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Write Offs: 08.12.08

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$$$ Our weekly M&A roundup: The number of North American deals grew last week -- to 52 from 44 -- but the volume of transactions plunged, as multibillion-dollar deals nearly vanished from the books. []

$$$ Be careful, or the mortgage mess could turn your home into a brothel. [Fox]

$$$ No one trusts CDS counterparties anymore. [Market Beat]

$$$ How to think about alt-A mortgages. [Calculated Risk]

$$$ Is any month not cursed for the markets these days? [Portfolio]

$$$ Zimbabwe to Gasoline: You are so money. [The Beacon]