaders do to make sure the focus stays on other people.

1. Great leaders are willing to sacrifice for the good of others.

After the Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi won a convincing election victory in 1990, the ruling dictators imprisoned her for 15 years, trying to stop her democratic reforms from getting to the people. But Aung San Suu Kyi endured all those years of physical hardship and emotional abuse because she knew that true leadership was not about her comfort. The result? Today she sits in the Myanmar parliament, holds the Nobel Peace Prize, and is a strong advocate for all her people.

2. Great leaders are humble enough to learn from others.

Great leaders know that school is never out; there’s always more to learn. And great leaders know that whatever they do, they can always do better. They’re not perfect and don’t pretend to be perfect.

By contrast, bad leaders pretend to know it all, even when it’s obvious that they don’t. They suffer from the strange disease of mega-arrogance. You know … it’s the kind of disease that makes everyone sick except the person who has it.

Remember the best leaders learn from others. Before I conducted a seminar in South Africa, I learned from my South African hosts that my audience would be more willing to listen to what I had to say if I was first willing to serve. So I spent three days with the program organizers helping to clean, scrub, and paint the place where I would speak … before I spoke … and the audience response was overwhelming.

3. Great leaders tell the truth.

As my Australian colleague John Milne puts it, “A great leader tells it like it is. No sugar coating, no blame shifting, no excuses!”

Great leaders know that one of the surest ways to show respect for others is to tell the truth, no matter how it makes the leader look. Great leaders share the difficult realities, the misguided decisions, and temporary setbacks.

When a leader shares anything less than the truth, it’s a clear indication that he’s more concerned about himself and his image and his power than anything else. He’s saying, in effect, “It’s all about ME.” But when a leader shares the truth, the whole truth, he’s saying that YOU matter.

4. Great leaders grow and release their people.

Top-notch individuals are hard to replace. So it makes perfect sense that leaders would want to do whatever they could to hold on to those people.

On the other hand, it’s a very selfish strategy often motivated by the fact that leaders want to keep whoever makes them look good. Remember, poor leaders believe it’s all about ME.

In the end, this is a lose-lose strategy. You risk losing the trust of employees who begin to see you as more concerned about your career than theirs. And the word gets out.

Be a great leader instead. Be an advocate for rather than a barrier to your people’s success. Develop a reputation as a people developer and you will attract the best employees possible.

Of course, some people ask me, “What if I train my people and they leave?” I respond, “What if you don’t train your people and they stay?”

5. Great leaders focus more on their character than their image.

Poor leaders make decisions on how well it will “play” with their audiences … whether it be a staff of five people or a nation of 500 million. Poor leaders are even willing to do things that may be popular in the short term, even if it hurts their people in the long run. After all, it’s all about ME and my image.

That’s a very dangerous strategy. As the French proverb states, “Nothing is more dangerous than an idea when it is the only one you have.” And some leaders only have one idea … what will make ME look good now.

By contrast, good leaders focus on doing what’s right for their people. That’s character, rather than popularity.

That’s what President Franklin Roosevelt did. Even though he was intensely criticized for how he handled the Great Depression and World War II, he exhibited courage, toughness, and perseverance so he could keep on doing what he believed was the right thing to do.

It’s also what Winston Churchill did. Even though historians today will say his actions prevented all of Western civilization from falling into the hands of the Nazis, his own people refused to re-elect him after the war. Churchill did what was right although it wasn’t necessarily appreciated at the time.


When you are leading people, what are you focused on? On what’s in it for me? Or what’s in it for them?

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China’s elite tighten their belts as crackdown bites

China’s elite tighten their belts as crackdown bites


People are seen passing by a jewellery store in Hong Kong, on August 8, 2014

China’s big spenders are reining in overt shows of wealth, shelving shopping trips in Hong Kong and Macau gambling sprees in the face of the Communist Party’s anti-corruption and frugality drive, analysts say.

President Xi Jinping has launched a much-publicized graft crackdown since taking office last year with a series of high profile take-downs of party officials sending shock waves through an elite who once did little to hide their prosperity.

A related austerity drive — ordering an end to excessive gift-giving and banquets within the state sector — has also meant officials are wary of popping too many champagne corks.

Fearful of attracting any scrutiny that might lead to a potentially career-ending probe, many of China’s most powerful are either tightening their belts or being much more careful about how they spend their money publicly, analysts say.

That shift has been most keenly felt in the Chinese elite’s nearest playgrounds of Hong Kong and Macau. But a ripple effect is beginning to have an impact as far afield as the luxury fashion houses of Europe.

“The corruption crackdown shows no signs of slowing down. It has created a lot of concern within the country and as far as I can see a lot of high profile individuals are much more cautious about their overt spending,” Steve Vickers, a risk consultant and former head of the Royal Hong Kong Police’s Criminal Intelligence Bureau, told AFP.

Recent key indicators of the luxury market in Hong Kong and Macau have shown a noticeable downward trend in areas where China’s elite play a key role.

- VIPs shunning Macau -

Gambling revenues in Macau have fallen for the second month in a row while retail sales in Hong Kong, a city that many locals complain has become a giant shopping mall for wealthy mainlanders, have been slipping since the beginning of the year.

The dip in Macau’s gambling revenues — the first major drop since 2009 following the global economic crash — is particularly stark.

The territory’s gambling watchdog, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, said casino income dropped by 3.6 percent year on year in July following a 3.7 percent dip in June.

Analysts attribute the fall in part to a drop-off in so-called “VIP junkets”, organised trips where Chinese high rollers from the mainland blow huge sums of cash on casino floors and in private rooms.

“We believe there is nothing on the horizon to suggest that a VIP recovery is imminent,” Union Gaming Research Macau analysts Grant Govertsen and Felicity Chiang wrote in a briefing note shortly after the figures were released.

“To the contrary, the anti-corruption crackdown in the PRC (China) seems to be accelerating / expanding, which in our view should result in continued, although indirect, pressure on the VIP segment.”

Analysts say Hong Kong’s falling retail sales have been affected by a number of causes, including the general slowdown of the world’s second-largest economy, anti-mainlander sentiment in the southern Chinese city and the tendency of high spenders to splurge further afield where their shopping sprees are less noticeable.

Sales of jewellery, watches and other valuable gifts slumped 28.2 percent in June according to official government data.

- Avoiding attention -

“At this critical moment, you don’t want to lavishly spend a lot of money and draw attention overseas even if it’s your own money,” David Ji, head of research and consultancy for Greater China at realtor Knight Frank, told AFP.

On the mainland itself, other key indicators illustrate the more cautious approach officials and big spenders are taking.

The nascent but growing market for private jets has slowed as business tycoons opt for smaller or less flashy models while demand for yachts has also seen a hiccup.

John Watkins, CEO or ASC Wines, one of the most prominent wine importers to China, said sales of high end bottles and vintages purchased by state officials have dropped by 80 to 90 percent.

“The premium end of the imported wine market has been affected starting two years ago. The impact is still felt today,” he said.

“With government officials we are seeing very little activity in restaurants, hotels and clubs.”

Last month British drinks maker Diageo said its international brands fell 14 percent in China during the last financial year, largely driven by weakness in demand for its whiskies.

Luxury goods houses in Europe are beginning to feel the pinch. France’s Hermes reported that sales decreased in the second quarter, in part because of slowing sales in China.

Spirits group Remy Cointreau and clothes designer Burberry had similar woes for the period while Swiss-based luxury giant Richemont also noted slowing China sales.

But in Europe itself the spending power of the luxury yuan is still going strong, analysts say, partially because China’s elite believe they can set off fewer alarm bells the further they are from Beijing.

“It’s no longer just Hong Kong and Macau that are their stomping grounds for luxury purchases,” says Vickers.

“They have other places to go where they are under less scrutiny.”

Original Source: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/chinas-elite-tighten-belts-crackdown-bites-050250851.html

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