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Retired Banker Sees That Violin-Shaped Pool You Put In Your Backyard And Raises You A Violin-Shaped Pool You Can Kayak In

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Oppressive town codes weren't going to stop this Goldman Sachs/Morgan Stanley alum!

Former finance executive Jay Dweck already owns some rare violins — a Guarneri and a Stradivarius — and he just added another to his portfolio. This one, however, is a pool. Make that a million dollar pool in the shape of a violin. Call it Bedford’s Stradivarius of pools. The 1,300-square foot pool is based on the shape and color of Dweck’s Strad that dates to 1717. Using nearly half a million glass tiles and some amazing technical marvels, Chris Cipriano of Mahwah, N.J.-based Cipriano Landscape Design replicated the details — right down to fiber optic violin strings, which light up in time to music, and the purfling, a narrow, decorative edge...Dweck, an MIT-trained engineer and former executive at Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, is also an amateur violinist, who plays with the Mamaroneck-based St. Thomas Orchestra.

“I got the idea for the pool in a funny way,” he said. “I have been playing the violin since I was eight and still am an amateur violinist. I also like lap swimming and I wanted a pool that was at least 80-90 feet, but Bedford has these restrictions about impervious structures and the pool was considered an impervious structure.” So, the engineer with a passion for the arts fiddled with numbers and designs: With 1,300 square feet of backyard to work with, he said he doodled shapes that would incorporate a swim lane for him and a larger area for his family to enjoy. Not surprisingly, the shape of a violin soon emerged. The end result is a marvel: The pool is lined with 440,000 gradient glass tiles that are just 7/8 of an inch by 7/8 of an inch and had to be placed by hand to achieve the right look. It took two months just to lay the tile. “Every sheet of tile is different so even thought the color is the same, they can be slightly off, so we had one person doing nothing but color correction on the tile — picking out tiles that were the wrong shade; that was their only job,” he said.

Lest you think this is some crappy artist's interpretation of a violin that anyone with a modicum of familiarity with the instrument would find fault with, muttering "Where are the F holes? Where is the chin rest?" under his or her breathe, think again!

Included in the pool’s design are the F holes, the strings, the base and a chin rest that is actually a spa. “It is a perimeter overflow hot tub; the water falls off the sides and on the patio,” said Cirpriano. “The water actually falls through the patio; there are channels for it.” The “strings” of the violin are embedded with 6,800 fiber optic strands; each string can be individually controlled and synchronized to light up to a piece of music; there are eight underwater speakers. Cipriano also incorporated a violin bow in the design; it intersects the neck of the pool violin. “It’s placed in the way you would place the bow if you were not playing,” said Dweck. The sides of the bow are two small koi ponds; see-through acrylic walls were built into the pool so that swimmers in the pool can see directly into each pond.

And, of course:

Dweck, said Cipriano, is also an avid kayaker so he installed a river flow system in the pool which is capable of pumping 2,000 gallons of recirculated water each minute, mimicking a pretty swift current. “You can kayak in this pool,” he said.

Bedford's newest Stradivarius: A one-of-a-kind pool [lohud]


Highland Capital Management Founder Sees Your Hiding Of Assets And Raises You A Megalomaniacal Prick

As some of you may recall, back in March, Highland Capital Management founder and CEO James Dondero testified that he is "insolvent under Texas family law, if not according to normal accounting rules," despite a 2010 tax return showing his adjusted gross income that year to be in excess of $36 million. The reason his finances were in question was because Dondero filed for divorce in September, and how much he owes his wife Becky is currently in dispute. Becky is "seeking enforcement of a prenuptial agreement guaranteeing her half of the couple’s community property, capped at $5 million," plus "spousal support and interim attorney fees." James, perhaps you can glean, is hoping it will be less than that and perhaps even nothing. One thing that really didn't help? Patrick Daugherty, a former senior portfolio manager at Highland who quit in October, testified that he met with James Dondero for drinks last month. “He told me his plan was to get his net worth down and pay her as little as possible,” said Daugherty, who was called to the stand by Becky Dondero. That testimony was given on March 28th. On April 11, this happened: Highland Capital Management, the $20 billion hedge fund and private equity firm based in Dallas, has launched a lawsuit that calls its former private equity investing chief a “megalomaniacal” manager who engaged in “abusive tirades” that “dehumanized employees.” Patrick Daugherty is the former head of stressed special situations and private equity at Highland Capital Management, where he was responsible for $8 billion of assets until he resigned in September 2011. Known as a blunt-speaking Texan, Daugherty has served on the board of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and as chairman of companies like Cornerstone Health Group. According to a 14-page complaint Highland filed in Texas state court in Dallas earlier in April, Daugherty has been paid in excess of $26 million while at the firm, but voluntarily resigned after “Highland refused to accede to his unacceptable ultimatums and megalomaniacal demands regarding compensation.” The lawsuit claims that Daugherty was “belligerent to peers” and that Highland employees complained and even quit after Daugherty publicly berated them as “‘f—ing idiots’” and disparaged them using other vulgarities. Highland, which has a reputation in the investment community for using hard-hitting tactics, pulls no punches in a lawsuit that at times can appear cruel. It claims that Daugherty’s tenure at Highland was characterized by extreme behavior and his performance diminished over the years as he “became increasingly unmanageable, erratic, and insubordinate.” It didn't have to be this way, Patrick! $20 Billion Highland Capital Calls Former Private Equity Chief "Megalomaniacal" [Forbes]