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How one man went from collecting unemployment to owning a burger chain with hundreds of locations


Kenney MooreIn 1990, Kenney Moore worked as a district manager in eastern North Carolina for Rob’s Cheesesteaks and Cheeseburgers.

The chain, now long since defunct, started going downhill thanks to a down economy and the Rob’s owner, who we just call Roberts, getting caught in many unsavory business schemes.

Kenney was tired of losing work and money and peace of mind because of matters out of his control.

If he was going to fail again, he wanted to fail at his thing.

Kenney knew that several Rob’s had closed down near Pink Hill, and he knew that that meant whoever owned those stores had nothing more than an empty restaurant and a bunch of restaurant equipment.

He had an idea. He would buy an old Rob’s and resurrect it into a restaurant of his own.

It was a perfect, insane, maybe kind of stupid idea. Rob’s began breaking down because Roberts was swindling seemingly everyone he could, but in eastern North Carolina back in the early 90s, even the most upstanding of businessmen were struggling.

After a brief boom in the late 1980s, the American economy went into another recession in 1990, and although parts of the country had recovered, small rural towns like Greenville, and especially the tiny towns like Pink Hill, were still hurting. “Recessions hurt everyone in the country,” Kenney says, “but what a lot of people don’t realize is that during recessions, little towns like these get killed.”

Less than a week after the CPAs fired him, Kenney started calling around to the groups who owned the old Rob’s stores, asking if he could buy the equipment and re-open under a new brand.

John Howard was part of a group in Greenville that had a closed Rob’s in another nearby eastern North Carolina town, Goldsboro, about 40 minutes from Pink Hill, and Howard and his group liked Kenney — they’d even tried to hire him away from the CPAs before.

Kenney said that if Howard would in-house finance the Goldsboro store’s equipment — that is, provide him with his own loan instead of making Kenney go to a bank — then Kenney would pay him $32,500 for it.

“You know that if you go to a used equipment dealer with it, you’ll get 10 or 15,” Kenney told him. “But I’ll give you 32.5 with an interest rate. You’ll just have to start the payments next month, obviously.”

Howard said that he wanted Kenney to secure the store’s lease first, but then he’d be happy to do it, and he said, “I believe in you, Kenney.”

Howard was one of the first people other than Karen to ever tell Kenney that.

■ ■ ■

hwy55The landlord unequivocally denied Kenney, saying, “No. You don’t have any financial backing. You have no money.”

That could not have been more true. Kenney and Karen’s money was running out. They were so broke that Karen floated the unthinkable — maybe Kenney could go down to the unemployment office? Just once? So they could eat?

“I knew I wasn’t gonna take that check,” Kenney says now. “I was gonna find something. If it meant working the cash register at the local convenience store, then so be it. That’s what I would’ve done. But I was going to earn my way through this world and not look for a handout.”

“But,” Karen told him, “you’ve paid into it. It’s for people who lose their jobs. It’s for people with children to feed. It’s for people like us.”

Kenney says now, “Even though I paid into the system, and I had every right to collect it, and all of that — to me, it made me feel like I was less than the man my wife had married.

I know that sounds kind of hardcore, but I wasn’t put on this earth to get paid for doing nothing.”

Karen told him, “Look, we have no money. I’ve done the finances. It’s been stretched as far as it can be stretched. We’re going to have to ask somebody for help.”

Never in his life had Kenney ever imagined he would walk into an unemployment office and ask for free money, for money he would owe nobody, for money he would never have to pay back.

He heard his mom’s voice resonating in his head, saying her family was her responsibility, not someone else’s. He felt shame in his heart.

“But you have paid into it,” Karen reminded him, over and over. “You deserve some of that money. It’s yours.”

He knew she was right. His wife’s voice drowned out all the others in his mind long enough to help him swallow his pride and silence his shame.

He had to sit in a room with a few other guys and watch an educational video about searching for jobs, or something like that. He can’t remember the details now, except for what he was thinking: He couldn’t believe the conversations he was hearing.

Several people were there to renew their welfare, and they were complaining, saying, “Man, can you believe they make us do this to re-up?”

Kenney could only look at them, able-bodied men and women complaining about having to watch a video for free money, and say to himself, “Come on.”

He was thinking nonstop, This is embarrassing. This is humiliating. I do not belong in here.

■ ■ ■

Crabtree 4Kenney’s first unemployment check came the next week. He would never take another. “But it also fed us for the next couple of weeks,” Karen says.

After that, Kenney refused to let the Goldsboro Mall landlord ignore him. He would’ve gone to his house, but he lived hours away, in Shelby, so Kenney did the next best thing. He found the man’s home phone number and called first thing on Sunday morning, when he knew he’d be home.

The man answered, sounding groggy. Kenney told him who he was and what he wanted. “Well,” said the landlord. “You’re persistent. I’m going to give you a chance. But your rent is $3,000 a month.”

The store was maybe 1,400 square feet, holding 32 total seats: four tables, 16 bar stools. And in 1991, $3,000 was worth about $5,500 today. “Just outrageous,” Kenney says now. “But I didn’t have a choice, basically. Not if I really wanted to do this.”

Another problem: he had nothing to use for collateral to sign the lease. He needed someone to co-sign with him.

He went to his mom and step-dad. They said no.

He went to his real father. He also said no.

He went to friends, other family members, more — no, no, no.

Desperate, he finally went to his father-in-law, Jimmy Williams, who believed in him. Williams likes to joke that he co-signed because he was afraid that if he didn’t, then Kenney and Karen would end up moving in with them.

But Williams knew Kenney’s passion, and his work ethic, and his heart, and the truth is, when he talks about Kenney asking him for help today, it makes Williams swell with such pride and joy that he cries.

■ ■ ■
hwy 55 burgersThe day after Kenney signed the lease papers, he called John Howard with the good news. Howard’s wife answered, sounding broken. Howard had a heart attack the night before and passed away. The first man to tell Kenney he believed in him, “the man who really helped me get started,” Kenney says, “never really got to see me get started.”

Kenney went to the funeral, grieving Howard’s death and the death of his empire, of his dream.

And then two people from Howard’s investment group called him: Rod Williams, a doctor from Roanoke Rapids, and his wife Betsy. Howard’s faith in Kenney had been contagious. They saw to it that Howard’s deal with Kenney worked out, and they even loaned Kenney an extra $3,000 to pay his first month’s rent.

Then it was time to get into the store and get to work.

Kenney took his and Karen’s last $500 and bought a used light blue Chevy Citation so that he could get from Pink Hill to Goldsboro.

One morning in early March, Kenney drove to Goldsboro, walked into the mall, walked up to the gate over his store’s entrance. Here it was, the first physical step into the future that was his empire. Kenney unlocked the gate and slung it up.

A million roaches ran across the floor.

It quickly became apparent that when the previous managers shut things down, they shut things down, without even bothering to clean. There was old grease and grime coating the fryers and the grill, and there was food in the pantry that had been rotting for seven months. When Kenney pulled a freezer away from a wall to clean behind it, the white wall looked brown from all the cockroaches living back there.

Kenney spent a full week scrubbing the restaurant from top to bottom. Maybe the worst part was cleaning out the grease traps. To this day, Kenney says he’s never smelled anything as horrible as a grease trap that’s been sitting dirty for seven months. “It’s just toxic,” he says. Kenney worked on his hands and knees, attacking the dirt and grime caked around everything. Karen came to help him, Andrew in tow. Their bodies hurt everywhere. Their knuckles split and bled.

■ ■ ■
hwy 55Kenney also had to name his restaurant, and he didn’t want to name it after himself. However, he also couldn’t take his heart out of it, and every time he looked at his son, Andrew, he knew why he was doing this. He didn’t want Andrew to grow up struggling the way he had. Kenney’s childhood had left him with many deep wounds, some of which had only just scarred over.

He named his restaurant Andy’s Cheesesteaks and Cheeseburgers.

Theme-wise, Kenney’s concept was, in his word, “confused.” He decorated the walls with sports team pennants he bought from the mall’s sporting goods store. He hired the cheapest graphic design shop in Greenville, Mojo’s, to create a logo.

The place was run by a few college-age kids, and Kenney was pretty sure he smelled marijuana when he first walked in. He told them he wanted a baby with big cheeks wearing a baseball cap and a diaper and holding a bat and maybe eating a cheeseburger, or something like that.

Later, when Andy could talk, he would point at the logo and say what he saw. “Pig! Pig! Fat pig!”

Meanwhile, Karen, who would help with the bookkeeping, made a desk out of some old cabinets and set it up in their bedroom, where she worked between naps and nursing. That was Andy’s Corporate Headquarters.

■ ■ ■

cover behind the drive 2

Kenney opened Andy’s at 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 9, 1991, with a staff of four — another cook, a waiter, and two waitresses.

They did $400 in sales.

That wouldn’t exactly put a dent in his debts.

The question flared in Kenney’s brain again: What are we going to DO?

Kenney would go on to build what would become Hwy 55 Burgers, Shakes & Fries. After 20 years nestled quietly in North Carolina, Hwy 55 has sold the rights to more than 1,000 franchise locations around the world. Franchise Business Review just named Hwy 55 the best Food & Dining franchise in the country.

This excerpt, condensed and slightly edited for Business Insider with permission of the publisher is from Behind the Drive: A Story of Passion, Dreams, Demons, and Hwy 55, the World’s Next Favorite Burger Joint by Brandon Sneed and Kenney Moore.

SEE ALSO: This restaurant chain gives all employees the chance to own a franchise

Join the conversation about this story »

Anthropologist reveals the top 5 traits single Americans are looking for in a partner

Take a tour of the Winklevoss twins' stunning Los Angeles mansion, which you can rent for $150,000 a month


winklevoss la

Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss have put their stunningly contemporary Los Angeles home up for rent, charging tenants a whopping $150,000 a month, Variety reports

The twins purchased the 8,000-square-foot home for $18 million in 2012. It was rumored that they would use the home to run operations for Winklevoss Capital, their venture capital firm. 

The house has five bedrooms and nine bathrooms, and there's a swanky infinity pool with amazing views of the city. There's also a subterranean garage that can accommodate up to six cars.

The glass-walled home is located in the Bird Streets, a part of Los Angeles above the Sunset Strip that's known for its celebrity residents and pricey real estate.

The house will be rented furnished, so you'll have all of these luxurious couches to lounge on.

The living room has an enormous glass panel that opens onto a terrace.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The one rule every man should follow when buying ties


Gone are the extremely wide ties of the 1980s. Gone too is the early-2000s fad of extremely skinny ties (thank goodness).

So where have we landed in 2015, and what width of tie should a man really be wearing? There's an easy way to tell.

In fact, it's a simple and widely recognized rule of thumb. It goes like this: The widest part of your lapel should match in width the widest part of your tie.

That's it. Here's a graphic courtesy of Black Lapel that further explains it:

tie graphicNot that complicated, right? For most ties and lapels, this will end up in the range of 2 1/2 to 3 inches. Anything narrower, and you're headed into 1950s fad territory.

According to GQ UK, some tie materials require special consideration. For example, a knit tie should err on the skinnier side, while one with a print should be wider.

SEE ALSO: 12 online services that make it really easy to dress like a modern gentleman

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NOW WATCH: The fashion trick every modern gentleman should know

The 21 coolest new businesses in Boston


Gather and Brew, Boston

Boston is a well-balanced metropolis of professionals, academics, college students, and families. It's this diversity that makes it such a great place to start a venture and add even more life to the city.

The small business scene in Boston is blossoming. From a make-your-own-beer brewery to a steakhouse speakeasy, we found the coolest new businesses in Beantown.

Angela & Roi

Online, based in Boston

What it is: A handbag company that has a unique charity donation policy.

Why it's cool: Angela & Roi handbags come in all sorts of colors, but when choosing, most customers don't just think about the color they like, but the "color" they're donating to. A portion of each bag sale goes to the charity whose color coordinates with the bag — red is for HIV/AIDS, pink is for breast cancer, etc. Angela & Roi bags are also eco-conscious, made without animal products or sweatshop labor.

Beat Hôtel

13 Brattle St., Cambridge

What it is: A bar, restaurant, and event space inspired by the Beat Generation 

Why it's cool: Don't be fooled by the name! Beat Hôtel isn't actually a hotel; it's a bar and restaurant inspired by the Beat and Hippie movements of the '50s and '60s. Filled with live music of those eras, the Cambridge brasserie caters to carnivores and vegetarians alike with tasty-yet-casual food and drinks.

Blank Label

36 Bromfield St.

What it is: An easy-to-use bespoke clothing service.

Why it's cool: Blank Label outfits customers with perfectly fitting custom-made shirts, trousers, suits, and blazers. Customers can book an appointment at the office or choose from more than 6,000 custom shirts online. Blank Label's tailors will take measurements and ask some fit preference questions to create a personal size pattern, or "fit blueprint," and custom-make everything in no more than two weeks.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Gamers are spending thousands of dollars a year to play this 'free' video game


League of Legends victory

Freemium games have evolved into one of the most lucrative models in the video game industry, with mobile version and their in-app purchases generating about $7-8 billion in iOS revenue last year. It isn’t limited to mobile either.

League of Legends, the wildly popular multiplayer online battle area PC game is “free-to-play” as well. But “free-to-play,” like “freemium,” doesn’t really mean free – last year, the game generated over $1 billion in microtransactions.

Like many “freemium games,” League of Legends offers players the the core game for free and then optionally charges them for premium content such as in-game currency, extra content, or customizations. Players in League of Legends can purchase new champions (characters), skins (customized looks for those characters), and influence-points boosts (which help you gain IP faster from playing the game, so you can buy champions without spending money).

Here are some of the champions you can buy in League of Legends:


And here are some of the skins you can buy:

League of Legends store

Riot also often has sales and bundles like any retail store:

League of Legends store

After the news was announced back in October, players on the League of Legends subreddit discussed just where all that money was coming from— namely, players spending thousands of dollars per year to keep up with new content.

One Redditor by the name of DTSuteru estimates that he spent around $2,000 since he began playing the game in March 2013.

Another user by the name of cguo0516 estimates having spent more than $4,000 on the game over the past three years.

Other players weren’t as drastic. User Cloud_Rice estimates having spent $600 on the game over the last four years, while user Jagla estimates spending $200 over the course of two to three years.

One user had an idea how people spent so much money.

"Due to the way League of Legends works ... newcomers often benefit and feel good when spending real money. You can quickly lose track of how much has been spent and the true cost of what you are buying because of the genius 'RP' conversion [In order to purchase items, you must convert money to “Riot Points”]. The game has been designed to be a cash cow from the start,” explains user ElDanesh, who estimated spending around $200 on the game.

Here's what it looks like to buy "Riot Points" in the game.


One of the most interesting things about the thread is that, despite spending a large amount of money on a video game, the users were mostly satisfied with having done so.

"In all honesty, I really don't regret spending money on the game. You can legitimately play the game [without] spending a dime. The only thing that requires cash are skins. Anything else can be bought with enough play time,” wrote user Sw0rDz.

Here’s user Captain_Canadian’s justification for spending between $1500 and $2000 on League of Legends over the last five years:

It started as supporting a smaller developer, but it turned into me wanting to stay competitive but having less time due to school and work [note:While nearly all champions can be obtained for free with enough gameplay, it can take a long time to rack up enough “Influence points” from winning games to do so]. Thankfully I make enough money that it ended up being more worth my time to just pay for the champs/skins I wanted in [League of Legends] and just work a bit longer to make up the difference.

I would rather pay $1500 and keep playing a game I enjoy with friends than have to give up the time it would take to earn enough IP for the newer champs. In the end that's basically only about 30-40 hours of work for me so it's better than playing the additional hundreds/thousands of hours it would otherwise take.

Redditor Servalpur had a similar perspective:

I'm in a similar boat. I love League, but I also have a 9-5, a wife, and a 14 month old daughter. This all equates to me playing (at the most) 2-3 games a night, and more likely one game a day. I don't have time to [earn influence points], I am however an adult with a good job. A thousand bucks over two years is more than fair to me to enjoy a hobby I like so much. God knows I've spent more on sh*t I've enjoyed less.

Not all Redditors were happy however. Many complained that despite spending so much, the game still suffers routine game bugs and server outages.

"This just shows again how [expletive] people really are and how easy it is to sell them sh*t they don't need. Good job Riot, your pyramid is awesome and works,” wrote user ChaosCore.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: This is what happens to your brain and body when you check your phone before bed

APPLY NOW: Business Insider is hiring a photographer/photo coordinator


The PhotographerBusiness Insider is hiring a photographer/photo coordinator to join our Visual Features team. Our team is expanding and we are looking for individuals who are excited to grow with it. If you consider yourself a photojournalist, love telling stories through images, and are obsessed with both photography and writing about photography, this is the job for you.

In this position, you will:

  • find, pitch, and photograph your own stories locally as well as farther afield. You will also photograph stories as assigned by the visual features editor. The best candidates should have strong knowledge of and experience with digital cameras.
  • work with our photo agencies (Reuters, AP, Getty, others), as well as other resources, to create posts and slideshows utilizing their vast resources.
  • survey the site throughout the day to find already created posts and expand upon them with more and better images.
  • assist in any other photography and visual-related work necessary for the website.

This job requires familiarity with Photoshop, a passion for all things photography, and strong writing and communication skills. 

Interested? Submit your resume and a cover letter HERE. Including a link to your portfolio in the cover letter is optional but recommended. 

Please note: This job requires that you work full-time from our Manhattan headquarters. Business Insider offers competitive compensation packages complete with benefits. 

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NOW WATCH: What I Learned By Taking A Photo Of Myself Each Day For The Last 5 Years

20 books you should read before they become movies this year


Shailene Woodley and Theo James

"Insurgent," the second movie in the popular "Divergent" series starring Shailene Woodley, debuts in theaters this weekend.

It's one of many highly-anticipated book-to-film adaptations lined up for 2015. 

We compiled a list of some of the best books becoming movies this year. This year brings back "Gone Girl's" Gillian Flynn with a new psychological thriller and the culmination of the "Hunger Games" series.

From sci-fi to period pieces, and even some true stories, here are the books you need to read before they become movies this year. 

"Insurgent" by Veronica Roth

Release Date: March 20

In the first "Divergent" film we learn members of the dystopian society are tested and assigned one of the five factions at the age of 16. Those who fit into more than one, like protagonist Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley) are deemed Divergent and are considered a threat to society. 

In the series' second installment, Tris and the other Divergents are on the run from Jeanine Matthews, leader of the Erudite faction. Tris must embrace her divergence to fight for and protect the ones she loves while uncovering the truth about the past and future of her world.

The much-anticipated sequel returns with stars Shailene Woodley, Kate Winslet, Theo James, Ansel Elgort, and Miles Teller. 

Buy the book

"The Longest Ride" by Nicholas Sparks

Release Date: April 10

Two couples separated by generations converge in another one of Nicholas Sparks' tear-jerking romantic tales. Ira is 91-years-old and lost his wife Ruth nine years prior. College student Sophia and bull-rider Luke come from two different worlds but fall deeply in love. While the two stories are different they remind us that the most challenging choices in life can yield extraordinary journeys.

The romantic film stars Scott Eastwood and Britt Robertson. 

Buy the book

"The Moon and the Sun" by Vonda N. McIntyre

Release Date: April 10

King Louis XIV is determined to find the key to immortality, and he believes he finds this immortality in a rare sea monster, Sherzad. He plans to endanger and ultimately kill the creature, so against the orders of the king and the pope, a young lady-in-waiting fights to free the innocent creature.

The period piece stars Pierce Brosnan, William Hurt, Benjamin Walker, and Kaya Scodelario.

Buy the book

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The 8 polo shirts you need this spring


We’ve asked our friends at MR PORTER.COM, the men’s style destination with same-day delivery in Manhattan and London, for some expert style advice. This week’s topic: the polo shirt.

polo shirt mr porterThe polo shirt hasn’t had the best decade, style-wise, being most recognized throughout the 2000s as the preferred cover-up of the reality series "Ibiza Uncovered."

But, thanks to a combination of contemporary designers and purveyors of luxury menswear refreshing the sporty classic, the polo is having a moment.

And that's a good thing, as it is one of the most versatile styles of shirt, whether you’re dressing for the office (go for knitwear, long-sleeved) or the beach (where you can take advantage of the fact it comes in many colors).

Only semi-convinced? Scroll down to see how, whatever your sartorial requirements this spring, there’s a polo out there for you.

The poolside polo

poloFor all those who have currently got a seat reserved by the poolside bar in some far-flung location: lucky you. Make the most of it with this terry polo – almost a towel and a shirt in one – from British brand Orlebar Brown. This particular colour – a brilliant teal – will not only sync nicely with your balmy location, it’s also in line with the season’s blue trend.

Orlebar Brown cotton-terry polo shirt: $115

poloDevelop it further with a pair of polytonal blue swim shorts from Missoni and Givenchy’s minimal sandals – the most stylish way to pad around bodies of chlorinated water – in rubberised leather.

Givenchy slim-fit paisley panelled striped cotton-piqué polo shirt: $400

The weekend polo

Screen Shot 2015 03 20 at 12.33.03 AMA knitted polo shirt, especially in a fine merino wool, as in this example from Façonnable – the Riviera-ready Parisian brand currently designed by Mr Stefano Pilati and Mr Alexander McQueen protégé Mr Daniel Kearns – is a breezy substitute for a sweater as summer approaches and we move into milder weather.

Faconnable wool polo shirt: $215

Screen Shot 2015 03 20 at 12.33.13 AMPack it into a weekend bag with a casual windproof jacket (for the post Sunday-lunch walk), a pair of utilitarian chinos and you’re all set for some leisurely good times.

Maison Kitsuné: $116

The nautical polo

Screen Shot 2015 03 20 at 12.40.31 AMIf you’re among those who spend the summer on things that float, you’ll know that at sea, though you’re spared the beach crowds, you’re rather susceptible to the wind. Gird yourself against it with this sporty zip-up polo from Brioni, in a warm navy wool that will help to keep out the chill so you can chill on deck.


Briono long-sleeved wool polo shirt: $470

Screen Shot 2015 03 20 at 12.40.35 AMIn case of calm waters layer over a thick button-down shirt and, for a striking update on the classic boat shoe, invest in a pair of these handmade crepe-soled beauties from Quoddy.

Loewe striped wool-blended polo shirt: $525

The dinner polo

Screen Shot 2015 03 20 at 12.43.41 AMOne of the great things about the polo shirt is that, while it’s most definitely a sporting garment in origin, it can look disarmingly smart. This knitted example from Jil Sander is a tactile and flexible style that, with its slim fit and fine texture, will look as good with tailoring as it will with jeans or chinos.

Jil Sander textured wool-blended polo shirt: $485

Screen Shot 2015 03 20 at 12.43.48 AMProve this to the world, and yourself, by wearing with a sharply cut suit from Lanvin and some brown suede Derbies from Grenson. People will see your deft mixing of sartorial idioms and probably think you’re an architect, or creative director. There’s no obligation to tell them otherwise...

John Smedley cotwold merino wool polo shirt: $200

Or try one of these:

MP di Massimo Piombo

Screen Shot 2015 03 20 at 12.50.11 AM 1

Price: $200


 Screen Shot 2015 03 20 at 12.50.18 AM

Price: $123


Screen Shot 2015 03 20 at 12.51.57 AM

Price: $230


Screen Shot 2015 03 20 at 12.52.12 AM

Price: $100

John Smedley

Screen Shot 2015 03 20 at 12.52.20 AM

Price: $160

Polo Ralph Lauren

Screen Shot 2015 03 20 at 12.52.25 AM

Price: $85


Maison Kitsuné

Screen Shot 2015 03 20 at 12.52.32 AM

Price: $120

Written by Adam Welch, Deputy Editor of MR PORTER. For more, head to MR PORTER's Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook page.


SEE ALSO: Edward Norton just released a special edition run of the coat he wore in "Birdman"

SEE ALSO: 6 shampoos to use if you're worried about hair loss

SEE ALSO: The 5 must-have books on whiskey, American cocktails, and moonshine

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: 14 things you didn't know your iPhone headphones could do

Here are the destinations Americans dream about visiting this year


2. Venice

TripAdvisor recently released the results of its TripBarometer study, which looks at worldwide travel trends  and traveler spending this year.

The report surveyed over 44,000 travelers and hoteliers, including over 6,700 Americans. Among other questions, the survey asked travelers where they dream about traveling if money were no object. 

Americans overwhelmingly voted Italy as the top travel destination this year. With world-famous tourist attractions like the Colosseum in Rome, the canals in Venice, and the Uffizi in Florence, it's no surprise that Italy is the top tourist destination for Americans.

Here are the top 10 destinations Americans dream about visiting.

10. Spain

9. Germany

8. Caribbean

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

A couples therapist explains the 4 relationship killers that end marriages


Paula Patton Robin Thicke

In the US, between 40% and 50% of marriages in end divorce

While people break up for lots of reasons, some behaviors are more destructive than others

Peter Pearson, the cofounder of the Couples Institute in Menlo Park, California, says that he sees four relationship killers in his couples counseling practice. 

It's frightening stuff, since these "assassins of marriage," as Pearson calls them, have a way of sneaking up on you. 

They are:

1. Keeping a "why should I have to change" attitude.

Pearson says that when a couple comes in to get counseling, there's often one person who's experiencing their partner as critical, demanding, insulting, withdrawing, or disengaging. That person tries to do everything to handle the criticism or get the partner to re-engage — with little success.

"By the time I've come in, they say, 'I've done everything, it's time for me to get relief,'" Pearson says. "'Now you, the therapist, change my partner.'"

If that attitude gets entrenched, look out.

"Basically, they're saying, 'My partner needs to change, and if I like the changes they're making, I'll make changes myself," Pearson says. 

That attitude handicaps the whole process, since both people are going to have complaints. 

Pearson tries to nip it in the bud: When he starts working with a couple, he tells them to start changing in parallel, not sequentially.

2. Withdrawing into a "bubble." 

Another toxic behavior: hiding out in a protective bubble. 

People withdraw into protective bubbles because they're afraid of showing any vulnerability. 

But the bubble has risks of its own.

"The price for leaving your bubble is the risk that you might get rejected, and that it takes effort to manage your emotional reactions," Pearson says. "You pay a price if you stay hunkered down, since the partner then has their rationale for not changing." 

So if you're going to start changing in sequence, both people need to emerge from their bubbles. Because as sociology has discovered, vulnerability supplies the bandwidth to a relationship in the same way that a modem gives bandwidth to the internet.

3. "Just getting used to it."

It's a familiar story: Two people meet, fall in love. They get hitched. They have kids. Their careers advance. Kids leave home, and the parents say to themselves, I married a stranger.

It's a sense of "I married my partner for life," Pearson says, "but not for lunch. I don't know what to do with them." 

So what happened? 

While two people might live together, they don't automatically share one another's lives. 

Slowly, the energy animating the relationship ebbs away.

"That sets the stage for a lot of affairs," Pearson says, echoing the research. "Where you're just kind of numb in your marriage, then one partner meets somebody, and they start to feel alive again. It's not just a sexual-driven experience. Most of the time, affairs are an attempt to feel alive again." 

The withering comes from a lack of conscientiousness about the relationship itself — and an unhelpful assumption that if you've known your partner for years, then they should automatically know what you want. 

"Telepathy is an enormously unreliable form of communication," Pearson says, but "that doesn't stop people from wanting it or thinking that their partner should have that skill."

4. Adapting too much.

Being in a relationship means two individual humans living in the same space and doing all sorts of things together. Naturally, those individuals aren't going to fit together like gears inside a watch — people have different habits, preferences, and value systems. 

"It's going to require some adaptation to the other person from the start," Pearson says. "But when you start to resent the amount of adaption you have to do and you don't bring it up, that's when the trouble starts." 

That behavior comes from three assumptions:

• "I have to please my partner in order to be accepted." 

• "We can't want different things, because if we want different things, the relationship won't last." 

• "If I speak up, I'll be criticized. The consequences will be too negative." 

If these assumptions take hold, the relationship can get stuck in toxic dynamics, like hostile-dependent, where one person dominates the other, or conflict averse, where no one brings anything up. 

While it takes a lot of time and effort to re-calibrate these assumptions, Pearson says that learning the basics of compassionate — or at least non-triggering — communication is a start.

To reverse that trend, Pearson offers the following guideline to his clients:

When you want to bring something up that you think is going to be a problem for your partner to hear, I want you to say it in a way that doesn't make your partner look bad or feel bad. 

Pearson says that his clients often struggle with figuring out how to express their feelings without making the other person look bad. But even if it doesn't go smoothly every time, it can be beneficial to the relationship — since it allows either person to bring up issues that would have otherwise been avoided or triggered a fight. 

"If you're giving an account of your experience without making the other person look bad, then you've got a bullseye," he says. But "if in recounting my experience, I do a fair amount of finger pointing, then we don't get too far."

SEE ALSO: Marriages Fail When Couples Get Stuck In These 2 Toxic Relationship Dynamics

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The 3 products men should use to style their hair for work

Bruce Willis is in contract to buy a $17 million duplex overlooking Central Park


bruce willis apt

Bruce Willis is in contract to buy a $16.995 million duplex on Central Park West, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Willis is purchasing the home from Milwaukee Bucks owner Wesley Edens. 

The duplex has six bedrooms, four and a half bathrooms, and gorgeous views of Central Park. Edens told the Journal his family no longer needs the 6,000 square foot space.

Jay Glazer and Landis Hosterman of Compass made the sale.

The 6,000 square-foot home has several living room areas.

Many of the rooms overlook Central Park.

A nice view of trees for a city apartment.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

How to make it out of a free-falling elevator alive


It's normal to feel uneasy about riding in an elevator. 

But considering how prevalent elevators are, it's an inconvenient phobia to have. Thankfully, deaths due to elevator accidents are extremely rare.

Just in case, researchers at the MIT Center for Biomedical Engineering have figured out the best way to survive if you ever find yourself stuck in a falling elevator.

Produced by Alex Kuzoian. Narrated by Sara Silverstein.

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A new 'luxury bus' startup lets San Franciscans sip fresh-pressed juice and Blue Bottle coffee while commuting


attached image

How bad is public transit in San Francisco? Bad enough that a huge industry of private transportation options have sprung up, from Uber and Lyft to newcomers like this week's controversial startup du jour, Leap Transit— a high-end line of private buses equipped with WiFi, coffee, snacks, power outlets, and leather seats. 

Leap's slogan is "Your daily commute. Redesigned." But San Francisco at large has backlashed: People see it as yet another way for startups to cater to the needs of those who can afford expensive private services. 

In an effort to see what the fuss is about, I took a trip from the start of the Leap line, up at the La Luna Inn, all the way downtown. Here's how the trip went.  

Leap, which opened for business on Wednesday, runs 4 private buses (with one kept in the yard for emergencies) that run loops between San Francisco's high-end Marina neighborhood, where plenty of techie types live, and the city's Financial District from 8am to 10am, and then the opposite way from 5pm to 8pm. Fares are a hefty $6 each way (compared to $2.25 for public transit), but less if you buy in bulk.  

Leap stops are demarcated by blue-and-white poles with the Leap rabbit icon on top. I was the only one waiting at this first stop.leap stop

From the outside, Leap looks like your normal, everyday city bus, just in a bright shade of blue.  In fact, three older tourists who were staying at the Inn asked if it was the bus that goes to Fisherman's Wharf (it isn't). 

Before you get on the bus, you have to pull up the app, which provides a real-time arrival estimate as well as a number for how many seats were left. You can either check in with a QR code or activate an "express" check-in option which uses Bluetooth to check you in automatically. I went with the second option. 

I was skeptical, but as soon as I stepped on the bus, my phone buzzed, and Richard, the Leap "attendant" on duty, confirmed I was checked in. True to expectation, it was just me and Richard on this bus.

Given free rein to choose my seat, I sat down at what looked like the counter at your everyday coffee shop and sat on the leather stool, facing the window so I could watch the masses not on a private bus go by. On the other side of the bus were rows of black leather armchairs.

leap counter front

In the back of the bus was a more open seating area with benches and wood paneling.

leap bench

Richard had a little bar counter where he could serve food and drink from a cooler and answer questions. A little Beats Audio boombox played indie rock from a Spotify playlist.

Striking up a conversation with Richard, I found out that it wasn't usually this empty, and that the bus loop he had attended previously had as many as eight people on board.

Given that the buses can seat around 30 comfortably, that's not exactly reassuring, but Richard said that the number has been growing every day. At one point, he had to go up front to confirm the route with the driver.

"We're still working on routing stuff," Richard said. 

I ordered a Stumptown Cold Brew iced coffee from the Leap app, which automatically charged me the $4.50 before Richard handed it to me. Other options included cartons of Blue Bottle New Orleans iced coffee, coconut water, and fresh pressed fruit juice. If I were hungrier, I could have also ordered a yogurt, a Simple Squares "Cinna-Clove" snack bar, or whole-fruit energy bar. leap transit counter 2

Two more people got on at Gough and Greenwich, bringing us up to our peak ridership of three. One of them said he had tried Loop, a black car company with a similar service plan, and the other told me he only works from the office one day a week but takes Uber rides.

For his part, Richard says that most riders who take Leap complain about packed San Francisco city buses that get so full, they stop picking up passengers and just drive on by.

For both of my fellow riders, Leap offered a cheaper and more relaxed way to get where they're going. They said they could see the service catching on. 

"I think this is gonna get packed so fast," one rider said. 

The best thing I could say about Leap is that it's boring: It's designed to be frictionless, so you sit there and have a smooth ride and get off. It is, admittedly, a stark contrast from a crowded city bus.

leap transit side

Feedback from San Francisco at large hasn't been so positive. When Leap launched, it became something of a local object of ridicule, just one more private transportation option for the 1% who can afford it but don't already work at a company like Google that has its own buses. One headline on Leap Transit reads "San Francisco Gets The Ridiculous City Bus It Deserves."

When a Leap bus broke down yesterday, on its second day of service, the schadenfreude ran deep.

Meanwhile, Leap — which doesn't have a permit to operate as a transit service or use bus stops in the city — has had to fiddle with where it puts its stops to avoid stepping on toes and blocking traffic. In one case yesterday, Richard said, a homeowner got mad at a Leap bus for blocking her driveway, so the company had to move the stop. But then the bus stop was blocking a convenience store, and the driver made a complaint with Leap, forcing Leap to move the stop again. 

Richard says a lot of complaints have come from people who live in the Marina who don't want more traffic or more squealing brakes in their neighborhood — a complaint he shrugs off, saying that traffic shouldn't anything new.

"You already live in the city," he says.

SEE ALSO: Seven crazy things you might be able to do with an Uber soon

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Teens are now helping their parents find homes online, and it's a great idea


open house home buying lookingA new report in The New York Times by Joanne Kaufman finds that kids and teens are helping their clueless New York parents find the next family home online.

The children of the families who spoke with The Times ranged from 10 to 15-years-old and were all comfortable finding deals, communicating with brokers, and looking at websites for their future property.

Perhaps it’s because they’re lured by online images of condo amenities like an indoor pool or a children’s playroom or because they’re fans of ‘Million Dollar Listing New York’ on Bravo,” Kaufman writes.

My colleague Shane Ferro was not so amused. "Is the New York Times Real Estate section trying to foment class war?" she wondered.

But kids helping their busy, tech-illiterate parents find great real estate deals is not a bad idea. They have more time to browse these real estate websites and reach out to brokers than their working parents and it teaches them the ins and outs of real estate, taxes, and responsibility.

Plus, with how tech-focused apartment searching has become, it makes sense to have tech-savvy millennials searching through the thousands of listings on Trulia, Zillow, and Streeteasy.

It’s also a useful tool for foreign buyers who may not understand the culture or language as well as their children. “There are international buyers who want to buy a pied-à-terre or want to buy an apartment for investment purposes, but they’re not familiar with the New York market and don’t speak English very well,” Bruce Ehrmann, an associate broker with Douglas Elliman Real Estate, told The Times.

Most of the parents The Times spoke with even said their son or daughter understood the family price point, though a few admitted to going outside of the budget to nab their dream home.

But ultimately, it’s a way for the parents to bond with their child.

“I’m seeing this trend where parents are coming in to look at my listings and proudly announcing that it was their son or daughter who found it,” Bonnie Hut Yaseen, an associate broker at Fox Residential, told The Times. “They’re finding an unexpected resource in their children.”

Read the full New York Times profile here.

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Stranger accidentally added to bachelor party email chain — and now he's going


Bachelor Guy

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — You've heard of wedding crashers. Joey DiJulio is a bachelor party crasher, of sorts.

For weeks, the man from the Seattle suburbs found himself getting emails from people he didn't know about a bachelor party and a groom he's never met. He saw names of Philadelphia landmarks like Reading Terminal Market thrown around in the emails but couldn't put his finger on where they were located until he searched the names online.

"I had no idea what any of these places are," said DiJulio, 31, who's never been to the Northeast. "After Googling them, everything was pointing to Philadelphia."

It turns out DiJulio, an information technology worker and a married father of one in Burien, Washington, had been mistaken for a friend of the groom with a similar last name. He sat as a "fly on the wall" for much of the email chain until Monday, when he broke the news after the groom's brother wanted a headcount of people attending the party.

But it didn't end there. Groom Jeff Minetti, 34, figured: Why not still invite him? The Philadelphia real estate agent asked him to attend both the bachelor party March 28 and his wedding May 2 in New Jersey.

"This is the city of brotherly love," Minetti said, even telling DiJulio he could be his best man. "Any and all are welcome."

DiJulio went online to tell his story and raise money to cover his travel. In less than a week, he's already hit his goal of a little more than $1,200 and is putting any more money raised toward Minetti's honeymoon.

The groom promises the bachelor party will be a low-key affair at some bars, maybe a casino, to watch March Madness unfold. And while he won't actually get to be the best man — that's reserved for Minetti's 11-year-old cousin — DiJulio has his plane ticket ready to go for next weekend to see a city he's never been to and hang out with a group of guys he's never met.

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New lawsuit claims your cheap wine contains ‘alarming levels’ of arsenic


Trader Joe's charles shaw wine

Step away from your Franzia or Two Buck Chuck — it could contain arsenic, if claims in a new lawsuit are to be believed.

The suit, which was filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court on Thursday, alleges that wineries in California “produce and market wines that contain dangerously high levels of inorganic arsenic.”

According to CBS in San Francisco, the lawsuit was instigated by Kevin Hicks of Beverage Grades, a company that tests quality assurance on alcoholic beverages. 

Hicks claimed to test more that 1,300 bottles of wine and found that 83 of the bottles contained what he referred to as "dangerous levels of arsenic."

According to the lawsuit:

Three separate testing laboratories skilled in arsenic testing have now independently confirmed that level California wineries…produce and market wines that contain dangerously high levels of inorganic arsenic, in some cases up to 500% or more than what is considered the maximum acceptable safe daily intake limit. Put differently just a glass or two of these arsenic-contaminated wines a day over time could result in dangerous arsenic toxicity to the customer.

For daily intake limit, the suit is using the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) safety threshold for arsenic in drinking water at 10 parts per billion.

The suit names 28 California wineries, including big brands like Sutter Home Wintery, Fetzer Vineyards, Woodbridge Winery, Sonoma Wine Co., and Trader Joe's Company.

Some of these wineries are responsible for producing well-known brands such as Franzia, Corbel, Cupcake, and Smoking Loon wines, as well as Trader Joe’s famous eponymous line. 

Trader Joe's two buck chuck wine The wines Hicks found to contain arsenic were primarily cheaper white wines, including Pinot Grigio, Moscato, and Sauvignon Blanc.

Lawyer Brian Kabateck, who is representing the plaintiffs, claims that the goal of the lawsuit is to “clean up the wine industry” and make the ingredients and methods of wineries more transparent to the consumer. 

The plaintiffs also want anyone who bought these products between January 1, 2011 and today to be refunded. No dollar amount has been set.

Of course, there’s reason to take this news with a grain of salt.

Wine Spectator spoke with the National Academy of Sciences about whether it was appropriate to compare arsenic levels in wine against those in drinking water:

The TWG spokesman pointed out that a man would have to drink four 5-ounce glasses to match the amount of arsenic in 3 liters of water with 10 ppb. To reach that level drinking the brands that tested at lower levels of arsenic, a man would have to empty multiple bottles of wine each day.

A press release from The Wine Institute , which represents the wine industry, also remains skeptical about the comparison between arsenic levels in wine and water. “There is no research that shows that the amounts found in wine pose a health risk to consumers,” it said.

You can read the full lawsuit here .

SEE ALSO: Stop Hating On Boxed Wine — Everyone Should Be Drinking It

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Researchers just recently photographed this extremely cute, endangered mammal for the first time in 20 years


Say hello to the Ili pika:

Ili_pikaThis furry ball of cuteness is an endangered mammal closely related to rabbits and hares. The species was first discovered in 1983 and individuals have rarely been seen since.

It was first spotted in the Tian Shan Mountains in China, where it makes the holes and cracks of the cliffs its home. Despite other family of pika living across the Northern Hemisphere, these mountains are the only place this Ewok lookalike seems to feel at home.

Although scientists know where to find the Ili pika, it's still extremely hard to get on camera. For example, between 2002 and 2003 two researchers, Andrew Smith at Arizona State University and Li Wei-Dong at the Xinjiang Academy of Environmental Protection in Beijing, completed seven trips to twelve different sites to study population status of the animal. After 37 total days of attempted spottings, the two men came up completely empty handed.

Then, last summer, the man who originally discovered the species in '83, Weidong Li, had a chance encounter with the elusive creature. He and a group of researchers were out in the Tianshan Mountains for, what else, pika spotting, when around noon they saw one and snapped the iconic picture above.

Only 29 of these individual animals have been seen alive. A rare find, indeed!


The Ili pika was not always endangered.

In the early '90s scientists estimated that about 2000 Ili pikas thrived in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Although Smith and Wei-Dong did not see a live Ili pika during their expedition, they found the animal's characteristic fecal deposits and distinctive snow tracks.

From this, they concluded that the population is not nearly as robust as it used to be. In their paper, published in 2005 in the journal Oryx, Smith and Wei-Dong, suggested the animal be added to the endangered species list.

"We recommend that the Ili pika's Red List status be changed from Vulnerable to Endangered," they wrote in the paper.

Recent years have not shown any improvement. Over the last decade, the Ili pika population has continued to decline by an estimated 55%.

The reason for their dwindling numbers isn't clear, but Smith suspects it's related to disease, increased nearby human activity, and/or climate change.

CHECK OUT: Super-rare, beautiful photos of mountain lion cubs caught by camera trap in LA county

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A software project full of 'male anatomy' jokes is going crazy right now


bond traders shock

There's no question that the tech world is an overwhelmingly male place.

There's legit concern that tech is run-amok with "brogrammers" that make women programmers feel unwelcome.

On the other hand, people just want to laugh.

It's at that intersection that programmer Randy Hunt, aka "letsgetrandy" posted  a "project" (in geek speak known as a "repo") earlier this week to software hosting site GitHub called "DICSS."

Read that word out loud. Yes, it's supposed to rhyme with "kicks."

The project, which is actual free and open source software, is surrounded by geeky jokes about the male anatomy.

And it's gone nuts, so to speak, becoming the most trending project on Github, and the subject of a lot of chatter on Twitter.

And, Hunt tells us, the folks at Github are scratching their heads wondering what they should do about it.

attached imageGithub, if you remember, was under fire about a year over accusations of how a female employee was treated.

Some people love DICSS (and, we have to admit, some of the jokes did make us snicker) ... and some people are, understandably, offended.

The offended people point out that this is exactly the sort of thing that makes tech unwelcoming to women, and not just because of the original project, but because of some of the comments  (posted as "commits") that might take the joke too far. (And, we have to admit, the tech world really doesn't need another thing that encourages sexism. A lot of male programmers are just as sick of that as women are.)

Reaction to the project in both camps is all over Twitter.

This isn't the first "brohumor" Github project that Hunt created, either. His first, Brototype, was in a similar vein and got a similar reaction, although not as big as this.

We reached out to Hunt to ask him about all this.

Business Insider: Why did you decide to do the DICSS project?

Randy Hunt: It started as a joke amongst coworkers, after a particularly impassioned argument between religious zealots for LESS, Sass, and Stylus, and why it's suicide to pick an alternative when "my favorite" is clearly the best.

[Editors note: To decode that a little, LESS, Sass and Stylus are all methods used to program Web sites, and every coder has a favorite.]

So I responded that I'm eschewing them all in favor of DICSS -- directly injected CSS. It became a joke around the office, that eventually manifested itself online. [Editor's note: there's no such thing as "directly injected CSS." It's a geeky play on words that makes for an interesting acronym.]

BI: Did you expect anyone to notice it? What kind of reaction were you hoping for?

Randy HuntRH: After the response I got from Brototype (another funny repo I made which became unexpectedly controversial), I'd be lying if I didn't expect there to be some reaction here.

But this is far bigger than anything I could have predicted. At some point today, there was a meeting in the offices of Github to discuss what to do about me and my joke. I'm flattered!

BI: Some people love it (guessing you like that) ... some people think its sexist-pig-juvenile ... what are your thoughts on that?

RH: People want to be offended. It's reverse privilege.

I am judged for the work I do and the quality of it, and I've spent years and great effort to become a talented member of my field. I can't help thinking that if people wanted more people in the community, they should spend less time complaining about the community and more time encouraging people to push the boundaries of technology a bit and learn to see things in different ways.

Amongst those I know, DICSS has actually been suggested to be a possibly very interesting new way to do things. The point of all of my joke repo's is that they're actually useful code. They just happen to have funny names.

BI: Would you call yourself a "brogrammer" (am guessing yes given your other project "brototype" and the below-the-belt humor in that one) and why?

RH: Not at all. I'm just a fun-loving programmer who adheres to the old saying (was it Mark Twain?) that if you "choose a career you enjoy, you'll never work a day in your life."

I don't have any need to exert any alpha male behaviors or other "frat boy" activities in my career. I'm a very productive part of not only the development, but the business decisions of the companies I work for. I simply like to have some fun sometimes, and tell some jokes.

And so what if some people don't like that? If it were everyone, that'd be different. But at present, we're not talking about everyone. Just a group of people who spend more time policing political correctness than they do making useful software.

I have other, serious projects on my Github, and if this kind of trolling is what it takes to get visibility for those, I see it as a net win.

SEE ALSO:  30 tech skills that will get you a $110,000-plus salary

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