Just hours after tweeting, Trump showed up at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta for the national championship game between the University of Georgia and the University of Alabama.
Not only was he booed on the way in, but Trump also appeared to botch the lyrics to the national anthem. He hardly moved his mouth to the second line of the song. (It goes like this: “What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming.”)
I’d like to say “I am this guy, and I am going to march into the Delaware River and drown before I do something bad. An example of something bad I could do is break my arm.”
I’d like to say “Cool. I am 6-foot-4.”
That’s right! You’re this guy and you’re also Benedict Arnold. You shoot a gun and ride a horse for America during the First Annual Revolutionary War. Your peers respect you, all of the Founding Fathers say things like “Now that’s one good adult” when your name gets mentioned, and you’ve never committed the crime of treason. You’ve got it all.
But that’s about to change.
That’s all about to change.
You see, yesterday was a very big day for you. You saw this advertisement for treason and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. You even had a dream where you wrote “TREASON = GOOD, CLEAN TREASON” in some beach sand, and upon waking up, a taste that can only be described as smooth, sandy treason was in your mouth.
Yep. You’ve got a full-blown desire to commit treason up in your brain, and it’s not going away. The wheels of history have begun to turn, and they’re making the noise that means history is going to happen soon.
Why is this advertisement for treason affecting me so intensely?
Oh, hell yeah! The wheels are turning and screaming, and let’s commit some goddamn treason already!
Fuck this noise. I want to be Jimmy Carter.
Over the course of your life, there have been four major events that planted the seeds of treason in your brain. Imagine that the advertisement for treason you saw yesterday was water, and the four seeds of treason are four treason seeds. When you dump water on four seeds, a flower blooms—and in this case, it’s a Treason Flower.
Simply put, there’s a Treason Flower in your body right now, and it’s impossible to rip out no matter how strong or powerful your hands are.
Would you like a refresher as to the four treason seeds of your life?
Yes, please refresh me. I’m a dullard who can’t remember things.
No, I think I’m ready to just commit some goddamn treason.
The first treason seed arrived in your skull when you got chased home from school by this patriotic husband and wife duo every day for eight years.
Ah, yes. Those two. Okay, reveal the second treason seed.
I don’t need to see any more seeds because this makes me want to commit treason immediately.
Okay! How would you like to respond to Great Britain’s advertisement for treason?
By ringing the Communication Bell.
By nodding affirmatively at the advertisement.
By putting a message in a bottle that says “I am a tiny American male interested in committing treason” and throwing it into the Atlantic Ocean, where it will arrive in Great Britain in two to three business days.
By killing John Hancock and admitting to killing John Hancock.
Seventeen seventy-three. The Boston Tea Party. Your second treason seed came in 1773 during the Boston Tea Party.
You were there dressed as an Indian and were so into it that you asked people to call you “The Indian Version Of Benedict Arnold.” Unfortunately, someone thought you said “I’m tea, from England” and threw you into Boston Harbor by mistake.
The harbor was cold and full of bugs, many of which you had to swallow to survive. If the Boston Tea Party had never happened, this almost certainly would have been avoided.
Hmm, I forgot about that. I actually hated when I plunged into the Boston Harbor and had no choice but to swallow hundreds of bugs. Okay, reveal the third treason seed to me, please.
I don’t want to hear any more treason seeds. This memory alone makes me want to betray my country as soon as possible.
The third treason seed occurred during the Battle of Saratoga, when you saw the American soldiers spending most of their time making a cannon do this. They still won the battle, but it marked the first time that you thought maybe the Continental Army deserves to get beaten very badly.
Gah! Those goddamn dopes! How could I forget the time a bunch of soldiers made a cannon scream “21” over and over? Jesus Christ, that was awful. Okay, what is my final seed?
Please transport ME to doing treason right away.
The fourth and final seed of treason was lodged in your body two fortnights ago—the equivalent of four American weeks. You were in your tent having a nightmare about how great 21st-century medicine will be, when all of a sudden you were awoken by a shadow. It was a rogue bugle boy’s shadow, and after a few minutes of standing still, he lifted his bugle and blasted a song. When he finally finished 45 minutes later, he croaked, “That was ‘Treachery’s Jaunt (The Remix Of The Rogue Bugle Boy),’and oh, it is now your favorite song, Benedict Arnold.”
Whoa, for sure.
Wow, it looks like four things happened to me.
So that’s how it happened. You got chased by two people in love, and then you got thrown into the Boston Harbor, and then some troops convinced a cannon to scream “21,” and then a rogue bugle boy told you that your favorite song was “Treachery’s Jaunt (The Remix Of The Rogue Bugle Boy).”When you saw the advertisement yesterday, you were totally powerless, and now you want nothing more than to become the most hated person in American history.
Okay! How would you like to respond to Great Britain’s advertisement for treason?
By ringing the Communication Bell.
By nodding affirmatively at the advertisement for treason.
By putting a message in a bottle that says “I am a tiny American male interested in committing treason” and throwing it into the Atlantic Ocean.
By killing John Hancock and admitting to killing John Hancock.
Great! It’s the 18th century, so one of the only forms of communication is the Communication Bell. By ringing the Bell in such a way that it tells the country of Great Britain you’re a tiny American male who wants to commit the crime of treason, you have let Great Britain know that you are a tiny American male interested in committing the crime of treason.
All you’ve got to do now is receive an acceptance letter and you’ll be on your way!
Receive an acceptance letter.
Receive a rejection letter.
Ouch. That’s rough. How do you want to go about getting an acceptance letter?
Get an acceptance letter.
Try a different route of treasonous inquiry.
Great! You are now one step closer to betraying your country, and that’s something you want to do.
Go to King George III’s royal houseboat.
Celebrate by pulling your shirt over your head.
You tell the army that you’re taking the day off from shooting your gun and riding your horse, and swim out to King George III’s royal houseboat. It’s located 15 miles off the New Jersey coast, and you have to take constant breaks and swallow hundreds of bugs to stay alive, but eventually, you finally make it, and it feels fine.
Look under the houseboat.
The only thing under King George III’s houseboat is his previous houseboat, which sunk after he bought a bowling ball.
Swim back to the surface and go inside King George III’s current houseboat.
There he is, the man and king himself. It’s none other than King George III, a guy who makes George Washington and his friends shoot their guns, sitting on a throne.
Get a closer look at his shirt.
Move towards him.
Walk in a straight line and arrive right in front of the king of England.
Lean forward a little bit so you are closer.
“Aha! Hello, and welcome to my oceanic castle!” King George III says into his microphone. “I hate that the colonies are mad at me, and I am worried that they would not care if today was my birthday! If today was my birthday, the colonies would probably say something like ‘Who gives a shit?’ or ‘The hell with that nonsense!’ How terrible! B16!”
Oh wow. The king seems pretty upset. Say something to cheer him up.
If today was your birthday, I would care.
My name is Benedict Arnold, and I want to commit the crime of treason for your country.
I have B16.
“That’s incredible news! When I look at you right now, I realize that you MUST be Benedict Arnold, and Benedict Arnold is the man who’s going to be committing the crime of treason against America for Great Britain. Currently, Great Britain is known as the country that is going to have the Beatles, but we also want to be known as the country that wins the First Annual Revolutionary War. Oh, this makes me feel good. So, do you have any ideas for committing treason against your home country of America?”
Looks like that cheered him up! Anyway, what sort of treasonous plan is currently making itself known to you in your brain?
Stealing the Declaration of Independence and holding a press conference where you crush it against your head like a soda can
Fighting for Great Britain in a battle of war.
Getting Ben Franklin to lose his goddamn mind.
Betraying one American animal.
Digging a hole.
“That soda can thing sounds like an amazing idea for treason!” says King George III. “My wife, the queen—isn’t that an amazing idea for treason?”
Look at the queen.
“That battle thing sounds like an amazing idea for treason!” says King George III. “My wife, the queen—isn’t that an amazing idea for treason?”
Look at the queen.
“That hole thing sounds like an amazing idea for treason!” says King George III. “My wife, the queen—isn’t that an amazing idea for treason?”
Look at the queen.
“That Ben Franklin thing sounds like an amazing idea for treason!” says King George III. “My wife, the queen—isn’t that an amazing idea for treason?”
Look at the queen.
“That animal thing sounds like a pretty poor idea for treason!” says King George III. “My wife, the queen—isn’t that a pretty poor idea for treason?”
Look at the queen.
“Hello!” screams the queen. “Honestly, that idea for treason seems fine! B16!”
Incredible. The royal marital duo loves your idea for treason, and now it’s time to go through with it.
Leave the royal houseboat and steal the Declaration of Independence.
There’s nothing America currently loves more than the Declaration of Independence. It’s the document that really gets people going, and the most popular hobby nationwide is reading the Declaration to a crowd of thousands and receiving a standing ovation.
Were the Declaration to be stolen and crushed on your Benedict Arnold’s head like a soda can, surely it would be an act of treason unlike any seen in America’s little, small, and tiny history.
Where do I find the Declaration of Independence if I want to steal it right now, at this very moment to be exact?
The Declaration of Independence currently lives in Philadelphia at The House Where All The Founding Fathers Live Together. The House Where All The Founding Fathers Live Together is, simply put, the place where all the guys are. Even people like Alexander Hamilton are there.
So, what mode of transportation would you like to use to get to Philadelphia and commit a truly incredible amount of treason?
The mode of horse.
The mode of running.
The mode of sprinting.
The mode of boat.
The mode of 18th-century fighter jet equivalent.
I want to just be in Philadelphia.
Here you are. The House Where All The Founding Fathers Live Together.
It’s late, so they should all be sleeping soundly in the same big bed. Looks like the only way to enter without making a ruckus is to sneak in through the pool, so yeah—you’re going to have to get a little wet.
Enter through the pool.
“Benedict Arnold!” you shout as you dive in.
The pool is cold. Now, you famously don’t mind the cold (Thomason, Paul. “Benedict Arnold And His Feelings On The Cold.” Tungsten Publishing, 1982.), so that’s not too big a deal. But equally famously, you don’t know how to swim very well (Thomason, Bertram. “Benedict Arnold And How He Swam.” Tungsten Publishing, 1984). That means it’s going to take you a little while before you reach the door on the other side of the pool—that is, if you make it at all.
Oh, wow. You really have no idea how to swim. You’re flailing and splashing and screaming, and you have to hope that if anyone was awake, they would’ve come out to save you by now.
This is terrible to watch. You’ve tucked your legs into your stomach like you’re doing a cannonball, except for some reason you think that this is how you’re supposed to swim. It’s a miracle you haven’t drowned yet, now or at any other point in your life.
You are forced to eat some bugs just to stay alive.
These two have every right to laugh at you.
Continue doing what you think swimming is.
You made it! To the pool door! It took 45 minutes for you to get here, and you spent pretty much all of those minutes on the verge of drowning, but all that is in the past! You’ve got a Declaration of Independence to steal and crush on your head like a soda can.
Open the door and go inside.
Oh, goddamn it.
“A mighty hello to our very close friend Benedict Arnold!” shout all the Founding Fathers at once. “You are soaking wet with pool water, and what an incredible treat it is to see you in our home we all share together!”
Ah…hi guys. Why aren’t you all…asleep?
Mumble “Goddamn it” three or four times.
“We heard you scream your own name as you jumped in the pool!” they all shout at once. “In the big bed we all share together, we looked at each other in excitement, and then we all jumped out of the big bed we all share together and ran to the window and pressed our historic faces up against the glass at the same time to see if it really was you, our friend, and it was you, our friend! You are such a good patriot, and an even better friend.”
It’s going to be tough to steal the Declaration of Independence with these guys awake, but you have to do it. They’re currently nodding at each other in agreement over what they just said, so use this time to slink away and poke around.
Slink away to the living room.
Slink away to the Declaration of Independence room.
Slink away to the kitchen.
Slink away to the indoor pool.
On this October night, there’s no sign of the Declaration of Independence in the Founders’ living room.
Check out the kitchen.
Check out the Declaration of Independence room.
Check out the indoor pool.
Doesn’t look like there’s a Declaration of Independence to steal here in the kitchen.
Check out the living room.
Check out the Declaration of Independence room.
Check out the indoor pool.
Looks like the Declaration of Independence had to be taken out of the Declaration of Independence room so the janitor could practice mopping up one cup of coffee.
Check out the living room.
Check out the kitchen.
Check out the indoor pool.
It’s gotta be around here somewhere.
Look over at the pile of American flag towels.
There it is! Looks like one of the dopier Founding Fathers left it behind. What an exciting blunder that will potentially change the course of American history for good!
Grab the Declaration of Independence and get out of there before anyone notices.
“Yes! Benedict Arnold, one of my closest and dearest friends from America! I’m so glad I caught you!” says George Washington, the man who is your boss when you shoot your gun and ride your horse. “I was at my other house with my wife named Martha, but as soon as I heard that you were here, I just had to come by! Say, is that the Declaration of Independence you’re holding and taking with you?”
“Oh, of course it’s the Declaration of Independence that you’re holding and taking from the house I share with the other Founding Fathers!” shouts George. “Nothing says ‘I love the new country of America’ quite like holding the document that made the country come into existence. What an incredible show of patriotism from one incredible patriot! Benedict Arnold, you are a good friend, and also, hey, keep up the great work being my employee in the army.”
Get the hell out of there.
Leave The House Where All The Founding Fathers Live Together, sleep standing up in the front yard, and barely get any sleep because the Founding Fathers won’t stop yelling “Benedict, you’re my beloved friend!” at you.
Sneeze, leave The House Where All The Founding Fathers Live Together, sleep standing up in the front yard, and barely get any sleep because the Founding Fathers won’t stop yelling “Benedict, you’re my beloved friend!” at you.
When it’s finally morning, you walk to the center of Philadelphia, clutching the Declaration tightly against your tiny stomach. People naturally begin to crowd around you because of who you are and what you’re clutching, and eventually there is a crowd of thousands, ready to watch what they assume is another classic patriotic act from an American hero.
“Benedict Arnold is definitely one of my closest friends!” shouts Thomas Jefferson. “He is holding the Declaration of Independence the way anyone who loves America would!”
“When I think about Benedict Arnold, a smile where I reveal a few dozen of my teeth shows up on my face!” yells Samuel Adams.
“Benedict Arnold is the mailman, and his mail is never being deceitful!” screams Paul Revere.
Step up to the microphone and say a little speech before crushing the Declaration of Independence on your forehead.
Immediately crush the Declaration of Independence on your forehead.
“I am going to crush this on my forehead,” you say. “I am going to crush the Declaration of Independence on my forehead like a soda can.”
You stare at the ground for a couple of minutes, and then roll the Declaration up into a tight scroll, holding it parallel to your forehead.
Crush the Declaration of Independence on your forehead like a soda can.
You crush the Declaration of Independence on your forehead like a soda can, and the crowd goes absolutely insane.
“He’s making the Declaration of Independence get really close to his brain, and that’s patriotic!” shouts a man who had an apple for breakfast.
“This inspires me and someone else to make the Constitution in, like, 10 years or so!” shout James Madison and Alexander Hamilton at the sam
The well-intentioned (and often expensive) act of feeding your pets raw meat may actually be putting everyone’s health at risk, according to research from veterinary scientists at Utrecht University in the Netherlands.
The team found a troubling prevalence of harmful bacteria and parasites in eight major brands of frozen raw meat-based diet (RMBDs) products for cats and dogs after performing microbiological analysis on 35 samples. To reduce the possibility that storage location impacted the results, the RMBD products were purchased from shops in 14 different areas around Utrecht. The findings are published in the journal Veterinary Record.
Varying species of Escherichia coli bacteria were present in 86 percent of samples, and 80 percent contained a type known to be resistant to several antibiotic drugs commonly given to animals and humans. Moreover, eight products from three different brands contained a strain called E. coli O157:H7, a dangerous pathogen that often causes outbreaks of food-borne illnesses in humans. The bacterium produces a powerful toxin that can cause hemorrhagic colitis (meaning hellacious, bloody diarrhea) and may even lead to kidney failure in children and the elderly.
Across all 35 samples, the total content of all E. coli bacteria, measured in clumps of cells called colony-forming units, failed to meet the hygiene threshold required for a food product to be labeled as “acceptable for human consumption”. Fortunately for your furry companions, O157:H7 rarely makes animals sick, their bodies simply become short-term carriers of the bacteria until it is excreted in their poop. And although you are unlikely to eat your pet’s dinner, the authors note in their paper that very low doses of E. coli O157:H7 (perhaps as little as one bacterial colony) can cause disease in humans. This means that pet owners may be at risk of contracting a serious infection indirectly.
“This can be through direct contact with the food; through contact with a contaminated pet, such as sharing the same bed and allowing licking of the face and hands; through contact with household surfaces; or by ingesting cross-contaminated human food,” the paper states. “Cross-contamination may occur after preparing RMBDs or cleaning infected food bowls on the kitchen sink.”
The frozen meals also contained Listeria (43 percent of samples) and Salmonella species (20 percent), two big names in human food poisoning.
While Listeria is often benign in cats and dogs, Salmonella poisoning can cause serious disease with symptoms similar to those experienced by people. Just like E. coli, these microbes can get passed to you simply from handling the products or cleaning up after your pet.
Moving on from bacteria, two types of parasites were identified in the RMBDs: Sarcocystis species (11 percent) and Toxoplasma gondii (6 percent). The former rarely causes noticeable disease in pets and humans, whereas the latter travels into the mammalian brain and has been linked to changes in behavior and even schizophrenia.
If you purchase frozen raw pet food, the low storage temperatures will inactivate most parasites, but some RMBD enthusiasts opt for fresher options. The paper cautions that “this study does show that if raw pet food is purchased fresh and prepared at home without freezing, there is a potential risk of parasitic infections in pet animals, which can result in shedding of oocysts in the environment, thereby leading to potential additional exposure to human beings.”
Despite being a small study that focused on only a handful of RMBD brands, the findings are in line with microbiological studies of raw meat performed in other countries, suggesting most if not all raw pet food harbors hitchhiking pathogens.
“Feeding raw meat to pets has been practised all over the world as shown by the several reports from Australia, the USA, Canada and Europe. This means that this issue is of global importance,” conclude the the authors.
And if you’re thinking that the benefits to your pets might outweigh the risk, the authors deliver further bad news: The health claims touted on product packaging or ads are merely marketing, and not based on published research.
KAUAI, HAWAIISomewhere deep in sleep, dreaming I am at work… why did everyone leave their phones in the office?… then I feel my wife’s foot tickling me… stop it… then: ALERT! LOUD! What’s that? Turn off your alarm, I think.
My wife leans over and shows me her phone, which displays a dull black and grey EMERGENCY ALERT reading BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.
It’s 8:08 on a Saturday morning. I bolt out up and out of bed, think what everyone else across Hawaii must be thinking: WTF?!
Instinctively I rush to the kitchen, passing my 13-year-old son who is sitting on the couch in the living room, holding his phone (typical) presumably playing a game. I rush to check my work phone on the kitchen counter, scrolling through Twitter to see similar disbelief from other people on Oahu.
I know the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency has said Hawaii would have 12-15 minutes warning. It’s 8:11. WTF?
My wife is scrambling. Radio. Is there a radio up here?
“My friend got it too,” my son says from the other room, speaking of the alert warning.
I am looking at two iPhones, two Twitter feeds. More disbelief. Is this a mistake? What?
Water. We need water. There’s water in the kitchen. In my mind I am swearing. In my mind, lots of Fs.
I start closing doors, windows. We have in a single family wooden house in Lihue on the island of Kauai. Closing doors and windows seems like a joke. What am I doing?
“Get in the bathroom, c’mon.” My wife is fumbling with the radio. I am now in the bathroom filling up the bathtub. I see the neighbor’s cat at the window on the lanai looking in.
My wife has brought a thin blanket into the bathroom. Water is filling the tub. I turn on at transistor radio and scroll for something that isn’t static, music or noise. I check for more information on Twitter. I see nothing about a North Korean launch. I see lots of tweets but only the people in Hawaii are tweeting about the alert. They are in disbelief. There is a sense of panic.
What do I do? Call my family on the mainland? Parents and siblings in Washington, Colorado? No time.
I know this could be the end of my life. Or not. The tub is filling with water. My wife and son are seated on the bathroom floor, the most protected room in the house, I suppose. But the thought this wooden could protect us is laughable but I know there is no time to go anywhere. In my mind I debate running into the garage to grab water bottles to bring into the bathroom. Do I stop at the fridge and get food?
Finally some useful but unwelcome information on the radio: “There is an incoming missile warning for the islands of Kauai and Hawaii.”
Is this happening? I have no time to call anyone. No time to get water. The tub continues to fill. I look at my wife and son. He looks at me, scared. I try to smile. If there is a missile strike, a blast of any kind, we are toast. It’s almost pointless to search for batteries, duct tape and canned tuna. This is it.
I look at the phonea tweet: HAWAII – THIS IS A FALSE ALARM. THERE IS NO INCOMING MISSILE. THE ALERT WAS SENT OUT INADVERTENTLY. I HAVE SPOKEN TO HAWAII OFFICIALS AND CONFIRMED THERE IS NO THREAT.
I see another tweet. False alarm? It’s a false alarm, I say. AgainWTF?
My legs are shaking. “It’s a false alarm,” I repeat. You can stand up. Stop the tub.
More disbelief. What is this?
Outside the sky is filled with bright light, it’s morning. But it’s not a thermonuclear morning. I am in disbelief. Did this just happen?
Then a message comes in from Twitter: I’m seeing on Twitter an alert went out about an inbound missile saying this is not a drill/text. I assume it’s erroneous. Let me know?“
I sit down to open the computer and record my thoughts. Suddenly a second alert from the phone.
False alert message from the Hawaii EMA. The missile warning siren that Hawaii has recently begun testing does not sound.
Now it’s 8:48 a.m. and my phone rings again. I answer. A robovoice says: "This is the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency. There is no active threat and no action is needed at this time. The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency is investigating this false alarm. Please do not call 911 unless you have an emergency.”
So this is what it feels like to believe that you could have a nuclear bomb or an incoming missile about to destroy your world.
It’s not a good feeling. Something must be done. Not just about the flawed mobile warning system in Hawaii but about a situation in which this scenario is even plausible, but about a world in which nations are poised to destroy each other with barely a moment’s notice and bring about the end of life on this planet.
In a six-floor retail space near Times Square, the Guy Fieri restaurant has closed and construction hasnt begun on celebrity chef Todd Englishs food hall. A tourist attraction featuring a 1/87th scale model of New York City was behind on rent for two months as of December, according to loan documents.
It wasnt supposed to be this way.
When Kushner Cos. bought the property for $296 million in 2015, then-Chief Executive Officer Jared Kushner had big plans to capitalize on the tens of millions of tourists who visit the area every year. Deutsche Bank AG financed the endeavor before selling most of the debt to investors across Wall Street a year ago. Those investors were shown disclosures describing the retail space as 100 percent occupied and estimating it would throw off $24 million of rent annually.
But Fieri, English and Gullivers Gate, the operator of the miniature Manhattan, account for $9.9 million of that rent estimate, which underpinned a market-defying appraisal boost and helped justify $370 million of loans, the disclosures show. Problems with these spaces could make the economics challenging.
Last year, New York prosecutors requested documents from Deutsche Bank related to the property, where the Kushners used the debt to take out $59 million in cash. It isnt clear what prosecutors are looking for. But mortgages granted under generous financial assumptions then sold to others who will bear the risk have piqued their interest in other cases. A spokesman for the Brooklyn U.S. Attorney declined to comment, as did a spokesman for Deutsche Bank.
Despite the turbulence, Kushner Cos. says it isnt worried.
“We are very happy with this investment and continue to meet all our financial obligations and will continue to do so in the future,” Christine Taylor, a spokeswoman, said in an email.
Gullivers Gate was cited due to a technicality and payments were only a few days late, she said. The company has a letter of intent for the Fieri space from a prestigious tenant at a higher rent, and the operator of the food hall is making final adjustments to its plan, she added, saying the changes are increasing the value of the property and will attract more visitors.
A spokeswoman for Gullivers Gate said that it “is up to date on their rent and paid in full on their lease” and there are “no concerns” about its future there.
Kushner, President Donald Trumps son-in-law and senior adviser, left his role in the family company when he joined the administration a year ago and divested from some assets. He says that, to avoid conflict of interest, hes no longer involved in the business.
New managers of the loans bought from Deutsche Bank have taken notice of the propertys issues. Even if they were brief, the missed payments by Gullivers Gate, the second most lucrative tenant, triggered a clause in the Kushners loan documents allowing creditors to demand any excess cash from the property until the problem was resolved, according to reports from debt servicers. Managers also put the retail space on watch lists for potentially troubled debt because it lost money for nine months through September 2017 after accounting for interest payments, the reports show. Thats because new tenants were given millions in free rent, a common tactic used to fill store spaces. Kushner Cos. set aside $11 million of the loans for the free rent. Disclosures dont describe that figure as including funds for vacancies.
Bumps in the road are common when repositioning buildings, which can take years to reach full earning potential. But the retail tenants at the former New York Times building at 229 West 43rd Street posed special risks. Disclosures for potential lenders show that none had a credit rating from Fitch, Moodys Investors Service or S&P Global Inc., unlike many large retail properties that tend to be anchored by stores with known credit profiles.
In truth, maintaining full occupancy looked tough from the start. When the debt was sold to investors, the 500-seat Guys American Kitchen & Bar had been beset by negative reviews, and Todd English and his partners hadnt yet taken possession of the space for his food hall. The chef, who has pulled out of another project, was scheduled to open for business there last April. Gullivers Gate, reportedly a $40 million endeavor, had not yet opened and was an untried competitor amid the glitz of Times Square.
On a recent Monday afternoon, the area reserved for Todd English was empty and unfinished with no sign of construction. Banners hung outside read “AFI Retail,” the name of a subsidiary of the buildings previous owner.
“We continue to work towards delivering this project,” Richard A. Chinsammy, executive vice president of Outstanding Hospitality Management Group, Englishs partner for the food hall, wrote in an email. A spokeswoman for English said the restaurant is now scheduled to open in December.
Logos for Fieris restaurant had been ripped from windows, though a large metal sign remained above the doorway. A spokeswoman for Fieri declined to comment.
Upstairs, about 50 people were visiting Gullivers Gate. Two attendants said it was busier on weekends. Tickets for the 49,000-square-foot space filled with miniature buildings are $36 for adults and $27 for children and seniors. Tickets are also included with purchases of nearby hotel rooms, according to online reviews.
When Kushner Cos. bought the property in 2015 from Africa-Israel, the distressed firm of Russian diamond magnate Lev Leviev, online retailers were ascendant, and the future of brick-and-mortar stores was uncertain. So filling the property with tenants offering experiences seemed smart.
In addition to Todd English and Gullivers Gate, Kushner signed National Geographic, whose “Encounter: Ocean Odyssey” promises an “incredible underwater journey” without any danger of getting wet. Bowlmor Lanes — with bowling, an arcade and party spaces — was already there. Neither tenant has been reported to have any problems.
The expected surge in income preceded a new appraisal in October 2016 at $445 million plus additional cash in accounts, indicating a stunning growth in value that far outstripped the broader Manhattan retail market, which had suffered a slowdown. Against that valuation, the $370 million of loans represented only 83 percent of the value, the investor disclosures showed. But Moodys and Kroll, the risk-assessment firm, found in independent calculations that the loans exceeded the value.
Deutsche Banks $285 million loan to Kushner Cos. was divided into four trusts with pieces of other loans to be sold to investors as commercial mortgage-backed securities. All told there are 163 loan pieces in the trusts, but only seven have been flagged on watch lists — including the four Kushner chunks. The Kushners received another $85 million in high-interest loans from SL Green Realty Corp. and Paramount Group.
In determining how much in interest payments the property could handle, underwriters estimated that costs to manage it would run about $4 million, disclosures show. If it achieved full rent of $24 million, that would indicate a modest cushion after making interest payments: about $18 million annually, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. But any loss of tenants with no immediate replacements could change those numbers quickly.
The situation might get worse before it gets better. In an October legal complaint against the Plaza Hotel, which contains a Todd English restaurant, the chef is accused of sexual harassment. In November, S&P downgraded the debt of another tenant, Guitar Center, saying it thought a potential debt restructuring could occur in the next six months, “a transaction that we would view as tantamount to a default.” A Guitar Center spokeswoman declined to comment.
Entertainment venues are more likely to experience money crunches in an economic slump than traditional retailers, Kroll said in its March report on the property and its debts. “This may subject the loan to increased risk of default and loss,” the firm said.
Still, there are worse venues to hunt for new tenants than Times Square, which commands the highest retail rents in the city after Fifth Avenue.
Five men and a woman have been charged with belonging to banned far-right terror group National Action.
West Midlands Police said they were charged with being “concerned in the commission, preparation and instigation of acts of terrorism”.
The arrests took place on 3 January and were pre-planned and intelligence-led, the force added.
All six will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.
Those charged are: Nathan Pryke, 26, of Dartford Road, March, Cambridge, Adam Thomas, 21, of Waltham Gardens, Banbury, Oxfordshire, Claudia Patatas, 28, of Waltham Gardens, Banbury, Oxfordshire, Darren Fletcher, 28, of Kitchen Lane, Wednesfield, Wolverhampton, Daniel Bogunovic, 26, of Crown Hills Rise, Leicester, and Joel Wilmore, 24, of Bramhall Moor Lane, Hazel Grove, Stockport.
Mr Thomas is also charged with possessing information likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.
Mr Fletcher is also charged with five counts of breaching an anti-social behaviour order.
A string of counter-terrorism units were involved in the operation, including those from the West Midlands, north-west, south-east and east of England.
National Action became the first British neo-Nazi group to be banned after Home Secretary Amber Rudd said it was promoting violence and acts of terrorism.
Image: mary clavering/young hollywood/Getty Images
There’s a whole world on YouTube that doesn’t involve terrible people, it just doesn’t feel that way right now.
The first week of 2018 wasn’t exactly a banner week for YouTube star Logan Paul, for example. Paul, known as the less offensive Paul brother (*&^@&#^?), kicked things off by releasing a tone-deaf video where he encounters a dead body in Japan’s suicide forest. The controversy sparked a debate about what’s suitable content for YouTube (hint: it doesn’t involve gawking at suicide), and prompted many older millennials and Gen-Xers to wonder, “Is there anyone not awful on YouTube?”
If you’re not that familiar with the vlogging community, it’s likely you only heard about two YouTube personalities in the past year — Logan Paul, or a YouTube personality named “PewDewPie” who loves to make jokes about dead Jews.
Thankfully, there are (mostly incredibly young) vloggers out there making largely inoffensive, not entirely insipid, and sometimes even — get ready for it — good content.
Here are just a few.
1. Liza Koshy
Just 21 years old, Liza Koshy is one of those incredibly successful young people who actually deserves everything that’s coming to them. She’s a skilled physical comedian who produces well-cut (i.e. not insanely choppy) videos, and her range of impressions is broad. It’s the kind of content you can be non-depressed that teenagers are watching.
2. Lilly Singh
Lilly Singh made $10.5 million in 2016 and she did it without capitalizing on a tragedy in a suicide forest. Instead, she relied on her natural comedic instincts, spot-on impersonations of her parents, and genuinely astute commentary on young adult life.
If you’re new to video game commentary, or mostly hate it but want to learn, videogamedunkey is where it’s at. Videogamedunkey doesn’t have the painful arrogance like others in his genre, and he’s actually capable of crafting engaging, well-constructed narratives. Who knew that such a thing was possible on YouTube?
4. Lindsay Ellis
For all you book learners out there, there’s Lindsay Ellis, a media critic who actually makes media criticism bearable. Ellis addresses everything from vanishing Disney villains to nostalgia, without ever sounding like your “Intro to Film Theory” TA/wannabe professor.
5. Bill Wurtz
Bill Wurtz is less of a YouTube personality than he is a producer of deeply weird animated videos, but he’s on this list because I like him so goshdarn much. You’ve probably seen at least one of these videos and thought, “I’m appalled by how much I love this.”
Sure, some of his more erratic material borders on twee, but we all need a little Wes Anderson in our lives.
6. Nathan Zed
Nathan Zed doesn’t vlog frequently, partially for personal reasons, and partially because he only speaks when there’s something that needs to be said. Zed is one of the more thoughtful ones of the bunch, addressing everything from body positivity to the responsibilities of YouTube personalities. (Yes! He actually thinks about this!)
7. Hannah Hart
You probably know Hart from “My Drunk Kitchen,” her weekly YouTube series where she cooks while intoxicated. Hart also makes videos that are more personal and specific to the LGBTQ community, whether it’s about the coming out process or managing queer relationships.
Kingsley is another familiar, proudly out YouTube personality. Kingsley’s commentary about everything about Katy Perry’s betrayal of the gays to “Tragic Gingerbread houses” is like old-school Buzzfeed, modernized and made better for 2017.
8. Evelyn from the Internets
Watch this video. Soak up all that magical content. Only then can you return to this post.
Evelyn from the Internet has done more than this viral video — including everything from makeup tutorials to cultural critique — but this is a YouTuber at the height of her form.
Jetsetters hoping to get a jump start on their 2018 travel plans will love this latest news. The travel experts at TripAdvisor just released their 16th annual Traveler’s Choice Awards for the world’s best hotels for 2018.
With its exceptional food, impeccable service, and stunning Instagram-worthy pool, Cambodia’s greenery-shrouded Viroth’s Hotel tops this year’s list. The luxury hotel is located in the country’s central-northern city of Siem Reap.
“I am so proud of our team ― being named the No. 1 hotel in the world for TripAdvisor’s 2018 Travelers’ Choice Award is a huge achievement for Viroth’s Hotel,” said the hotel’s co-owner, Fabien Martial, in a press release. “I hope this award will further encourage everybody here to offer the best for our guests.”
The award winners are determined using millions of reviews and opinions left on TripAdvisor’s site each year. The site analyzed more than 8,000 properties in 94 countries to determine this year’s winners.
Take a look below at the 10 top hotels in the world in 2018:
1Viroth’s Hotel — Siem Reap, Cambodia
This 35-room stylish Cambodian hotel features poolside dining, a full-service spa and a small fleet of vintage Mercedeses that shuttle you to and from the airport. The luxury rooms include free Wi-Fi, air conditioning and complementary breakfast.
2Tulemar Bungalows & Villas — Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
These stunning bungalows and villas feature 34 self-contained homes nestled into the Costa Rican hillside. They include panoramic, postcard-like views of the lush Manuel Antonio coastline. The resort includes an exclusive beach and four swimming pools, as well as spa services and day adventures.
Perched high above the desert capital of Jodhpur, this luxury heritage hotel is home of the Jodhpur royal family (and is still the 6th largest private residence in the world). It features 64 Art Deco-inspired rooms and suites located only 20 minutes from the airport. The palace sits on 26 acres of lush gardens that are home to live peacocks, and a lengthy pool. Treat yourself to on-site spa treatments and yoga and meditation, or sample the kitchen’s authentic Rajastani and Indian cuisine.
Located sea-side, this hotel is close to the best shopping and entertainment Italy has to offer. The hotel includes a full-service spa and is a destination for cycling enthusiasts because of its bike holidays and cycling services, which are a great way to see the region outside of a train or car. Better still, the hotel is pet-friendly, so your furry one can join in on the fun.
7The Nantucket Hotel & Resort — Nantucket, Massachusetts
The historic Nantucket Hotel & Resort is located minutes from downtown, beaches, ferries, restaurants and shopping. Many of the hotel’s rooms and cottages feature kitchenettes, ocean and harbor views. With two heated pools, an outdoor hot tub, gym, yoga classes, spa services and shuttles to ferries and the beach, it’s easily one of the most authentic and simple getaways you can get in the U.S.
With sweeping views of the Eiffel Tower and a stone’s throw from the Champs-Elysées, this 19th century Parisian chic hotel features eye-catching details like brocade fabrics, rich hues and marble bathrooms. The spa is set around a 16-meter indoor pool, and includes full services like massages and anti-aging treatments. The Michelin two-starred restaurant infuses classic French gastronomy with Japanese-inspired finishes.
Nayara Springs was voted TripAdvisor’s No. 1 luxury hotel in both 2016 and 2017, and for good reason. The secluded luxury villas are nestled among the lush Costa Rican rainforest in the Arenal Volcano National Park. The hotel includes a private plunge pool, an award-winning spa with daily yoga, two oversized pools, a piano lounge and bar — in addition to daily adventurous activities like water rafting and canyoning.
The sister hotel of No. 4 on this list, this hotel is the newest of the La Siesta hotel group and features an edgier, more youthful vibe than its predecessor. The 11-story, 70-room hotel overlooks much of Hanoi, peering over surrounding rooftops. The hotel provides airport pick, authentic Vietnamese cuisine and full-service spa treatments.
The 38-year-old Pratt and Munn, 37, were spotted by diners at Craig’s in WeHo and, according to ET, it apparently “didn’t look like the two were trying to hide their PDA” while eating.
One eyewitness at the restaurant noted how the pair was “acting totally romantic,” while Pratt “had his arm around her at one point” during their meal.
One thing is for certain, though — it doesn’t look like there are any photographs. The pair likely came in through the kitchen to avoid attention outside from paparazzi, and they ultimately weren’t captured on camera leaving the restaurant either.
Still, if eyewitness accounts are to be believed, it sounds like there may be a new celeb power couple out there!!
Thoughts, Perezcious readers?! Think this pair fits well together now that both are single after breakups with Anna Faris and Aaron Rodgers recently??
Do U like Chris and Olivia together now?? Tell us in the comments (below)!!!