Charlie presents the new French nudity for the week ending May 10:

Adèle Simphal in “l’attente”:


Camille Blouet in “voyeuse”:

Marthe Fieschi in “un si grand soleil”:

Lilith Grasmug in “l’autre sur ma tête”:

Alexandra Campanacci in “Sophia-Antipolis”:

Audrey Cornardeau in “Sophia-Antipolis”:



Charlie’s archives are found here.

“Every room at the Plaza could be filled at the ‘rack rate’ (list price) every night and the revenue still wouldn’t cover the monthly payment of the loan he’d taken out to buy the place. In other words, he’d made a ridiculous deal.”

I hate myself for defending Trump, but that deal was probably not so ridiculous.

If the plan had been to be the owner of the Plaza and nothing more, it was a preposterous deal, but that was never his intention. He was using the Plaza as part of his branding scheme, to make himself seem like New York’s most important developer by placing his name in very large letters atop some of Manhattan’s most notable landmarks. The losses at the Plaza didn’t matter much if the hotel was furthering his master plan, which was basically a long con. It also needs to be pointed out that the master con ultimately worked. By making media appearances, by slapping his name on prestige properties and by publishing his books, he sold himself to the world as a financial wizard and the ultimate Big Shot.

His salesmanship produced two important results:

1. He was eventually able to make money without capital investment, simply by franchising the rights to the Trump name. The Holy Grail of business is to continue to make money without spending any, and the effect of successful franchising is multiplicative. Because somebody licenses the Trump name to put atop an impressive and splashy hotel in City X, the fawning articles in glamorous magazines and upscale newspaper style sections inspire somebody else to do so in City Y, and so forth.

2. He was able to land his TV gig as a legendary business genius on The Apprentice, which viewers interpreted as a reflection of reality. That cemented his reputation while earning him a nice chunk of change from the network.

And all of that ultimately led to the Presidency, although I’m not sure he ever expected to win that election. He certainly would have made much more money by losing and thereafter continuing to splash his name atop the most lavish properties in the world’s glitziest downtowns (including Moscow).

There are other things to consider before you convince yourself that the Plaza deal was idiotic:

Context is critical. Did he have an out that isolated Plaza losses from his personal wealth? In other words, did his deal allow a default on the loan or a bankruptcy of that unit without requiring him to cover those moves with money from other business assets or his personal assets? If the bank(s) allowed him to take out that loan without guaranteeing it from some other source, then the Plaza deal may have been the work of an unscrupulous genius rather than a clueless buffoon.

Finally, he talked the bank(s) into making that loan. That in itself was a form of business genius. Their analysts were certainly capable of making the calculation showing that the Plaza could not pay back the loan even assuming 100% occupancy at the full rate, but the bank(s) gave him the money anyway.

(Most banks did eventually start treating Trump like a pariah after a few such deals, because of the “fool me once” rule, but he eventually found Deutsche Bank, which seemed to have a very high tolerance for risky ventures.)

My own personal take-away:

Some of the deals Trump made to acquire highly visible and prestigious properties might be seen as folly in isolation and/or viewed solely from the perspective of short term profits, but they paid off in the long run. Yes, maybe he lost a big chunk of change while entertaining oil sheikhs and the glitterati in the suites and ballrooms of his ostentatious hotels, country clubs and casinos. Big deal. In essence, all he was really doing was picking up the tab to impress his dinner companions, albeit on a very large scale. He was spending some dollars to create a myth. And he succeeded. People continued to believe in the image of the grand and glorious wizard even after they saw the little man in the booth.