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saco-indonesia.com, Udara yang tidak menentu memang juga sangat mengakhawatirkan. Hujan juga bisa mendadak turun dan suhu udara akan menjadi tinggi. Selain payung, tentunya jaket juga bisa menjadi alternatif pilihan yang sesuai. Apalagi fungsi utama jaket untuk dapat melindungi tubuh kian menarik dengan model yang sesuai tren. Di antara pilihan yang beragam, bagaimana cara untuk memilih jaket yang pas di badan? Simak tipsnya di sini, seperti dikutip dari Mag for Women.

1. Ajak Teman
Pendapat kedua selalu penting ketika kita bingung dalam menentukan pilihan. Kita juga terkadang bingung dengan beragam model yang telah ditawarkan. Nah, di sinilah fungsi teman. Teman yang baik akan selalu memberikan pendapat yang jujur dan apa adanya. Sehingga kita tidak lagi bingung dalam menentukan pilihan. Mengajak teman untuk berbelanja juga selalu menjadi kegiatan yang sangat menyenangkan.

2. Jangan Tertipu
Seringkali pramuniaga juga menawarkan pilihan jaket mahal yang sebenarnya belum tentu cocok untuk kita. Jangan terpengaruh, mereka hanya menjalankan target penjualan. Model yang sedang menjadi tren bisa jadi tidak sesuai dengan kepribadian dan kebutuhan Anda. Tidak mau kan memakai jaket bulu-bulu ala antartika di negara yang tropis ini?

3. Coba Dahulu
Menjatuhkan pilihan yang tepat tidak bisa terburu-buru. Ambil beberapa pilihan dan cobalah di kamar ganti. Penampilan yang sangat menarik di manekin belum tentu cocok di tubuh Anda. Dengan mencobanya terlebih dahulu Anda juga akan tahu bagian mana yang pas dan tidak.

4. Utamakan Kenyamanan
Model yang bagus juga tidak menutup kemungkinan akan bahan yang jelek. Pastikan saat mencoba Anda menggerakkan tangan, duduk dan berjalan. Jika dengan gerakan ini merasa tidak nyaman, berarti jaket ini belum tepat untuk Anda.

5. Jangan Ditumpuk
Lepaskan jaket atau jas yang Anda kenakan sebelum mencoba jaket yang ingin dibeli. Memakai pakaian yang ditumpuk dapat memperbesar ukuran tubuh Anda yang sebenarnya. Dengan begitu, Anda akan tahu ukuran mana yang pas di tubuh.


Editor : Dian Sukmawati

TIPS MEMBELI JAKET YANG PAS DI TUBUH

Saco-Indonesia.com - Tanda kecil yang ditampakkan tubuh seringkali diremehkan. Padahal, tidak jarang parameter ini bermakna besar, yang mengindikasikan adanya kelainan atau bahaya dalam tubuh. Tanda-tanda kecil tersebut mulai dari tumbuhnya area dengan warna berbeda pada kuku, sampai benjolan pada kelopak mata menandakan adanya ancaman pada tubuh.

“Tidak ada yang lebih tahu tubuh selain tuannya. Kitalah yang paling tahu apabila ada sesuatu yang tidak beres, " kata chief medical editor situs kesehatan WebMD, Michael Smith.

Ia menyarankan agar setiap orang dapat mengenal baik tubuhnya. Berikut 5 tanda yang harus diperiksa untuk mengetahui keadaan tubuh khususnya bagi seorang wanita :

- Cek siklus menstruasi, terutama bila mengalami pendarahan sepanjang bulan
Indikasi : Kebanyakan wanita mengindikasikan menstruasi (pendarahan) yang tidak teratur berhubungan dengan stres. Sekalipun benar, wanita juga sebaiknya waspada terhadap kemungkinan kanker rahim dan mulut rahim. Ketika kanker memasuki tahap lanjut dan menyerang jaringan terdekat, wanita bisa mengalami pendarahan yang terjadi di antara masa menstruasi, setelah berhubungan seksual, atau setelah menopause.

Tindakan lanjutan : Segera memeriksakan diri ke dokter kandungan. Kanker mulut Rahim menjadi penyebab utama kematian wanita. Pemeriksaan pap smear menjadi deteksi dini dan langkahpencegahan terjadinya kanker pembunuh wanita ini.

- Periksa kuku, terutama bila ada area gelap pada penampang kuku
Indikasi : Bukan cuma tahi lalat bermutasi yang mengindikasikan terjadinya kanker kulit. Penyakit ini juga bisa berkembang di bawah kuku. Area kekuningan, coklat, atau hitam bisa menjadi tanda bahaya. “Kanker kulit melanoma menjadi salah satu yang mematikan,” kata Smith. Menurut  American Cancer Society, setiap jam ada satu nyawa melayang karena melanoma. Beberapa tahun terakhir penderita melanoma semakin banyak, terutama pada wanita muda.

Tindak lanjut : Segera pergi ke dokter kulit (dermatologis). Menurut American Cancer Society, kanker yang cepat diketahui dan dilokalisasi berpeluang 98 persen disembuhkan. Lamanya terpapar dan terbakar sinar matahari saat kecil bisa menjadi faktor risiko. “Butuh 10 tahun bagi kanker kulit untuk berkembang. Sekalipun saat ini rutin menggunakan sunblock, pengalaman saat kecil bisa menjadi faktor risiko,” kata Smith.

- Periksa kulit, bila ada tumbuh jerawat atau bulu tebal


Indikasi : Kondisi ini merupakan tanda resistensi insulin dan produksi berlebihan hormon seks pria. Hal ini mengakibatkan kulit menjadi berminyak dan tumbuh rambut tebal pada wajah, dada, perut, punggung, jempol dan jari kaki. "Tandanya hampir sama dengan pubertas pada pria, " kata Smith. Smith menyarankan jangan malu bila menderita gejala ini. Namun pada wanita hal ini mungkin membutuhkan tes kesuburan.

Tindak lanjut : Segera ke dokter. Bila terjadi pada wanita, dokter mungkin akan menyarankan tes panggul, darah dan USG untuk memeriksa kondisi ini. Sebaiknya, aturlah pola hidup dan minum obat untuk mengendalikan produksi hormone androgen.

- Periksa ketiak, terutama bila ada  kulit gelap yang kasar
Indikasi : Kemungkinan adalah diabetes. Kelebihan insulin dalam aliran darah, menyebabkan sel kulit mengganda dalam waktu yang cepat. Hal ini menyebabkan terbangunnya jaringan yang mengandung pigmen lebih gelap. Akibatnya kulit di bawah lengan lebih gelap dan tebal.

Tindak lanjut : Tes urine menjadi cara jitu untuk mengetahui adakah diabetes dalam tubuh penderita. Menurut American Diabetes Association, cara ini menyelamatkan 12,6 juta wanita Amerika berusia 20-an dari diabetes. Langkah ini juga disarankan bagi yang berusia 45 tahun ke atas, terutama yang memiliki kelebihan berat badan.

- Periksa kelopak mata, terutama bila ada benjolan kecil dan lembut. Banyaknya riasan tidak mampu menutupi pembengkakan ini

Indikasi : Ada kelebihan kolesterol di bawah kulit. "Kalau bengkak ini menghilang berarti kadar kolesterol bertambah, sekitar 300 atau lebih," kata Smith. Kelebihan kolesterol merupakan faktor risiko gagal jantung, yang membunuh satu dari 4 wanita di Amerika

Tidak lanjut : Segera cek kandungan kolesterol dan tanyakan pada dokter bagaimana menguranginya. Pengurangan 10 persen kandungan kolesterol, akan mengurangi peluang diabetes hingga tiga kali lipat. Pola makan sehat kaya serat dan rajin olahraga menjadi jalan keluar.

Editor :Liwon Maulana(galipat)
Perempuan Perlu Cek 5 Sinyal Tubuh Berikut

saco-indonesia.com,

Manfaat – manfaat dari SPA
Spa juga telah menawarkan perawatan tubuh dengan metode relaksasi. Perawatan ini juga memang terbilang cukup mahal. Namun, hasilnya telah sebanding dengan harga yang harus kita bayarkan. Anda juga bisa memanjakan tubuh sambil menikmati pijatan lembut dari terapis handal. Berikut adalah manfaat dari perawatan tubuh di spa.

1. Bebas kerutan

pijat batu panas juga dapat merelaksasi otot-otot yang tegang. Metode ini juga dapat menghilangkan tanda-tanda penuaan berupa kerutan atau keriput pada kulit.

2. Pembunuh stres

Stres dapat membuat Anda akan terlihat tua. Pijat relaksasi juga dapat membuat tubuh lebih segar dan terlihat lebih muda kembali. Rasa pegal pun seketika hilang.

3. Menurunkan berat badan

Perawatan spa juga dapat membantu menurunkan berat badan. Pijatan lembut dari para terapis bisa dapat membakar kalori pada titik-titik tertentu.

4. Menghilangkan racun pada kulit

Kulit yang berisiko lebih besar terkena bahaya radikal bebas. Nah, spa juga telah menjadi salah satu solusi terbaik untuk dapat membersihkan racun pada kulit.

5. Meningkatkan sirkulasi darah

Mandi di dalam jacuzzi juga telah memiliki banyak manfaat bagi kesehatan. Perawatan ini juga dapat meningkatkan sirkulasi darah dan dapat membuat kulit tampak bersinar.

6. Setelah melakukan berbagai aktifitas wisata selama di Bali, seperti tour keliling Bali, ataupun berpetualang semacam arung jeram, trekking, hiking, diving dll, tentunya banyak sekali energi yang telah dikeluarkan. Nah, untuk dapat memulihkan kondisi tubuh agar bugar kembali, nggak ada salahnya anda mencoba untuk beristirahat sejenak dengan memilih salah satu spa body yang ada di Bali .
7. Kegiatan spa adalah salah satu bentuk terapi yang tujuannya untuk dapat merelaksasikan pikiran dan tubuh agar kembali normal setelah melakukan aktifitas seharian. Banyak sekali pilihan yang telah menawarkan berbagai jenis dan massage dengan harga yang bervariasi. Dari yang murah sampai yang mahal pun ada. Dari pijat amatiran yang ada di pinggir pantai sampai spa profesional di salon dan hotel pun banyak. Nanti spa body mana yang anda pilih, tergantung dari budget yang anda punya.

8. Salah satu jenis massage yang bisa anda ambil adalah massage aromaterapi di salon spa. Massage ini sangat cocok bagi anda setelah lelah berwisata dan berpetualang. Massage atau pijat aromaterapi ini adalah jenis massage relaksasi yang nantinya bisa mengembalikan kondisi tubuh anda kembali bugar. Biasanya massage ini telah dilakukan oleh seorang staff selama 2 jam dimana nantinya proses pemijatan memakai minyak aroma yang bisa dipilih seperti aroma mawar (rose), bougenville, lemon, dll. Ada juga yang menggunakan jam-jamuan.

Setelah diterapi, anda akan merasa lebih rileks dan tubuh lebih fresh.

 

Manfaat dari perawatan spa tidak terbatas pada kecantikan. Spa juga dapat menawarkan paket perawatan tubuh, yang baik untuk kesehatan.


Editor : Dian Sukmawati

MANFAAT DARI SPA

saco-indonesia.com, Mengunci perangkat mobile dengan menggunakan password, sensor muka, sensor retina atau bahkan sensor sidik jari, mungkin sudah terlalu mainstream. Bagaimana dengan penguncian perangkat mobile dengan gunakan telinga?

Satu inovasi atau terobosan yang juga cukup aneh namun unik dan menarik. Sebuah perusahaan yang bernama Descartes Biometrics dari Amerika Serikat mengklaim telah berhasil kembangkan sistem keamanan perangkat mobile khususnya smartphone yang lain dari biasanya.

Sistem penguncian ini adalah dengan menggunakan telinga. Cara kerjanya pun juga tidak rumit karena pengguna perangkat mobile yang hanya perlu mendekatkan gadgetnya dengan telinga dan membiarkan proses scanning berlangsung.

Bahkan teknologi tersebut juga akan dapat mendeteksi dan scanning bentuk telinga dari beberapa angle. Pengembang teknologi yang disebut pula dengan istilah aplikasi autentifikasi biometrik ini menjelaskan, "Karena setiap telinga manusia telah memiliki bentuk yang cukup unik seperti halnya sidik jari."

Seperti halnya cara kerja di sensor sidik jari, pengguna perangkat mobile hanya perlu 'mendaftarkan' telinganya terlebih dahulu agar dapat di-scan bentuknya dan digunakan sebagai kunci paten gadget yang telah bersangkutan.

Untuk saat ini, aplikasi autentifikasi biometrik yang bernama Ergo ini hanya support dengan perangkat berbasis Android saja. Belum dapat diketahui kapan pengembangnya akan membuat versi untuk gadget lainnya.


Editor : Dian Sukmawati

SISTEM PENGAMANAN ANDROID TERBARU

Saco- Indonesia.com - Serangan stroke dapat terjadi tiba-tiba, namun tanda-tandanya sebenarnya dapat dideteksi. Para ahli mengatakan, semakin dini stroke dikenali dan diobati, maka semakin besar kemungkinan untuk sembuh dan terhindar dari risiko kelumpuhan.

Mati rasa pada wajah, lengan, kaki di satu sisi tubuh, disertai kebingungan dan masalah berbicara merupakan tanda-tanda seseorang mengalami stroke. Selain itu, ada pula tanda-tanda seperti pusing dan sakit kepala parah, mengalami masalah berjalan, hilang penglihatan di satu atau kedua mata.

Kepala Divisi Stroke di NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center mengatakan, ketika seseorang terkena stroke, mereka akan menunjukkan tanda-tanda perubahan fisik yang dapat dikenali, ringan ataupun ekstrem. 

Berikut adalah beberapa tanda yang perlu diwaspadai :

1. Tiba-tiba mati rasa atau lemah pada bagian wajah, lengan, atau kaki - terutama pada satu sisi tubuh.

Orang dengan stroke biasanya akan memiliki bentuk mulut "tidak rata" alias mencong. Perlu diwaspadai juga apabila mereka (orang yang dicurigai stroke) mengalami kesulitan menggerakkan lengan atau mengendalikan jari. Misalnya, ketika mengangkat kedua tangan, tangan yang sebelah lebih tinggi dibandingkan tangan yang lain.

2. Tiba-tiba kebingungan dan kesulitan berbicara.

Masalah bahasa adalah salah satu tanda-tanda yang paling umum dari stroke. Seseorang yang mengalami stroke tiba-tiba mungkin akan mengalami masalah ketika mereka bicara. Bahkan, beberapa di antaranya juga mengalami penurunan pemahaman. Mintalah dia (orang yang dicurigai stroke) untuk mengulangi kembali kalimat sederhana kepada Anda, misalnya: "Saya pergi ke toko hari ini." Jika ia mengalami kesulitan mengulangi kata-kata itu bisa jadi dia mengalami stroke.

3. Pengelihatan mendadak terganggu.

Gangguan pengelihatan yang datang secara tiba-tiba merupakan gejala stroke yang umum. Mereka mungkin tidak akan mampu melihat dengan jelas dengan satu mata, atau mungkin mengalami kesulitan untuk melihat ke kanan atau kiri.

4. Tiba-tiba kesulitan berjalan, kehilangan keseimbangan atau koordinasi.

Berjalan seolah-olah mabuk, tersandung, atau bahkan jatuh adalah semua gejala stroke. Tanda-tanda serupa lainnya seperti berjalan dengan kaki terbuka lebar atau tiba-tiba kehilangan kemampuan motorik halus, seperti ketidakmampuan untuk menulis juga patut diwaspadai.

5. Sakit kepala parah tiba-tiba tanpa diketahui penyebabnya.

Gangguan sakit kepala tidak selalu identik dengan gejala stroke. Tetapi, jika sakit kepala menyerang tiba-tiba atau tampak sangat intens, patut untuk diwaspadai. Jika leher kaku, nyeri pada wajah, atau muntah yang disertai sakit kepala bukan tidak mungkin akan menyebabkan terjadinya perdarahan intrakranial, juga dikenal sebagai "stroke merah (red sroke)."

 


Pencegahan

Pengobatan dini dapat mencegah kerusakan yang lebih besar akibat stroke. Salah satu pengobatan umum stroke yaitu dengan tissue plasminogen activator (TPA). Obat ini disuntikkan ke arteri atau vena yang kemudian akan melarutkan sumbatan di pembuluh darah sehingga darah kembali mengalir ke otak.

Stroke merupakan penyakit pemicu kematian yang serius, namun sebenarnya dapat dicegah. Perubahan gaya hidup perlu ditingkatkan guna mengurangi risiko stroke. Berikut beberapa perubahan gaya hidup yang dapat dilakukan :

- Kurangi garam

Mengurangi konsumsi garam dapat menurunkan tekanan darah sehingga mengurangi risiko stroke.

- Konsumsi makanan sehat

Kurangi kolesterol "jahat" dapat meningkatkan kesehatan jantung dan mengurangi risiko stroke. Kadar kolesterol harus di bawah 200 mg/dL.

- Stop merokok

Perokok memiliki risiko stroke dua kali lipat. Merokok dapat merusak pembuluh darah dan meningkatkan tekanan darah, serta mempercepat penyumbatan di pembuluh darah.

- Hidup aktif dan olahraga

Orang yang kelebihan berat badan atau obesitas memiliki risiko yang lebih besar memiliki kadar kolesterol tinggi, hipertensi, diabetes, dan stroke. Olahraga dapat mengurangi berat badan sehingga mengurangi risiko penyakit-penyakit tersebut.

Meskipun telah mengubah gaya hidup, para ahli mengatakan orang yang berusia di atas 55 tahun memiliki risiko yang lebih besar terkena stroke. Selain itu, meskipun stroke lebih umum terjadi di kalangan kaum Adam, namun wanita pun tak terlepas dari risikonya.

Sumber :Healthday News
Editor : Liwon Maulana(galipat)
CARA CEPAT KENALI GEJALA STROKE

THE WRITERS ASHLEY AND JAQUAVIS COLEMAN know the value of a good curtain-raiser. The couple have co-authored dozens of novels, and they like to start them with a bang: a headlong action sequence, a blast of violence or sex that rocks readers back on their heels. But the Colemans concede they would be hard-pressed to dream up anything more gripping than their own real-life opening scene.

In the summer of 2001, JaQuavis Coleman was a 16-year-old foster child in Flint, Mich., the former auto-manufacturing mecca that had devolved, in the wake of General Motors’ plant closures, into one of the country’s most dangerous cities, with a decimated economy and a violent crime rate more than three times the national average. When JaQuavis was 8, social services had removed him from his mother’s home. He spent years bouncing between foster families. At 16, JaQuavis was also a businessman: a crack dealer with a network of street-corner peddlers in his employ.

One day that summer, JaQuavis met a fellow dealer in a parking lot on Flint’s west side. He was there to make a bulk sale of a quarter-brick, or “nine-piece” — a nine-ounce parcel of cocaine, with a street value of about $11,000. In the middle of the transaction, JaQuavis heard the telltale chirp of a walkie-talkie. His customer, he now realized, was an undercover policeman. JaQuavis jumped into his car and spun out onto the road, with two unmarked police cars in pursuit. He didn’t want to get into a high-speed chase, so he whipped his car into a church parking lot and made a run for it, darting into an alleyway behind a row of small houses, where he tossed the quarter-brick into some bushes. When JaQuavis reached the small residential street on the other side of the houses, he was greeted by the police, who handcuffed him and went to search behind the houses where, they told him, they were certain he had ditched the drugs. JaQuavis had been dealing since he was 12, had amassed more than $100,000 and had never been arrested. Now, he thought: It’s over.

But when the police looked in the bushes, they couldn’t find any cocaine. They interrogated JaQuavis, who denied having ever possessed or sold drugs. They combed the backyard alley some more. After an hour of fruitless efforts, the police were forced to unlock the handcuffs and release their suspect.

JaQuavis was baffled by the turn of events until the next day, when he received a phone call. The previous afternoon, a 15-year-old girl had been sitting in her home on the west side of Flint when she heard sirens. She looked out of the window of her bedroom, and watched a young man throw a package in the bushes behind her house. She recognized him. He was a high school classmate — a handsome, charismatic boy whom she had admired from afar. The girl crept outside and grabbed the bundle, which she hid in her basement. “I have something that belongs to you,” Ashley Snell told JaQuavis Coleman when she reached him by phone. “You wanna come over here and pick it up?”

Photo
Three of the nearly 50 works of urban fiction published by the Colemans over the last decade, often featuring drug deals, violence, sex and a brash kind of feminism.Credit Marko Metzinger

In the Colemans’ first novel, “Dirty Money” (2005), they told a version of this story. The outline was the same: the drug deal gone bad, the dope chucked in the bushes, the fateful phone call. To the extent that the authors took poetic license, it was to tone down the meet-cute improbability of the true-life events. In “Dirty Money,” the girl, Anari, and the crack dealer, Maurice, circle each other warily for a year or so before coupling up. But the facts of Ashley and JaQuavis’s romance outstripped pulp fiction. They fell in love more or less at first sight, moved into their own apartment while still in high school and were married in 2008. “We were together from the day we met,” Ashley says. “I don’t think we’ve spent more than a week apart in total over the past 14 years.”

That partnership turned out to be creative and entrepreneurial as well as romantic. Over the past decade, the Colemans have published nearly 50 books, sometimes as solo writers, sometimes under pseudonyms, but usually as collaborators with a byline that has become a trusted brand: “Ashley & JaQuavis.” They are marquee stars of urban fiction, or street lit, a genre whose inner-city settings and lurid mix of crime, sex and sensationalism have earned it comparisons to gangsta rap. The emergence of street lit is one of the big stories in recent American publishing, a juggernaut that has generated huge sales by catering to a readership — young, black and, for the most part, female — that historically has been ill-served by the book business. But the genre is also widely maligned. Street lit is subject to a kind of triple snobbery: scorned by literati who look down on genre fiction generally, ignored by a white publishing establishment that remains largely indifferent to black books and disparaged by African-American intellectuals for poor writing, coarse values and trafficking in racial stereotypes.

But if a certain kind of cultural prestige is shut off to the Colemans, they have reaped other rewards. They’ve built a large and loyal fan base, which gobbles up the new Ashley & JaQuavis titles that arrive every few months. Many of those books are sold at street-corner stands and other off-the-grid venues in African-American neighborhoods, a literary gray market that doesn’t register a blip on best-seller tallies. Yet the Colemans’ most popular series now regularly crack the trade fiction best-seller lists of The New York Times and Publishers Weekly. For years, the pair had no literary agent; they sold hundreds of thousands of books without banking a penny in royalties. Still, they have earned millions of dollars, almost exclusively from cash-for-manuscript deals negotiated directly with independent publishing houses. In short, though little known outside of the world of urban fiction, the Colemans are one of America’s most successful literary couples, a distinction they’ve achieved, they insist, because of their work’s gritty authenticity and their devotion to a primal literary virtue: the power of the ripping yarn.

“When you read our books, you’re gonna realize: ‘Ashley & JaQuavis are storytellers,’ ” says Ashley. “Our tales will get your heart pounding.”

THE COLEMANS’ HOME BASE — the cottage from which they operate their cottage industry — is a spacious four-bedroom house in a genteel suburb about 35 miles north of downtown Detroit. The house is plush, but when I visited this past winter, it was sparsely appointed. The couple had just recently moved in, and had only had time to fully furnish the bedroom of their 4-year-old son, Quaye.

In conversation, Ashley and JaQuavis exude both modesty and bravado: gratitude for their good fortune and bootstrappers’ pride in having made their own luck. They talk a lot about their time in the trenches, the years they spent as a drug dealer and “ride-or-die girl” tandem. In Flint they learned to “grind hard.” Writing, they say, is merely a more elevated kind of grind.

“Instead of hitting the block like we used to, we hit the laptops,” says Ashley. “I know what every word is worth. So while I’m writing, I’m like: ‘Okay, there’s a hundred dollars. There’s a thousand dollars. There’s five thousand dollars.’ ”

They maintain a rigorous regimen. They each try to write 5,000 words per day, five days a week. The writers stagger their shifts: JaQuavis goes to bed at 7 p.m. and wakes up early, around 3 or 4 in the morning, to work while his wife and child sleep. Ashley writes during the day, often in libraries or at Starbucks.

They divide the labor in other ways. Chapters are divvied up more or less equally, with tasks assigned according to individual strengths. (JaQuavis typically handles character development. Ashley loves writing murder scenes.) The results are stitched together, with no editorial interference from one author in the other’s text. The real work, they contend, is the brainstorming. The Colemans spend weeks mapping out their plot-driven books — long conversations that turn into elaborate diagrams on dry-erase boards. “JaQuavis and I are so close, it makes the process real easy,” says Ashley. “Sometimes when I’m thinking of something, a plot point, he’ll say it out loud, and I’m like: ‘Wait — did I say that?’ ”

Their collaboration developed by accident, and on the fly. Both were bookish teenagers. Ashley read lots of Judy Blume and John Grisham; JaQuavis liked Shakespeare, Richard Wright and “Atlas Shrugged.” (Their first official date was at a Borders bookstore, where Ashley bought “The Coldest Winter Ever,” the Sister Souljah novel often credited with kick-starting the contemporary street-lit movement.) In 2003, Ashley, then 17, was forced to terminate an ectopic pregnancy. She was bedridden for three weeks, and to provide distraction and boost her spirits, JaQuavis challenged his girlfriend to a writing contest. “She just wasn’t talking. She was laying in bed. I said, ‘You know what? I bet you I could write a better book than you.’ My wife is real competitive. So I said, ‘Yo, all right, $500 bet.’ And I saw her eyes spark, like, ‘What?! You can’t write no better book than me!’ So I wrote about three chapters. She wrote about three chapters. Two days later, we switched.”

The result, hammered out in a few days, would become “Dirty Money.” Two years later, when Ashley and JaQuavis were students at Ferris State University in Western Michigan, they sold the manuscript to Urban Books, a street-lit imprint founded by the best-selling author Carl Weber. At the time, JaQuavis was still making his living selling drugs. When Ashley got the phone call informing her that their book had been bought, she assumed they’d hit it big, and flushed more than $10,000 worth of cocaine down the toilet. Their advance was a mere $4,000.

Photo
The roots of street lit, found in the midcentury detective novels of Chester Himes and the ‘60s and ‘70s “ghetto fiction” of Iceberg Slim and Donald Goines.Credit Marko Metzinger

Those advances would soon increase, eventually reaching five and six figures. The Colemans built their career, JaQuavis says, in a manner that made sense to him as a veteran dope peddler: by flooding the street with product. From the start, they were prolific, churning out books at a rate of four or five a year. Their novels made their way into stores; the now-defunct chain Waldenbooks, which had stores in urban areas typically bypassed by booksellers, was a major engine of the street-lit market. But Ashley and JaQuavis took advantage of distribution channels established by pioneering urban fiction authors such as Teri Woods and Vickie Stringer, and a network of street-corner tables, magazine stands, corner shops and bodegas. Like rappers who establish their bona fides with gray-market mixtapes, street-lit authors use this system to circumnavigate industry gatekeepers, bringing their work straight to the genre’s core readership. But urban fiction has other aficionados, in less likely places. “Our books are so popular in the prison system,” JaQuavis says. “We’re banned in certain penitentiaries. Inmates fight over the books — there are incidents, you know? I have loved ones in jail, and they’re like: ‘Yo, your books can’t come in here. It’s against the rules.’ ”

The appeal of the Colemans’ work is not hard to fathom. The books are formulaic and taut; they deliver the expected goods efficiently and exuberantly. The titles telegraph the contents: “Diary of a Street Diva,” “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang,” “Murderville.” The novels serve up a stream of explicit sex and violence in a slangy, tangy, profane voice. In Ashley & JaQuavis’s books people don’t get killed: they get “popped,” “laid out,” get their “cap twisted back.” The smut is constant, with emphasis on the earthy, sticky, olfactory particulars. Romance novel clichés — shuddering orgasms, heroic carnal feats, superlative sexual skill sets — are rendered in the Colemans’ punchy patois.

Subtlety, in other words, isn’t Ashley & JaQuavis’s forte. But their books do have a grainy specificity. In “The Cartel” (2008), the first novel in the Colemans’ best-selling saga of a Miami drug syndicate, they catch the sights and smells of a crack workshop in a housing project: the nostril-stinging scent of cocaine and baking soda bubbling on stovetops; the teams of women, stripped naked except for hospital masks so they can’t pilfer the merchandise, “cutting up the cooked coke on the round wood table.” The subject matter is dark, but the Colemans’ tone is not quite noir. Even in the grimmest scenes, the mood is high-spirited, with the writers palpably relishing the lewd and gory details: the bodies writhing in boudoirs and crumpling under volleys of bullets, the geysers of blood and other bodily fluids.

The luridness of street lit has made it a flashpoint, inciting controversy reminiscent of the hip-hop culture wars of the 1980s and ’90s. But the street-lit debate touches deeper historical roots, reviving decades-old arguments in black literary circles about the mandate to uplift the race and present wholesome images of African-Americans. In 1928, W. E. B. Du Bois slammed the “licentiousness” of “Home to Harlem,” Claude McKay’s rollicking novel of Harlem nightlife. McKay’s book, Du Bois wrote, “for the most part nauseates me, and after the dirtier parts of its filth I feel distinctly like taking a bath.” Similar sentiments have greeted 21st-century street lit. In a 2006 New York Times Op-Ed essay, the journalist and author Nick Chiles decried “the sexualization and degradation of black fiction.” African-American bookstores, Chiles complained, are “overrun with novels that . . . appeal exclusively to our most prurient natures — as if these nasty books were pairing off back in the stockrooms like little paperback rabbits and churning out even more graphic offspring that make Ralph Ellison books cringe into a dusty corner.”

Copulating paperbacks aside, it’s clear that the street-lit debate is about more than literature, touching on questions of paternalism versus populism, and on middle-class anxieties about the black underclass. “It’s part and parcel of black elites’ efforts to define not only a literary tradition, but a racial politics,” said Kinohi Nishikawa, an assistant professor of English and African-American Studies at Princeton University. “There has always been a sense that because African-Americans’ opportunities to represent themselves are so limited in the first place, any hint of criminality or salaciousness would necessarily be a knock on the entire racial politics. One of the pressing debates about African-American literature today is: If we can’t include writers like Ashley & JaQuavis, to what extent is the foundation of our thinking about black literature faulty? Is it just a literature for elites? Or can it be inclusive, bringing urban fiction under the purview of our umbrella term ‘African-American literature’?”

Defenders of street lit note that the genre has a pedigree: a tradition of black pulp fiction that stretches from Chester Himes, the midcentury author of hardboiled Harlem detective stories, to the 1960s and ’70s “ghetto fiction” of Iceberg Slim and Donald Goines, to the current wave of urban fiction authors. Others argue for street lit as a social good, noting that it attracts a large audience that might otherwise never read at all. Scholars like Nishikawa link street lit to recent studies showing increased reading among African-Americans. A 2014 Pew Research Center report found that a greater percentage of black Americans are book readers than whites or Latinos.

For their part, the Colemans place their work in the broader black literary tradition. “You have Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, James Baldwin — all of these traditional black writers, who wrote about the struggles of racism, injustice, inequality,” says Ashley. “We’re writing about the struggle as it happens now. It’s just a different struggle. I’m telling my story. I’m telling the struggle of a black girl from Flint, Michigan, who grew up on welfare.”

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The Colemans in their new four-bedroom house in the northern suburbs of Detroit.Credit Courtesy of Ashley and JaQuavis Coleman

Perhaps there is a high-minded case to be made for street lit. But the virtues of Ashley & JaQuavis’s work are more basic. Their novels do lack literary polish. The writing is not graceful; there are passages of clunky exposition and sex scenes that induce guffaws and eye rolls. But the pleasure quotient is high. The books flaunt a garish brand of feminism, with women characters cast not just as vixens, but also as gangsters — cold-blooded killers, “murder mamas.” The stories are exceptionally well-plotted. “The Cartel” opens by introducing its hero, the crime boss Carter Diamond; on page 9, a gunshot spatters Diamond’s brain across the interior of a police cruiser. The book then flashes back seven years and begins to hurtle forward again — a bullet train, whizzing readers through shifting alliances, romantic entanglements and betrayals, kidnappings, shootouts with Haitian and Dominican gangsters, and a cliffhanger closing scene that leaves the novel’s heroine tied to a chair in a basement, gruesomely tortured to the edge of death. Ashley & JaQuavis’s books are not Ralph Ellison, certainly, but they build up quite a head of steam. They move.

The Colemans are moving themselves these days. They recently signed a deal with St. Martin’s Press, which will bring out the next installment in the “Cartel” series as well as new solo series by both writers. The St. Martin’s deal is both lucrative and legitimizing — a validation of Ashley and JaQuavis’s work by one of publishing’s most venerable houses. The Colemans’ ambitions have grown, as well. A recent trilogy, “Murderville,” tackles human trafficking and the blood-diamond industry in West Africa, with storylines that sweep from Sierra Leone to Mexico to Los Angeles. Increasingly, Ashley & JaQuavis are leaning on research — traveling to far-flung settings and hitting the books in the libraries — and spending less time mining their own rough-and-tumble past.

But Flint remains a source of inspiration. One evening not long ago, JaQuavis led me on a tour of his hometown: a popular roadside bar; the parking lot where he met the undercover cop for the ill-fated drug deal; Ashley’s old house, the site of his almost-arrest. He took me to a ramshackle vehicle repair shop on Flint’s west side, where he worked as a kid, washing cars. He showed me a bathroom at the rear of the garage, where, at age 12, he sneaked away to inspect the first “boulder” of crack that he ever sold. A spray-painted sign on the garage wall, which JaQuavis remembered from his time at the car wash, offered words of warning:

WHAT EVERY YOUNG MAN SHOULD KNOW
ABOUT USING A GUN:
MURDER . . . 30 Years
ARMED ROBBERY . . . 15 Years
ASSAULT . . . 15 Years
RAPE . . . 20 Years
POSSESSION . . . 5 Years
JACKING . . . 20 YEARS

“We still love Flint, Michigan,” JaQuavis says. “It’s so seedy, so treacherous. But there’s some heart in this city. This is where it all started, selling books out the box. In the days when we would get those little $40,000 advances, they’d send us a couple boxes of books for free. We would hit the streets to sell our books, right out of the car trunk. It was a hustle. It still is.”

One old neighborhood asset that the Colemans have not shaken off is swagger. “My wife is the best female writer in the game,” JaQuavis told me. “I believe I’m the best male writer in the game. I’m sleeping next to the best writer in the world. And she’s doing the same.”

 
From T Magazine: Street Lit’s Power Couple

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WASHINGTON — During a training course on defending against knife attacks, a young Salt Lake City police officer asked a question: “How close can somebody get to me before I’m justified in using deadly force?”

Dennis Tueller, the instructor in that class more than three decades ago, decided to find out. In the fall of 1982, he performed a rudimentary series of tests and concluded that an armed attacker who bolted toward an officer could clear 21 feet in the time it took most officers to draw, aim and fire their weapon.

The next spring, Mr. Tueller published his findings in SWAT magazine and transformed police training in the United States. The “21-foot rule” became dogma. It has been taught in police academies around the country, accepted by courts and cited by officers to justify countless shootings, including recent episodes involving a homeless woodcarver in Seattle and a schizophrenic woman in San Francisco.

Now, amid the largest national debate over policing since the 1991 beating of Rodney King in Los Angeles, a small but vocal set of law enforcement officials are calling for a rethinking of the 21-foot rule and other axioms that have emphasized how to use force, not how to avoid it. Several big-city police departments are already re-examining when officers should chase people or draw their guns and when they should back away, wait or try to defuse the situation

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Over the last five years or so, it seemed there was little that Dean G. Skelos, the majority leader of the New York Senate, would not do for his son.

He pressed a powerful real estate executive to provide commissions to his son, a 32-year-old title insurance salesman, according to a federal criminal complaint. He helped get him a job at an environmental company and employed his influence to help the company get government work. He used his office to push natural gas drilling regulations that would have increased his son’s commissions.

He even tried to direct part of a $5.4 billion state budget windfall to fund government contracts that the company was seeking. And when the company was close to securing a storm-water contract from Nassau County, the senator, through an intermediary, pressured the company to pay his son more — or risk having the senator subvert the bid.

The criminal complaint, unsealed on Monday, lays out corruption charges against Senator Skelos and his son, Adam B. Skelos, the latest scandal to seize Albany, and potentially alter its power structure.

Photo
 
Preet Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan, discussed the case involving Dean G. Skelos and his son, Adam. Credit Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

The repeated and diverse efforts by Senator Skelos, a Long Island Republican, to use what prosecutors said was his political influence to find work, or at least income, for his son could send both men to federal prison. If they are convicted of all six charges against them, they face up to 20 years in prison for each of four of the six counts and up to 10 years for the remaining two.

Senator Kenneth P. LaValle, of Long Island, who serves as chairman of the Republican conference, emerged from a closed-door meeting Monday night to say that conference members agreed that Mr. Skelos should be benefited the “presumption of innocence,” and would stay in his leadership role.

“The leader has indicated he would like to remain as leader,” said Mr. LaValle, “and he has the support of the conference.” The case against Mr. Skelos and his son grew out of a broader inquiry into political corruption by the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, that has already changed the face of the state capital. It is based in part, according to the six-count complaint, on conversations secretly recorded by one of two cooperating witnesses, and wiretaps on the cellphones of the senator and his son. Those recordings revealed that both men were concerned about electronic surveillance, and illustrated the son’s unsuccessful efforts to thwart it.

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Adam Skelos took to using a “burner” phone, the complaint says, and told his father he wanted them to speak through a FaceTime video call in an apparent effort to avoid detection. They also used coded language at times.

At one point, Adam Skelos was recorded telling a Senate staff member of his frustration in not being able to speak openly to his father on the phone, noting that he could not “just send smoke signals or a little pigeon” carrying a message.

The 43-page complaint, sworn out by Paul M. Takla, a special agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, outlines a five-year scheme to “monetize” the senator’s official position; it also lays bare the extent to which a father sought to use his position to help his son.

The charges accuse the two men of extorting payments through a real estate developer, Glenwood Management, based on Long Island, and the environmental company, AbTech Industries, in Scottsdale, Ariz., with the expectation that the money paid to Adam Skelos — nearly $220,000 in total — would influence his father’s actions.

Glenwood, one of the state’s most prolific campaign donors, had ties to AbTech through investments in the environmental firm’s parent company by Glenwood’s founding family and a senior executive.

The accusations in the complaint portray Senator Skelos as a man who, when it came to his son, was not shy about twisting arms, even in situations that might give other arm-twisters pause.

Seeking to help his son, Senator Skelos turned to the executive at Glenwood, which develops rental apartments in New York City and has much at stake when it comes to real estate legislation in Albany. The senator urged him to direct business to his son, who sold title insurance.

After much prodding, the executive, Charles C. Dorego, engineered a $20,000 payment to Adam Skelos from a title insurance company even though he did no work for the money. But far more lucrative was a consultant position that Mr. Dorego arranged for Adam Skelos at AbTech, which seeks government contracts to treat storm water. (Mr. Dorego is not identified by name in the complaint, but referred to only as CW-1, for Cooperating Witness 1.)

Senator Skelos appeared to take an active interest in his son’s new line of work. Adam Skelos sent him several drafts of his consulting agreement with AbTech, the complaint says, as well as the final deal that was struck.

“Mazel tov,” his father replied.

Senator Skelos sent relevant news articles to his son, including one about a sewage leak near Albany. When AbTech wanted to seek government contracts after Hurricane Sandy, the senator got on a conference call with his son and an AbTech executive, Bjornulf White, and offered advice. (Like Mr. Dorego, Mr. White is not named in the complaint, but referred to as CW-2.)

The assistance paid off: With the senator’s help, AbTech secured a contract worth up to $12 million from Nassau County, a big break for a struggling small business.

But the money was slow to materialize. The senator expressed impatience with county officials.

Adam Skelos, in a phone call with Mr. White in late December, suggested that his father would seek to punish the county. “I tell you this, the state is not going to do a [expletive] thing for the county,” he said.

Three days later, Senator Skelos pressed his case with the Nassau County executive, Edward P. Mangano, a fellow Republican. “Somebody feels like they’re just getting jerked around the last two years,” the senator said, referring to his son in what the complaint described as “coded language.”

The next day, the senator pursued the matter, as he and Mr. Mangano attended a wake for a slain New York City police officer. Senator Skelos then reassured his son, who called him while he was still at the wake. “All claims that are in will be taken care of,” the senator said.

AbTech’s fortunes appeared to weigh on his son. At one point in January, Adam Skelos told his father that if the company did not succeed, he would “lose the ability to pay for things.”

Making matters worse, in recent months, Senator Skelos and his son appeared to grow wary about who was watching them. In addition to making calls on the burner phone, Adam Skelos said he used the FaceTime video calling “because that doesn’t show up on the phone bill,” as he told Mr. White.

In late February, Adam Skelos arranged a pair of meetings between Mr. White and state senators; AbTech needed to win state legislation that would allow its contract to move beyond its initial stages. But Senator Skelos deemed the plan too risky and caused one of the meetings to be canceled.

In another recorded call, Adam Skelos, promising to be “very, very vague” on the phone, urged his father to allow the meeting. The senator offered a warning. “Right now we are in dangerous times, Adam,” he told him.

A month later, in another phone call that was recorded by the authorities, Adam Skelos complained that his father could not give him “real advice” about AbTech while the two men were speaking over the telephone.

“You can’t talk normally,” he told his father, “because it’s like [expletive] Preet Bharara is listening to every [expletive] phone call. It’s just [expletive] frustrating.”

“It is,” his father agreed.

Dean Skelos, Albany Senate Leader, Aided Son at All Costs, U.S. Says

The live music at the Vice Media party on Friday shook the room. Shane Smith, Vice’s chief executive, was standing near the stage — with a drink in his hand, pants sagging, tattoos showing — watching the rapper-cum-chef Action Bronson make pizzas.

The event was an after-party, a happy-hour bacchanal for the hundreds of guests who had come for Vice’s annual presentation to advertisers and agencies that afternoon, part of the annual frenzy for ad dollars called the Digital Content NewFronts. Mr. Smith had spoken there for all of five minutes before running a slam-bang highlight reel of the company’s shows that had titles like “Weediquette” and “Gaycation.”

In the last year, Vice has secured $500 million in financing and signed deals worth hundreds of millions of dollars with established media companies like HBO that are eager to engage the young viewers Vice attracts. Vice said it was now worth at least $4 billion, with nearly $1 billion in projected revenue for 2015. It is a long way from Vice’s humble start as a free magazine in 1994.

Photo
 
At the Vice after-party, the rapper Action Bronson, a host of a Vice show, made a pizza. Credit Jesse Dittmar for The New York Times

But even as cash flows freely in Vice’s direction, the company is trying to keep its brash, insurgent image. At the party on Friday, it plied guests with beers and cocktails. Its apparently unrehearsed presentation to advertisers was peppered with expletives. At one point, the director Spike Jonze, a longtime Vice collaborator, asked on stage if Mr. Smith had been drinking.

“My assistant tried to cut me off,” Mr. Smith replied. “I’m on buzz control.”

Now, Vice is on the verge of getting its own cable channel, which would give the company a traditional outlet for its slate of non-news programming. If all goes as planned, A&E Networks, the television group owned by Hearst and Disney, will turn over its History Channel spinoff, H2, to Vice.

The deal’s announcement was expected last week, but not all of A&E’s distribution partners — the cable and satellite TV companies that carry the network’s channels — have signed off on the change, according to a person familiar with the negotiations who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the talks were private.

A cable channel would be a further step in a transformation for Vice, from bad-boy digital upstart to mainstream media company.

Keen for the core audience of young men who come to Vice, media giants like 21st Century Fox, Time Warner and Disney all showed interest in the company last year. Vice ultimately secured $500 million in financing from A&E Networks and Technology Crossover Ventures, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm that has invested in Facebook and Netflix.

Those investments valued Vice at more than $2.5 billion. (In 2013, Fox bought a 5 percent stake for $70 million.)

Then in March, HBO announced that it had signed a multiyear deal to broadcast a daily half-hour Vice newscast. Vice already produces a weekly newsmagazine show, called “Vice,” for the network. That show will extend its run through 2018, with an increase to 35 episodes a year, from 14.

Michael Lombardo, HBO’s president for programming, said when the deal was announced that it was “certainly one of our biggest investments with hours on the air.”

Vice, based in Brooklyn, also recently signed a multiyear $100 million deal with Rogers Communications, a Canadian media conglomerate, to produce original content for TV, smartphone and desktop viewers.

Vice’s finances are private, but according to an internal document reviewed by The New York Times and verified by a person familiar with the company’s financials, the company is on track to make about $915 million in revenue this year.

Photo
 
Vice showed a highlight reel of its TV series at the NewFronts last week in New York. Credit Jesse Dittmar for The New York Times

It brought in $545 million in a strong first quarter, which included portions of the new HBO deal and the Rogers deal, according to the document. More of its revenue now comes from these types of content partnerships, compared with the branded content deals that made up much of its revenue a year ago, the company said.

Mr. Smith said the company was worth at least $4 billion. If the valuation gets much higher, he said he would consider taking the company public.

“I don’t care about money; we have plenty of money,” Mr. Smith, who is Vice’s biggest shareholder, said in an interview after the presentation on Friday. “I care about strategic deals.”

In the United States, Vice Media had 35.2 million unique visitors across its sites in March, according to comScore.

The third season of Vice’s weekly HBO show has averaged 1.8 million viewers per episode, including reruns, through April 12, according to Brad Adgate, the director of research at Horizon Media. (Vice said the show attracted three million weekly viewers when repeat broadcasts, online and on-demand viewings were included.)

For years, Mr. Smith has criticized traditional TV, calling it slow and unable to draw younger viewers. But if all the deals Vice has struck are to work out, Mr. Smith may have to play more by the rules of traditional media. James Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch’s son and a member of Vice’s board, was at the company’s presentation on Friday, as were other top media executives.

“They know they need people like me to help them, but they can’t get out of their own way,” Mr. Smith said in the interview Friday. “My only real frustration is we’re used to being incredibly dynamic, and they’re not incredibly dynamic.”

With its own television channel in the United States, Vice would have something it has long coveted even as traditional media companies are looking beyond TV. Last year, Vice’s deal with Time Warner failed in part because the two companies could not agree on how much control Vice would have over a 24-hour television network.

Vice said it intended to fill its new channel with non-news programming. The company plans to have sports shows, fashion shows, food shows and the “Gaycation” travel show with the actress Ellen Page. It is also in talks with Kanye West about a show.

It remains to be seen whether Vice’s audience will watch a traditional cable channel. Still, Vice has effectively presold all of the ad spots to two of the biggest advertising agencies for the first three years, Mr. Smith said.

In the meantime, Mr. Smith is enjoying Vice’s newfound role as a potential savior of traditional media companies.

“I’m a C.E.O. of a content company,” Mr. Smith said before he caught a flight to Las Vegas for the boxing match on Saturday between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao. “If it stops being fun, then why are you doing it?”

As Vice Moves More to TV, It Tries to Keep Brash Voice

Ms. Meadows was the older sister of Audrey Meadows, who played Alice Kramden on “The Honeymooners.”

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