Confessions of an American Doctor by Max Kepler

Book Summary

In 2005, I was arrested by agents from both the US Postal Service and the Food and Drug Administration for the importation of illegal human growth hormone and botulinum toxin (Botox) from China.

At the time of my arrest, I was a thirty-seven year old Harvard graduate with medical and post-doctoral degrees. I attended one of the finest residency and fellowship training programs in the world at the University of California, San Francisco. I played two sports in college, earned awards at every level of education and training, had wonderful friends and a beautiful three-year-old daughter. Having grown up the son of a restaurant manager and a housewife, I had transcended the humble beginnings of a small Midwestern town to become the quintessential American Dream.

Or so I thought.

But with my arrest on felony importation charges, everything I had worked so hard for was swept away and the entire trajectory of my life was indelibly altered. I would embark on a three year battle not only for my medical license, but also for my freedom. This journey would lead to intense personal introspection, and in that process, I would discover with ugliness, there was also beauty, and with punishment, mercy.

There are many reasons I have written this manuscript, with one of the most important being that I hoped my story would resonate with others who have gone through difficult circumstances as a consequence of a dark side of their personality. With this book, I hope to inspire others to accept and embrace the good and bad, while continually striving for improved self-understanding and acceptance.

I have changed names primarily for legal purposes, but the facts are unchanged. Although the events described in the book occurred more than ten years ago, I think about them nearly every day. The shame and humiliation are ever-present. Any simple Google search of my name reveals the truth, and that truth has affected me over and over, despite the years, as it probably should. As the judge told me that day in a federal courtroom, “You have betrayed the public’s trust.”

This is my confessional.

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San Francisco Book Review – 4 Stars

Confessions of an American Doctor is a true account of a doctor in the United States. The author has used different names to respect of the privacy of his patients and peers.

The novel opens with the arrest of Dr. Max Kepler, a rheumatologist by profession. As he is being handcuffed, the events of the previous few months flash before his eyes. He then writes a detailed account of his past, leading up to his venture into cosmetology and anti-aging clinics.

Divorced and bored with his job at Cade County Hospital, he partners up with Lance, who promises him a partnership in a startup, and together they work on medicine aimed for hair growth. Starting with that, they then foray into hormone supplementation as well as Botox and Mesotherapy. Using loopholes in the medical system of the US and the FDA, they manage to bypass standard checks as well as to use substandard compounds imported from China. Lance leads him to meet a range of businessmen interested in financing their projects. Dr. Kepler is too excited at the prospect of incoming money, and he doesn’t bother doing background checks on the sources of funds. He opens a wellness clinic by the name of Forever Lithe, which branches out to multiple locations across the country. He administers Botox, Mesotherapy, and other anti-aging and cosmetology treatments, eventually resulting in a healthy number of patients.

He has an idea that Lance supplies hormones and anabolic steroids to professional athletes, but he feels unconcerned as he is not directly supplying them. They become cautious when their supplies of human growth hormone from China are intercepted at US Customs.

Dr. Kepler didn’t bother doing a background check on Lance, and eventually, Lance’s shady past catches up with him. Lance is subsequently arrested on account of his import and illegal use of human growth hormone for anti-aging purposes on his patients, and his court proceedings are recounted as well. Read on to find out if he feels he is guilty of his crime and what will be the future of his venture with Lance.

The author has given a detailed account of his childhood, relationships, and his struggles through medical education. He also explains the uses of all the hormones they created in labs, which shows his thorough knowledge of pharmacology. His detailed understanding of the medical system of the United States and the loopholes which led to them getting away with using substandard medicines on patients have been described really well. This novel is a treat to read for medical students and current physicians of any country.

Reviewed By: Rabiya Jawed

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Clockwork Strange: Into The Whirlwind by Dale McInnes

Clockwork Strange: Into The Whirlwind by Dale McInnes

Story Summary:

A North American novel inspired by Karel Zeman’s 1955 children’s classic tale Cesta Do Praveku Our first novel begins in 1943 with the disappearance of nine children and their three puppies on a prairie farm when they discover a door to long extinct alien worlds. Their story is one of awe and exploration. It is told as two simultaneous stories, one of the repercussions on the family farm community 25 years later, and the other of how the children struggle to survive their first alien environmental ice age encounter. It is the very first time that the concept of ‘deep time’ will be told through the eyes of children [for both the children and the young adults] and kept as scientifically accurate as a good story can be told. This is the North American Debut of a prehistoric ALICE IN WONDERLAND chronicle of deep time, wherein WONDERLAND is as real as the children who tumble into it.

San Francisco Book Review:

From an author who had experienced the open space needed for a child’s imagination to truly blossom while growing up on a farm in Manitoba, Canada, Clockwork Strange: Into the Whirlwind by Dale McInnes is the first of a series of science fiction books that children will, no doubt, enjoy. Adults, meanwhile, shouldn’t hesitate to read this book at all. It brings back long-slumbering memories of a time when magic was indeed a possibility.

Albert Morley, a man of the early-to-middle twentieth century, is a crazy man, according to some. His sister-in-law isn’t overly fond of him, but really the only thing that’s wrong with him is that he had experienced something extraordinary as a child thanks to a mysterious caboose. For twenty years, Albert had been gone. Nothing had changed upon his return. Now, years later, the caboose has done it’s magic again. Nine kids and three little dogs vanish, never to be seen again.

What happened to these kids and their three little dogs reaches many ears, but what many don’t know is that these kids have been taken to a world and time where everything is big and dangerous. Cats, wolves, mammoths–everything’s big. Armed with writings that can be found in Albert’s diary, the kids have to figure out a way to survive.

Of the nine kids, Daniel assumes the leadership role. When important decisions have to be made, his voice is the one that will most likely be heard. The puppies are out of harm’s way most of the time. The kids use the knowledge from what they see as an added tool to survive. They learn to adapt to their surroundings and do what it takes to survive even when the decisions they have to make become as tough as the mammoth hides they have to cut from mammoth carcasses. Children will love the characters in this book for their bravery in the face of terrifying circumstances and will learn a thing or two about teamwork and smart strategies to fend of predators of the wild.

I did like what the author primarily tried to do and that was to write a story so that readers could experience the less technologically-ridden world of the 1930s to 1950s through the eyes of a child. Childhood is filled with magic. McInnes scatters it about freely in this book. My wish is that McInnes made the absence of the kids more emotionally relatable as we do get to follow the Morley clan back in the real world in the years after the incident with the caboose.

Reviewed By: Benjamin Ookami

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Business witches of Instagram take sorcery to a new level

Image: ambar del moral/mashable

Katie Karpetz is a business witch.

No, really. Karpetz, a Canadian who identifies as a bog witch because of her unruly hair, is literally in the business of selling products marketed specifically for other witches.

She sells everything from vintage amethyst tower wands designed to soothe insomnia, to custom-made “witch bottles” whose recipes are top secret. For the uninitiated, a witch bottle acts as a “recharging” agent for different parts of the psyche.

Her preferred medium for displaying and advertising her inventory? Her Instagram account, @WitcheryWay.

A post shared by The Witch (@witcheryway) on

Karpetz is not alone. A quick Instagram search for the hashtag #WitchesofInstagram will garner you over 700,000 results, and many of them are selling witchy wares.

There is no one particular path of witchcraft all of these business witches follow. Some identify as Wiccan, while others ascribe to Paganism, and others still prefer the term secular witchcraft. A lot of witches dont like to label their beliefs, and instead say what sort of traditions influence them the most, such as Germanic paganism, Hoodoo, root work (folk-based witchcraft), or Brujeria (Hispanic-based witchcraft).

The products the Instagram witches sell are as vast and diverse as their spiritual paths. There are magazines curated especially for witches, tarot cards with original illustrations, herbs and oils with various protection and healing properties, amulets and pendants, and, of course, an abundance of crystals.

Whats more, there exists a community among these Instagram business witches, in which the account owners often personally know and support each other with promotions, free of charge.

Everyones pretty supportive, radical feminists, building each other up, and giving shout outs to each other, said Christy Patton, founder of the New Orleans School for Esoteric Arts and operator of the witchy-lifestyle Instagram account, @NolaEsoteric.

We buy each others products, and we put them on our own Instagram stories.

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Christie Patton and Josie Campos of Nola Esoteric (left to right)

However, many of these self-made business witches did not start their Instagram accounts with the intention of building occult business empires. Karpetz began her account five years ago as a private space where she could post all the witchy stuff [she] was into, as well as items she was making for herself.

In the beginning it was just for me, Karpetz said of her Instagram account, which now has over 50,000 followers, in an email to Mashable. What started [the business] was a witch bottle I had created; after I posted it on Instagram people were asking where they could buy it.

A community of online activists

The Instagram witches are mostly self-taught through books, art, and the internet; Patton was actually inspired to start her school because of the lack of esoteric art teachers in New Orleans. However, most witches agree that witchcraft is, by nature and history, a solitary venture. That is why having the Instagram community is so unique.

We have become really close friends with some really amazing witches on Instagram, Patton said. We have friends all over the world.

Instagram is also used for promotions and feedback; most business witches actually sell their products on an accompanying website or Etsy store. Mashable reached out to Instagram for comment regarding its policy on promotion.

The promised benefits of the products range from personal improvement, such as making oneself more focused, to widespread good, like destroying fascism. Instagrams interface also allows customers to post a review as a comment right on the photo of whichever product is being advertised.

We all make very natural products for spiritual people because were ethically radical, said Josie Campos, Patton’s esoteric apprentice. We want change.

A post shared by Nola Esoteric (@nolaesoteric) on

Campos said she noticed this radical shift in the Instagram business witch community following the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The organization W.I.T.C.H. has seen a resurgence, a sizable number are signing up to hex the patriarchy, and, as an act of protest, Patton and Campos sold a special tea they created to honor the election results.

We collaborated with another Instagram witch, @cattailapothacary, and created this tea blend called This Tea Grabs Back, Patton said. It was made of cat herbs. (Don’t worry, the tea didn’t involve actual cats, just feline-named herbs and plants like pussy willow).

Its about how we as witches and as women could resist together, Campos added. And that even though we currently have to exist within a capitalist system, we can do it ethically.

Patton believes the political climate following the election has led to a surge in witchcrafts popularity as a whole, which she says she has seen, albeit anecdotally, reflected in her own business.

Witchcraft has been a big thing because of that feeling of hopelessness, Patton said. Especially right now, now that hopelessness is more accentuated. Most people are looking for answers and looking for change, and theyll keep practicing witchcraft if it helps them feel better.

Commercialization: for better or worse

Its hard to miss the recent commercialization and popularization of witchcraft in mainstream culture. Lana Del Rey has tweeted out the best dates for spell-casting and Urban Outfitters now sells crystals (and perfume with crystals in it), spell books, and tarot cards.

Many of the Instagram witches dont take issue with magic becoming more mainstream. They do, however, have a problem with the methods mainstream retailers use. Campos and Patton wanted to stress that their products are created differently from those of a big-box chain.

All our herbs are organic and fair trade; we grow them ourselves,” Patton said.

Patton, Campos and the other business witches of Instagram are aware that many people who buy their products and witchy products from other stores are not interested in becoming practicing pagans. The idea of a witchy aesthetic has become something cultivated by many millennials, and they know it.

It doesnt bother us if theyre just interested in that. If youre interested in the aesthetic, I hope you stay for the products, Patton said.

Patton and Campos call these people dabblers, and warned that dabbling in witchcraft is not advisable.

When youre dabbling youre not taking yourself seriously, Campos said. Its dangerous and something people shouldnt try; its not just fun, muggles, Harry Potter its a spiritual belief.

Some members of the community disagree; they do not see a danger in people trying on witchcraft for size. Sarah Telaar (Gwen Hawk on social media) who is from Germany and runs the popular Instagram account @ancient_hearts, said one of her products in particular is aimed at newcomers.

I feel like a certain range of products, like my Herb Witch Boxes that are really popular, go out to people that are new to witchcraft or want to start learning more, Telaar said via email to Mashable. Which is absolutely perfect because these products are designed as starter kits for beginners.

Not all Instagram witches, however, are okay with the appropriation of the occult as an aesthetic. Olivia McMaster, a practicing Wiccan who is active in the Instagram witch community, said she finds the idea of a witchy aesthetic irksome.

I find it disrespectful to an extent, she said in an email to Mashable. While being interested in a faith or culture is great, using our symbols and traditions for your aesthetic isnt ok. Its a culture and a tradition and something that I and other witches take seriously, and commercializing our religion is hurtful.

McMaster did contend, however, that the commercialization did have some benefits.
It gets the publics attention to the truth about witchcraft, she said. Its not like American Horror Story: Coven. Were real people with an amazing and unique and diverse religion, and I wish people saw the real us, not the make-believe, Hollywood depiction of witches.

Moving forward: the future of the business witch

The movement of magic into mainstream culture, Patton said, has allowed many older witches to come out of the broom closet, and be open and proud of their spirituality.

McMaster agreed that the publics fear of witches and witchcraft has begun to dim in recent years. We can be more vocal about our beliefs nowadays, and on social media, people are seemingly more accepting, she said.

As for the future, the witches believe that, despite the current state of affairs in the world, the future is bright. Patton and Campos are even planning to open a physical store to sell their products and, presumably, advertise their wares on Instagram. They view their enterprise as more than just a store they see it, and their social media presence, as a way to shape the future.

A post shared by Nola Esoteric (@nolaesoteric) on

Its about re-educating the next generation, Patton said. All these old, white dudes will be dead in 15 to 20 years, and we have to be able to shape how the world will change. Instagram is just one tool to do that.

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Lucia Zarate By Cecilia Velastegui

Lucia Zarate Cover

Story summary:

Lucia Zárate is based on the poignant, real-life odyssey of the world’s smallest woman. Pretty and gregarious, Lucia Zárate was just twenty inches tall. A celebrity after her ‘display’ at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial International Exhibition, Lucia’s extraordinary, heartbreaking story is one of exploitation by greedy sideshow hucksters and a fishbowl existence on the road, from New York to Victorian London. We follow the adventures of diminutive Lucia Zárate and her devoted governess as they grapple with life and death, finding joy and adventure in their bumpy sideshow journey of more than fourteen years. This is an artfully balanced novel that is a mesmerizing tale of survival, resilience, and the uplifting force of friendship.

Forward Review:

The sad life story of the diminutive Lucia Zárate is intriguing and informative.

Cecilia Velástegui’s historical novel, Lucia Zárate, chronicles the extraordinary life of the tiniest person who ever lived. The opening pages, lyrical and riveting, paint Mexico with vivid brushstrokes, bringing the sights, sounds, and smells of Veracruz and its vanilla bean industry to life.

Like all historical fiction, Lucia Zárate plaits fact and fancy. Lucia Zárate (January 2, 1864–January 15, 1890) holds the Guinness World Record as the smallest human, measuring twenty-one inches tall and weighing less than five pounds at seventeen years of age. Velástegui describes her as “a wisp of a girl, a perfect and miniature thing, whose singular appearance and sparkling personality were as unique as the cherished fragrance of Veracruz vanilla.” Despite her diminutive size, she “spread the velvet folds and lace frills of her gowns in such a way that she extended her personal space in a wide circle all around her.”

Incorporated into the fictitious elements are actual newspaper accounts of Lucia’s nineteenth-century tour of America and Europe. Sometimes these factual reports are artfully woven into the tale; other times, not. As a result, the book wavers between pure history and historical fiction, never landing squarely on either one.

Lucia’s story is told primarily from the vantage point of her governess, Zoila. When Zoila realizes she must extricate herself from her village’s internecine vanilla bean trade skirmishes, as well as from the rumors swirling around her own perhaps-nefarious actions, she tucks a vial of her beloved Felipe’s salvaged blood between her ample breasts and heads out. She secures a position as governess for the improbably tiny Lucia, whose parents have contracted for their daughter to perform in human curiosity sideshows. Zoila accompanies the Lilliputian girl on the decade-long tour, with visits to domestic and foreign heads of state, as well as considerable time spent among seedy denizens and gawking voyeurs.

Lucia and Zoila are well-drawn and complex figures; their emotions ebb and flow according to the particular circumstances they encounter, making them believable characters. Other individuals, however, are less fully developed; they include slimy carnival hucksters, cruel freak-show managers, and greedy parents who want to live in luxury, financed on the back of their tiny treasure of a daughter. Aside from Zoila and Lucia, not one compassionate or multifaceted individual appears in the story. Well-rounded supporting characters would have made the fictive elements more credible.

This sad life story is intriguing and informative. Velástegui’s sensitive descriptions of humans with a variety of deformities and odd conditions is commendable, as is her condemnation of their abominable treatment in nineteenth-century sideshows. Lucia Zárate should appeal to people interested in the human psyche, and those drawn to history should appreciate the author’s adherence to carefully researched historical details. Also, young adults with sophisticated vocabularies should enjoy this book.

Available on Amazon –

Author Bio:

Cecilia Velástegui’s historical novels have received international awards: LUCIA ZARATE (2017) is a finalist for Best Historical Fiction and is in competition with an international, literary giant: Arturo Pérez Reverte. Her novel PARISIAN PROMISES won the Paris Book Award (2015), MISSING IN MACHU PICCHU (2014) won first place in the International Latino Book Awards, the nation’s oldest Hispanic literary awards, TRACES OF BLISS (2013) was selected by the Association of American Publishers to the National Book Club, and GATHERING THE INDIGO MAIDENS (2012) was a runner up for the Mariposa Prize. Her children’s bilingual fables were endorsed by the SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION, and were finalists for the Foreword Reviews Book of the Year.

Cecilia has a graduate degree from the University of Southern California, is a former Marriage and Family Therapist, has traveled to more than 100 countries and speaks four languages. She serves on the board of directors of several cultural and educational institutions.

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Why Mika and Joe Fell for the Magic of Nantucket

Before the rich and perennially preppy make their ceremonial, beginning-of-summer voyage to Nantucket next Memorial Day weekend; before the islands downtown cobblestone streets are clogged with fancy SUVs, popped collars and rampaging tourists in high-season, visitors and residents may catch a glimpse of Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough in newlywed blush.

The Morning Joe co-anchors were at the Harvard Institute of Politics in D.C. on Wednesday night when Scarborough told the crowd that he and Brzezinski might get married in Nantucket next spring.

The island nuptials arent set in stone (Brzezinski said they dont know because we have people to talk to; Scarborough said they have to make sure our kids are okay with it), but the two have reportedly been establishing roots in the cosseted New England enclave in the months since Scarborough proposed to Brzezinski during a late-May trip to Frances Antibes, another fancy coastal retreat.

The two spent the 4th of July holiday there, according to the Boston Globe, after responding on Morning Joe to President Trumps Twitter snit attacking the poorly rated show and claiming he refused to spend time with the morning hosts (low I.Q. Crazy Mika and Psycho Joe) during a New Years Eve trip to Mar-a-Lago because Brzezinski was bleeding badly from a face-lift.

They reportedly spent some of the weekend house shopping, though no word yet on where theyre looking to nest on the crescent-shaped island. And Nantuckets real estate agents are keeping mum on the subject.

I make my living off of selling properties to very important people–some celebrities, some TV and movie people, some Wall Street people, Michael OMara, principal broker at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Island Properties, declared wryly in a phone conversation with The Daily Beast. And the reason I get to sell them to the big celebs is because I dont talk about it.

Indeed, Nantucket has long been a vacation destination for the famous and fantastically rich, from Hollywood stars to political power players and Wall Street heavyweights. Drew Barrymore escapes to the island with her husband Will Kopelman, whose family owns a house there.

Ben Stiller is a longtime resident; likewise Tommy Hilfiger, whose 10-bedroom estate went on sale for $27 million in 2013. Former Secretary of State John Kerry and his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, have a waterfront home on the tony Hulbert Avenue, which is also on the market for $25 million (their 76-foot sailboat, Isabel, is going for $4 million).

Other big-name homeowners include General Electric chief executive Jack Welch, Google exec Eric Schmidt, Barclays chief Bob Diamond, and Tim Broas who served as ambassador to the Netherlands under the Obama administration.

Theres also a large contingent of current and former NBC execs and media personalities on the island, which may be part of the appeal for Scarborough and Brzezinski. Bob Wright, chairman of NBC Universal, has a house there, as do Greta Van Susteren, Chris Matthews, David Gregory, who was ousted as host of NBCs Meet the Press last year and is now a political analyst at CNN, and the family of late Meet the Press moderator Tim Russert (his wife Maureen Orth and son Luke Russert).

Scarborough has been vacationing on Nantucket for years, and has occasionally tuned in to Morning Joe remotely from a public-access station on the island. But he was first introduced to Nantucket through Bob Wright in 2004, who invited Scarborough and his former wife to the Nantucket Film Festival.

Nothing draws you to an island like your boss telling you to go, Scarborough told Nantucket magazine in a 2010 cover feature. Within five minutes after getting off the plane, my wife Susan turned to me and said this place is special and we fell in love with it immediately.

Asked about Nantuckets magnetic appeal to NBC execs and staffers, Scarborough replied: I think it all started with Jack Welch and Bob Wright but there are very few places that have me thinking, Oh, Ive got to come back here with my family as soon as possible. It was just one of those places where we went for business and stayed for love.

OMara said that confidentiality agreements are almost always involved in sales to the famous and powerful. But he allowed that Polpis, a village on the north east side of the island, has become a real estate hot spot in recent years for those in search of seclusion and sprawling acreage.

You get privacy, forest, topographyits not the sand dune up there, he said.

Roughly five miles to town, five miles to Nantuckets renowned Sankaty Head Golf Club, and a stones throw from the luxury Wauwinet hotel and its swanky Toppers restaurant, Polpis is fetching some of the biggest prices on the island.

One Polpis estate, a 64-acre compound on a private peninsula known as Swains Neck, is on the market for $35 milliondown from $59 million in 2012 (at the time, it was the priciest publicly listed home for sale in New England, and among the 20 most expensive publicly listed properties across the country).

But OMara, who has lived on Nantucket year-round for more than forty years, said high-profile people who come to the island generally dont have to worry about fans incessantly asking for autographs.

The only famous guest who I can remember being harassed was Richard Nixon on Main Street in September 1980, said OMara. He wasnt president anymore but he still had secret service with him.

Celebrities like Kevin Spacey, Leonardo DiCaprio, James Franco, Kourtney Kardashian, and Woody Allen have all visited the island in recent years. Last summer, Woody Allen and his wife Soon-Yi were seen having dinner at Cru, one of Nantuckets more chi-chi restaurants. Kourtney Kardashian was spotted last summer at the Chicken Box, a nightclub and island institution.

The Box is both the diviest of dive bars and the sceniest of clubs, said Tamara Greenman, who founded La Rock Events, an event planning business on the island, and also works as a real estate agent at J Pepper Frazier Co., one of Nantuckets better known family-operated real estate firms. The Box has managed to stay relevant with a mix of fresh new bands and classics every night of the week, she said, noting that its gritty charm makes the interminably long lines worth waiting in for patrons.

A former Democratic operative who lives on the island and spoke on condition of anonymity said more people from Washington are summering in Nantucket because its become easier to get to in recent years, with direct flights from D.C. National Airport.

Its definitely more discovered now than it was five years ago because there are so many more ways to get here now, said Dalton Frazier, principal broker at J Pepper Frazier Co., adding that easier access to the islands charms correlates to a surge in real estate market value. At the same time, he said, supply is going down because every real estate transaction comes with a 2 percent land bank tax. There are also a bunch of other conservation groups buying up open land, which is protected and wont go back into the market.

2005 remains the most lucrative year for Nantucket real estate (with total sales of $1.2 billion), though Frazier notes that the $1 billion threshold has been crossed during three other years since thenand expects the market to do so again in 2017.

Indeed, decades-old salty restaurants are being replaced by hip ones or, in the case of The Club Caran upscale restaurant famous for its old-school piano bargetting a hip makeover.

The chefs of the celebrated, 42-year-old Straight Wharf restaurant, which overlooks the harbor, bought the Club Car last year and re-opened it over Memorial Day weekend.

They kept the name but it has a totally different vibe now, said Holly Finigan, founder of the Nantucket blACKbook, a fashion and lifestyle blog based on the island. Its becoming more of a melting pot: the really cool global people and thought leaders who are discovering the island mixed with the locals.

Despite all of the development, almost half of Nantuckets is under conservation, including the breathtaking bluff (and its sleeve of white beach) in the town of Siasconset on the east side of the island. Its 10 miles of public beach are all the more appealing in the off-season, when the odds of being alone on the coastlinejust you, a few piping plovers, and, perhaps, a private plane carrying Brzezinski and Scarborough overheadare rather high.

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The Rock is very happy Elizabeth Warren is a huge ‘Ballers’ fan

Image: Getty Images for Paramount Pictu

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson can smell what Elizabeth Warren is cooking … and he likes it.

On Friday afternoon, the movie star tweeted this after it was revealed that the Democratic senator from Massachusetts was a big fan of the HBO show Ballers, which is basically Entourage but with sports agents:

In a segment for Full Frontal, Warren sat down with host Samantha Bee, where it was revealed the senator had a huge crush on The Rockwhich, I mean, who doesn’t.

But stranger was her apparent love of Ballers, a show in which Johnson and Rob Corddry, um, do agent things? Imagine a Lil Wayne video with some SportsCenter clips thrown in.

Corddry even popped up with a cardboard cutout of The Rock to surprise a delighted Warren.

Its actually a story about hard work, Warren said. Its a story about perseverance, its a story about reaching within yourself for something youre not 100 percent sure is there.”

Looks like someone just locked up the jacked bros vote.

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Use These Words In Your Next Dating App Message To Actually Get A Reply

There’s nothing more intimidating than a blinking cursor on yourscreen except maybe theempty dating app message that followsit. What should yousay? How much is much? Who the hell’s going to check yourspelling? For a process that is suppose to ease the trials and tribulations of dating,the whole thing is a lot of work.

Now, you can take comfort in the fact that there is anonline dating study that shows what exactly you need to say in order to get a reply.Deep breaths, folks, we’re going to get through this one blank message at a time.

Initiating a conversation is never without its woes, and Plenty of Fish totally gets it. Should you hint that you’re approaching your 30s and need to get the ball rolling? How soon is it to ask if he’s a dog person?Before you spill your guts, the online dating sitesays to start with a compliment, a surefire way to get someone’s attention.

Rather than begin with a list of things that won’t work his inability to watch reruns of , the whole I need to get engaged now so my timeline won’t be offtrack mentality start with something positive.

Buzzwords like pretty, handsome, and nice are good ways to pique someone’s interest. Plenty of Fish found that these words, among others, are more likely to get a reply.

The site’s communication manager Shannon Smith spoke to Brit & Co. and said, We scoured through 60 thousand messages to identify the top words used by men and women that actually lead to conversations; we love that subtle compliments make all the difference!

And, to make things all the more simpler, you can check out the list of top 10 words used by both men and women that were deemed conversation-making.

These were the words women used to get things cooking.

  1. Nice
  2. Love
  3. Handsome
  4. Great
  5. Smile
  6. Beautiful
  7. Cute
  8. Interested
  9. Chat
  10. Meet

Here are the words men used that saw positive results.

  1. Beautiful
  2. Love
  3. Nice
  4. Gorgeous
  5. Pretty
  6. Sexy
  7. Today
  8. Great
  9. Smile
  10. Interested

So if you’re looking for a little summer romance, start using these words in your online dating messages and see where they take you.

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The Salad Oil King–by author M.G. Crisci (10th book)

Story Summary:

THE SALAD OIL KING  is a uniquely American tale of Greed-Gone-Mad. Inspired by real events that took place in the 1940-60’s. An unpretentious, diminutive Manhattan-born high school drop-out named Alfonso Gravenese morphs into one of the great scam artists in American financial history.

Watch “Fonso” graduate from a modest childhood scam into an executive who initially steals hundreds of millions of dollars from Federal domestic and international aid programs. And ultimately becomes a cunning entrepreneur who creates a $14 billion Wall Street scam that halts NYSE trading and destroys two venerable brokerage firms.

Along the way, you meet an unforgettable collection of friends, enemies and accomplices. Notably benevolent Mobsters, a jealous and compliant wife, a vicious yet oddly romantic right-hand man, and a collection of opportunistic Government and Church officials.

And a surprising ending that will leave you wondering.

Reviewer called it “A Classic American Crime Story by a Master Story Teller.”  The author says it’s based on real events and the research and interviews took him about 5 years to complete.

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5 Stars San Francisco Book Review-

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Fathers Raising Children In The Worlds Largest Refugee Camp

Earlier this year, UNICEF and photographer Jiro Ose visited Bidi Bidi and Kyaka II, two refugee camps in Uganda. While there, Ose photographed fathers and their young children who are striving to make a home no matter how difficult their current circumstance.

Ose's series of photographs is part of #EarlyMomentsMatter, UNICEF's campaign seeking to illustrate the long term effects of early childhood experiences and environments.


Congolese refugee Everest Andama, 27, cradles his five-year-old daughter Agnes Draru, as he sits with his one-year-old daughter Sarah Muguchi and his wife Margrat Achema, 24, in the Kyaka II refugee settlement in western Uganda. Born to Congolese refugees, Everest has spent his whole life in the settlement. There are only two health centres, 9 kilometres apart, and six early childhood development centres but with 26 villages in the settlement housing 24,000 refugees, 20 per cent of whom are between ages of 0 to 4, access to quality health and early education services can be limited, a situation Everest and his family are all too familiar with.


Congolese refugee Everest Andama, 27, cradles his five-year-old daughter Agnes Draru, outside their shelter in the Kyaka II refugee settlement in western Uganda. His wife Margrat Achema, 24, stands behind with their one-year-old daughter Sarah Muguchi. When my wife went into labour with Agnes, I took her to the health centre. When [Agnes] was born she was unconscious. They took the baby and my wife to the ward. After they discharged us, she wasnt like other children. Her neck was not stable. We were referred to a hospital three hours away, said Everest. Agnes suffered irreversible brain damage from being starved of oxygen at birth. In the same health centre where she was born, 100 babies are delivered every month, 16 of the deliveries are emergency cases and with the nearest theatre three hours drive away, the mothers and babies are at risk of dying on route.


Congolese refugee Everest Andama, 27, holds his five-year-old daughter Agnes Draru and gentle pulls on her cheek to calm her inside their shelter in the Kyaka II refugee settlement in western Uganda. Agnes cant talk, walk, or feed by herself. Everest carries her in his arms or lays her on the floor as he sits by her side. He feeds her with his hands, but even thats a struggle as she cant swallow well. All my children are a gift from God. I am willing and I will do it takes. I touch her face to comfort her. She likes to listen to the radio whilst shes laying down, said Everest. His advice to other parents in his situation is to be patient, they did not request this to happen to them. You must stay and work together for the sake of the child. Support each other in the home. I spend all my time with my child, I cant go to work because I have to take care of my child.


South Sudanese refugee and father-of-three Idro Erikole, 28, (back right) his wife Delima Susan, 27, (left) his daughters Anit Gale, 13, (centre back) Gloria Confidence, 3, (front right) and Gift Daniella, 2 months sit together in their shelter in the Bidi Bidi refugee settlement, northern Uganda. South Sudanese father-of-three Idro Erikole, 28, and his wife Delima Susan, 27, were forced to flee to the settlement after violence erupted in Juba, South Sudan. The couple met when they were just 13 years old, having both spent their childhood living as refugees after their parents fled the Sudan conflict before they were born. They returned to their home country of South Sudan when the war prior to independence ended, but nearly six years later then were forced to return to Uganda. There was no food, we couldnt survive. We tried to remain in these conditions but inflation came and they worsened. We couldnt afford anything, which created another war against us. In July 2016, heavier war broke out. We couldnt tolerate it. Before we could leave we spent two days indoors without cooking or eating, said Idro.


South Sudanese refugee and father-of-three Idro Erikole, 28, and his daughter Gloria Confidence, 3, sit together stroking their chicken in their shelter in the Bidi Bidi refugee settlement, northern Uganda. Despite only being open for less than a year, Ugandas Bidi Bidi refugee settlement is now the largest refugee camp in the world. Men are few and far between as women and children make up around 86 per cent of the camps residents. Idro promised his own father that he would get an education but the war forced him to leave a month before he was due to graduate from university in Juba. His wife, a former nurse, was forced to run without her papers, destroying everything theyd worked towards. We came to the reception centre in Uganda for our own safety. I couldnt get a plot of land because they were reserved for families of four and there were just four of us as my wife was pregnant with Gift Daniella. We spent a month in the reception centre, and then we were brought here to the bush. My wife harvested grass, I made bricks and we made our home. Im making a bed at the moment for my children,


South Sudanese refugee and father-of-three Idro Erikole, 28, and his daughter Gloria Confidence, 3, play together in their shelter in the Bidi Bidi refugee settlement, northern Uganda. My daughter asks me when are we going home, I hold her to my side, said Idro. If I cant fulfil for my family, I am not happy. Idro is a Village Health Team worker. He offers guidance to families on how to prevent malnutrition, an issue affecting the lives and growth of many children fleeing South Sudan. He learnt more about what children need in the earliest years of life through his role, but his foundation of knowledge was already laid during his own childhood. My mother was very lovely to me. She cared for my hunger. When I was sick, she cared for me. I learnt lessons from her. I love my mother more than anything. I see my wife growing into my mother, and I love her more than anything tooand my three girls.


Idro Erikole, 28, and his daughter Gloria Confidence, 3, play together in their shelter in the Bidi Bidi refugee settlement, northern Uganda. Idro and his family dont know when they will return home but he is determined to make the settlement as homely as possible for his children. He is building a second house so that there is more space for everyone.


Single-father-of-four and Congolese refugee (centre front) Twana Hashim, 26, his twelve-year-old daughter Jalia Hashim (centre back), eight-year-old son Hussein Hashim (right), six-year-old son Jaida Hashim (left) and three-year-old daughter Malik Hashim sit outside their shelter in the Kyaka II refugee settlement, western Uganda, Monday 27 March 2017. Twana fled from the Democratic Republic of Congo in March 2016 to Uganda after his wife was raped in front of him and his children. I came to Uganda with my children. My wife was raped and taken by the rebels. I dont know where she is now. They tortured me and beat me. My children were there, they cried and shouted, says Twana. I have so many challenges for my children. I cant walk anymore, but I wake up and I get them ready for school, I prepare them lunch. I wash their clothes. This takes me to early evening. I remain with them in the home, and I give them advice. At 7pm they go to sleep, says Twana. Even if today we are in bad conditions, even if you dont have everything you want. Tomorrow is another day. I want them to be respectful. They tell me what they did at school and I feel good. Malik likes jumping. She stays with me until the others get home from school. They like to chase each other.


Matthew Mwingi Mukhtar, 22, (right) plays football with his son Tambwoa Collins, 4, (left) as his daughter Joyce Nam Kendo, 3, (centre) watches them outside their shelter in Bidi Bidi refugee settlement in Yumbe district, northern Uganda, Tuesday 21 March 2017. Surrounded by violence and a shortage of food, Matthew and his wife knew that their environment was no place for young children to grow up in. We left [South Sudan] because of the hunger, and the killings. They kill innocent civilians. You cannot move. The economic crisis caused food prices to go up. You find people killed in the road. We heard gunshots and I was worried I would lose my family, says Matthew.


Matthew Mwingi Mukhtar, 22, (second left), his wife Senya Rose, 19, (second right) their son four-month-old son Emmanuel Bgue, (right), son Tambwoa Collins, 4, (left) and daughter Joyce Nam Kendo, 3, sit together in their shelter in Bidi Bidi refugee settlement in Yumbe district, northern Uganda. I keep my stress to myself, even my wife, I dont want them to worry. I dont want to make them unhappy. I want my children to know that their father loves them. Being a good father is being faithful to one another; you must be exemplary, so they can achieve; bringing them new things, playing with them, when you play with them they know you love them, said Matthew.


South Sudanese refugee Michael Abel, 30, plays a game using pebbles with his children Rasheed Isbon, 4 (right), and Fizer Gloria, 2, (centre) outside their shelter in Bidi Bidi refugee settlement in Yumbe district, northern Uganda. Michael arrived at the settlement with his wife Mary Michael and their two children in August 2016 after fleeing violence in South Sudan. The couple also care for their nephew Boniface Hussain, who was abandoned after his father was killed and his mother remarried.


Michael Abel, 30, hugshis daughter Fizer Gloria, 2, outside their shelter in Bidi Bidi refugee settlement in Yumbe district, northern Uganda. This isnt the first time the family have been uprooted. Originally from Bor, South Sudan, they were forced to flee to the capital Juba, when intense fighting broke out in the worlds youngest state. The violence spread and once again the family was forced to flee, making their way across the border into Uganda. They will slaughter you. They even kill the small persons. They rape grandmothers and then slaughter them too. My brother was killed. They burn peoples houses. By the power of God we are still here, says Michael.


Michael Abel, 30, (back left) plays a game of cards with his children Rasheed Isbon, 4 (centre), and Fizer Gloria, 2, (left) alongside his wife Mary Michael, 24, (back right) and their nephew Boniface Hussain, 4, outside their shelter in Bidi Bidi refugee settlement in Yumbe district, northern Uganda. Im not dead, so I will always continue to play. Playing helps children, says Michael, who is committed to giving his children what they need to develop I grew up as an orphan. I didnt get the chance to grow.


South Sudanese refugee and father-of-five Anyano Simon Chira, 29, plays a game with the materials he has available to him with his children Onzima, 9, Emmanuel Prichi, 5, Anyama Godwin, 4, and Anzo Fortunate, 3, in the Pagirinya refugee settlement, eastern Adjumani district, northern Uganda. In March 2017, Anyano Simon Chira and his wife Susan Kiden Simon and their children live in the Pagirinya refugee settlement in the eastern Adjumani District in northern Uganda. The refugee settlement, which opened in June 2016, is home to thousands of families. Anyano and his family, who were given a 25ft by 25ft plot of land once they were registered and transitioned, were forced to flee South Sudan due to the ongoing conflict and shortage of food due to insecurity and a dramatic increase in prices for food items. Originally from Nimule, South Sudan – near the border with Uganda – the family do not know when they will be able to return home.


Anyano Simon Chira, 29, interacts with his six-month-old daughter in their shelter at the Pagirinya refugee settlement, eastern Adjumani district, northern Uganda. Families often face emotional stress as a result of the horrors they have witnessed, leaving them at risk of being unable to provide a positive environment for their children to grow up in. In emergencies across the world, UNICEFs Early Childhood Development centres provide a safe space for young children to play and give parents access to psychosocial support to make sure they are able to give babies and young children the love, good nutrition, protection and stimulation through playing that they need for healthy development creating a lasting impact on their present and future health, happiness, and ability to learn.


Congolese refugees (from right) five-year-old David Isabel, six-year-old Esteli Kayesu, two-year-old Mugenyl Alinaitwe, father Benjamin Kisembo, 38, three-year-old Priscilla Katinisa, and eight-year-old Joshua Byamukarma sit in their shelter in the Kyaka II refugee settlement, western Uganda. Father-of-six Benjamin Kisembo lives in the Kyaka II refugee settlement in western Uganda with five of their children. The Kyaka II settlement opened in 1983 to accommodate an influx of Rwandan refugees and is one of the oldest settlements in the country. Everest has lived his whole life in the settlement.At 81 square kilometers, the settlement is vast and sparse. There are two health centres, 9 kilometres apart, and six early childhood development nursery schools, but with 26 villages in the settlement housing 24,000 refugees, 20 per cent of whom are between ages of 0 to 4, access to quality health and early education services can be limited. Benjamin, who arrived at the settlement in 2003 after being forced to flee the Democratic Republic of Congo, is a dedicated father who understands the impact that a strong parent-child bond has on his childrens development. I am always here for to bond with them. From conception to now, I am always here. In my tribe, this is normal, I have to take full responsibility. I think that by me treating my children with care, it helps them grow. It will stay with them, and one day when they get a family, they will do the same, says Benjamin.

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The Z Grills Elite 900 is an all-in one cookout workhorse thats easy to use

Its just about time for BBQ season regardless of where you happen to be in North America, which means grilling time, too. The Z Grills Elite 900 is a new smoker/BBQ/general purpose cooker option that combines a lot of versatility into a relatively compact package, without requiring the kind of special attention and handholding that you often get with real wood smoker options.

Z Grills is a U.S. company based out of Burlingame, California, headed by founder Jasper Yu. The young company has a team of engineers working on its design, which incorporates the easy, single dial cooking style of most gas and propane BBQs, with real wood smoke and flavor from a pellet feeder and electric heating element design.

This lets it achieve both consistent and reliable convection-based heat, as well as generate smoke from a range of different wood pellet types of fuel, which means you can get a lot of different flavors depending on what youre cooking. These come out relatively subtle, in my testing, which is great, because often what happens with other styles of cookers like this is that the smoke flavor becomes really overwhelming, no matter how easy you try to go.

Z Grill is also surprisingly easy to set up and get started with, another failing of some competing devices. I actually assembled my test unit without even looking at any instructions for how to put it together (partly because i wanted to see how easy it was to do this, and partly just because thats often how I roll, even with advanced Ikea stuff), and it took under an hour and very few tools. After that, getting started actually cooking stuff was as easy as putting pellets in the hopper, plugging it in and setting the dial. Once youre ready to go, its no more difficult than using a propane or natural gas grill, which is to say, its dead simple.

A temperature range of 180 to 450 degrees means you can go low and slow or high and quick depending on your goals, and theres a top rack for more grill real estate within. The cooking space isnt huge, by large BBQ standards, but whats impressive is how much surface area for actually grilling you get without a gargantuan machine on the outside; this ended up being perfect size for my city rowhouse back deck, which doesnt have a tremendous amount of space.

  1. Z Grills Elite 900

  2. Z Grills Elite 900

  3. Z Grills Elite 900

  4. Z Grills Elite 900

Not only does the design maximize utility and minimize footprint, but it also comes with very durable and weather resistant metal construction. The look is somewhat retro, with a stack-style chimney on the side, too. My one caveat when using the grill is that it does put out a fair amount of smoke, especially at startup, so make sure your neighbors are cool with it mine ended up complimenting the smell.

The Z Grills Elite 900 already ran a successful Indiegogo campaign, raising nearly $400,000 during its campaign, but its still available for pre-order via the crowdfunding site. A $399 USD pledge will get you one of the units, with shipping included to U.S. customers, and thats roughly 40% off what itll cost at retail. Shipments of the Z Grill start in July, but ship times may vary depending on where you end up in the queue.

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