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She's Now a CEO in Silicon Valley. As a 22-year-old marine, Ramona Pierson spent most days stuck in an office at the El Toro air station near Irvine, Calif. She excelled at math and was doing top-secret work, coming up with algorithms to aid fighter attack squadrons. Pierson enjoyed the covert puzzling.

Then he told me a story about humping a model from the nudie mag Perfect 10. And that is how I ended up in a 10th-floor suite of the trendy Maritime Hotel around 11 p.m. with Dov Charney, the 35-year-old senior partner and founder of American Apparel, and one of his female employees. I asked him how he relaxed.

The Tesla Motors (TSLA) design studio in Los Angeles is a huge open space that usually has a couple of prototype cars on the floor and parts scattered along the walls. Tonight, it’s a lounge, with red lighting, white leather couches dotting tiered plateaus of AstroTurf, Daft Punk on the sound system, and women in little black dresses serving cocktails. A few hundred guests mingle and snap photos. Most are local owners of the Model S, the luxury sedan Tesla introduced last year to near-universal acclaim.

This coffee is legendary in the Bay Area, and now that Blue Bottle has expanded to New York, I’m sure its name echoes on the streets of Manhattan and Williamsburg, too. Brewed with chicory, cut with whole milk, sweetened with cane sugar, it’s a cold coffee beverage that is at once sophisticated and unpretentious. It’s not an austere challenge to the Starbucks-trained palate like so much of high-brow coffee culture. It just tastes good in an interesting way.

Parsons, the former Montgomery Ward executive, and Mike Reinero, a Roseville entrepreneur, said the primary obstacle in the El Dorado project had been naturally occurring asbestos. When that project collapsed under the weight of environmental issues, they said, they were eager to help Carpenter find a new location.

Before the Civil War, most black barbers explicitly groomed wealthy white men, like businessmen and politicians. Black customers were not allowed to get haircuts in these black-owned barbershops, mainly because white customers didn’t want black customers getting shaved next to them. That smacked too much of social equality, so barbers capitulated to the wishes of their white customers both in the North and the South.

Douglas T. “Chase” Fonteno has made a living acquiring other people’s houses, particularly in the lowest-income neighborhoods of southern Dallas. If he had paid the legal owners or obtained their consent, his story wouldn’t be remarkable. But according to official property records and Fonteno’s own statements, his empire was built in part by acquiring scores of houses without the owners’ knowledge and without paying them a dime.

At any given point, the 38-year-old, her sharp features framed by brown hair and offset tonight with raspberry lipstick, is working with some 30 composers, hardly letting her seventh month of pregnancy slow her down. As Matarazzo approaches the theater entrance, one of two sexagenarian women collecting tickets says, “This is probably not what you’re looking for. This is a sneak preview.” With chunky necklaces, dyed hair, and sneakers, they look like the kind of retirees who make a hobby of these things

Mine is a family that takes six months to decide who’ll host the annual Christmas Eve party. The prospect of the dozens of us cousins jockeying for eternal occupancy of those remaining grave sites (“There are also guidelines about burials of spouses of family members”) is dizzying.

It is said, by people who would know, that at its peak, Colombia’s infamous Medellín drug cartel was spending $2,500 a month on rubber bands to wrap around bricks of cash. The arithmetic of human excess begins to acquire mythic status when money becomes nearly impossible to count and we are left to communicate chiefly through estimates and legends, like the one in which Pablo Escobar set fire to $2 million in cash to create a fire for his daughter when they were on the run and she got cold.

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