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Tennis In Rap: A Ranking of Rap Songs with Tennis Bars
It may come as a shock to many, but tennis doesn't generally have huge representation in rap. I came across this article and while reading through it, realized it was missing quite a few of my favorite tennis bars. I went through and collected the ones I could find, and ranked them on a tier list, considering not just how good of a tennis line it is, but how good the song is as a whole. I've outlined my thoughts on each song and laid out the final list at the end of this post. NOTE: I omitted Mac Dre's Da US Open, mainly because I never listened to it, but also because a whole album named after a tennis tournament automatically sits at the top of the tier list regardless of quality. Kendrick Lamar - DNA “I just win again, then win again like Wimbledon, I serve” It’s my favorite song off a great album, but the tennis reference is pretty surface level and just a throwaway line. I want something a little more exotic and varied, especially from someone like Kendrick. Danny Brown - Really Doe “Used to tote that calico and serve like John McEnroe” One of the best posse cuts of the modern era, Danny uses a pretty overdone tennis reference to set up a nice section of the rhyme scheme, plus everything just sounds better with his goofy-ass voice. However, with the same reference already cemented on Jump Around, and with Earl coming in so hard at the end, the line is pretty forgettable in this context. Frank Ocean - U-N-I-T-Y “Nothing but nothing but net, is you Roger or Novak?” A shoutout to both Federer and Nole shows more tennis knowledge than most of the other songs on this list, so by that reasoning alone this makes the top tier of the list. Unfortunately the song is on Endless, often dismissed as a contractual obligation and ignored in favor of Blonde. Even so, the song is fantastic, and it uses a more original tennis bar, so this song stands out among the rest. Royce da 5’9 - Summer on Lock “Racketeer in charge, tennis match in the charge Y'all can finish that whack shit, then it's back to the gods” A layered tennis bar on a fucking amazing song? Fantastic. The wordplay is great, Royce references tennis in a completely atypical way compared to his contemporaries and the other verses bang without overshadowing Royce; this is one of the strongest songs on this list. Still, points off for Pusha T not having a verse. Freddie Gibbs - The Blow “About to take a trip, I got coke and dope on my grocery list Oxycontin pack, I be switchin' rackets like Djokovic” Although it’s the weaker of the two Alchemist beats on this list, Gibbs throws out Djokovic so flawlessly it’s gotta be considered in the top half of this collection. The flow is smooth as hell, although it plays the same racketeering angle Royce does without doing it quite so well. The rest of the songs is somewhat uneventful, bordering on boring (sorry Gibbs/Alchemists/Curren$y fans, just not my type of beat), so it can’t be placed all that high. 24hrs - Have It “I put like 50 on tennis chains I beat a bitch in the tennis game” 24hrs has a divisive style that doesn’t always quite work, in my opinion. That being said, the production on this song fits 24hrs well, and it’s a pretty enjoyable song off of his collab with DJ Drama. I love the imagery of this dude playing and beating some poor girl in a match, so this song gets place probably higher than it deserves. The Game - Murder “Open the book and turn that page, It reads Arthur Ashe died from AIDS, No, that’s murder nigga” Crazy collection of talent flowing on some conscious lyrical shit. The Game referencing Arthur Ashe here serves as an illustration for the government’s culpability in ignoring the AIDS crisis, and some of the lyrics in this song get unfairly labelled as more conspiratorial than they are metaphorical. It’s a dope song by an awesome lineup, and only loses points because of that one picture The Game photoshopped of him chilling with Tupac. Pusha T - Pies “Couple diamonds keep ya bitch loyal Roger Federer Rolex, my wrist royal” Holy shit this beat goes fucking hard. The sample shouldn’t work but somehow Push makes it absolutely lethal. The Roger shoutout not only incorporates Fed’s sponsor (so you know Roger gets a little bit extra in that next check), it gets followed up with the classic YUGHCK. Top tier for the adlib follow up alone. Lil Wayne - Sportscenter “I'm servin' this track like, Steffi Graf, yeah Roger Federer;there's no competitors” Also counting for Jay-Z’s The Game Is Mine, this song makes the top tier list just for actually sampling tennis. Wayne’s reference here is alright, not great, relying too much on the overdone serve metaphor. Plus, he shouts out Steffi Graf instead of Elena Dementieva who the song samples, so points off for that. Big Sean ft. J-Cole - 24k of Gold “Splurging all crazy, switching lanes in the range swerving all crazy Style on Nadal, I've been serving ya'll lately Cheddar on Federer Ball 'till I fall, et cetera, et cetera” I am not, by any measure, a Big Sean fan. I mean, Marvin and Chardonnay still goes and so does Beware, but generally I’m not a fan. That being said, this song surprised me by being one of the really enjoyable Big Sean works, with great production and a catchy chorus. Cole’s verse at the end is a nice capstone to the song, which ends with the tennis reference to both Nadal and Fed. Points off for using the serve analogy (I’m noticing a pattern), but a shoutout for making the line “Cheddar on Federer” not come out sounding corny. CL ft. Riff Raff - Doctor Pepper “Drivin' backwards through Rome in a Range Rover You skatin' on thin ice, Anna Kournikova” The man who could’ve played for the Mavericks but they found crack in his jacket comes through on an aggressive banger with a line that makes me smile everytime. It’s Riff Raff, so he’s known to just throw out whatever to make rhyme schemes work, but some part of me really hopes he thinks Anna Kournikova was an ice skater and would be shocked to find out differently. I still can’t decide if I want to give points or take them away for not having the right sport for the athlete. Action Bronson - The Symbol “Serve like Ivan Lendl up in the rental” Holy shit this beat. The Alchemist comes through with absolute magic and AB rides it like a wave, spitting classic Bronson rhyme schemes and fitting in the only Lendl reference I could find. The line kicks off a stupid strong section of verse that just accentuates everything great about AB and The Alchemist’s chemistry on a song. Bonus points awarded for using an under-referenced player. Lil Wayne - Banned from T.V “I go hard like Rafael Nadal And if the bitches were a habit, I bet we have them all” It always makes me chuckle, hearing a guy as humble as Rafa get shouted out in this fashion by a guy who channels more confidence and charisma on a track than almost anyone else. The song is solid, and is straight from an all-time mixtape, but Wayne’s mispronunciation (maybe intentional?) and the forgettable nature of the song in the scope of the rest of Wayne’s catalog makes this midtier at best. Asher Roth - Maybe I Don’t Wanna “Yo Andy Roddick, your girlfriend is a hottie I hope you don't mind, I wanna give her that Roth dick Don't take it wrong shit, I know you got a fast serve But if it doesn't work, tell her "Holler Asher"” Hey, did you know Asher just released new music? No? I don’t really blame you, although he did find a niche there for a second and made some pretty solid songs. This track is not, however, one of those solid songs. It’s an alright beat, a little abrasive but not in a bad way, but Asher basically just does his best Das Racist impression without a fraction of the charisma. Extra points for apparently trying to incite Andy Roddick into some sort of a confrontation, points off for doing it so fucking corny. PRhyme (Royce da 5’9) - To Me, To You “You ain't turnin' up, you're bein' backhanded like Pete Sampras” Premier and Royce’s collaborative group led to some great work, and a feature from Jay Electronica makes this song a collection of talent on par with anything else on this list. Unfortunately, the talent really doesn’t lead to anything too memorable, and the tennis reference here is passable, but shows a clear lack of understanding for calling out Pete Sampras as the example of a great backhand. (Which makes me think, why the fuck hasn’t anyone use “backhanded like Nalbandian”? Not only would that be accurate, but somebody talented could totally use that in some sort of dope flow structure). Cyhi The Prynce ft Gotye - Occupy Your Mind “I grabbed her ass and kissed her areola Her love make me wanna marry her, Sharapova I'm talking foreplay in Norway, gourmet and sorbet, sex in the doorway” I can honestly say I didn’t expect to find a Cyhi-Gotye collab, but it kinda works. It’s not crazy great or anything, and Cyhi has had better stuff for sure (all of No Dope on Sunday still is fucking great) but it’s a pretty enjoyable song. The tennis reference on this is the most sexually explicit on this list, and I gotta award bonus points for making me laugh by rhyming areola with Sharapova. Hoodie Allen - Words of Wisdom “Venus and Serena how we floating these lobs” I’ve made plenty of jokes at Hoodie Allen’s expense in my life, but hey, I was bumping No Interruption freshman year just as much as anybody. This early career Hoodie isn’t great, though, and missing a lot of the catchy white-girl sound he’d become known for. The tennis reference is pretty surface level, but no one has said lobs yet, so I guess bonus points for that. The Williamses aren’t known for lobs though; in fact, I can really only think of Murray as a guy with standout lobs, so points off for not mentioning Sir Andy. Solid sample on the hook though. Pusha T - Don’t Fuck With Me “We walked in, seats courtside Dap Diddy, Will Ferrell on my walk by At the US Open, there’s much more to Queens Versace blu-blockers, row behind Oracene” One of a long line of Pusha T venom directed at Drake, Wayne, and all of Cash Money, Push rapping over the Jai Paul sample is just a beautiful experience. Jai Paul can do no wrong as far as I’m concerned, and the BTSTU sample wasn’t done justice by whoever flipped it for the beat (probably 40). The tennis bars are actually knowledgeable, referencing Will Ferrel’s involvement with the US Open (does he still do that?), but the song loses points for being way more forgettable than a song with Push and Jai deserves to be. J-Cole ft. Drake - The Morning “I mean you kinda like that girl that's in the US Open” A song probably best remembered for causing raised eyebrows at Drake maybe saying he wanted to fuck either his aunt, or a horse, or something, the tennis reference is pretty vague. I mean, there’s 128 women in the tournament. Who’s he talking about? (spoiler: it’s Pliskova) The song is pretty basic, and outside of the Drake memes, it pretty much just came and went. Kanye West - Gold Digger “My psychic told me she’d have an ass like Serena” One of Kanye’s biggest singles ever, Jaime Foxx’s chorus hits just right over great 808 work. It’s insanely catchy, everyone has heard it, and it’s impossible to not rap along. The reference doesn’t rely on tennis knowledge at all, but it’s delivered so damn catchy it almost doesn’t matter. Points off for the psychic being wrong, as Kim K’s ass is far bigger than Serena’s (but was Amber Rose’s?) Snoop Dogg - Signs “You'll have Sunday's with chiquitas You'll see Venus and Serena, in the Wimbledon Arena” Man oh man, I had high hopes for a Snoop-Charlie Wilson-JT collab, and man, was I disappointed. If not for the swearing, I’d figure this was a scrapped Trolls 2 song, although Charlie Wilson does come in pretty strong. The tennis line is overdone at this point, but shout out to the Williams sisters for being the most referenced tennis players, and Wimbledon for being the most referenced tournament. Gudda Gudda ft. Lil Wayne - Small Thing to a Giant “I'm serving niggas like my name was Pete Sampras” Remember when Gudda Gudda was a thing? Sure you do, he’s the ‘grocery bag’ dude. Anyways, this song is hot trash, forgettable beat with Gudda shuffling across it devoid of any charisma or personality. Wayne’s verse is subpar for what he can do, and the tennis reference is just as bland as Gudda’s delivery of it. This song resides comfortably at the bottom of this list. Jay-Z - Can’t Knock the Hustle “Straight bananas; can a nigga see me Got the US Open, advantage Jigga Serve like Sampras, play fake rappers like a campus” I am conflicted. One on hand, the tennis bar is incredibly basic and forgettable. On the other hand, the song is absolutely beautiful, and Mary J. Blige really elevates the track to something special. On a third hand, he also references the classic Tom Cruise movie The Firm, which is always a big plus to me. As a song, it’s amazing, but the tennis reference being so bland keeps this from placing higher. Riff Raff - Rookie of the Year 2013 “When tennis balls hit the fence I serve 8 balls like Andre Agassi” One third of Three Loco returns to this list, really channeling the 80’s aesthetic Agassi had. Although the song isn’t near the top of Riff Raff’s discography for me, him referencing someone he looks so similar to bumps the song higher up on this list. Points will be deducted, unfortunately, for Riff misunderstanding the rules of tennis and believing you get eight serves instead of just the two. (Plus, a missed opportunity going for the coke reference instead of meth. I mean, cmon, did he even read Open?) Lil B - Obama BasedGod “Serving all Bitches, U.S open Pete Sampras with the backhand bitch” Involving the overdone serve metaphor and doubling up on Royce’s Sampras line, Lil B misses the mark with these bars more than he usually does. As for the song… I mean, it’s Lil B. His influence is too big to ignore, so points for that and just generally being fucking hilarious. Points off for maybe knowingly soliciting feet pics from minors. Drake - Uptown “They just loose to love, those are tennis games lady” Goddamn I love this song. It’s the perfect summer beat, and everyone on it just fits together perfectly. Drake’s tennis bar is so on the nose it hurts, but the delivery being so slowed and laid back, in addition to how great the production is, the line comes off kind of endearing. This makes the upper echelon for how good of a song it is, but is kept from the very top by Drake not deeping further into tennis rules and scoring systems. The Jet Age of Tomorrow ft. Mac Miller - Juney Jones “Long hair like Agassi in 89' Pastels in Wimbledon the summer is mine (French Open, Bonjour)” Off top, RIP Mac. That being said, this song really vibes smoothly, super easy listening with a hook that hits the ears just right. Speak (can’t say I’ve heard of him before) hits with tennis bars that included the first French Open reference I’ve heard. Points awarded for giving clay courts some recognition, and even more awarded for knowing what season the French Open used to be held. (Now somebody throw the Australian Open some love) Top Tier: U-N-I-T-Y Summer on Lock Pies 24k of Gold The Symbol Juney Jones SportsCenter Mid Tier: DNA Really Doe The Blow Have It Murder Doctor Pepper Occupy Your Mind Don’t Fuck With Me Gold Digger Can’t Knock the Hustle Rookie of the Year 2013 Uptown Obama BasedGod Banned from T.V To Me, To You Low Tier: Maybe I Don’t Wanna Words of Wisdom The Morning Signs Small Thing to a Giant
I’m 31 years old, make $43,000, live in Lexington, KY, and work in State Government.
(I posted another MD here on the sub last July, so this is a follow up!)
Section One: Assets and Debt
$6,029 in 401k (as of 2/20/20). I contribute $60/paycheck to this, no employee match as they are paying into a pension for me. This is from roughly 6.5 years of contributions. This increases a small amount every year automatically (which I set up) and I increase it whenever I get a raise/promotion.
~$13,000 in pension (it’s a lot of work to log into this, so I just guessed). This is only my portion of the contribution. The State also contributes an amount for me, but I’m not sure what that is.
Savings account balance:
$463.28 account A (to pay renters and car insurance)
$172.61 account B (random savings account, kind of a rainy day fund?)
$100.32 account C (for yearly expenses like car maintenance, registration, and taxes, and future trips)
$337.31 account D (a budding emergency fund)
Checking account balance: $231.59 Credit card debt: $0. I paid off a 0% balance earlier in the month and now I’m trying to pay the balances as I use them. I’m trying to use them mainly for monthly charges and less for everyday spending. CC #1 is auto pay for internet, CC #2 is auto pay for Sirius XM radio (quarterly), CC #3 is auto pay for cell phone. I sometimes use CC #3 for everyday purchases, it gets good rewards, but I’m trying not to get sucked into the rewards vortex again. Loan debt: $0. I made my last payment for my car loan and my last student loan in July 2018. I’ve been loan free since then!
Section Two: Income Main Job
Monthly Take Home: $2,350/month (minus all taxes and deductions). I get paid twice a month. Deductions:
401k - $120/month ($60/paycheck)
Health Insurance - $84.86/month ($42.43/paycheck)
FSA - $52/month ($26/paycheck)
Pension - $217.62/month ($108.81/paycheck)
Vision Insurance - $13.12/month (just once a month/one paycheck)
Dental Insurance - $25.26/month (just once a month/one paycheck)
Side Gig Month Take Home: No recurring side gigs. Any Other Monthly Income: None, just the main job take home.
Section Three: Expenses
Rent: $650/month Renters Insurance: $152.20/year Savings Contribution: $100/month to account A, $50/month to account B, $200/month to account C, and $300/month to account D. Investment Contribution: Nothing beyond the 401k. Donations: $5/month to alma mater, $8/month to local NPR station, and then usually $100/year in random other donations. Electric: $47/month Water: $27/month Wifi: $38.59/month Cellphone: $43.45/month (prepaid service, I bought my phone used last year) Netflix: $9.80/month Spotify + Hulu: $10.59/month Extra Apple iCloud Storage: $0.99/month SiriusXM: $42.19/quarter NY Times Crossword: $42.35/year Car Insurance: $553/six months Day 1 - Thursday, 2/20 6:15 am - Rush around as I slept through (maybe snoozed) my alarm. I quickly blend up a smoothie I assembled last night (random greens, peaches, cherries, berries, spinach, and protein powder) and pack up my lunch: spicy pork noodles with peanuts, broccoli, an apple, a banana, and an orange. I also put a little half and half in a jar so I can make coffee at work. I rinse my face, put on Clinique moisture surge moisturizer, pop in some contacts, and brush my teeth. I toss my make up bag in my purse and run out the door. 7:40 am - Get to work a smidge late. I quickly put on some mascara (Tarte Gifted), Cover Girl loose powder, and a random Estee Lauder eyeshadow. I get to work on a project I’ve been working on all week. I also make a cup of coffee and drink my smoothie throughout the morning. 9:30 am - Break time. I make another cup of coffee and work on today’s crossword. Thursdays are always so tricky, so I don’t get too far. Also throughout the work day I listen to podcasts. Today’s line up is Armchair Expert (which I started last month so I’ve been catching up), Up First, and Terrible, Thanks for Asking. 10:00 am - I go ahead and make a credit card payment for my cell phone bill that just posted ($43.45, included in monthly expenses). 12:00 pm - Lunch time. I heat up my lunch and read today’s Money Diary. 99% of the time I bring lunch with me to work. I always eat it away from my desk, to give myself a little break. 12:30 pm - Back to work and more project. I also end up eating a mandarin orange cup (already had at my desk), the apple, and the banana that I packed sometime throughout the afternoon. 4:00 pm - Done with work. When I get back to town to stop at the pharmacy and pick up some prescriptions. I use my FSA card to pay. ($22.91) 4:50 pm - Back to my apartment. I unpack my lunch bag and my tote and try and tidy up a bit. Then I go full lazy and just plop on the couch. My friend N texts me about hanging out, we decide to snack and watch a movie. 6:30 pm - N texts me he’s headed home with the snacks and to come over whenever. I change into comfy clothes and grab a bottle of red wine and a couple ciders to contribute to the mix. 6:45 pm - Get to N and E’s house and there’s already a spread of snacks: chips, chips, more chips, tots, and more (I swear it wasn’t just potatoes, just don’t remember what else there was, haha). I have some wine with my snacks and we decide on “Uncut Gems” to watch. It is good, with a wild ending! 9:30 pm - I head home and try to get things ready for the morning. I do a sink full of dishes, grind some coffee, and pull out my blender to make a smoothie in the morning. Then I wash my face, put on a little Sunday Riley Good Genes, FAB Beauty Ultra Repair Cream, brush my teeth, and take my allergy medicine. 10:30 pm - Finally crawl into bed and work on a crossword for 10 minutes before I turn off the lights. Total spent: $0 Day 2 - Friday, 2/21 5:15 am - Up with my alarm today. I hop out of bed and put away the clean dishes from last night, set up the electric kettle for coffee and then go take a shower. 5:30 am - After showering I put on a serum and Clinique moisture surge moisturizer. I also put a little ultra repair cream on my forehead (I have a very dry/sensitive spot there, I avoid putting most other products on it) and my nose, trying to keep my whole face happy is hard. I sit on the couch for a few minutes while I drink my coffee and watch the news. Eventually I get up, put in my contacts, put on mascara (Milk Kush), elf Primer Putty, Cover Girl concealer, Cover Girl loose powder, a shade from the Naked 3 palette, and a little swipe of the FAB Beauty ultra repair lip therapy. 6:15 am - I make a smoothie (greens, peaches, cherries, berries, and protein powder) and add some frozen broccoli to a stir fry I made earlier in the week. I pack both of those up with a mandarin orange cup, an apple, and a strawberry watermelon seltzer water. I get dressed, brush my teeth, make a cup of coffee to take with me, and tie up the garbage to take out. 6:40 am - It is freezing outside so I bundle up and grab all of my things to leave. I drop my garbage off as I walk to my car. 7:15 am - I mobile order Starbucks on my way to work so I swing by and pick it up. I got a grande Americano with a splash of cream and extra cinnamon powder. I loaded $30 onto my card in January so I use that to pay ($3.13 + $1.00 tip). I always go to Starbucks on Fridays as a way to celebrate the end of the week. I try and reload my card when a credit card has a cash back offer. CC #1 had a 5% back offer in January, which is why I reloaded then. CC #3 has the offer now, so I’ll probably use that one to reload when my balance runs out. I try not to go any other day, to keep it a treat-y thing. 7:30 am - Get to work and jump straight into it. I drink my Starbucks and get a cup of water. Today’s work podcast lineup is Up First, Armchair Expert, and Why Won’t You Date Me? I also eat a mini Hershey’s bar that I had in my desk. 9:30 am - Break time. I sip my smoothie while I attempt today’s crossword. I also help out a couple of coworkers. 11:30 am - I get up and my earring falls out. I realize I lost the back to it and I retrace my steps and my efforts are futile. I put the earring in my bag so I don’t lose it, but I leave the other one in. 12:00 pm - Lunch time. I heat up my food and, again, eat it while I read today’s Money Diary. 4:00 pm - Leave work. 4:50 pm - Back in town, and it’s happy hour time! I meet E and S at our usual spot. They have drink specials and food specials (always important). I get a glass of red wine, wings, and a side of french fries. 5:30 pm - Squeeze in another glass of wine before happy hour ends. We decide to all head back to E’s house and hang out after we finish up. $29.38 (including tip) 6:15 pm - We walk back to E’s house and enjoy more wine while we hang out. 7:30 pm - Oh no, another bottle of wine appears. 9:45 pm - Finally call myself a Lyft to head home. $7.00 (including tip, I had a promo code that made the ride a little cheaper) 10:00 pm - Home, and I’m so excited to see my couch. I change into comfy clothes and lounge on the couch. I end up finishing an episode of Armchair Expert and put on some old episodes of Catfish. I take out my contacts, swipe a little micellar water on my face, and quickly brush my teeth. I finally get into bed around midnight. Total spent: $36.38 Day 3 - Saturday, 2/22 8:00 am - Not sure why I’m awake, but I take the opportunity to get up, drink some water, and brush my teeth. And then promptly get back in bed. 10:00 am - Ok, this seems more reasonable. Wash my face more thoroughly and moisturize. I move to the couch, with more water, and try and decide the best way to get back to my car. I contemplate a Lyft, but that seems excessive. I put on some more Catfish to entertain myself. Finally I manage to convince my friend to try a new restaurant with me, and then I’ll mooch a ride from them. 12:45 pm - We walk over to Roulay for brunch. It’s brand spanking new and this is their first brunch. It’s a pretty small menu, but everything looks delicious. We get beignets, coffee, fried alligator, waffles, and shrimp and grits.Everything is super delicious and we’re excited to come back and try everything else. $26.46 (including tip) 2:00 pm - Nicely get a ride back to my car and then drive back to my apartment. I do the dishes and continue the momentum by doing my laundry. My building has a washedryer in it and there’s no charge for them, it’s amazing. I do 2 loads of laundry while I catch up on my shows: Grey’s Anatomy, Law & Order SVU, Will & Grace, and probably more. 6:00 pm - Laundry done and put away (always an accomplishment). Shower happens too. 7:30 pm - Brunch really satisfied me and a full meal doesn’t seem appealing. I decide I need some food though, so I pour a bowl of cinnamon frosted flakes. 11:30 pm - Not quite sure what else I did tonight, nothing too productive though. Eventually brush my teeth and get in bed. Total spent: $26.46 Day 4 - Sunday, 2/23 8:00 am - Wake up and lay in bed for a while. Get up and make the bed (I do this every morning). When I get up I make some coffee and drink it while I listen to yesterday’s episode of Up First. I put away the clean dishes and tidy up the kitchen, it can get so crowded and messy throughout the week. 9:00 am - Settle in to finally catch up on This is Us. There is so much happening this season. 12:45 pm - Motivate myself to run a few errands. I go to Joseph Beth to try and pick up a book I ordered for a friend’s new baby, but they cannot find it anywhere. They look through basically the whole store and are so flummoxed because it’s not where to be found. They offer to order it for me again, and of course I don’t pay for it because I prepaid for the first copy. It should be in in a couple days. I also stop by Target and return a part of a gift I didn’t end up using ($11.64 back on my card). For a brief second I contemplate looking around for things I don’t need, but I restrain myself and just walk back to the car. Drive over to Warby Parker and get my glasses adjusted. I got them a couple weeks ago and they’re a little loose, they keep sliding down my nose. I am in and out in 5 minutes with snug glasses. 1:45 pm - On my way home I decide that nachos would be delicious and I have no interest in cooking. I call in an order to go. I swing by and pick them up and head home. $13.28 (including tip) 2:15 pm - Enjoy my nachos while I watch more Catfish. I can never understand the people on this show, so much cringe. 5:00 pm - Get in the shower and use one of my favorite hair products (Virtue Restorative Treatment Mask). It smells so good and makes my hair feel amazing. 6:00 pm - I sit down to paint my nails, so of course I don’t touch anything for an hour afterwards just to preserve my nails. After they’re fully dry I eat the rest of my nachos. 11:00 pm - Again, the night is a blur. I set up things for coffee and smoothie in the morning, brush my teeth, and get in bed. Total spent: $13.28 Day 5 - Monday, 2/24 6:00 am - Slow goings on Monday, of course. Start the coffee, rinse my face, put in contacts, put on FAB serum and moisturizer, and same makeup as usual. I make a smoothie (greens, grapes, peach, berries, and protein powder) and pack up my lunch and breakfast. 6:50 am - Make a coffee to go and hit the road. 7:30 am - Arrive at work. Drink coffee and smoothie, eat a mini Kit Kat too for good measure. 12:00 pm - Lunch time. My leftovers are pretty sad at this point, but I power through. I also drink a mini Diet Coke I brought from home. 12:30 pm - When I get back to my desk I eat a cup of mandarin oranges and a cup of diced mangoes. 2:30 pm - Break time, and enjoy some Thin Mints. I sound like all I did was eat this day, I swear there was work happening too! 4:00 pm - Get in my car to leave and my gas level is almost in the danger zone. I decide to chance it and get it when I get back to town. 4:30 pm - Roll up to the gas station almost on fumes. I fill up my tank. $14.00 Then I go to Kroger and get things for the week: cucumber, peppers, bananas, apples, spinach, blueberries,refried beans, turmeric spice tea, sleepytime time, coconut milk, pasta sauce, lentils, cheese (ricotta), cheese (parmesan), more cheese (queso fresco), frozen broccoli, frozen orange chicken, frozen meal, toilet paper, and vitamins. $56.28 5:20 pm - Get home and put away the groceries and make the frozen orange chicken for dinner. I also make some rice to serve it over. It’s pretty good. 7:30 pm - Head to trivia a little early so I can watch Jeopardy before. I order a beer when I get there. 8:00 pm - My trivia partner arrives! We do pretty well the first half. I order another beer during the second half. 10:00 pm - We place! Our betting strategy pays off. We split the winnings and I end up adding the tip to my balance. $11.00 10:15 pm - Back home. I take a quick shower, brush my teeth, and do the sink full of dishes. Then, bed. Total spent: $81.28 Day 6 - Tuesday, 2/25 3:40 am - Wake up very confused and thinking I overslept. I look at the time and almost immediately fall back asleep. 6:00 am - Now, up for real. I rinse my face off, put on some moisturizer, put in contacts, put on makeup, and brush teeth. I pack up lunch, chips and salsa leftover from the to go food on Sunday, mango cup, banana, and apple. 6:50 am - Hit the road. 7:30 am - Get to work and immediately make a cup of coffee. 9:30 am - Eat the chips and salsa for breakfast. Weird choice, put delicious. Also make another cup of coffee. Today’s podcasts are Up First and Armchair Expert. 11:15 am - Someone says they’re getting pizza for lunch and I’m easily persuaded. I get a personal pan pizza and drink. I don’t have any cash on me, but I’ll hop down to the ATM later. 12:00 pm - This pizza is delicious and so much better than my sad, old packed lunch. 2:30 pm - I head to the ATM with the intent of getting cash but it says they’re going to charge me an additional $2 charge, which seems silly. (Later I looked into this and my bank would have reimbursed me for this fee, in addition to the standard “not their ATM fee.” So next time I’ll just get the money, knowing I’ll be reimbursed for the fees.) Instead I tell my coworker I’ll pay them back tomorrow. Of course they say that’s fine, so I set myself a reminder to stop by my bank’s ATM. I also go ahead and email Allure Beauty Box to cancel my subscription. I prepaid for a 3 month subscription in December, but I have no need to continue. I already have way too many things to get through. I did get a lot of good products from the 3 boxes I got though, plus they always release full spoilers way in advance so you know if you’ll like it or not. 4:00 pm - Time to head home. When I get home I unpack my bags and get into comfortable clothing. 5:30 pm - I heat up leftover orange chicken and rice and add some frozen sauteed kale to the bowl. I also pack up the rest of the leftovers for lunch tomorrow. I forgot to thaw the ground beef lasagna roll ups I was going to make for lunches, so this will do. I also go ahead and put the ground beef in the fridge so I can make them tomorrow. 7:00 pm - I watch Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy, one of my favorite nightly activities. 8:00 pm - I read a little of A Selfie as Big as the Ritz by Lara Williams. I really enjoyed Supper Club so I decided to give this a try. So far it’s good. I got it from the library. If you’re not a member of your local library, join now! 9:00 pm - Take my make up off, wash my face, use some Bare Essentials serum I got in my last Allure Box, FAB Ultra Repair Cream, and random eye cream. I floss (finally finished this thing of floss!) and brush my teeth. 10:15 pm - Not feeling super tired so I make some tea. I laugh a little that I’m drinking my sleepytime tea from a Cafe du Monde mug, not exactly a wild Fat Tuesday over here. I do wish I had eaten some beignets today though. 11:00 pm - Finally crawl into bed. Total spent: $0 Day 7 - Wednesday, 2/26 6:00 am - Wake up and start the coffee. I rinse my face, put on some FAB serum and moisturizer, and brush my teeth. Then I get dressed, pack up my leftovers and a mango cup, make the coffee to go, and head out the door. I leave a couple minutes early so I can swing by the ATM. 6:45 am - Swing through the ATM and get cash out for yesterday’s pizza. $6.00 I realize as I’m pulling out of the ATM that I forgot to put on any jewelry before I left the house. This feels strange. 7:30 am - Get to work, give the cash to my coworker, and get to work. 9:30 am - I’ve already had a delicious breakfast of Girl Scout cookies (Thanks A Lots), so I make another cup of coffee. I work on today’s crossword and, quite frankly, crush it. 12:00 pm - Lunch time. I eat and read MDs. 2:30 pm - Aimlessly peruse Sephora’s website to see if there’s anything I need. Surprise, there is not. Why do I do this to myself!? 4:00 pm - Leave work. On the commute home I hear there’s an accident that may affect my route. 4:30 pm - Get right into town and already see traffic. I make this so much harder on myself and attempt to try another path. 5:15 pm - Everyone else had the same idea. I try another route and I just keep getting stuck and frustrated. I feel so trapped in this mess of traffic. I know everyone else is too, but still. I silently rage and get myself on another path. 6:30 pm - I almost cry as I finally walk through my front door. Not being in control of my situation is so maddening to me. I pour myself a glass of wine from a box I have and sit on the couch. I read about the accident and see there were multiple fatalities and now I feel like a dunce. I remind myself to be thankful that I’m here in one piece and let a little chaos go. 7:00 pm - Watch Wheel of Fortune and contemplate dinner. I had big, big plans to roast veggies for tacos for dinner tonight, make lasagna rolls for lunches, and chop up veggies for snacks. That is not happening now. Instead I opt for a bowl of buttery, cheesy pasta. I watch jeopardy while I eat. 10:30 pm - Wash my face, put on some retinol and moisturizer, brush my teeth, and get in bed. I read a little and play solitaire on my phone before I fall asleep. Total spent: $6.00 Weekly Total Spent: $163.40 Food + Drink: $102.02 Fun + Entertainment: $40.38 Home + Health: $0 Clothes + Beauty: $0 Transport: $21.00 Reflection: This week seems pretty average. I spend most of my money on food and drink. I don’t usually eat out 3 times in one weekend, so that’s a little odd. I try to limit my work week spending so I can splurge a little on weekends. This has really shown me that I need to look more into my pension! It’s such a hard system to log into that I normally ignore it, but I need to plan quarterly reviews of it, just to keep tabs of it. Since I got rid of my CC debt, I’m hoping to really build up my emergency fund and then start living on last month’s income (keep enough in my account for 1 month worth of expenses). I am a total numbers nerd and if my calculations/budgets are correct this should happen by the end of the summer.
Book Club - JonBenet: Inside the Ramsey Murder Investigation by Steve Thomas Part 4/5 Ch 30-32
This post covers Chapters 30-32 of Steve Thomas' book, JonBenet: Inside the Ramsey Murder Investigation. Here's the link to all previous Book Club posts. Chapter 30
Police chief Tom Koby was forced out of office.
Thomas and Smit met for coffee to discuss their theories.
Thomas' theory in a nutshell:
Patsy was exhausted and already stressed the evening of the 26th. Upon returning home from the Whites', she gave JonBenet some pineapple and then put her to bed. At some point, JonBenet woke-up after wetting the bed. (A red turtleneck was found balled-up on the bathroom sink. Thomas believes JonBenet was wearing it when she wet the bed.) Patsy exploded over JonBenet's wet bed and slammed her head into a hard surface in the bathroom. JonBenet was unconscious but her heart was still beating. Patsy believed she was dead. She panicked and decided to cover up what she had done. Patsy moved JonBenet's body to the wine cellar. She realized that a dead body found in the home with no explanation would be suspicious so she came up with a diversion; a kidnapping for ransom. She started writing a ransom note. She ripped out the first draft she had written. The second draft, which began, "Mr. & Mrs. I" was left in the tablet. She completed writing the final copy of the note. She decided that removing the body from the home would be too risky. She returned to the basement, and perhaps realized JonBenet was not dead. She fashioned the garrote out of nearby materials, placed it around JonBenet's neck and choked JonBenet from behind. She bound JonBenet's wrists to make her appear the victim of a kidnapping. She carefully wrapped her in a blanket and left her favorite pink nightgown beside her. Patsy returned upstairs and placed the ransom note on the steps and returned the Sharpie and tablet to their places. She found a roll of tape in a drawer and ripped a piece off which she placed across JonBenet's mouth. She took the remaining cord, duct tape and first draft of the ransom note out of the house and either dropped them in a storm sewer drain, or hid them in a neighbor's trashcan. Patsy was running out of time. She didn't change her clothes. When she heard John moving around upstairs, she screamed.
Thomas believes the vaginal trauma was due to some sort of corporal punishment and the dark fibers in JonBenet's vaginal area came from a violent wiping.
Thomas believes John probably first grew suspicious while reading the ransom note, and theorizes that he found JonBenet's body when Detective Arndt lost track of him that morning.
Thomas said that within a few hours of officially discovering JonBenet's body, the first of John's many lawyers was in motion, as were private investigators a day later.
Lou laid out his theory:
Lou thought the intruder had seen JonBenet during one of her public appearances. The intruder entered the home through the broken basement window while the Ramseys' were at the Whites'. He roamed around the house learning the layout. He found a Home Tour brochure and learned more about the family. He found the Sharpie and Patsy's tablet and wrote the ransom note. Then he hid in the basement and waited. Around midnight, when the house went quiet, he went upstairs to JonBenet's room, immobilized her with a stun gun, placed duct tape across her mouth and carried her to the basement. He planned to remove her from the home in the Samsonite suitcase. He left the note on the spiral staircase. In the basement, he found Patsy's paintbrush and fashioned a garrote. Too impatient to wait, he simultaneously sexually assaulted JonBenet and strangled her in some sort of autoerotic fantasy. JonBenet regained consciousness, screamed, and fought her attacker, getting the unidentified DNA beneath her fingernails. He struck her on the head, possibly with the black flashlight. Then he fled through the basement window, taking the remaining cord, duct tape and stun gun with him.
Smit later expanded on his theory to Time magazine. He suggested the garrote is a favored tool of pedophiles. He also theorized that the intruder asked for the random amount of $118,000 because he planned to flee to Mexico, where that sum would roughly equal a million Mexican pesos.
Thomas mentions that CASKU had taught him that ransom kidnappers kidnap for financial gain, while pedophile kidnappers kidnap for sexual gratification. The two are mutually exclusive.
Smit thought the pineapple in JonBenet's system could have come from a Tupperware bowl found in her room.
Thomas said he and Smit both agreed that the attorneys, including those from the DA's office, had screwed things up. And they both questioned the advice the Ramseys had received from their lawyers.
Detective Trujillo and Sergeant Wickman flew to Washington D.C. to go over evidence with FBI lab experts, particularly the still-unidentified pubic hair. After arriving in Washington, Trujillo realized the pubic hair was still at the CBI lab.
By January 1998, Trujillo had still not submitted all the prints of police officers for comparison to the palm print on the wine cellar door.
The paintbrush handle of the garrote took a year to get fingerprinted.
When the test results on the cord were returned, the samples Thomas had purchased from the army store were consistent with the murder ligature.
Thomas learned he had chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis.
Beckner warned the detectives not to ever expect to handcuff one of the Ramseys. He said that if they should ever be charged, the DA's office would negotiate a controlled surrender. He also warned the detectives that although there might be a grand jury, and probable cause existed for an indictment, the case still might not get prosecuted.
Thomas learned that Lawrence Schiller, who was writing a book about the case, had been reading Thomas' official police reports and Thomas was furious. The only other people who had access to the reports was the DA's office. Hunter denied leaking the reports.
Schiller later told Thomas that his source within the DA's office had supplied him with fifteen hundred pages of police reports, memos and other confidential information from the case file.
Thomas talks about the toll the case had taken on himself and the other detectives. He lists reasons why the others were basically stuck working for the BPD. He felt he had three choices: resign, continue with the case, or leave and make a statement.
"We had interviewed 590 people, consulted 64 outside experts, investigated and cleared more than 100 possible suspects, collected 1,058 pieces of evidence, tested over 500 items at federal, state, and private laboratories, gathered handwriting and nontestimonial evidence from 215 people, built a case file that now bulged to 30,000 pages, reviewed more than 3,400 letters and 700 telephone tips, and contacted seventeen states and two foreign countries. And it all kept leading us in one direction. The detective team believed that John and Patsy Ramsey had knowledge of, and were involved in, the death of their daughter, JonBenét."
[Thomas, Steve. JonBenet: Inside the Ramsey Murder Investigation (p. 297). St. Martin's Press. Kindle Edition.]
Deputy DA Trip DeMuth gave his intruder presentation. He said it was his job to defend the case by anticipating the thoughts and actions of defense lawyers and the jury.
Thomas said they were hoping to hear what a defense attorney would say about a critical piece of evidence or situation, and get advice on how to counter the argument. Instead, DeMuth was arrogant and his analysis "was the worst sort of Monday morning quarterbacking." He criticized the FBI and CBI labs and accused the BPD of shopping for experts.
Thomas noted the irony of Demuth's accusation that the BPD shopped for experts considering Hofstrom would later take the enhanced 911 tape down to his brother-in-law, who worked in the Los Alamos scientific complex, and allow him to have a crack at it. The brother-in-law heard "I scream at you" on the tape which contradicted Aerospace's findings and cast doubt on Aerospace's conclusion.
DeMuth also cast doubt on Officer Rick French's version of what happened in the house that morning. DeMuth said that perhaps French was mistaken and John Ramsey had simply misspoken about his (John's) description of events.
The detectives received word that the DA's office agreed with Team Ramseys' claim that the BPD had manipulated the evidence.
Beckner told Thomas he believed Patsy did it and said they should just charge both Ramseys with felony murder and aiding and abetting.
John wrote Hunter a personal letter and followed it up with a phone call. John said he chose to write a letter because it was difficult to communicate through attorneys who were trying to protect his rights. He accused the BPD of trying to convince others a Ramsey had killed JonBenet from the moment the BPD entered his home on the 26th. He said the BPD would not accept outside help and the Ramseys had no confidence or trust in them. John said he and his family would meet anytime, anywhere, and for as long as needed with investigators from the DA's office to answer questions. He said they were willing to speak before a grand jury. John also offered a million dollar reward.
Hunter and Hofstrom started laying out plans for an interview with the Ramseys. Lou Smit was appointed to do the interview. The BPD detectives would not be allowed to participate.
Thomas felt the Ramseys shouldn't be allowed to waltz in at the eleventh hour and speak to investigators under their own conditions. He said, at first glance, the fact that they were willing to answer questions seemed like a break for investigators, possibly even better than than having them appear before a grand jury. According to Thomas, a person cannot be compelled to testify before a grand jury unless they are given immunity in return for not evoking their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination. Ultimately, Thomas felt the better bet would have been to have the Ramseys testify before the grand jury (as John had claimed they would) without their lawyers' advice and with the possibility of perjury charges over any inconsistencies.
Hofstrom said that if a grand jury were called, only Lou Smit from the DA"s office, and at best, one representative from the police department would be sworn in as investigators despite the fact that, legally, there was no limit on the number of detectives who could be sworn in. Thomas was told he would not be the one to represent the BPD.
Hunter and Hofstrom wanted the BPD to lay out the entire case so they could decide if a grand jury was necessary.
The "Dream Team" helped the BPD put their presentation together.
Two days before the presentation, the BPD learned from the CBI that acrylic fibers found on the duct tape were a likely match to Patsy's blazer.
Since none of the DA's prosecutors were deemed able to run a grand jury, the DA hired attorney, Mike Kane, a grand jury wizard, to handle the case.
Beckner told the detectives that despite the hiring of Kane, Hofstrom remained in charge. Kane was no higher than number three on the totem pole.
On June 1st and 2nd 1998, at the Coors Events Center at the University of Colorado, the BPD detectives met to give their presentation of the case.
The audience consisted of members of the BPD, Hunter and his staff, as well as agents from the FBI’s Child Abduction and Serial Killer Unit (CASKU) and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. Also present were representatives from the state attorney general, the BPD's three Dream Team attorneys, Hunter’s DA advisers, lab experts, and others, such as, Dr. Henry Lee and DNA expert Barry Scheck. Approximately 40 people in all.
Thomas opened the presentation by laying out the sequence of events on the morning of the 26th. He pointed out discrepancies along the way and ended with a description of how the Ramseys had basically avoided being questioned by the BPD, yet made controlled media appearances.
Detective Everett presented the biography of JonBenet, including information about the 33 visits she had made to Dr. Beuf in 3 years, as well as the three calls Patsy had placed to the doctor on December 17, 1996 for some unknown reason.
Trujillo presented the autopsy information and cited conclusions from experts which knocked down the stun gun theory.
Another detective discussed the pineapple evidence as well as the timing of when JonBenet could have consumed the pineapple. There were three theories: she ate the pineapple before leaving the house at 5 p.m., she ate it at the Whites', or she ate it after returning home. The Whites' served no pineapple, which eliminated that theory. If she had eaten it before she left the house, given the rate of digestion, this would have indicated she was killed very shortly after arriving home (making the intruder theory unlikely.) This also would have been at the very outside edge of the time frame for the time of death. Thomas believes she ate it sometime after returning home at 10 p.m., the pineapple had time to digest and then she was killed. This last scenario contradicted the Ramseys' story that JonBenet was carried straight to bed, asleep.
Detective Harmer showed a picture of a normal, healthy six year old girl's vagina compared to a picture of JonBenet's vagina. Even to the untrained eye, the difference was apparent. Harmer also presented the experts' opinions' of prior vaginal trauma.
There was disagreement over the splinter in the vagina. Some experts said it was in there as long as a week. Dr. Spitz concluded it was inserted at the time of death.
Trujillo presented the DNA evidence. The use of the same clippers for all fingernails during the autopsy, and possibly other subjects' as well, could have caused contamination. Barry Scheck said the CellMark tests raised more questions than they answered.
Trujillo announced that four red acrylic fibers consistent with Patsy's blazer were found on the duct tape. Trujillo added that fiber testing was still incomplete because they didn't have Patsy's red turtleneck, slacks, footwear and fur clothing.
The BPD still did not have credit card and phone records.
A CBI examiner explained that out of 73 people whose handwriting had been examined, there was only one person whose handwriting showed evidence of authorship, who had been in the house that night, and who couldn't be eliminated by six document examiners--Patsy Ramsey.
Thomas reviewed linguist, Don Foster's, findings and conclusion that Patsy had written the note.
Detective Gosage described how the duct tape bore a perfect lip impression.
Detectives reviewed the 911 call enhancement, which proved Burke was awake, not asleep like his parents had claimed.
Day two of the presentation included an overview of the investigation in Atlanta and what still needed to be done in Georgia. The detectives also reviewed other suspects who had been investigated in connection to the case.
Thomas closed the presentation by reviewing the major points that pointed to the Ramseys' involvement: prior vaginal trauma, the ransom note (pen, pad, handwriting), the 911 enhancement, the Ramseys' inconsistent statements, the link between the paintbrush used for the garrote and Patsy's paint tote, the confusing architecture of the house, the staging elements of the crime, the pineapple source and fingerprints on the bowl, the time of death estimate being within the date of death on the headstone, the scream heard by the neighbor but not by the parents, the odd behavior of the parents, the parents having the opportunity no other suspects had, and finally, the fibers on the duct tape.
Sergeant Wickman helped close the presentation by providing points which knocked down the intruder theory.
Thomas followed with 27 reasons convening a grand jury was necessary, including the need to interview witnesses who were stonewalling the police as well as acquire records the police had yet to obtain.
Alex Hunter wanted to discuss an interview strategy for the Ramseys. This was the first time the detectives had heard that an interview had been agreed to . The FBI and Dream Team attorneys tried to convince the DA's office that interviews with the Ramseys were a bad idea at this point.
During the meeting to discuss an interview strategy, Hunter admitted that calling a grand jury was a "political decision."
CASKU officials felt their suggestions weren't being taken seriously. They caught an early flight back to Washington. The Dream Team attorneys were told in no uncertain terms that their services would not be needed by the DA's office.
After the BPD's presentation, Hunter told the press that they didn't have enough to file a case and they still had a lot of work to do. He said he would talk to his people to make sure it was sensible to spend the time it takes to run a grand jury.
Discussion Questions 1) Do you feel there are any weak points in Thomas' theory? Are there any aspects of his theory that don't quite fit the evidence or align with what we know about the case? 2) Beckner said he believed Patsy did it, but also said they should charge both Ramseys with felony murder and aiding and abetting. Why do you think Beckner would suggest charging both Ramseys with felony murder (and aiding and abetting) if he thought only Patsy had killed JonBenet? 3) Do you agree with Thomas that it would have been better to subpoena the Ramseys to testify before the grand jury (rather than agree to interviews) even though the Ramseys could have exerted their Fifth Amendment rights during a grand jury inquest? 4) Is there anything else of interest in these chapters that you would like to discuss?
My Choices For Belmont Park, Saturday July 6(Belmont Oaks & Derby Day)
These are my choices at the moment for races this weekend. However, I plan to start watching the tote board again, a tactic I had a lot of success with years ago, before I installed my current plan of betting the horses. While tote board watching often gives you clues in which horse is most likely to win if you learn which one is receiving bets from "smart money" bettors, who usually are betting with some inside information that most of the public knows nothing and/or heard about. While most of my bets will stay the same, there will be a few occasions I decide to switch onto a more well regarded horse to try to hit exactas and trifectas more often. However, since this is usually just before post on most occasions, I will not be able to change my thoughts on any post in time, so I would encourage others to learn more about the real serious bettors. The only reason I do not like using this system is it tends to overlook horses that I think has a real shot at pulling an upset but that is mostly because they did not receive any inside information on these types. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I will take a pass on races 1 and 3. There does not seem to be enough value in these races to take a risk on. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Race 2 Maiden Claiming $40,000--- 3 YO & Up Restricted To NY Breds---Purse $41,000--- 1 1/16 Mile Turf: Another fairly weak field, it offers value that will pay decently if you can beat the morning line favorite, who is not a lock against anyone, and a sucker type horse, who has gotten close several times, but has yet to complete the job. So my choices will be: 1)Keep The Light On(20-1)--- He has made one start in his career on a good turf course at 6 furlongs and was last for most of the way before picking up a few tired and inexperienced horses in the stretch. But his bloodlines suggest he will be better at middle distances on grass and he gets that opportunity in here. His sire, Willcox Inn, was a multiple G1 Stakes placed runner who finished just behind Wise Dan twice in the G1 Shadwell Turf Mile while 2nd one year and third the next year. This will be his only crop to race as he was fatally injured in a paddock injury while wrapping up his only season at stud. 11) Millies Party Boy(6-1) is my choice for second. He finished third in his first career start and then tolled in maiden special races for seven more starts, always offering a late run but left with too much to do. Then dropped into maiden claiming and after a couple of decent runs in this class, he looked ready to graduate late last year, finishing second by a neck and then third, beaten two lengths. Then he was entered in two dirt races to finish up the year and he responded with two of the worst races of his career. With one start this year in an open bred maiden special weight where he returned to his old style and made a solid run to get into contention before flattening out in the stretch in his first start in seven months. Again he signaled he is ready to graduate. But this time he is entered in the right class, restricted to state breds, and on the right surface. 10)Golconda(8-1) is my choice for third. He has made 11 starts with 2 seconds and a third as his best efforts. He beat my second choice in his only on the board finish on grass in five starts on a yielding turf but was beaten by that foe in their next start on a good turf when my second choice just missed graduating. Since those races, they look like they have gone in opposite directions. However, since he is dropping back down into the class he seems to fit best in and his last two works since his last start was his best in his recent past, he could be signaling he is ready to wake up and produce his best run. 5)No More Miracles(6-1) is my choice for fourth. After 5 starts on dirt and performing poorly in each, he was switched to grass sprints and came alive in his last two. But 1 1/16 miles is probably a little farther than what should be his best distance and therefore I will place him here. However, I think he will be closer if the race remains on grass but is less than firm, as I expect him to be near the lead throughout. Bets: WP 1, Ex Box 1-11, Tri Box 1-10-11, .10 Super Box 1-5-10-11, Super Key 1 with 5-10-11 with 5-10-11 with 5-10-11. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Race 4: Allowance ---- 3 YO & Up Fillies And Mares---- Purse $66,000 ---- 6 1/2 Furlongs: 8)Bangle Girl(4-1) is my choice to win. She is exiting her maiden win but has faced several highly regarded NY breds in her two worst races, including the one(Newly Minted) who ran by the heavy favorite in here with ease. Her sire, Emcee, is a G1 winning sprinter and her broodmare sire, Hold That Tiger, is a G1 winning middle distance runner but his best known son is Smiling Tiger, a multiple G1 winning sprinter in his own right. 4)Cathy Naz(8-1) is my choice for second. While she should get a pretty good trip behind two dueling front runners, my top choice will probably get to sit the better trip and be gone before she can catch up to that one. While it looks like this is a step up for her, she actually is the only horse in the race to finish in front of open bred multiple winners and older fillies. Actually, the filly that beat her in her last two ran 2nd to Highway Star( at 2-5) late last year in a big state bred stakes. She also looks like she is cycling back into her best form, judging by 4 good works since her last. 6)Mary's Girl(12-1) is my choice for third. She has been racing in multiple winners races, but they have been restricted to 3 YOs and NY breds and this is a step up in class for her. However, she, too, looks like she is peaking into her best form and she has not only the bloodlines but also has developed a late run that should help her. The main question with her is can she handled the rise in class? 1)OK Honey(20-1) is my choice for fourth. At first glance, it looks like she does not have much of a chance to make an impact. While both her sire, Haynesfield, and broodmare sire, Not For Love, both won distance races in their racing careers, both have more foals that are better at sprinting compared to distance racing. And she seems to be following that same route. Her five placing in twelve starts suggests 6 furlongs is a little short for her but a mile is a tad further that she wants, as she has made several moves to get the lead, only to get ran down near the finish. And like several other, she appears to be regaining her best form after four uninspiring tries after winning before an improved race in her last start after stepping into an open bred race. Now she returns to NY bred and gets a distance that should be more to her liking. Bets: WP 8, Ex Box 4-8, Tri Box 4-6-8, .10 Super Box 1-4-6-8, Super Key 8 with 1-4-6 with 1-4-6 with 1-4-6. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Race 5: Maiden Special Weight --- 2 Yos --- Purse $80,000 --- 6 Furlongs Turf: 1)Hard Sting(12-1) is my choice to win. He is making his first career start off a series of good works. His sire, Hard Spun, won 7 of 13 lifetime starts but also finished second in the Ky Derby and BC Classic, third in the Preakness and fourth in the Belmont S while banking over $2.6M. Hard Sting's dam, Smart Sting, won 4 of 13 lifetime starts including a couple of Canadian stakes races and banked over $400K while spending her career on the AWT and/or grass. Second dam, Perfect Sting, won 14 of 21 lifetime starts while banking $2.2M, almost all on grass. Another Stonach bred and a horse he kept to run. 6)Montauk Daddy(3-1) is my choice for second. He has made one start, an off the grass race ran on an sloppy track and he closed well to finish second in a good time. While his sire, Daddy Long Legs, is not one of the best foals of turf specialist Scat Daddy, he did win the UAE Derby. He did not hit the board in any of his last 11 starts, including a did not finish in the Ky Derby. Montauk Daddy's broodmare sire, Old Fashioned, won his first four starts before finishing second in both the G2 Rebel S And G2 Arkansas Derby before an injury forced his retirement. However, Montauk Daddy's dam line is stocked full of serious grass runners. 8)Now Is(20-1) is my choice for third, though I believe he has a good to solid shot at an upset. He has made two lifetime starts, the first on grass where he broke a little slow, then tracked the pace but was no match for the top two. Then he was tried in a stakes race on dirt and was simply overmatched at this point in his career. Now entered back on the surface he will eventually prefer most and another furlong to work with, I expect him to get out front and wing it. While there is other speed signed up, they better have their running shoes on from the get go, because a minor hesitation is all this one will need to wire this field. His sire, Sidney's Candy, was fast from the gate on dirt but appeared even faster on grass. 3)Silver Promise(6-1) is my choice for fourth. He is another well bred sort that is working good for his debut. He looks like the only one fast enough to go with my third and my top choice early and if he breaks a little slow, which is always possible with first time starters, the outcome may be a foregone conclusion. His sire Declaration Of War and his broodmare sire, Tapit, both had some speed but neither was lightning fast from the gate. Bets: WP 1, Ex Box 1-6, Ex Key 8 with 1-6, Ex Key 1-6 with 8, Tri Box 1-6-8, .10 Super Box 1-3-6-8, Super Key 1 with 3-6-8 with 3-6-8 with 3-6-8. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Race 6: Dwyer S(G3) --- 3 YOs --- Purse $250,000 --- 1 Mile: 4)Whiskey Echo(20-1) is my choice to win. He has made one start this year and won in a good time. He has since worked out four times, with three bullets followed by an maintenance breeze. His sire, Tiznow, is one everyone should know about but the dam line is probably a mystery to most. While Whiskey Echo's dam was unraced, his 2nd dam, Aishah, is a G2 winning full sister to Althea, Champion 2 YO Filly Of 1983 who shattered the Arkansas Derby stakes record in 1984 while equaling Oaklawn Park's track record for 1 1/8 mile. This horse was born to run and so far he has! 3)Code Of Honor(4-5) is my choice to finish second and will be heavily bet. While he has raced against the best competition thus far, he has beaten very little in both his wins and that makes him vulnerable in this spot. 6)Majid(6-1) is my choice for third. He will try to take this field from gate to wire as he has done in each of his last three starts, but better horses are signed up for this test that any of those races. While I believe he will crumble due to the early pressure, he should hang around for a piece in such a short field. 2)Rowayton(3-1) is my choice for fourth. He is one who will apply early pressure on my third choice but he has yet to prove he can put away other speed and keep going up to a mile. His broodmare sire, Indian Charlie, always gives me reservations about using any of his foals in exactas and trifectas when they are going longer than 7 furlongs with other front runners present as most of them are prong to stopping badly when faced with heavy pressure. Bets: WP 4, Ex Box 3-4, Tri Box 3-4-6, .10 Super Box 2-3-4-6, Super Key 4 with 2-3-6 with 2-3-6 with 2-3-6. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 7th Race: Belmont Oaks(G1) --- 3 YO Fillies --- Purse $750,000 --- 1 1/4 Mile Turf: 6)Just Wonderful(6-1) is my choice to win. She has made three starts this year, all at 1 mile and she showed little in each. However, the filly who won the first 2 and finished second in the last one(Hermosa) is Europe's leading 3 YO filly miler at this point and she also beat Just Wonderful in her only G1 test in Europe last year. But Just Wonderful will do better as the distances gets longer. Her dam, Wading's 3/4 sister, Athena, shipped over here last year to win this race for her only G1 score to date. Just Wonderful's third dam, Urban Sea, is dam of Galileo and Sea The Stars, both champions and top sires in Europe. 1)Olendon(9-2) is my choice for second. She has made three starts this year and has improved in each, including her first G1 placing in her last. While that race is an important European test, it pales in comparison to the three my top choice competed in this year. She has a good blend of speed and distance in both the sire and dam lines and should make her presence known late. 9)Cambier Parc(4-1) is my choice for third. She has won three of her four starts this year but now gets the acid test. Her sire, Medaglia D'Oro and her broodmare sire, Point Given, are both multiple G1 winners on dirt but her dam,Sealy Hill, is multiple G1 placed on grass and won the Woodbine Oaks on the AWT. 3)Coral Beach(15-1) is my choice for fourth. She, too, has made three starts this year, the first two in the French and Ireland 1,000 Guineas, a race for top European 3 YO fillies milers and then the Sandringham S where she produce her best run this year against easier. But she probably still needed that start to reach her best shape and now should be ready to get it her best effort. While her sire, Zoffany, was a top sprintemiler during his racing career, her broodmare sire, Tiger Hill, completed against the best distance horses in Europe. She also has some more distance help in her dam line as third dam is a daughter of Surumu, a product of Germany's best distance sire line for more than 150 years. Bets: WP 6, Ex Box 1-6, Tri Box 1-6-9, .10 Super Box 1-3-6-9, Super Key 6 with 1-3-9 with 1-3-9 with 1-3-9. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 8th Race: John A Nerud S(G2) --- 3 YO & Up --- Purse $300,000 --- 7 Furlongs: 9) Promises Fulfilled(2-1) is my choice to win. He has made 3 starts this year with one third his best effort. But in his last, chart says he stumbled at the start, but all I saw was he was a little sluggish to get in gear. However, the jockey tried to get him to rate after he saw he could not get the lead as the horse prefers and he flatten out in the stretch. But it was the type of race he needed to get him to his peak form. His 2-1 M/L odds is very generous, so I would not expect him to get off at those odds. 4)Nicodemus(6-1) is my choice for second. He has made 5 starts this year, missing the board in every other start while winning twice. It is only a matter of time before he starts putting back to back races together. While his sire, Candy Ride is known for foals with high speed, he probably gets his closing ability from his dam, Leah's Secret, who won several G2 stakes during her racing career, all from off the pace. However, her sire, Tiger Ridge is the only horse you will ever see that has both Secretariat's top two producing daughters as dam and grand dam. His sire is Storm Cat, a son of Terlingua, while his dam is Weekend Surprise. 2)New York Central(8-1) is my choice to finish third. Early in his career, he was a need the lead type that threw clunkers when someone outbroke him. But since he has been shorten back up to sprints, he has shown a willingness to rate, something he will need to hit the board in this spot. 1)Majestic Dunhill(15-1) is my choice for fourth. he has four starts this year and appears to be regaining his best form. While he normally comes for way back with a late rush in the stretch, you can expect him to be picking off horses late and could possibly get involved in the exacta, though I think winning is unlikely, mostly due to my top choice. Bets: No WP, Ex Box 4-9, Tri Box 2-4-9, Tri Key 9 with 1-2-4 with 1-2-4, Super Key 9 with 1-2-4 with 1-2-4 with 1-2-4. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Race 9: Belmont Derby(G1) --- 3 YOs --- Purse $1,000,000 --- 1 1/4 Mile Turf: 9)Cape Of Good Hope(10-1) is my choice to win. He has made 3 starts this year with 1 win in a non graded stakes, but it was a prep for the Epsom Derby. However, O'Brien is usually loaded with three years old colts and he decided to send this one to contest the G1 Prix Du Jockey Club and he just missed becoming a G1 placed in that effort. I'm throwing his last out as maybe he did not like the give in the turf course that day. He has two graded stakes winning full brothers, Highland Reel, who most probably heard of as he made three trips to the U.S, winning the G1 Secretariat, then returning the next year to win the G1 BC Turf and then the nest year to finish third in the BC Turf and Idaho, third in the Epsom Derby and 2nd in the Irish Derby, among several other top races. 5)Plus Que Parfait(20-1) is my choice for second. He has one win in four starts this year but now is switching to the surface he was originally bred for. While he made his first lifetime start on grass at a mile and finished third, he was then switched to dirt where he was inconsistent. Now a return to his best surface and a little more distance, he should be around at the end. 4)English Bee(30-1) is my choice for third. He won his last start which was his first stakes win and now gets the acid test to prove he belongs with the top grass runners. He has the perfect pattern for young horses who are poised to run their career best race. And while this race is stocked with horses who may like the 1 1/4 mile distance, none is even close to the bloodlines and proven distance loving abilities of both his sire, English Channel and his broodmare sire, Kitten's Joy. Both English Channel and Kitten's Joy was beaten by Better Talk Now in separate BC Turfs but English Channel returned in 2007 and turned the BC Turf in a laughter, beating Better Talk Now and Europe's best by 7 lengths. 3)Seismic Wave(5-1) is my choice for fourth. He has hit the board in 5 of 6 lifetime starts and he just missed hitting the board in his only non placing as he was forced to go wide and circled the field to miss winning by 1 1/2 lengths. Now the added distance will only help him. While the talk has always been about Northern Dancer as a sire, it is his dam line that made him the sire he turned out to be and she, Natalma, appears as the sixth dam of Seismic Wave, meaning he traces tail female back into Almahmoud and later into Fair Play's grandson and Mother Goose, a filly who has a race named in her honor. Bets: WP 9, Ex Box 5-9, Tri Box 4-5-9, .10 Super Box 3-4-5-9, Super Key 9 With 3-4-5 with 3-4-5 With 3-4-5. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Race 10: Suburban S(G2) --- 3 Yo & Up--- Purse $700,000 --- 1 1/4 Mile: 3) Rocketry(8-1) is my choice to win. He tried in vain to catch the only speed who set a snail pace in their last and just manage to hold off his late run. With more speed signed on, I look for him to blow by the front runners in here. 11) Pavel(8-1) is my choice for 2nd. He is following basically the same pattern as he followed last year. Last year, he started with a fourth in the San Pasqual, followed by a fourth in the Dubai World Cup and a fourth in the Gold Cup at SA before winning the G1 Stephen Foster H. This year, after a fourth in both the San Pasqual & Dubai World Cup, he finished sixth in the Metropolitan Mile. Now he enters the G2 Suburban S off two decent works and his fourth start this year. He also adds blinkers and that signals to me that his trainer wants to keep him just behind the early pace setters. 5) Lone Sailor(8-1) is my choice for third. He cycled back into his best form two starts back, then was sent to California to contest a G1 on a track that works against his style of running but he managed to finished a distant third. Now with two decent works since returning from that effort, I feel he is ready to fire again over several of these he is entered against. Now he adds blinkers which should help him stay a little closer to the pace. 10)Cordmaker(12-1)is my choice for fourth. It looks like his trainer has been taking his time with this one to let him mature and he has slowly improved step by step. Now it is time to see what they have developed. While he is taking a big step up in class, his bloodlines suggests he should handle it and if this was not his first attempt at this class, he would be in my top two picks. Bets: WP 3, Ex Box 3-11, Tri Box 3-5-11, .10 Super Box 3-5-10-11, Super Key 3 With 5-10-11 With 5-10-11 With 5-10-11. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Race 11: Maiden Special Weight --- 3 YO & Up ---Purse $80,000 ---- 1 Mile Turf: 9) Windward Sands(3-1) is my choice to win. A member of the last crop of Scat Daddy, she is working like she will win early in her career. Trainer Brown is sneaky good at having his horses ready at first asking, especially on grass. 1)Downstream(12-1) is my choice for second. She has made one start and after setting the pace for six furlongs on a yielding grass course, she did a steady retreat. But the horse pressing her throughout was Newspaperofrecord who drew away at ease and made her race look worse than it actually was. 2) Ledecka(7-2) is my choice for third. She has finished second in both of her starts, so that is the biggest reason to place her here. Also, experience counts in my book and she has ran credible both times while getting a little education in each. But this will be by far her biggest challenge as there looks like several newcomers with real ability to challenge her. 11)Foolish Living(6-1) is my choice for fourth. Another Brown trainee, she, too, is making her first start and has some sneaky good works, much like my top choice. While I think she has some good bloodlines, I prefer the other Brown's trainee bloodlines more. Bets: WP 9, Ex Box 1-9, Tri Box 1-2-9, .10 Super Box 1-2-9-11, Super Key 9 With 1-2-11 With 1-2-11 With 1-2-11. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I wish I had some kinda cool story to tell here, but the fact is: I like old shit. You may have noticed several antique paintings in my other photos I’ve posted; I collect them. I don’t like girly shit. I don’t like sweet french toile bedspreads, for example, with little windmills and milkmaidens. But slap a bunch of antique-style violent natural death onto an aggressively rectilinear stiff tote and OH BOY, IT ME. The first time I saw the toile de jouy tote — here on RL — I wanted it like Guy Fieri wants a gas station chili dog. I wasn’t necessarily going to BUY it — $300-some for canvas?? 🤔 — but I showed it to my husband and his jaw dropped. He said, “Get that.” He said, “I’m gonna steal it from you sometimes.” And I was like YEEHAW cuz I want him to stop carrying his shit in a crinkly reusable grocery bag. Lo I am a coward about customs (long story) so when I got the chance, I leapt on the BST, as a snub-nosed lion leaps to wrassle a snake. I paid $330 on the BST. The seller originally got it from Tong for $365 at the group buy price. Retail: £2100 aka $2700 USD. raspy voice from the grave: Lol.
6.5” deep across the bottom, but I didn’t fully flatten it out
Auth measurements from Fashionphile: exactly the same, except for 7” deep but given the curved nature, it could be a difference… or not. Auth photos on 24sevres An auth review featuring detail photos of flaws Another auth on Fashionphile showing wonky handles 🧐
It’s a sturdy, well-made bag! The embroidery is all real, not glued on. Deducting -1 for wavy handle edging and ugly handle attachment points with a low coverage of thread and white stuff peeking out.
Accuracy: ehhhhhh wobbles hand
Straight up by the same standards we apply to, like, Chanel classic flaps? 6/10 A 6/10 is a D, which in my book means is “Looks authentic through beer goggles.” The size and shape are there. But there are so so many flaws that you can’t unsee. See my comparison photos. We’re not talkin like “wow this hardware is 1mm off-center” here. We’re talkin “wow that monkey looks like the business end of a facehugger.” But scaled for difficulty and the likelihood of being called out? 8/10. Here’s my thinking…
This bag must be really hard to rep. Harder than sewing a leather bag. For leather, it’s all alignment and material and stitching — and I’m not saying that’s easy! But complex embroidery is extra. Hard to copy. Hard to plan and program.
If someone — with any attention to detail at all! — has handled or seriously considered the auth, this will scream fake. From the base material to the monkey with the missing face, my reasons for deducting are in the details album. 6/10 - D.
But how many people could that POSSIBLY be?
For someone who has not seen the auth, but has ANY knowledge of what goes into toile and embroidery, it screams luxe. And without scrutiny, it really looks like what it‘s supposed to be. 8/10
For someone who doesn’t know jack, they’ll be like “oh it’s a tote.” Don’t Care / Give No Fucks. For some, it may even venture into Musty Old Lady style. Pity them.
It’s a rare bag. It’s made of a material most know nothing about. The chance of running into another is extremely low. Wear with pride but if some noseyparker tries to get close, beat them with the tote. It’s stiff; it can take it (TWSS). Miscellaneous notes:
No odor!! phew!
I heard the handles are a bit shorter / squatter than auth but the measurements match Fashionphile’s. I squeezed them into a more oval shape with my hands and now I can get them (just) over my (enormously round) arms
When I first opened it, I was dismayed by the deeper beige of the base color. But then when I started looking at photos of the bag in use, I see it looks beige there as well… perhaps a bit lighter, but who can say?
The seller said this bag is from Tong and I checked the photos of the exterior embroidery motifs against another review and they’re the same. BUT, it seems like the letters are thicker, and the animal motifs inside on the floor of the bag are solid rather than outlines. 🧐
Seller: NA, because my experience on BST doesn’t help you buy a new one!
I REALLY dig it! On it’s own, it’s exactly the kind of weird fanciness I love. It’s delicate and antique-y while not girly and, in fact, kinda aggro, which, hello!!! It’s lightweight (compared to many leathers), well-balanced, and stands up straight and fits the crook of my arm easily, and when I lose another 30lbs I bet it’ll even be comfy on my shoulder. That said… looking at and appreciating all the details has made me want the auth 🙈 because I am big fat sucker for detail in handcrafts. But $2500 for a canvas tote? lollllllllfuckno. Maybe when they come onto the resale market in several years… if this one doesn’t get stained to shit by my regular person life. I’m gonna scotchguard this bad boy and see what happens. And that’s the beauty of reps! UPDATE: THE DAY AFTER Since it’s been 24 hours since I pored over the tiniest details for my review, my satisfaction has increased to 10/10. It’s a stunning bag for a stunning price. AND, an incredibly bold trend-setting RepLady took her TdJ tote TO DIOR and let a DIOR REP handle it and they apparently couldn’t tell the difference. I CANNOT HANDLE THIS STORY!!
First post to Reddit so please bear with me. I'm also ridiculously glad to have found this subreddit! So, I'm a full-time college student and live in a small town, so choices for going out are a tad limited. One of the most popular places in town is a coffee shop on Main Street, and believe me, this place is freaking fantastic. Being a student, double-shot cappuccinos are like the other half of my soul, and in such a small town, this place is nirvana on Earth. Understandably, I go there often, as does half of the town. I went down one day, toting my heavy backpack full of French literature and graphic design projects, and ran into a familiar face. I don't know him well, but we get along, and I invited him to sit with me. Now, I've been childfree forever. I was 12 when I decided that children are not in my life's intentions of things to do. I don't inherently dislike children, but the thought of pregnancy, birthing, having to raise another person and having that life-long commitment -- no thanks. I have no maternal instinct, nothing. It's just simply not there, and I'm perfectly happy with that. As someone who cares more about education and my career than I ever could about having kids, I SHOULDN'T have them. But today...holy fucking hell. It was like life was screaming into my face, "HERE, YOU WANT A REMINDER AS TO WHY YOU DON'T WANT KIDS?! WELL HERE YOU GO ANYWAYS, FRANCOPHONIE!" As we're talking, two parents and their children stroll in and sit down behind us. They had a toddler who was probably barely two years old and definitely not two feet tall. He starts fussing in their lap, and the dad puts said child down onto the floor, in the BUSIEST COFFEE SHOP IN THE TOWN. And he starts ROAMING FREELY. And the dad looks away. The kid literally just starts waddling around and underneath everybody's tables and over their belongings, and when I look back, not a single member in the family is watching the toddler. Like, seriously? What the hell? Was I seeing things? Then the fun thing happens. The toddler runs behind the counter where the workers are taking orders and making coffee and, you know, working. There are extremely hot, metal machines back there, boiling water, hot griddles where the employees make the food, sharp objects, and the family does NOTHING. There was a female worker making a set of lattes and didn't even see the toddler until he ran into her leg, and trust me, she was genuinely surprised, and confused. Here's this snotty, saliva-covered child clinging to her leg behind the counter of a cafe, and she looked unsure of what to do for a second. She then picks him up, I'm presuming to prevent him from accidentally touching the hot equipment since the parents are doing NOTHING over the situation, and continues to work on the lattes. So she's down one arm, trying to fulfill orders, and this oblivious child is just giving a spitty smile, being held in the arms of a stranger in a place with dangerous equipment. My friend and I stare. He leans over to me and says, "If that was my kid, he would literally be set on FIRE right now." I look back at the parents, and they're watching this stranger holding their kid, trying to do her job, trying to make lattes. And quite frankly, this is now just downright unsanitary. AND THEY THINK IT'S CUTE. They start smiling and laughing and saying, "Hey, look! (Insert name) just got his first job!" I couldn't believe it. The worker, now knowing who the parents are, walks away from the counter and puts him on the ground, telling him to go back to his parents. The child listens...for a second. Then he darts off in a different direction, trips on a step leading to a different part of the coffee shop, and there's a silent pause. Then a scream. A deafening, ear-piercing, shrill, soul-shaking shriek. It was only then that the parent stood up, shook his head, and picked up the snotty, spitty, tear-streaked child. He sat down behind us with the screaming child, and I couldn't. I just couldn't. That was enough for me. I pity that kids future teachers, as I feel I can place a safe bet that he will grow up thinking he can do whatever he wants without any boundaries, parameters, or consequences. The sense of irritation I get from just writing this story is too intense for my own words. Has anybody else had this happen in a coffee shop, a restaurant, or any other public place? TL;DR Irresponsible parents let their toddler run amok in the busiest coffee shop in town, actually put him in a dangerous situation, and seemed to have not a care in the universe. And the kid was disgusting and annoying as all hell.
Modern Technology Scares The Living Hell Out Of Me
Events leading up to this What happens after The drive took about 6 hours. It would’ve normally taken 7 but we took the mysterious charger Nick must’ve stolen since his truck was under the thumb of the public eye. Before we took off, Tommy ran a diagnostics program to assure there wasn’t any tracking program installed in the car. There was, but the little genius redirected the tracking system’s compass so that if we were driving south, it would think we were headed north and vice-versa. He explained it all to me but I’m no fucking computer expert, I just trusted his judgment and drove. The brothers nearly slept the entire ride. I was fueled by adrenaline and crippling anxiety so I didn’t have much of a hard time trying to stay awake during the drive. I was also going nearly 120mph the entire way there. A dirty, white suburban was waiting for us in the parking lot. When we all stepped out of the car, the suburban identified us and flashed his lights in our direction. The backseat of Tooner’s ride was trashed; littered with wrappers, stale French fries, and other miscellaneous garbage. We arrived at Tooner’s house; his lawn was long and unkempt; toys scattered along the front yard and driveway. He obviously had kids. When we got out, Tooner finally spoke for the first time. “I need you to know right now that you are in no way going to connect me to any of this. I wouldn’t even be helping you if it weren’t for Tommy. This is my home, this is where my family lives, do not bring anything back to me. Got it?” We all nodded in agreement. Tooner led us around the side of the house and through a door to the basement. Another door was behind it; tightly secured with a deadbolt and another lock attached to a keypad. He covered the keypad with his free hand as he punched in the 12-digit code and we followed him inside. I was beyond overwhelmed by his headquarters; blinded by a plethora of monitors, all running sequences of unintelligible letters and numbers. A large U-shaped desk was placed in the center of the room where countless keyboards and other unidentifiable equipment were placed in a very particular way. Tooner rubbed his balding head, turned around to face us, and broke the silence. “Welcome to the mothership!” He chuckled and plopped down into his chair. The man fidgeted with his beard and gave us an interesting look. “So, let me get a closer look at the thing you showed me, Tommy.” Tommy shoved his hand into his pocket and retrieved the device; bits of pocket lint was stuck to the wires connected. Tooner held the device up to the light and studied it for a moment, then his face lit up. You could almost see the lightbulb of surety appear above his head. “I’ve seen something like this before. There’s an inscription on the surface. It’s subtle but I can barely make it out.” Tooner spun around in his chair and swiveled over to one of the monitors. He pounded away at his keyboard for a minute until he shrieked in discovery. “Here it is! I remembered this peculiar inscription from a video I’d seen back in 2010. This man, Elliot Kuska, had developed a sort of artificial intelligence. It wasn’t like your stereotypical interactive type of AI. It was hardware you’d install that would override its programming and allow you to modify its code by adding your own simplified instructions to it. I found it interesting. I know it sounds vague but in the demo, he showed you exactly how it works. Basically, you would install the chip into any piece of technology that was capable of such. Once it was completed, it would adapt to the programming of its host. You’d wire the device up to your computer and open the software, at that point it would give you a simplified version of the host’s technological capabilities. From then on, you’re able to customize its functions to your own liking just by typing simple commands into the program. The more advanced the host, the more descriptive you’d have to be. He started with an RC car. He modified the car so it could receive the chip and linked it up to his computer. Of course, the car only had a few simple functions: forward, reverse, and steer. Elliot commanded the car to drive in a straight line just by typing a few sentences. The car continued to drive until it hit a wall, then it just stayed stationary until it received another command. Next, he commanded it to drive in a figure-eight formation – the car did so. Each demonstration became more complicated than the next until he had the car doing various tasks. It pushed a ball in a circle and was fully capable of following exact instructions by pushing the ball into a basket which was placed in the corner of the room.” Tooner tried playing the Youtube video for us but it said it had been removed. “Fuck!” Tooner shouted. I was overwhelmed with the whole thing, but I got the idea. Tommy, on the other hand, understood it all. “Ok. So, what does that have to do with this? I understand the connection, but how does that compare to us pulling that device out the back of my brother’s head?!” Tommy pointed over at Nick who was sitting against the wall in the corner of the room. “Well, the demo that Elliot put on was for investors. They didn’t seem too interested in the idea, so they denied him. Elliot was forced to seek other sources of funding. I found a tech blog from 2011 saying that a bio-engineering corporation bought the majority of his development solely from the concept of his prototype. Elliot then became the director of their development team and there haven’t been any updates since February of 2012. It seems as if Elliot just disappeared off the face of the earth.” “So, you’re saying that this company, and possibly Elliot, are responsible for all of this?” I asked. Tooner scratched his chin and let out a deep sigh. “It’s plausible, but not definite. Bioengineering hasn’t even managed to touch close to base when it comes to crossing technology with neuroscience. Unless they managed to obtain an immense amount of funding, as well as made technological breakthroughs without any news being leaked, then yes. But from what you’ve told me, and from what I’ve seen, I’m damn near positive that this device…” Tooner held the chip out in front of him. “Is cram-packed with technology far beyond our generation. If what you’re saying is true, we may be on to something far worse than anything we could ever imagine. You have to understand that if they found a way to wire this hardware into the brains of the most powerful people in the world, that could be the end of days as we know it.” “Well so far Nick is the only one who we’ve seen that is over the age of 18 with one of those inside them,” I added. “I thought that. You said you’ve only encountered adolescents who have appeared to be under the control of the device?” I nodded in assurance. “Well, maybe Nick is an exception. There’s a chance that they may not be able to control fully developed brains. Would there be any reason why Nick may be more susceptible to this?” We all looked over at Nick who had moved from the sitting position and had been laying on the floor – he groaned. “Hey, toner, do you know where I could get any weed? My head is killing me, dude.” We all looked at each other, the same thought passed through of our minds. We had a solid theory to build from after that. “Let me do a little more research and see what I can come up with. You can go upstairs and find something to eat if you like. My wife is probably making dinner as we speak.” Tooner said. We did just that. Soon after, dinner was ready and we all sat together; Tooner, his wife, and his two little ones. It was nice to be able to come back into reality. For a minute, I almost forgot what it was like to be normal. It felt as if the entire world around me had shattered like a glass mirror, only to reveal something more sinister than my own reflection on the other side… I woke to a cup of fresh coffee being handed to me from Tooner’s wife. “They’re all downstairs, sweetheart. You were sleeping so soundly that no one wanted to wake you.” I sat up and everything that had just happened replayed inside me mind. Sipping the coffee, I sat on the couch and reflected on everything for a moment. Rain peppered the living room window. I thought about how suddenly my whole world had flipped upside-down. I knew that if this had ever come to an end, my life would never be the same. Everything used to be so normal. Average car, decent paying job, everything I had grown so accustomed to was all ripped out of my hands and I was thrown into a boiling pot; fighting off the hand trying to seal my fate. I went downstairs to find Nick, Tommy, and Tooner all gathered around one of the monitors. They were too wrapped into what was being projected that they didn’t even notice I had arrived. The Regional Justice Center is in complete lockdown. 6 armed and unidentified men have taken the entire 3rd-floor hostage. Their motives are unclear and no demands have been made yet. Negotiators are trying to make contact at this very moment. Tommy turned and noticed I had been standing behind him. “This is insane. I bet every penny I have that those 6 are teenagers.” He scoffed and spat at the ground. “Wait. Tooner, what about the website? Can we get a better look at that?” The sudden thought left my lips the second it came into my mind. Tooner nodded and spun around in his chair. Tommy hovered over his shoulder and admired his role-model’s work. I turned to Nick; his face was pale and his eyes sunk low into their dark sockets. He needed rest. There was no way he could do this in the state that he was in. “Nick, dude, you’ve been through hell. Why don’t you go upstairs and get some rest?” I placed my hand on his shoulder. “Yo, Tanner, do you know where I can find some weed?” Nick pleaded. Tooner chuckled and slid open a drawer on his right-hand side, and without looking, he tossed a Ziploc bag of weed at Nick. His face lit up in excitement. “Fuck yes! Thanks, bro.” Nick gleefully shrieked. I sat down on the floor in the corner of the room after Nick went upstairs. I thought about all of the possibilities. Everything had been so intricately placed in such an order that I somehow ended up in some hacker’s basement with Nick’s little brother and an army of adolescents being controlled by some force we couldn’t even identify. It felt like I was the only one who could save the country or even the world! But at the same time, I felt completely useless. Tommy’s voice broke through the madness. “Kyle, we found something.” I sat up and stepped over towards the duo. “What the hell am I looking at?” I replied. My voice carried an obvious tone of annoyance. The screen was just a jumbled mess of numbers, letters, and other symbols I couldn’t identify. “Sorry. Let me explain. Basically, the genius over here managed to obtain administrative access to the website. It shows every contributing user’s IP address. Tooner was able to crack the encryption in a matter of minutes and we can now pinpoint the general location of each user’s location. Some of them are pretty scrambled, and they seem to be coming from every corner of the country. There’s one location in particular that is generating a new address each time they gain access to the site. Our guess is that this is our primary suspect. The same location traces back to the origin of the domain and Tooner’s working on getting us an exact address.” Nick coughed in the background. “Yo, I feel like now is our chance to just get up and move down to Mexico. They got bud, Coronas, and Senioritas. We’ll just sell all our asset and hop the border. Fuck it. We can even get Tommy a hook-“ BANG The lights cut out, followed blood-curdling scream. Tooner scrambled for the door. Before he could navigate through the darkness, it swung open. I couldn’t see Nick or Tommy. I could only hear Tooner’s short, panicked breaths. “Don’t move.” A voice came from a silhouette standing in the doorway. It took a moment for my eyes to finally adjust. A gleam of light from a window in the opposite room reflected a pair of wide, teary eyes. Tooner’s wife. A hand was cupped over her mouth, and the other wielded a glimmering blade which was firmly pressed against the side of her neck. The figure that restrained her spoke again. “Kyle and the boy, step back against the wall. Fatty and stoner, face down on the floor.” It was too dark to see but I didn’t hear any movement. They must’ve hesitated. A muffled gasp of air escaped from Tooner’s wife’s mouth as the man pressed the blade tighter against her neck. “Now.” A shuffling emitted from the darkness behind me and I stepped back against the wall. Tommy joined me at my side. The man tossed the crying woman forward and she crashed, face first, into the floor. Another figure entered the room holding a gun. He pointed it at Tommy and I, then he gestured for us to move towards the side entryway with the end of his assault rifle. Before we made it to the door, I watched the man slowly walk up to Tooner and slid the tip of the blade into his lower abdomen. Tooner cried out in pain as he pushed the knife in as deep as he could. He walked over to Nick and did the same. Tommy and I couldn’t help but cry out in horror as we watched our 2 companions slowly bleed out. The pointy edge of the rifle was rammed into my ribs and we continued out the door into the pouring rain. I looked over at Tommy; tears were streaming down his cheeks. I felt responsible for it all: The death of Nick, Tooner, and his family. If I’d have just minded my own business, they’d all still be alive. I hated myself. There was a black SUV parked in the driveway with the engine still running. I was gestured by another jab to the ribs to get inside. I opened the door to the back seat and let Tommy get in first, when I followed, I turned to see who our captors were. His face was barely recognizable. It was Damien, the boy who showed up at Nick’s house the day I arrived. Dark purple veins were spread across his face like a spider web. The skin around his once disfigured eye had withered away, revealing an intricate pattern of multi-colored wiring. The eye itself had mutated into a small, chromatic sphere. I entered the backseat of the truck and Damien got in the passenger’s front seat, he turned around and pointed the gun at both of us, assuring himself we wouldn’t make an attempt to flee. “Where are you taking us?” Tommy’s words trembled. There was no response. The driver pulled out into the road, I caught a glimpse of the back of their neck which was even more mutated that Damien’s eye. All of the skin had been replaced with a series of wires which disappeared behind their t-shirt. The wires ran down the back of their arm and conjoined with a disgusting cross between muscle tissue and mechanical joints. Tommy grabbed my hand and clenched tightly around my fingers. I could feel his whole body shaking in fear. We both knew that we had met our fate, the only thing that had us confused was that they more intent than just killing us. They were taking us captive. The rain had grown into a violent downpour. Heavy gusts of wind forced the tall evergreen trees to lean over and bow to us as we were being driven towards our impending doom. The setting was perfectly set for our situation. A few hours had passed since we left Tooner’s home and we were ascending a sharply winding road which led high up into the mountain pass. Suddenly, sparks shot out of the driver’s neck like blood from a freshly sliced artery. A loud popping noise followed by an arch of electricity caused the driver’s body to twitch and jolt into a robotic seizure. Before Damien could even react, the vehicle broke through the protective barrier of the road and we launched off the cliff and into an ocean of trees. Tommy and I reached for our seat belts and clicked them in just before the truck smashed into the base of a tree. Airbags were deployed and shattered glass flew around us like an aggravated swarm of wasps. A loud ringing in my ears blocked any other sounds from entering my head. I tussled with the airbags and looked over at Tommy who had already removed his seatbelt and was trying to push open the door. A large branch had burst through what was once the windshield and pierced through Damien’s other, still humanoid, eye. Thick black liquid oozed out of his wound like blood, only it was more of a cross between that and some sort of oil like substance. Tommy managed to get his door open and was already tugging on mine. The collision caused severe body damage to the vehicle, making it impossible to open the doors on my side. “Kyle, are you ok?!” Tommy shrieked. I grunted. “Ya, I think so. I definitely took a beating from the wreck but I think I’m ok.” I wiggled my way over to the driver’s side of the back seat. Before exiting, I grabbed the gun out of Damien’s dead arms. “What now?” Tommy asked. His hand was shaking; adrenaline still coursing through his veins. I stood there for a moment and stared at Damien and the unidentified driver’s corpse. “What do you think did this to them?” I asked without turning to look at Tommy who was standing behind me. I didn’t expect Tommy to have a knowledgeable theory. I knew that it had to do with the device we extracted from Nick’s scalp. Like a seed, the wires were roots that intertwined with his anatomy, spreading throughout their bodies like weeds in a garden, or even a parasite that clings to its host. Either way, it was the last thing we’d both expect to see. These intricate man/machine hybrids were far beyond anything our minds could grasp. The most terrifying thing of it all, what would happen when the transformation completes? It was something I had always feared, the idea of technological advancement taking over the world, enslaving us. I tried to read Tommy’s expression. He looked aged and world-weary. I probably looked the same. We witnessed more horror and violence in just a few days than most people have in their entire lives. We only expected it to seem worse “We should avoid the main road,” Tommy suggested, pulling back his rain-soaked hair from his eyes. I grabbed his tote bag that I had seen lying at Damien’s feet inside the car. Tommy gave me a light smile as I handed it over to him, but his expression never changed. We started to walk through the woods, no destination in mind, just hoping to get as far away from the wreckage as possible. We didn’t want to be around when more of those things arrived. I wanted to ask Tommy if he was ok. He lost his brother, his best friend, and who knows what might’ve happened to the rest of his family. But then wasn’t the time. He was a smart kid, he’d talk to me when he was ready. We didn’t know exactly what we were looking for, but something about the mountains gave us this sense of urgency. Aimlessly, we wandered up the mountain the trees became thicker and closer together. The long thick branches created a canopy over our heads, blocking most of the rain. We walked in silence for hours. It had started to get late and the forest had only gotten darker. We had no tools to start a fire, and we were likely to freeze to death. I wondered if it would’ve been easier to just have a quick and painless death in the wreck, alongside our captors. Things were starting to look grim. “Kyle, look…” Tommy stopped in front of the base of a tree. He started to pick at a piece of bark that loosely hung from its trunk. I stepped over towards him and noticed that it was black, it looked charred and burnt. “What do you think this is?” Tommy asked. I picked the piece of bark off of the tree and held it up to examine it. “It looks like there was a fire. Or at least something burnt this tree.” I gripped the piece of charred bark tightly; it crumbled to dust between my fingers. We walked forward a bit, then we noticed that everything surrounding us had that same texture to it. The air had grown thick and humid. Heat emitted from the ground below as we walked deeper into the Black Forest. The further we got, the stranger our surroundings became. A loud mechanical whirring echoed through the woods, replacing the sounds of the storm. In a short matter of time, our clothes were completely dry and we were actually starting to get hot. By then it was pitch black and we couldn’t see much further than a few feet in front of my face. Suddenly, my foot came in contact with a protrusion from the ground, tripping me. I face planted into the hot dirt and Tommy rushed over to my side, only he didn’t kneel down to my aid but to examine the object which tripped me. “What the hell is this?” Tommy whispered. I picked myself off the ground and walked over to him. “It’s…it’s a pipe?” A large metal pipe had been sticking out of the ground, extending deeper into the woods. I put my hand on it and it felt warm, It was also vibrating ever so slightly. “What needs plumbing all the way out here?” I asked, rubbing my hands on the exterior of the pipe. “It’s not for plumbing, Kyle. This pipe is the kind that warehouses use to protect wiring from harsh conditions..” “What the hell is this doing out here?” “I wish I knew, Kyle. This definitely doesn’t belong out here in the middle of the mountains. I think we should follow it.” Normally, anyone in their right mind shouldn’t follow a mysterious pipe in the middle of the woods. But in our situation and under those particular circumstances, it was genuinely our only option. It didn’t once cross my mind at the time that it could’ve been exactly where Damien was planning on taking us. We follow the pipe for about a quarter mile. It led us to the entrance of a bunker. Steel walls stuck out of the ground with an overhang. It definitely led underground, it looked like some sort of bomb shelter. We approached the door but there was no knob or even a handle. On the right-hand side, there was a terminal with a smooth surface. Tommy tried placing his hand on the device but there was no response. We both took turns trying to figure out what it did and how we could get the door open. “Hold on!” Tommy shouted. The tone of his voice told me he had an idea. He rummaged through his pocket and pulled out a familiar device. “I made sure to snatch this up before we got taken from Tooner's. I didn’t know why, but something told me we would have needed it.” Tommy fiddled with the chip for a minute. He made sure all of Nick’s dried blood had been wiped off and polished the surface with a glob of saliva. “Here goes nothing.” He said, wishfully. He placed the device on the terminal and it lit up. “Fuck yes!” He shouted. Shortly after, the door clicked and slowly began to open with a loud creaking noise. I propped it open with my foot so Tommy could swipe the chip off of the terminal before it shut in front of us. The door shut behind us and we were then standing in the black abyss of a hallway, but only for a few seconds. Lights overhead turned on, one by one, and illuminated the path ahead. At the end of the hall was another door, only this one had a knob. We passed through the door when the startup jingle of Tommy’s laptop came from his tote. He yanked it out and opened it up. “Holy shit. Something started up my computer remotely.” Tommy pounded away at his keyboard. “What the fuck? I got connected to a wireless signal. Something is-“ he paused. “What, what is it?” I begged. “The IP address…it, it’s changing. It’s refreshing itself every couple of seconds, completely new address. Norway, china, Philippines, Mexico, Russia, it's jumping my location to all over the world. I’ve never seen anything like this before.” “What do you think is causing it?” “I don’t know, Kyle. I can’t seem to figure it out. My laptop is getting hot too. Really hot, like it’s going to overheat.” Tommy flipped the computer over and pulled out the battery. The screen remained lit. “What the fuck…it says that my battery is charging. It’s like I have it plugged into a charger. Wait…now it’s opening programs.” Tommy paused. Then his eyes grew wide with terror as the screen’s lighting illuminated his face a spectrum of alternating color. I peered over his shoulder as he plopped onto the ground with his back against the wall. There was a prompt in the screen.
Tommy and I both glared at the screen as it finished its installation. Once it finished, Tommy’s desktop background of a half-naked woman was the only thing left on the screen. Tommy shut his laptop with a loud “smack”. “What the fuck…” he said, jaw still hanging open. We stood there for a moment in confusion. “Come on, man. There’s no use in trying to figure it out this very moment.” I suggested. Tommy nodded in agreement and stuffed the laptop back in his bag and swung it around his shoulder. I opened the door and a wave of hot, stale air greeted us. Another light engaged and revealed a large set of stairs leading downward, farther than we could see from our location. We descended with a growing sense of dread. Whatever it was down there was not something that anyone wanted to be found. No one hides a playground deep underground in an isolated part of the woods. We knew we were setting ourselves up for a disaster, but we already came so far, there was no point in turning back. The stairs led to another door, only this one was much different. Tufts of multi-colored wires covered every square inch of the door’s exterior. The walls surrounding it were no longer the aged, rusted steel we had seen on the floors above. A lot of time and effort were put into the creation of the room ahead. The door opened on its own before either of us could even touch it. A sound of air pressure being released hissed as it slowly swung back on its hinges. The room beyond was bright, not by a light fixture but from the guts of what looked like the inside of a spaceship. Every square inch of the walls surrounding us was covered in wires, switches, and monitors. A sequence of multi-colored blinking lights caused my left eye to twitch as we passed by them, heading towards the door on the opposite end of the room. Tommy stopped at a wall to our left was examining an object foreign to me. “Kyle, do you know that this is?” He asked. “No. I don’t know shit about computers. What is it?” Tommy scratched his chin. “This is a larger version of the chip we got out of Nick. Look, the inscription is even the same.” I stepped closer to get a better look and Tommy was right. It was the exact same, only much, much bigger. Wires extended out of the device and led to almost every section of the room. I touched the outside of it with my hand. I winced and pulled my hand away as it was scalding hot. “What do you think all of this is for?” I asked. Tommy shook his head in uncertainty. “I don’t know. But I think we’ve ventured into the belly of the beast. If I’m right, this could be the source of it all. We have to destroy it.” I thought about it for a minute. Something didn’t seem right, there was no way that it could’ve been that easy. We had to figure out exactly who, or what was running this whole thing. We hadn’t seen a single sign of life since we entered. Where was it all being controlled from? “Let’s wait. We need to figure out the source. We need to find out who is behind all of this. Destroying everything might not even make a difference, we may just get ourselves killed in the process.” Tommy sighed, he knew I was right but I understand his intent. He wanted it to be over, we both did. We were hurt, tired, and scared. All I wanted to do was lay in my warm bed and watch the latest episode of Game of Thrones while eating mounds of junk food. That was far out of reach, and I wished I had never taken that freedom for granted. There were no other options, we had to keep moving, we had to find out what was controlling all of this. We had to find Elliot Kuska. The door at the end of the hall was a polished silver, just like the chip. As we approached, they slid open, leading into a small room which resembled an elevator. We entered and the doors slid shut behind us. The walls were barren and there was no terminal to indicate if it was an elevator or anything of the sort. Just a few moments after the doors shut, the room started to quake. The loud, deafening sounds of grinding gears and electrical phenomena filled the room. We both cupped our hands over our ears in order to protect the integrity of our ear drums. Motion, the room began to move, but we couldn’t determine in which direction we were going. It felt like we were still yet at the same time, moving in all directions at once. Tommy and I were thrown around as the room traveled at an indecipherable pace. We bounced off the walls, crashing into one another as there was nothing to hold on to. As soon as it started, it ended. The metal doors slid open, revealing a large cavern on the other side. Tommy and I picked ourselves up off the ground and stepped into the room ahead. “Cavern” was the only word I could use to describe it. The room didn’t have the structure of what you could imagine a cavern would look like. I guess you could say it was just a giant room, but that isn’t very accurate either. Wires expanded from every direction in an intricate formation, all leading to the same place. I didn’t notice what they led to at first until I got closer. The wires cascaded to create a sort of podium, leading up to the figure of a man perched at the top. The image was beyond horrifying. The figure was hardly even human at that point. The wires were infused into his flesh, the man was in a crucified pose; the multi-colored wiring had consumed the majority of his body, creating an ungodly cross between man and machine. Like a malignant tumor, the parasitic wires bound to his every limb, perfectly synchronized with his anatomy. The man’s face wasn’t human-like at all. The skin had deteriorated, replaced with a glossy skin-colored shell. Large boils protruded from what remained of his flesh, a black substance that resembled oil oozed from each pulsing blemish. His chest cavity was fully exposed, his rib cage had been pried wide open. His organs were suspended in front of him, wires shot out of them like spider webs. The only thing that remained was his heart which had mutated into this black seed. In the center was a small, silver device. A device both Tommy and I recognized. I stepped closer towards the abomination. I could hear his lungs wheeze as they sat beside a terminal just a few feet away. On the screen was a series of numbers, followed by a bar graph that fluctuated up and down with each weak breath the creature made. As I made my way up to the terminal, I could hear a faint whisper come from the man’s threat. “Kill…me…” it said. I jumped, as I didn't expect it to speak to me It repeated itself, only weaker this time. “Kill…me…” I turned around to look at Tommy who was paralyzed in fear. I snapped my fingers in order to get his attention, but no response. He just stood there, motionless. His eyes wide in terror as they stayed locked onto the creature before him. The man repeated himself once again. I looked up and saw the resemblance of someone in what remained of his face. Elliot. The creature was Elliot! The device planted in his heart had taken over his body and mutated him into this disgusting android-like being. Elliot let out another long, devastating wheeze. Electricity arched overhead and sparks shout out of the ceiling, raining down like fiery snowflakes. Black sludge spewed out of Elliot’s mouth as he struggled to speak once more. I turned to the terminal and pointed the rifle at its base. Elliot let out another breath as a storm of electricity flashed above. I opened fire in the terminal. With each bullet that connected, more sludge leaked out of Elliot’s mouth. The computer finally burst into flames. The ground began to shake violently. Blue streams of electricity shot down from the ceiling like lightning. I turned to run. Tommy had collapsed and was lying on the ground motionless. I tossed the rifle and threw him over my shoulder. Barely dodging the fire and lightning, I made it to the elevator. I set Tommy on the floor and turned to see what I had done. Elliot’s body was thrashing about. Every orifice sprayed that black sludge as he was being ripped apart by the wiring that had suspended him. Then the doors shut and the elevator took off at high speeds. Once it finished I picked Tommy back up and sprinted to the next door. I kicked it open and was back at the base of the stairs we came from. Then I felt the ground below my feet begin to crumble. I spun around on my heels. The door was almost shut, but open enough for me to see the room we came from had been sucked into the ground. The door started to crack as the giant sinkhole grew, sucking in everything in its path. I bolted up the stairs. Tommy started to become heavier with each step I took. My foot slipped on a step and we both went tumbling back down the stairs. I grabbed the railing just before the edge of the gaping hole. My other hand gripped the strap to Tommy's tote bag. His unconscious body swayed back and forth as I struggled to pull him back up. The ground around me started to crack. Bits and pieces of the stairs broke off and fell into the eternally dark abyss. The strap gave way and I screamed in terror as I watched Tommy’s body fall down, down into the dark depths. There was no time to cry. I regained my footing and clenched Tommy’s bag tightly. The breaking ground followed me all the way up the collapsing steps, down the hall, and out the front entryway. I dove into a pile of rocks as the hole consumed the entire structure of the bunker. Trees were ripped from the ground and toppled of the mouth of the hole. It stopped. I let out a loud cry as I didn’t know how else to react. I just barely escaped death, but Tommy, fucking Tommy, my only remaining friend hadn’t. I sat there, holding Tommy’s computer against my chest as I rocked back and forth for hours. I’m leaving this here for you now, I don’t know where else to go from here. I have Tommy’s laptop and I should be able to update everyone on what else is to come. I don’t know if I’ll make it any longer. It should’ve been me.
Inspired by the post I read from earlier today, here's a list of common bar orders and what they might say about you in a dating context. Don't take it too seriously, it's mostly for laughs, but feel free to add your own examples in the comments and I'll update the list as necessary.
Cheap Beer, draft - The next thing you order better be some hot wings because you are hanging out with a bunch of dudes watching football. That said, if your date starts off with two Miller Lites on draft, you can expect it to end without costing you much more than $40 to get some action.
Cheap Beer, can - A sensible way to mix in some 16oz tallboys between real drinks, because $3 PBR isn’t too bad when everything else is $8 on draft. Cans are better on the dance floor and quick for the bartender to serve up, so despite the boorish appearance, can actually be one of the more practical drinks if your date involves a lot of moving around. When ordered as part of a beer and a shot, this elevates to quite cool.
Blue Moon - Blue Moon is the universal order of people (in my experience, females) who don’t actually like beer, but want something resembling one. The official beer of “I don’t really like bitter stuff”. That being said, the Blue Moon (or Hoegaarden..or Stella Artois...) drinker can likely be persuaded to try a sip of something else, and their preferences may slowly start to change over time.
Hard Cider - I don’t like beer, but maybe I’ll fit in as long as it looks like I’m drinking one.
Smirnoff Ice - I’ve never seen someone order one of these that wasn’t just a huge disappointment to me, or their parents.
Twisted Tea- What your aunt probably brings along in a cooler (with her homemade Chex Mix) for a "fun" trip to the beach" on her annual trip to New Jersey.
Guinness - Nothing bad to say here, guinness is fucking awesome, and for people who generally know what they want, and how to have a good time.
Craft Beer, Major names - Usually a very safe bet, unless you’re the kind of guy who announces “Oh hey, I’m pretty sophisticated, and pretty into craft beer like Goose Island. Yeah its way better than that cheap shit. Who would even drink that pisswater, am I right??”
Craft Beer, Microbrew - A great conversation starter if the partner actually gives as shit about beer (you can tell this directly by the amount of flannel and hiking gear in their respective online profile), otherwise they are going to stare blankly at you while you ramble on about how “Citra hops are really where it’s at”, along with a 30 minute discussion of the home brewing setup you started in your bathroom closet, and your cross-country brewery tour
Strong IPAs and Imperials “Oh I don’t drink anything lower than 11% ABV, I’m trying to get fucked up and assert my MANLINESS at the same time, because this beer has the texture of molasses and the burn of Satan's scrotum sweat”. If a female orders one of these, prepare to be drunken under the table by her by 11PM
White Wine - If you are ordering a Chardonnay, you must be at a more upscale and relaxed establishment like a nicer hotel bar, or a restaurant with a decent wine cellar to begin with. In these instances it’s a sensible choice that announces you have the personality of a 37 year old white woman who still likes to let her hair down on the weekends.
Red Wine - Red wine at a bar says “I’d rather be home right now” If the following countries (Argentina, Spain, Venezuela, New Zealand, South Africa, Chile) are mentioned while holding a glass of Red Wine, the drinker is attempting to signal their worldly knowledge and spark a conversation about travel. If specific grapes (mentioned by name) become the central topic of conversation, you might as well pick up your NPR-embroidered tote-bag to let them know you’ve been making regular donations since 2007.
Champagne - You better be toasting to something good and ideally sitting at a dinner table, or you are being an annoying fuck buying $180 Moet bottles at a club.
Vodka Shots - Really no reason to do this ever unless you are sitting in your freshman dorm room with the college issued furniture pulled together to make a table in which an assortment of shot glasses are arranged for a sad pre-game.
Vodka Soda - Vodka soda (as in seltzer) means “I want the cheapest way to get fucked up quickly and with as little taste or inconvenience as possible. A vodka soda is possibly the easiest drink for a bartender to make (especially if you skip on the lime) and by ordering one, you are signifying you’re trying to make a quick transaction and will probably be back for 4 or 5 more within the hour. Like the beverage, a vodka soda drinker is transparent in their intentions and is likely looking to get their inhibitions down fast.
Vodka Tonic - Vodka Tonics are for vodka soda drinkers who want to convince people they are drinking something other than straight alcohol. Possibly the drink with the least personality possible.
Vodka Sprite - Essentially a vodka soda, but the addition of sugary sweetness says “I have very little experience with alcohol, and want to just have something sweet to sip on with no gross or unfamiliar tastes”
Vodka Cranberry / Cape Codder - A slightly more mature version of the vodka sprite, the vodka soda is the go to drink of white chicks who want to appear as though they are ordering a “sophisticated” drink, but actually just want some alcoholic cranberry juice. It is acceptable for men to drink a vodka cranberry if the vodka itself comes out of a nip or some other ironic device. Bonus points are awarded if he/she asks for a mid-tier vodka by name "e.g. Titos" which gets you away from the shitty well vodka (which is the default), but subtract points if they want Grey Goose or something else top shelf they won't be able to taste.
Vodka Martini - Vodka martini drinkers want to get plastered the same way a vodka soda drinker does, but they want to give off a false air of sophistication while doing so. The bartender knows your lack of gin indicates you don’t actually want a cocktail, but you do want it served in a neat glass. The true alcoholics will throw 3 of these back before condensation droplets have a chance to form on the lemon twist, while the timid drinker will sip slowly at it desperately hoping it won’t get warm and oily before their date realizes they are full of shit.
Bloody Mary- The official drink of divorced middle aged women at brunch wearing a Lilly Pulitzer shirt and a Rolex Datejust her ex-husband bought her. Depending on the number of kitschy “additions”, the class implication begins to drop, quickly. One of a handful of acceptable ways white people like to start drinking before 11am on a weekend.
Gin Martini - Gin martini drinkers are a step above vodka martini drinkers, just because it is a slightly more masochistic experience since who the fuck likes the taste of straight gin in the first place? A straight faced martini drinker probably has a clean apartment and a nicer car than a 1998 Toyota Camry with some duct tape on the rear bumper.
Vesper Martini - People who saw every Bond film 3 times. The fact that “You know, Ian Flemming blah blah blah” will be mentioned by the drinker.
Appletini...other flavored “Martinis” - These are not actually martinis, but for people who want the experience of drinking out of a “fun” glass while slurping down something with more sugar than a Twix bar. Inexcusable to order unless you happen to be at a bar with a real cocktail menu, and lots of French liquors you are just going to fuck up trying to pronounce.
Gimlet - The intro to the “I’m a mixologist” line of cocktails, a gimlet is rare enough that the drinker intends for everyone to ask “oh hey, what’s that?” and then you explain how you “love to make cocktails at home” and that “Hendricks is the best” while mentioning the word “Botanicals” a minimum of 3 times over the course of the conversation.
Gin Tonic - A gin tonic is a good drink because it has few negatives associated with it, although the combination of gin and quinine sits heavy on the breath. Ordered in the summer at an outdoor bar signifies “I could hold my own at a Gatsby party, probably” and ordering seven at a dive bar signifies “my family thinks I need counseling for alcohol use”
Pimms Cup - “I love England, and English things and British flags and rowing. Did I tell you about the time I went to Henley?”
Blue Hawaii - Because that’s something an adult would order. You realize this isn’t a theme restaurant in Epcot, right?
Bacardi 151 Shots - When you are just displaying reckless abandon for all civil conduct and healthy decisions.
Dark N Stormy - Official drink of men and women who race sailboats, or at least want you to think they do.
Pina Colada - “I’m a sad dad who has a Jimmy Buffett poster in my garage over the midlife crisis stock Mustang I bought in a desperate attempt to hold onto my youth”
Mojito - To me a mojito should only make an appearance if you are within arms reach of a beach or a pool, but
Margarita - If there is real mexican food on the menu, a good margarita is the go-to drink. If you are at an Irish pub, please no. A margarita is ordered by someone who does like to have fun however, and is rarely a drink for people who take themselves far too seriously.
Margarita, Frozen - “omg! I can’t even taste the alcoholllll” 6 drinks later “wowwww I can’t feel my hands…” stumbles and falls
Tequila Shots - The official drink of “ohmygooood my friend is sooo drunk right nowww!!!! letsgetanotherround of shoottssss.. Will you buysomeforusssss?”
Tequila Sunrise - “I just turned 21 three weeks ago, and on that note, I’d like to black out tonight, and/or throw up in the Uber”
Cheap Scotch - Cheap scotch is a good way to punch above your income class, because even though its only a $11 pour of Dewars White, just telling someone you are drinking “scotch” gives off a specific vibe, specifically that of a grandfather. It’s a bold move that is best suited for putting back a couple cigars with your pals, but in the context of a first date, shows that not only do you drink, but you’ve ascended beyond the college tier of liquors and directly into the middle age category.
Expensive Scotch - The only reason to order expensive scotch at a bar is to show off how much you can afford to pay for it, since a single glass tends to be more expensive than an entire bottle of whatever 95% of people would be buying to drink at home. Its unlikely your order of two Johnnie Blues will impress your date unless they are already used to this sort of pampering, in which case I assume you expect to have the bankroll to fund a lot more than a $200 bar tab. Letting everyone you are with know the “age” is a surefire way to signify you’re a prick.
Scotch Rocks - Scotch rocks indicates you don’t actually like the taste of scotch, but you think it sounds cool to say “Glenlivet 12” or “Laphroaig 10” out loud.
Jack (or Rum) and Coke - The cocktail equivalent of a budweiser, a jack and coke signifies you haven’t really grown out of childhood yet, but still want something that will go down faster and harder than a beer. Bonus points for trashiness if it's the $5 drink special that night.
Bourbon - Rooted in the southern United States, bourbon carries the identity of the “southern male” inherently within the brown sweet fiery nectar. Wild Turkey says “I’m still in college”. Ordering a Makers rocks might signify you went to college down south, while ordering a Knob Creek, Basil Hayden, or Booker’s Reserve signifies you actually like bourbon, and are looking for more validation from the bartender than you are your date, who likely doesn’t know the difference.
Irish whiskey - A non-pretentious way to drink whiskey, no one is going to care whether its on the rocks or not, but if multiple shots of Jameson are coming out, prepare for shit to get real.
Manhattan - A manhattan is employed when the drinker wants you to know they are more mature than the early to mid 20s drinking habits of yesteryear, but still trying to get suitably shitfaced off 3 drinks. Specifying a manhattan with rye, especially if you name a brand off the top of your head and don’t search the 100 whiskey long menu and pick the second least expensive one, tells the server "don't even bother carding me". A woman who orders a Manhattan, should be taken very seriously.
Old Fashioned - Similar to the Manhattan crowd, but sweeter with more fruit and shit smashed in. Most people who order an old fashioned will announce to the group “Hey this place makes really good Old fashioneds, it's part of their aesthetic.” Old fashioned drinkers rarely know jack shit about cocktails, but its a cheap way to pretend you do.
Mint Julep - “I’m at a Kentucky derby party!”
Whiskey Sour - “I’m drinking underage!”
Long Island Iced Tea - “I should probably have a suspended license”
Hennessey - No, you aren’t in a rap video. And no, please don’t try to fight anyone on the way out. He didn’t say anything about your hat. Oh god, not again.
Mead - If you are the type of guy ordering mead at a bar, I truly hope you have the beard to match. If your date however is big into “Game of Thrones” or similar shows, it just might pay off.
Shots of Jager - Someone who should, for the good of humanity, not be reproducing anytime soon.
Deep Operations Part 4: Len Gilbert's love note to his Nazi war criminal crush edition
Deep Operations Part IV: Double Nazi Edition
Previously on Deep Operations A lot of you have been wondering what strange madness drives me on in this quest. Is it merely the prospect of reddit karmaglory, or am I just that much of a masochist? Well, let me put away the gimp suit, and tell you a little story. You see, at the end of the 19th century, there was a little Polack of Jewish descent who dreamed of seeing the New World. And one day he made that dream a reality, came to America and started a family. His children and grandchildren did quite well for themselves, all things considered. Their cousins back in the Old Country, well, not so much. As you might guess, this might give his descendant a pretty dim view on Nazis, or their attempts to make bad furry erotica Nazi propaganda. tl;dr it’s personal. Furred Reich, you gonna get purged Onward comrades, for the glory of SWS, CHARGE! Cowards will be shot on sight!
Chapter 15: A Nazi builds a dumb world, surprising no one
The scene opens with our catgirl refugees scurrying through the mountains. They decide they can’t go back to Miao, as it’s probably overrun with Grimeskins, nor can they go to their original destination, so they decide to head to some place called Dalaam. I wonder what national stereotype this one will be about. A fox joins up with them. His name is Hex. He reveals he’s from the Penninsula of Kitsunes (groans). We learn that since the Grimeskins broke from their desert prison, they have spread across the continent, and not even the mighty Ahuranis will be able to stop them (whatever the fuck that means). There’s no map provided, so it’s a bunch of word vomit, and none of this has any context. It’s basically too boring to even make fun of.
Chapter 16: WERWOLF!!!1!!!
Kasha and pals continue their fanatic resistance to the Grimeskins. After a hit and run attack, we learn that the monsters can in fact talk:
“There they are!” An infernal impish voice yelled out. This one from atop a ‘wolftaur.’ “Kill them! I am so sick of these annoying little flies!”
ISO standard villain dialogue. Still don’t know what a wolftaur is and at this point I’ve given up hope on finding out. Kasha are about to be run down by the mounted Grimeskins, who chase them into a gully. The Grimeskins don’t follow because it’s the border to Shattered Paw territory. Also, 3edgy5me super kewl name gaiz. Kasha’s buddy Reince managed to steal some written orders from the Grimeskins, so we know they can read and write too. They talk about trying to link up with their comrades.
“No,” Reince said. “We’re not doing that… Starting tomorrow we’re going to get serious.” “What?” “We’re going after that baggage train tomorrow. When we do, it could stop the invasion right there. The monsters won’t even be expecting us.”
WOLVERINES!!1!! They won’t expect you because it’s stupid. Only brave Aryans like Rommel don’t protect their supply lines. The next part is so stupid it beggars belief. The baggage train is laden down with catapaults and the exploding rocks from before. Our furry friends decide to commandeer one.
Kasha doubled over and followed them to the green chain moving on ahead. Reince pulled out a stolen hand ax as they neared their target. Three trolls were guarding the last wooden vehicle. Alongside the vehicle were felines, each of which were in some armor and pointy helmets.
This is the set up. So, our Aryan uberwolves manage to kill all three trolls quickly without alerting anyone else in the baggage train. The cats try to resist, but their hearts aren’t in it.
“We can’t let you have this…” One of the cats said. “They’ll kill us if you take it.”
Commissars confirmed? The cats are quickly browbeaten into complying.
“Is this loaded?” Reince pointed to the catapult. “It is.” “Kasha, get up there. When I say so, cut the rope. We’ll aim at the supply cart in the middle.”
So get this. These morons are transporting a catapault already loaded and sprung. As in, under tension, with a dangerous high explosive munition in the arm ready to go at any moment. The cat decides to help them aim the catapault, since apparently the Grimeskins rely on slaves to do their technical work. They hit a moving supply cart on the first go.
The rock went hurtling like a meteor into the baggage train. It hit the ground with a thud, and the explosion clapped through the train, smashing wood and strewing people and goods all about.
Hitherto, the Grimeskins have never been referred to as people, only various shades of monstrosity. So either he’s decided to stop dehumanizing them, or they just caused a lot of collateral damage. So let’s take a moment to talk about Grimeskins, because honestly they’re the worst part of this whole sorry piece of shit. The always chaotic evil race is a staple of heroic fantasy. And the parallels between heroic fantasy and fascism have been well documented. The author Norman Spinrad’s book The Iron Dream skewered this, positing an alternate history where Hitler emigrated to America and became a pulp author. The book within the book, titled Lords of the Swastika, is a delicious pastiche of fantasy books, and you can’t tell where the fantasy ends and the Mein Kampf begins. Len Gilbert has decided to unironically follow in these footsteps, creating a race that so far has been nothing but a cocktail of every Nazi stereotype about Russians. With no morals, driven only by brute intelligence, they exist to provide a life or death struggle of blood and soil without any moral complexity. They are evil and must be purged, or they’ll rape our wimmenz and they’ll secretly like it. And honestly, the parody version was a more compelling story than this dreck. It’s bad, completely divorced of the odious content, and the author should feel bad.
Chapter 17: Anti-Partisan Action
This chapter starts with our Wolven heroes running back to their hideout in Shattered Paw territory.
Kasha spotted a bad omen. Far ahead of them, the large, warrior Grimeskins were pushing through the sunflowers, with their backs turned to the wolves. That meant the monsters were already in Shattered Paw territory, on the other side of the gully.
I will say this, at least the enemy appears to be mildly competent, and doesn’t fall prey simple tricks. They left the partisans no safe place to hide, and these idiots didn’t even realize why they were having so much luck against the dregs because their main force had already been dispatched to the next little statelet.
“Now we got you… I knew we’d finally get them, boss!” One of the throwers screeched out. “There’s nowhere to run now, wolfies! This land is all ours!”
Of course, his villains sound stupid and childish. Reince tells the other two to flee while he prepares to sacrifice himself in a delaying action. As they run, they hear the Grimeskins seemingly torturing Reince to death. Meiss and Kasha run for hours before stopping. They eventually lay down to sleep. Kasha is awoken by a cackling Grimeskin. He ends up getting knocked out and pushed into a river.
Chapter 18: Real human pathos denied for Hard Men Making Hard Decisions
Here’s a succinct summary of where Asril’s story is going. The sick member of her party dies. The fox boy reacts coldly to their sympathy saying that many women in his country suffered far worse fates. They make it to Dalaam, the land of anthropomorphic…monkeys? Wouldn’t that just be people? The monkey people open the gates for them to their reclusive mountain fortress state.
Chapter 19: I bet he has a body pillow of him too
A single Messerschmitt fighter plane whizzed by overhead and cut into the thoughts of Sturmbannfuehrer Jochen Peiper. The thermometer outside read -28 C, but nobody in the SS-Leibstandarte needed to be told that.
XAXAXAXAXAXA Our new hero has his own lavish Wiki page. There’s too much, so I’ll explain. No, let me sum up. Peiper was a Waffen-SS war criminal and personal adjutant to Heinrich Himmler. He won the Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords for his Just Following Orders. After the war, he was convicted of war crimes in Belgium, and served only 12 years. The Germans and Italians wanted to prosecute him but couldn’t find enough evidence for it to be worth the trouble. He had been sentenced to death by military tribunal, but escaped on some legal technicalities. Also, I’m not kidding about the just following orders stuff. He was awarded the Knight’s Cross for his action in Kharkov. In reprisal for the deaths of 25 Germans killed by “partisans” and Soviet soldiers, Peiper ordered the burning down of the village of Krasnaya Polyana, and the massacre of its inhabitants. His unit was given the nickname “Blowtorch Battalion” because they did this on multiple occasions. They even made it part of their fucking heraldry, that’s how fucking vile this pieces of shit were. This piece of shit got paid off for his connections with cushy management jobs at Porsche before the trade unions told the management to knock that shit off, and maintained his innocence, and that the charges against him were mere propaganda, obviously written by Victor Victorovich Victorov. His story ends in 1976, when former members of the French resistance and Communist Party members sniffed him out living in France, and more or less orchestrated doxing and vigilante murder on Bastille Day, and burned his body. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. And spoiler alert: this monster in human skin is going to be our deuteragonist. Cuz I’ve read ahead, and it feels particular important to mention all of this context going forward. A real person from our history is going to be taking a visit to furry land. This noble Aryan Knight, who should’ve been gibbeted for crimes against humanity, is supposed to be a hero.
Just a moment ago Jochen got off the phone with Oberst-Gruppenfuehrer Sepp Dietrich, who gave Jochen the most dangerous mission he’d ever heard of. A stranded Wehrmacht division was trapped 20 kilometers behind the line. Jochen’s battalion was to break through the enemy line at a point of his own choosing, wheel south and east, and cross the Donetz River to make contact with the division in Zmiev.
My heart bleeds for you, Khynok. May they find thousands of new cures for you each year.
It didn’t end there. The division in question had about 1,000 wounded men. Jochen and his battalion were to help the wounded, load them onto ambulances, and pull them all back across the Soviet lines and into friendly Ukraine.
Here’s a hint kiddo: it’s not called friendliness if you fill a ravine with corpses everytime someone sneezes wrong at you. May you get passage out of the old village safely, and when you settle, may you fall into the outhouse just as a regiment of Ukrainians is finishing a prune stew and twelve barrels of beer.
A lot of people, including those on the psychological testing board, mistook Jochen’s introverted nature, and difficulty opening up to others, for cold arrogance. If any of his men had the same impression when Jochen took over the battalion two years ago, they didn’t for long. He often came by their bunkers to help them forget the howling storm outside. Tonight wouldn’t be an exception. In one of the company bunkers, Jochen gathered the platoon leaders that night, his thin face faintly lit by a wavering lamp.
Our hero Oh but he’s totes a nice guy! He just likes burning villagers alive! God should bless him with three people: one should grab him, the second should stab him and the third should hide him. The author decides that now is time to filibuster with a gigantic self-indulgent speech delivered from the mouth of Jochen. I’m going to produce the whole thing because it must be seen to be believed.
“The system in which we more or less believe is every bit as good as the slogans on the other side. Even if we don’t always approve of what we have to do, we must carry out our orders for the sake of our country, our comrades, and our families, against whom the other half of the world is fighting in the name of ‘justice’ and ‘liberty.’ All of you are old enough to understand that.”
“As a people, we are fortunate enough in being somewhat less indolent than they. If someone tells us to examine ourselves, we at least have the courage to do it. Our condition is not perfect, but at least we agree to look at other things, and take chances. We are now embarked on a risky enterprise, with no assurance of safety.”
Of course, the enemy are soft and decadent, and we’re HARD MEN MAKING HARD DECISIONS. He should grow like an onion, with his head in the ground pointing towards hell.
“We are advancing an idea of a Europe that fights together; an idea which is not easily digested. We are trying to change the face of the world, hoping to revive the ancient virtues buried under the layers of filth bequeathed to us. We can expect no reward for this effort. We are loathed everywhere: If we should lose tomorrow those of us still alive after so much suffering will be judged without justice. We’ll be accused of an infinity of murder, as if everywhere, and at all times, men at war did not behave in the same way. Those who have an interest of putting an end to our ideals will ridicule everything we believe in. We shall be spared nothing. Future generations will speak only of an idiotic, unqualified sacrifice.”
HOW ABOUT NO Jews, Roma, Slavs, and all other undesirables are not included in this wonderful vision of Europe. One wonders how he can say this with a straight face when the whole of Nazi ideology was predicated on turning the entirety of Eastern Europe into a mass grave. May the sun and the spring breeze warm him and caress him like an apple as he hangs from a tree.
“Whether you wanted it or not, you are now part of this undertaking, and nothing which follows can equal your efforts here. No doubt the skies are quieter on the other side, but if you must sleep under those skies tomorrow you will never be forgiven for having survived. To other men you will be as cats are to dogs. And you will never have any real friends. Is that the end you wish for yourselves?”
So basically join us in our crusade for death or we’ll be mean to you. Gotcha fam.
“Please know that I understand your suffering. I feel the cold and fear as you do, and I fire at the enemy just like you do, because I know that my duty as an officer requires at least as much from me as your duty does of you. I wish to stay alive even if it’s only to struggle on somewhere else. “Once the fighting here begins, I will not tolerate defeatism. You can feel certain of the same from me, and certain that I will not expose you to any unnecessary dangers.”
Sounds like this one wants to die for the Fatherland. Oblige him.
“I would burn and destroy entire villages if by doing so I could prevent even one of us from dying of hunger. Here in the vastness of the steppe we are surrounded by hatred and death, and in these circumstances our group must be as one, and our thoughts must be identical. If we achieve that, and maintain it, we shall be victors even in death…
Welcome to the attheraces.com guide to betting on the Tote. 11-10 and 8-11 over the last couple of days sees our French expert head into a Classic Monday in great form. Laurent's best bets in the French 1000 and 2000 Guineas - live on Sky Sports Racing - are now live. Tote Betting Bet365. The Bet365 Tote covers all types of pool betting for UK races. This includes win bets, place bets, swingers, exactas, trifectas and accumulator Tote bets such as ToteScoop6. Alongside Tote betting for UK races, Bet365 also runs an Australian Tote. Tote Betting Coral. Like its peers, the Coral Tote offers betting service for French racing bets are subject to the rules of the French Tote - the Pari Mutuel (PMU) Below we have outlined some of the notable differences between Tote Ireland rules and PMU rules. If you need more information or have a particular question please email us at [email protected] or call us on +353 (0) 45 491 830. The Pari-Mutuel is the french version of our Totepool betting. So when you go to France and have a bet on the racetrack you can only have a Pari-Mutuel bet as the are no bookmakers on course in France. Therefore when you get to Longchamp you have a bet at the Pari-Mutual betting window. In race track pari-mutuel betting, all bettors' play is The tote is essentially a pool betting system whereby the weight of money for a selection in a contest determines the returns for each runner. The tote was first conceived in the 1860’s in France by Joseph Oller, whose concept the ‘Pari mutuel’ is still used for horse racing in France today. The operators of the system total up all of the
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