BILLIONAIRES ARE BUILDING LAVISH COMPOUNDS TO PREPARE FOR THE END OF THE WORLD

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Billionaires are buying houses in New Zealand – either because it’s an incredible, unspoiled paradise, or because global civilization is on the brink of utter collapse. Maybe both.

One of the highest profile New Zealand preppers is Peter Thiel, the Paypal cofounder who bankrupted Gawker and reportedly wants to inject himself with the blood of young people. (Definitely the kind of guy whose example you should be following.) According to reports, Thiel owns two properties in New Zealand. The first is a sprawling, 477-acre estate in the country’s Southern Alps (the area where “Lord of the Rings” was filmed; note that Thiel is a known JRR Tolkien obsessive who’s named several of his companies after Tolkien characters), for which he paid $10 million. BILLIONAIRES ARE BUILDING LAVISH COMPOUNDS TO PREPARE FOR THE END OF THE WORLD

HERE COMES THE SUN

If you’ve lived in D.C. for more than a year or two, you know that the first days of spring usually arrive sometime in February. Residents originating from colder climes find this puzzling and somewhat disconcerting at first. But then they get used to it, and they realize that they must keep all their clothing — heavy coats, rain boots, bathing suits, etc. — handy at all times, because you never know when you’re going to need one of them here. In fact, you might need all three in one day. HERE COMES THE SUN

CAN YOU ADOPT? YES

A recent Washington Post story revealed how the process of adopting a pet is becoming almost as involved as the process of adopting a child. Restrictions are mounting, to the point where the president and CEO of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was ruled unfit to adopt a dog.

Although policies are becoming tougher, most government-run animal shelters do not place unreasonable restrictions on potential adopters. After all, the animals need homes. At the same time, careful vetting of potential adopters helps cut down on animal returns, since shelter workers can better match pets with appropriate homes when they have the right information. CAN YOU ADOPT? YES

THIS SOCIALIST WW2 REFUGEE IS THE REASON YOU BUY TOO MUCH STUFF AT WHOLE FOODS

After Victor Gruen fled war-torn Europe in 1938, he landed in New York with eight dollars in his pocket.  Within 15 years, he’d completely reinvented American commerce.  How?  He not only invented the mall, he pioneered the whole suite of psychological tricks that retailers use to trick you into browsing and buying more.  Next time you go to Whole Foods for a half gallon of milk and end up spending eighty dollars on cheese and sparkling grape juice, blame Victor Gruen. THIS SOCIALIST WW2 REFUGEE IS THE REASON YOU BUY TOO MUCH STUFF AT WHOLE FOODS

WHERE TO FIND MARDI GRAS PARTIES IN DC

Mardi Gras is almost here. And as they say in New Orleans, it’s a time to “laissez les bon temps rouler” for a night of eating, drinking, and cheer. Fat Tuesday falls on February 13 this year (yes, that’s the day before Valentine’s Day) and D.C. is always down for an excuse to party. So break out the beads and make a plan for a day of Louisiana-inspired cocktails, food, and music.

No Mardi Gras celebration is complete without a traditional king cake. The colorful and sweet cake is the favorite dessert for the occasion–just watch out for the small toy baby baked inside. Finding it in your slice is said to be good luck. WHERE TO FIND MARDI GRAS PARTIES IN DC

THIS MARYLAND GHOST TOWN WAS DESTROYED BY A HURRICANE (AND “WELFARE CAPITALISM”)

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Over the course of a little more than a decade, Daniels, Maryland, a picturesque former mill town less than an hour from DC, was utterly destroyed – first by an economic paradigm shift, and then by a freak weather event. Today, the ghost town is a mildly popular destination for eccentric explorers, ruin porn aficionados, and people who want to see what the rest of America will look like fifty years from now. Oops, did I say that out loud? THIS MARYLAND GHOST TOWN WAS DESTROYED BY A HURRICANE (AND “WELFARE CAPITALISM”)

COME CELEBRATE THE YEAR OF THE DOG

Although D.C.’s Chinatown is small and continues to shrink every year, no one can say our Chinese New Year celebration doesn’t rock.

Thousands don puffy coats and knit caps every year and flood into the Gallery Place/Chinatown Metro stop looking to secure prime parade viewing spots along 7th and 8th streets.

This year — 4716 — is the Year of the Dog. (Of course, here in America, every year is the year of the dog.) COME CELEBRATE THE YEAR OF THE DOG