Would you pay $30,000 for one of these ugly-ass Game of Thrones guitars?

I don't need any more stringed-instruments; I have my main electric guitar; a backup electric; another electric that's strictly for sentimental decor and only occasional strumming; an acoustic-electric; an electric bass; an upright dulcimer; a lap-steel guitar; and a mandolin. But I definitely want more instruments (specifically a high-end Dreadnought acoustic and/or one of several hollow bodies I've been eyeing). So whenever I see a music sale coming up, I take a look, just in case.

Which is how I found myself flipping through Guitar Center's 4th of July Sale, and stumbled on these disgusting beasts.

These special edition Game of Thrones Fender Custom Shop guitars were released in April 2019, and run between $25,000 and $35,000 a piece. Yes, you read that right: twenty-five thousand to thirty-five thousand dollars. And according to Fender, they each take around 100 hours to make, which makes them a little less absurdly priced, but still completely unnecessary.

Even if I had that kind of money, I don't think I'd go much higher than this $4,350 thinline semi-hollow Telecaster (hint hint). I genuinely cannot fathom who the market is for these hideous GoT axes. Was Fender approached by a Private Equity Consultant who encouraged them to target the niche market of a billionaire trustfund babies who love fantasy and collect guitars to display in their homes?

The $30,000 Lannister Jaguar (center) does come with a 24K gold leaf over on the front, back and headstock, as well as a gold-plated pickguard; the shiny finish on the body is actually just paint. Read the rest

Rich people are trying to get in-home plastic surgery during quarantine

Dr. Steven Levine is a renowned New York plastic surgeon, best known for his face-lifts and breast augmentation work. And apparently, as he told The Cut, he's received a lot of requests for in-home service during this pandemic:

The volume of calls, and level of intensity, is probably higher during COVID than not COVID. Almost every virtual consult ends with “How quickly can you do this?” They want to take advantage of this perceived downtime. It seems like the perfect time to recover from a procedure like a face-lift, where you need at least two weeks to lay low (whereas for breast augmentation, you only need a few days to rest at home).

[…]

Extremely successful people are used to getting what they want, when they want it. That is the reality of their life. One very well-known entrepreneur wanted to come to my office on the Upper East Side and get her face done, like, yesterday. She offered me more than four times my usual fee, all cash, and told me she’d have her lawyer draft a nondisclosure that she wouldn’t tell anyone we did it. I told her, “I love you to death, but no.”

Beyond the obvious arrogance of this whole scenario, it also sounds like a horror movie waiting to happen. More at the link.

My Wealthiest Clients Are Begging for Plastic Surgery in Quarantine [Steven Levine as told to Alyssa Shelasky / The Cut]

Image: April L. Sanders / Flickr (CC 2.0) Read the rest

Man who helped cause 2008 financial crash suddenly very concerned about the economy

Lloyd Blankfein might sound like the name of a fictional banker villain, but he is in fact the real-life Senior Chairman  of Goldman Sachs. Prior to his current position, he served as chairman and chief executive of the infamous banking giant beginning in 2006 — just before that pesky financial crisis from which the world is still recovering.

To his credit, Blankfein did apologize for his company's role as a liquidity provider for subprime mortgages. Specifically, he said, "We participated in things that were clearly wrong and have reason to regret. We apologize." That was in 2009 — the absolute pits of the economy — and around the same time he was named "Person of the Year" by the Financial Times. Within months, he was touting his duties of "doing God's work" while the rest of us were still scrounging for employment or to recover the last few scraps of money we had foolishly invested on the advice of people on Blankfein.

Anyway, he's really concerned that Bernie Sanders will "ruin" "our" economy, should he be elected as President of the United States in the upcoming election.

Presumably, Blankfein was not referring to our economy — as in the economy that affects normal human beings such as you or I, which he has previously participated in ruining — but rather, his economy, that is, the pleasures enjoyed by him and his ilk of obscenely wealthy, out-of-touch, and utterly untouchable oligarchs. Read the rest

This $3.5 million mansion includes a replica of Bruce Wayne's study and so much more

Former Pittsburgh radio personality T.J. Lubinsky is selling his home, about a half-hour outside the city in Gibsonia, Pennsylvania.

I'll be honest, I've never heard of this guy. But apparently he has quite a resume. Which I guess is how he and his wife Wenday were able to build this absurdly palatial estate with 14 bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, a "waterfall poolside oasis" with a custom Lilliput playhouse for the kids, and—oh yeah, a two-story replica of the Heinz Chapel as well as a replica of the private study from the 1966 "Batman" show, complete with sliding bookcases, a red phone, and Batpoles.

It also contains replica rooms based on "the Queen’s residence next to the Ritz London" and "the Hotel Del Coronado in California." Did I mention that the whole design is based on Newport's Seaview Terrace/Carey Mansion, which was used as the exterior shots for Collinwood Manor in the classic vampire soap opera "Dark Shadows?"

While I personally couldn't afford the $3.5 million it would cost to buy this place, but all things considered, I think that's actually a pretty reasonable price for it.

724 Bristlecone Drive, Gibsonia, Pennsylvania 15044, via Berkshire Hathaway Real Estate

Image via Batman '66, duh Read the rest

Oil industry asked to pony up dough to offset climate change expenses in filthy rich Canadian town

Most everyone's losing sleep over what'll happen to our species and the rest of life on earth as human-driven climate change rips our planet a new one. Capitalists? Not so much: some are too busy hustling to ensure that other capitalists pay for the fiscal hurt that the Earth's bid to evict us all is putting on their bottom lines.

From The Calgary Herald:

In a letter addressed to Calgary-based Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. dated Nov. 15, Whistler Mayor Jack Crompton said the town’s taxpayers “are paying 100 per cent of the costs” associated with climate change events such as “drought, flooding, and extreme weather.”

He’s asking CNRL to pay in to “the costs of climate change being experienced by Whistler,” including the municipalities’ “$1.4 million investment in community wildfire protection activities” for 2018.

“As a town with a population of less than 15,000 people, this is a significant cost to bear along with costs associated with impacts to winter and summer sports tourism,” he said in the letter.

Sure, Whistler only has a population of less that 15,000 people, but the majority of them are filthy rich--you have to be to live there. I have a feeling that the town does okay on property taxes, especially since the one thing that Whistler has more of than mountains and rich people are Whistler's insidiously expensive hotel and resort properties.

Whistler's not the only town in Canada looking for oil producers to pay up for putting their municipalities in the red. Read the rest

Bill Gates attempts to guess the prices of everyday grocery items

Microsoft founder Bill Gates admittedly hasn't been in a supermarket in a long time, so when Ellen put him up to estimating the prices of some pretty typical grocery store items, he was hilariously lost. Particularly watch the look of pity Ellen gives at the 1:12 mark when the billionaire guesses that a container of Tide Pods is only four dollars.

With a lot of help from the audience, Bill was able to get the price right (within a dollar) of three items. Because of his "win," that audience will return for Ellen's popular "12 Days of Giveaways" segment.

(reddit) Read the rest

Famous entreprenuers' hits and misses visualized

If you think the recent Steve Jobs movie was oversimplified, wait until you get a load of The Careers of the Founders, a visualization of famous entrepreneurs' hits and misses.

How did the greatest entrepreneurs start out? What were their biggest successes? What failures did they have to overcome along the way? We’ve charted the careers of 33 inspirational company founders, from the man behind Heinz beans to the woman behind Ultimo bras, to show that there’s more than one path to success.

Though it invites editorialization, at least in this context, I like the timeline visualization a lot. Sadly, the code doesn't seem to be available. Read the rest