Axolotl Found

It really is a shame that so many animals are threatened by loss of habitat and poaching.  By this point in history, you would assume that people would know better.   But what’s done is done.  And when we discover that endangered species are still out there and fighting, it really is inspiring and refreshing.  

In central Mexico, there is a sort of “fish” known as the Axolotl.  This is ultimately a pretty ugly and unusual-looking creature, with a slimy tail, plumage-like gills and a mouth that almost curves into a smile.  Its original habitat, the Xochimilco network of lakes and canals originally set up by the Aztecs hundreds of years earlier, which is in the middle of the Mexico City metropolitan area, the largest in the Western Hemisphere.  As a result of this, the Axolotl is seriously under threat due to pollution, urban expansion and invasive species.  Because of its ability to to regenerate severed limbs, it is extremely important to scientific research.  

While some axolotls are still in aquariums, water tanks and research labs, these conditions aren’t ideal for the animals.  And releasing captive-bred axolotls into the wild could potentially prove dangerous, due to a fungal infection that is fatal to the animal.  The area around Xochimilco is being converted into illicit shantytowns, where sewage is dumped into the water.  Scientists estimated that in 1998, there were an average of 6,000 axolotls per square kilometer in the area.  This figure dropped to 1,000 in a 2003 study, and then to 100 in a 2008 study.   Biologists recently built special “breeding grounds” in isolated areas of Xochimilco for the animals to breed and live without dangerous outside interference.  However, recent efforts to skim Xochimilco to find axolotls proved futile, which caused many scientists to fear that the animals were extinct in the wild.

However, this past week, researchers spotted several of the creatures, reaffirming that they are still alive and have a chance at recovery.  This is vital for the continuation of the species in their natural habitat.  Let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best for the axolotl and all of the other animals across the earth that face extinction.


Alex Fetanat’s Latest Post: Dumb Starbucks?

I’ve seen a lot of things satirizing the popular coffee chain Starbucks.  When they first took the world by storm in the late 1990s, tv shows and movies were quick to make fun of them; in the second Austin Powers film, for instance, Starbucks is the legal front for the nefarious criminal enterprises of the film’s main antagonist, Dr. Evil.  South Park, ever one to satirize pop culture,  has taken more than one jab at the coffee chain over the years.  Countless comedians from around the world haven’t shied away from lampooning Starbucks either; comedian Lewis Black, among others, has a well-known joke where he talks about the establishment.

But the most recent parody of Starbucks occurred in my home of Los Angeles.  A couple of weeks ago, some enterprising humorists opened up a mysterious new coffee shop, called “Dumb Dumb StarbucksStarbucks”.  This Dumb Starbucks looks almost the exact same as any regular Starbucks, except that the word “dumb” is prefixed to the title and all of the menu items and products available there.  Staffed by two baristas, the satirical coffee shop offered free coffee in their opening days, and lines extended through the little shopping center where Dumb Starbucks is located.

According to the baristas, it’s perfectly legal for them to use the Starbucks logo for marketing purposes, since what they’re doing is clear parody.  Nonetheless, Starbucks quickly took notice, and the establishment was shut down for operating without a license.  The man behind the whole prank was comedian Nathan Fielder, who hosts Comedy Central show “Nathan For You”.  According to Nathan Fielding, Dumb Starbucks is an “art gallery”, and art galleries don’t need health permits to operate.  Therefore, while Dumb Starbucks did indeed shut down, it had every legal right to stay open.  Starbucks even claimed that they appreciated the humor of the whole situation.

via Alex Fetanat

Will Dubai’s Real Estate Market Learn from Past Mistakes?

Gary Richetelli

Real Estate in Dubai There are rumblings of a Dubai real estate bubble of late.

You may or may not have heard at this point about the speculation of another property bubble poised envelop real estate developments in Dubai. There are a few hard statistics surrounding the fact: housing prices leapt upwards of 20%, and rents increased around 17%. Even though prices aren’t expected to reach the incredible highs that they did last year, some have perceived their continued rise as a cause for concern, warning that the economy is still recovering from the disaster that was 2009.

But not all are seeing Dubai’s real estate situation as a red flag. Rory Jones of the Wall Street Journal reports, that JLL is arguing that Dubai, in fact, is not facing an inevitable bubble. JLL admits that while, the immense price jumps are unsustainable, investors won’t be so quick to make the same…

View original post 130 more words

“The artist exi…

“The artist exists because the world is not perfect. Art would be useless if the world were perfect, as man wouldn’t look for harmony but would simply live in it. Art is born out of an ill-designed world” – Andrei Tarkovsky

A great quote about art from the great Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky.

Jewelry Legend Dies

Lenny Friedman

Lenny Friedman, seated, alongside his family.

The Los Angeles jewelry industry is currently devastated at the recent death of one of its most well-known and celebrated jewelers.  Graduate gemologist and co-founder of Sarah Leonard Fine Jewelers in Los Angeles died on the 7th of February, just one day shy of his 96th birthday.  Friedman had been an active part of the jewelry industry for 67 years.  Back in 1946, he co-founded Crescent-Westwood Jewelers with his late wife.  In 1998, this store was renamed Sarah Leonard Fine Jewelers.  Originally a small, “mom and pop”-style jewelry store, the company has exploded in popularity and profitability, and is currently the oldest merchant in Los Angeles’ Westwood Village commercial center.

Over the course of his long and fruitful career, Friedman held many different positions in the jewelry industry.  He served as president of the California Jewelers Association and president of the Jewelers 24 Karat Club of Southern California.  He was a member of the American Gem Society, and once was honored with the organization’s Distinguished Service Award, as well as the Jewelers’ Security Alliance and the Jewelers Vigilance Committee.

In 1994, Friedman was inducted into the National Jeweler Retailer Hall of Fame, and was also a recipient of the Los Angeles Business Journal’s Family-Owned Business Award.  However, Friedman’s presence wasn’t exclusively in the jewelry industry.  He was president of the Westwood Village Merchants Association, as well as the Westwood Village Rotary.

A proud veteran, Friedman served in the US Army from 1942 to 1946, and received commendations from Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, in addition to numerous members of Congress, city councilmen and county supervisors.

This past October, Friedman’s wife Sunny died at the age of 91.  He is survived by his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Emerald Acquires GLM

Alex Fetanat’s newest blog post:

Emerald Expositions

Emerald Expositions, the new owner of GLM.

This Wednesday, Emerald Expositions, the parent company of National Jeweler, the JA New York shows and Couture, announced that it has finished acquiring George Little Management LLC for $335 million, a deal that was initially announced in December.  The purchase was funded with about $200 million in debt and $140 million equity investment from Onex Partners III, the private equity firm that created Emerald Expositions in June 2013 by buying the trade shows and related publications previously owned by Nielsen.

GLM organizes over 20 annual trade shows, including four of the largest 100 trade shows in the US in Design & Home Lifestyle, Sports & Active Lifestyle, E-commerce, Product Development & Sourcing and Luxury Lifestyle.  In the company’s profile, you can find a few antique jewelry shows, including the New York Antique Jewelry & Watch Show and the Las Vegas Antique Jewelry & Watch Show.  GLM is headquarterd in White Plains, NY, with additional offices across the country, and currently has 130 employees.

California-based Emerald Expositions is a leading operator of large business-to-business tradeshows in the US, producing more than 65 trade shows and conference events a year, and connects more than 335,000 buyers and sellers across nine diversified end-markets, such as jewelry, sports, general merchandise, hospitality and retail design, photography, sports, building, health care, decorated apparel and military.

via Alex Fetanat