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TIL Duško Popov was one of inspirations for Ian Fleming's James Bond. He was a ladies man, party goer and double agent in WW2 working for MI6, who informed FBI about impending Pearl Harbor. Fleming witnessed real-life bluff made by Popov and used it as basis for Casino Royale.

TIL Duško Popov was one of inspirations for Ian Fleming's James Bond. He was a ladies man, party goer and double agent in WW2 working for MI6, who informed FBI about impending Pearl Harbor. Fleming witnessed real-life bluff made by Popov and used it as basis for Casino Royale. submitted by pajkeki to todayilearned [link] [comments]

Introducing: The Royal Family of Monaco

Prince Rainier III (1923-2005)
Rainier’s mother, Princess Charlotte, was actually illegitimate. Her father Louis II, getting older and with no legitimate children, legitimized her and made her his heir. She never took the throne, and in fact renounced her rights to her son, Rainier, the day before his 21st birthday.
Rainier became the Sovereign Prince of Monaco upon the death of his grandfather in 1949.
During WW2, Rainier served in the Free French Army. During the 40s and 50s he was in a long term relationship with the French film actress Gisele Pascal. Rainier’s sister, Princess Antoinette, wanted her own son to ascend to the throne, and spread rumors that Pascal was infertile. The rumors along with her treatment by the press and public ended their relationship.
After the war Monaco, a country who made its money primarily as a gambling origin, was in crisis as wealthy Europeans found their funds diminished after the war. To restore Monaco’s treasury Rainier decided to promote Monaco as a tax haven, and he personally took control of SBM (the company who owns the Monte Carlo Casino, Opera, and Hostel de Paris) in 1964. Prince Albert still retains a large share of the company and profits from it today.
Marriage:
Everyone knows this one. Rainier married American film star Grace Kelly in 1956.
Their marriage is rumored to have been turbulent. It is said that Grace struggled with adjusting to royal life, regretted ending her film career, and that Rainier had extramarital affairs. Her children have stated that though she was a loving mother, they spent more time with nannies than with their parents.
Grace's dress is iconic, but here you go if you want to revisit some photos from that day.
Rainier smoked up to 60 cigarettes per day, and in the last years of his life his health steadily declined. On March 8th, 2005 he entered the hospital for a lung infection and by the end of the month he was on a ventilator suffering from renal and heart failure. On March 31st he officially announced his son Albert, as regent, and on April 6th he died.
The Constitution
Monaco’s constitution stated that Monaco is a constitutional monarchy ruled by the hereditary princes of the Grimaldi. If the reigning prince were to die without leaving a male heir, Monaco, according to the treaty, would be incorporated into France. In 2002, realizing he had a 43 year old bachelor son, Rainier amended the constitution to allow the crown to pass to his daughters should Albert not marry.
Grace, Princess of Monaco (1929-1982)
Grace was born in Philadelphia to an affluent and influential family. Her father was an Olympian and a Democratic nominee for Mayor of Philadelphia and was appointed by President Roosevelt as National Director of Physical Fitness. Her mother taught physical education at the University of Pennsylvania and coached women’s athletics at Penn.
Her Uncle, George Kelly, was a Pulitzer prize winning dramatist, screenwriter, and director and used his influence to gain Grace admission to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. Grace became one of the biggest movie stars of her generation.
In 1955 she was sent to the Cannes Film Festival and invited to appear in photos with Prince Rainier. After a year-long courtship, they were married in 1956.
Grace was not allowed to continue her acting career after her marriage. She instead devoted herself to her role as Princess, become heavily involved with the Red Cross of Monaco and the Rainbow Children Coalition.
On September 13, 1982, Kelly was driving back to Monaco after spending time at her country home. During the drive she had a stroke, lost control of her vehicle, and drove off the mountainside. She died a day later.
An article on their relationship
Prince Albert II (b. 1958)
Prince Albert is one of the wealthiest royals in the world with a net worth at more than $1B. He attended Amherst College in Massachusetts, studying political science, economics, music, and English literature, and completed his education with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. He toured Europe in 1979 as part of the Amherst College Glee Club.
Albert competed in the bobsleigh for five consecutive Winter Olympics on behalf of Monaco, and was their flag bearer at the 1988, 1994, and 1998 Olympics. He is also a judo black belt.
He became Prince of Monaco when his father died in 2005.
Marriage:
Prior to his marriage his status as a bachelor was a hot topic of discussion. He was known to date well-known fashion models and actresses, however at age 53 had never married. It was rumored that Albert was gay, something he expressed great frustration with in the press. In 2006 he attended the opening ceremony of the Torino Olympics with South African swimmer Charlene Wittstock. They were engaged in 2010, and married in 2011.
There are rumors that Charlene tried to flee the country the day before their wedding. It is reported that the future bride, after discovering Albert may have fathered yet another child during their relationship, attempted to flee as many as three times before their wedding, however was always intercepted at the airport. It is also said she attempted to seek refuge at the South African embassy, and that officials in Monaco ended up hiding her passport so she could not leave the country.
Moreover, during their wedding, Charlene openly cried at parts, and Prince Albert was caught on camera begging her to kiss him. Honestly, she looked pretty miserable the whole time. The palace has denied all of these claims.
During their honeymoon, they stayed in separate hotels
Here's everything you ever needed to know about their wedding
Watch it
Prince Albert is passionate about the environment and an avid sportsman. Prince Albert speaks French, English, German, and Italian. He speaks English with basically no accent thanks to his American mother.
Illegitimate Children
In 2005, the day before Prince Rainier died, Albert publicly acknowledged he had fathered a son out of wedlock. In 2006, he confirmed he had also fathered a daughter. These children were barred from the line of inheritance because of a 2002 constitutional amendment requiring an heir’s parents to be married.
Alexandre (b. 2003)
Alexandre’s mother (Nicole Coste) was a flight attendant for Air France and met Prince Albert when he was a passenger on a flight. He asked for her number, the beginning of a years-long affair. The relationship ended at the insistence of Prince Rainier. Albert visited Alexandre and Nicole often, however when he refused to acknowledge Alexandre publicly, Nicole sold an interview and pictures to the media. Albert was in mourning for his father and made no public comment, but later did acknowledge paternity. Alexandre and Nicole live in France at an estate given to them by Albert.
Jazmin (b. 1992)
Jazmin’s mother, Tamara, met Albert while working as a waitress. Albert knew of Jazmin and visited her, however did not acknowledge her publicly until she was in high school to protect her identity. In 2006 the French magazine Voici published photographs of Jazmin and her mother on a visit to Monaco, outing her as Albert’s daughter. She has attended events with Albert and Charlene, and is listed as a sponsor for her father’s royal foundation.
An interview with Jazmin
Princess Charlene (b. 1978)
Born in Zimbabwe, Charlene’s family relocated to South Africa in 1989. She represented South Africa at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, finished fifth in the 4x100 meter relay.
Albert and Charlene met at the Mare Nostrum swimming competition in Monaco in 2000, however were not seen together until 2006.
Charlene converted to Roman Catholicism for her wedding, and has learned French and Monegasque after her move to Monaco. She is an ambassador for the Special Olympics, patron of the South African Red Cross, and is passionate about sport.
In recent news, she completed “the crossing” water bike challenge, a 180 kilometer water bike race for charity.
An interview with Charlene and Albert on the 1st birthday of their twins
Albert and Charlene have 2 children:
Hereditary Prince Jacques *twin* (b. 2014)
Princess Gabriella *twin* (b. 2014)
Gabriella was born 2 minutes before her brother, however because of the constitution her brother will inherit the throne. They are super sweet together and you see them at events often.
Princess Caroline of Hanover (b. 1957)
Caroline is the eldest child of Rainier and Grace Kelly, however because of the constitution her brother, Albert, sits on the throne of Monaco. She served as de facto first lady of Monaco until the marriage of Albert and Charlene.
Until the birth of her niece and nephew she was heir presumptive to the throne, although she had only held that title since 2005 after the change of the constitution to include female heirs.
Caroline received her French baccalaureat in 1974, and received a degree in Philosophy from Sorbonne University. She is fluent in French, English, Spanish, German, and Italian. Her hobbies include horseback riding, swimming, and skiing.
Marriages:
Married Phillippe, a Parisian banker, in 1978. The couple divorced in 1980 with no children.
Married Stefano in 1983, the sportsman heir to an Italian industrial fortune. The two had to marry in a civil ceremony rather than a religious ceremony because Caroline, a Catholic, was divorced. Caroline was 3 months pregnant at the time of their wedding.
They have three children:
  1. Andrea Casiraghi (1984)
  1. Charlotte Casiraghi (1986)
  1. Pierre Casiraghi (b. 1987)
Note: The Casiraghi’s are all very beautiful and very fashionable but I don’t want to go much into them here because they are so far down the line of succession. They’re fun to follow for their fashion if you have the time to check them out.
Married Ernst August, a Prince, in 1999. They have one daughter, Princess Alexandra.
Caroline is thus a Princess twice-over, through her family and through her husband. She and Ernst August have been separated since 2009 however are still legally married, thus she retains the title of Princess Caroline of Hanover.
Read about all of her weddings here
See her speaking in English around 12:00 here
Princess Stephanie (b. 1965)
Stephanie was in the vehicle with her mother when Grace died. She suffered a fracture of the neck.
She has studied classical dance and piano, and competed in gymnastics and horse riding. She interned at Christian Dior and debuted as a model in 1984. She has a swimwear and perfume line, and owns cafes and stores in both Monaco and Barcelona. She also has sold more than 2 million copies of her song, Ouragan, and sold 1.5M copies of her album Besoin. She recorded “In the Closet” with Michael Jackson, however is listed as “mystery girl” in the credits.
Marriages/Relationships:
Stephanie married her former body guard, Daniel Ducruet, in 1995. When Rainier learned of their relationship Daniel was not only still his employee, but had a pregnant girlfriend too. Stephanie gave birth to their two children “out of wedlock” because Rainier refused to grant permission for them to marry, however eventually relented. The two divorced a year later after Ducruet was photographed naked with a stripper.
Read more
They have two children:
  1. Louis (b. 1992)
  1. Pauline (b. 1994)

Stephanie and Jean never married, however have a child together. He was Rainier’s Head of Security. She did not identify him on the birth certificate and it was not confirmed that he was Camille’s father until she confirmed it herself on her Instagram.
More about Jean

Stephanie met elephant trainer (yeah, you read that right) when she presented him with the award for “best animal tamer” at the Monaco Circus Festival in 1997. Franco, a decade older than Stephanie, was married with two children at the time. Franco left his family for Stephanie, moving her and her three children into his circus caravan in Zurich. Marrying in 2001, their relationship lasted 18 months until their divorce.
An interview with Stephanie in English in 1990
Why is he a Prince and not a King?
From vogue:
It goes back deep into the history of Monaco. Monaco has always been a tiny nation, and, for protection, allied itself with (or, at some points, was flat-out annexed by) big powerful countries, with big powerful rulers—aka kingdoms, or, a nation ruled by a king or queen. So Monaco’s rulers styled themselves as prince and princess. That, by definition, made the nation a principality, or one ruled by prince or princess.
Regardless, Albert actually plays a bigger role in the day to day operations of the country than most of his European peers. Legislative power is divided between the Prince who initiates the laws, and the National Council who votes on them. Executive power is retained by the Prince, and he has full judiciary powers.
Jewels
See their tiara collection
I think the Ocean Tiara, gifted to Charlene for her wedding, is particularly interesting. You either love it or you hate it.
The Grimaldi Curse
What do you think?
submitted by cincbus to RoyalsGossip [link] [comments]

Rise of Hellion ch13 ( Barry Pepper fanart fiction inspiration)

Rise of Hellion ch13 ( Barry Pepper fanart fiction inspiration)

Rise of Hellion ch13 ( Barry Pepper fanart fiction inspiration)

previous: https://www.reddit.com/BarryPeppecomments/koihsy/rise_of_hellion_ch12_barry_pepper_fanart_fiction/
The flight touched down, under the early morning sky. I could practically taste the Cinnabon frosting. It had been over a decade since I’d been on an airplane but I loved hanging around the terminals for the delicious overpriced food.
Baron placed his hand upon my shoulder. “What happens in Jersey stays in Jersey,” he said with a laugh.
“I thought you’d be bitter.” I leaned on his shoulder as we waited for the seatbelt light to turn off.
“You thought I’d be bitter about flying as a passenger instead of a pilot?” Baron shrugged, as he stretched his arms over his head. “I’ve always loved Alaska Airlines. And if I was flying the plane, I wouldn’t have been able to spend time with this little guy.” He tickled little Abby’s chubby arm causing the baby to smile.
“I can’t disagree.” In the weeks following our arrival at Dr. Toki’s DC bunker, Baron grew close to my son. The three of us shared a room; two cots on the floor with a padded plastic box for the baby. Like all babies little Abby cried; for food, diaper changes, or just out of loneliness. Nine out of ten times, I would awaken to find Baron holding my son. Sometimes he’d walk around the small room, other times he would sit cross-legged on his bed, but every night was a different story about Noah. I learned things I knew I was never meant to know about.
In the years they spent traveling the world as renowned criminal masterminds, Noah and Baron had become more than friends. They fell in love.
“You daddy was the greatest person I ever knew,” Baron often said as he rocked my son in his arms. “He was the last person I ever truly loved.”
I listened as Baron, by the light of the moon, told my infant son stories about his many adventures with Noah and Nash. Some boarded on the obscene; drugs, weapons trafficking, and all manner of sex. He never outright said they were lovers, only that they trusted each other with their mind body and soul.
“It tears me up inside knowing he’s gone. I know this is all my fault, his blood is on my hands. We should have died together. Noah died the way he lived; with honor and integrity. But then I never would have met you.”
That was how I knew Baron could be trusted; he loved Abby with every fiber of his soul.
“Yo, Nicki,” Baron said, tapping my arm. “The plane’s empty, time to go.”
“Oh,” I took a quick breath, forcing myself back to reality.
Baron grabbed our one piece of luggage, a plain black backpack with a limited number of supplies. Axel had passed it along to us before going through security, so I had to assume it contained no weapons.
We walked down the corridor to the gate at Atlantic City international airport. “Can I hold the bag?” I asked, since he was already holding the baby.
“Sure.” Baron took off the straps and tossed me the bag. It was lighter than I thought it would be. Inside was a lot of fabric; some rolled, some folded and some pieces were clearly hiding items made of plastic or metal. I figured I shouldn’t be examining its contents right away but with the chill of the airport I wanted to see if there were any extra clothes for my baby.
No, Abby was our baby. Seeing Baron holding the child in his arms, all I could feel was love. “Oh look!” I fished out a blue, baby t-shirt with a happy dolphin. “Let’s put it on him!”
Baron did as I asked, maneuvering Abby’s wiggly little body. With his fresh new shirt, he looked like a cute little tourist baby. In fact, we looked like a typical vacationing couple traveling with their newborn.
I knew that Axel and Dr. Toki were monitoring us from the safety and comfort of an unmarked medevac vehicle somewhere within a six-mile radius. Ideally, they would follow us, observe from a distance. If and when we found Tony, we could get the hell out (to the nearest TAC bunker.) Until then Baron and I were to look for clues along the boardwalk.
“Should we get a hotel room?” I asked.
“Certain military leaders didn’t give us any money, so unless you have a credit card?”
“I could probably pick pocket one.”
“Way to blow our cover,” he said with a laugh. “Nah, we can deal with the issue of housing when we need to. With any luck Axel and Dr. Toki have plans to get us out, so we don’t have to sleep on the streets with a baby.”
We walked a further, to the land of sun, sand and casinos, stopping to rest on a bench. “Let’s see what’s in the bag.” There were more shirts, pants, a few flattened bottles to collect water, or maybe even breastmilk. I placed each of the items neatly on my lap, hoping that I would not miss anything important. However, in the end, the only item of importance was a package of baby wipes. There wasn’t even any diapers. I had to assume, if I needed to change my baby, I was meant to use the extra clothing. (Same for first aid, due to lack of bandages.) “You really don’t have any money?”
“We can always shoplift,” Baron said cheerfully as he tossed the baby in the air.
Abby squealed with joy.
I could feel my heart flutter with joy. “That’s the New Jersey spirit!”
“There has to be a Walgreens around here someplace.”
We easily found a corner store with the iconic red signage. Baron picked up a basket and headed to the food section; packaged drinks, dried cereal, candy, etc.
“What do you think happened to Anya?” I asked, following close. “Since you’re the last person who saw her.”
“She’s going after Axel,” he answered casually.
“And you’re ok with that?”
“It’s her deal, her quest or whatever.”
“Or whatever?” I asked. His tone was really starting to piss me off. Axel was my friend, a human being. But so was Anya. And that was why my soul was being torn in half.
“Anya’s going to do what she has to do but for the sake of all of us she’s going to act alone. That way the blood will be only on her hands.”
I saw his point. If and when the time came, we were under no obligation to choose sides. “How thoughtful.”
“You need any diapers?” Baron asked. He was holding an open package of men’s shaving razors. Grabbing a single replacement head, Baron somehow managed to break the plastic apart without wounding his fingertips.
I assumed he was going to cut open a package. “No, I’m good. He has on a cloth diaper and I have enough supplies to make an extra. But I could use some soap.” I grabbed a package of off brand bar soap with an image of a happy Asian baby. Ideally, I could use this for washing both skin and clothing.
After easily leaving the store with everything we needed, we ran in the direction of the beach, hoping to get lost in the crowds. Suddenly out of nowhere the sky darkened and the clouds swelled with rain. The storm came down hard and fast, transforming from freezing rain, to pin-sized hail. In the distance there seemed to be a homeless encampment. Without any words spoken, we both knew to make a run for it.
The tent city consisted of a series of tarps connecting individual homes. There were a few spots that had people huddled around campfires. Men, women and children sat wrapped in dirty, wet blankets, as they struggled to stay warm. Not wanting to take any of their limited resources we walked until we found a sparse area with just a tarp surrounded by barrels and broken pallets. The space was just enough for Baron and I to sleep side by side, resting the baby on his chest.
“Here,” he said, sliding the backpack in my direction. “You can use the bag as a pillow.”
“Thanks.” Unable to comfortably sleep I found myself staring up at the blue tarp. As my mind started to float away my mouth spewed out the words that I thought I’d never say. “What happened between you and Noah?”
“What do you mean?” Baron asked in a whisper. He knew perfectly well what I meant.
“Feng told me he gave Noah the same opportunities he gave you. Yet somehow you ended up as his right-hand man with full access to his arsenal of weapons guns and even his appointment book.”
Baron swallowed a lump in his throat. “Your point?”
“Why didn’t you convince Noah to come with you?”
Baron went silent. He held the baby close, shivering. “You don’t think I tried?” He blinked tears from his eyes.
If he’d been angry, I would have continued the conversation; I would have wanted to know why he had the right to mourn the father of my child. But Baron wasn’t angry, he was in pain. “I think we should get some sleep.”
“Yeah, totally.”
I knew better then to try to ask for my son back. Abby was an emotional support baby and Baron needed him more. I made myself comfortable on my bed of plastic and leaves, pulling the tarp over my body for warmth. “Good night.”
There was a moment of silence before we were awoken by Abby’s cries. Baron sat up, rocking the small baby, attempting to keep him warm. “I think he’s hungry.”
“Give him here.” I had gotten better at breastfeeding, but with how cold it was I would have preferred to keep as covered as possible. “Can you help me with my tarp-blanket?”
“Sure.” Baron helped cover my body, allowing the baby warmth and privacy.
“Thanks.” I looked at Baron with genuine love in my heart. “Thank you for being my friend.” I couldn’t stop the tears from falling, mixing with the freezing cold rain. “Thank you for everything.”
Baron blinked tears from his own eyes as he crossed his arms over his chest. “You really want to know what happened to Noah?”
“Yeah, I do.” I looked down at Abby, who opened his eyes as he nursed. He had Noah’s courage and strength. “I can still remember that night. Even if it was for just a moment, I felt like I had friends, a real connection. That was never something that came easy for me.” Not that it mattered. It was yet another fleeting moment of happiness in my shit-show of a life.
Baron lowered his shirt, revealing his upper chest. “Feng gave me an augmentation; I have an inorganic core made of some kind of plasma. I used to think it was radioactive but I have reason to believe it was created as a means of unlimited projectiles.”
“And it keeps you warm?” That explained why Abby loved being held by him.
“Well, the power came with a complimentary suit of armor that allowed me to be the perfect little henchman.”
“You mean body guard?”
Baron shrugged. “I assumed that was Feng’s original plan.”
I swallowed the lump in my throat, mentally preparing for the worst. “And Noah?”
“He wasn’t down for it. The only reason he surrendered to Kitsune was to allow you and Anya time to flee.”
“Oh.” I felt like my heart stopped. I should have realized it from the beginning; that was the only reason we were allowed to live, because Noah truly loved me.
“We were turned over to Feng. I could only assume she thought Feng had the ability to extract Noah’s mind; his intellect, his secrets. But he didn’t. Feng needed Noah to volunteer information.” Baron paused, blinking tears from his eyes. “That was the difference between us. My most valuable asset was my combat ability, maybe my strategy skills. All I had to do was pledge my loyalty, and wear the armor, to gain Feng’s trust. For Noah, that was asking too much. His mind contained secrets that could change the world; info that could never and would never fall in to the hands of tyrannical psychopaths.”
“And that’s why he had to die.” Since I was finished breastfeeding, I handed the now happy, content infant back to Baron.
“Although if it was up to Feng (and it was) well, you’ve seen his set up.”
“Yeah,” I said with a nod. “I’m going to see that until the day I die.”
“All of his prized victims are kept alive, conscious as their forced to exist as hood ornaments. Feng wanted them to suffer for all eternity, or until their brains turn to pea soup.”
“Now I have a craving for split pea soup.” We laughed through our tears. In truth, I couldn’t close my eyes without seeing Noah’s remains.
“You hungry?” Baron dug in his pocket, producing a smashed-up Snicker’s bar.
“We can split it.” With food in our stomachs, we fell asleep to the sound of calming rain. For the first time since he’d been born, I had a vision of my son as a full-grown man.
The sound of rain grew louder, gradually transforming to gunfire. I awoke in what appeared to be a WW2 battle scene. Thankfully I was transparent; bullets passed through me like a virtual reality game, and the area around me felt comfortably warm despite the fact I was standing in snow. In the distance I could see a man leaning on a tree.
Eyes closed, he held a cross in his hand. I watched as he kissed the rosary pendent and said a simple prayer. “Blessed be the Lord my strength, which teaches my hands to war, and my fingers to fight.”
As I came closer, I could see he was gripping his shoulder while doubled over in pain. That raised the question: why was he reciting the prayer of a sharpshooter?
He moved his hand to his waist, slowly retrieving a pistol. “My goodness and my fortress.” He held the gun under his chin, cocking the barrel to his throat. “My high tower and my deliverer. My shield, and he in whom I trust.”
“No!” The sound came from behind me.
I turned to see a figure wearing pink-purple armor. It was in the same style as what Baron wore. And he or she wasn’t running, they were flying.
“Abby!” A female voice cried.
I followed as fast as I could, as she rushed to the man’s side.
“Lieutenant?” The man muttered, coughing up blood.
I now had a good view of his face. It was my son and he was dying. Before I could reach out my hand, the armored woman flew through me.
She fell to her knees, ripping off her helmet to reveal a young Hispanic face framed by lots of curly black hair. “Abby, Sir, I’m here. It’s going to be ok.” She pursed her lips, smiling at him, through visible tears.
Abaddon lowered his weapon. “You need to flee.” With trembling fingers, he lifted his free hand to cup her face. It was obvious that leaving was the last thing he wanted. “This is a battle we cannot win.”
“Not alone, Sir,” the soldier replied with confidence.
Why was she calling him Sir? I could barely make out a patch on his arm. It was possible he was an officer.
The young woman lifted his arm, adjusting him over her shoulder. “I’m not leaving you behind. The nearest medic station is about six kilometers south of here. We can make it.” Before he could reply, she lifted his broken body in her arms, flying off into the night.
The world started to spin as the scene changed.
We were now in a poorly lit underground hospital. I could tell it was underground since every few seconds the room shook with the sound of gunfire and other (louder, more violent) explosions. Abby was laying on a cot with his bare chest exposed. He had several fresh bullet wounds, as well as deep scars.
The woman was by his side, having taken off her armor she rested her head by his shoulder, holding his hand. “Why do you call me by my rank?”
“What should I call you?”
“My name is Sundra, but my friends call me Sunny.”
“Is that because you sparkle like sunshine?” he asked with a subtle smile. Abby moved his free hand to her cheek, brushing a lock of hair behind her ear. “You don’t have to stay, Sunny.”
“I want to stay. Call it my street gang code of honor; a little something, I picked up from my grandma.” She turned her wrist to reveal a tattoo. It was a stylized diamond with the words, ‘Lucy in the sky.’ Sunny started to softly hum the melody of the famous rock song. “Lucy in the sky with diamonds. Sorry, the title is the only part I know.” She kissed Abby on the forehead. “My papa’s name was Denny. He was the first of my family line born in America. You really remind me of him.”
A gang member named Lucy with a son named Denny? That couldn’t be a coincidence. I moved closer, to get a better look at her face.
She kissed Abby down his nose to his lips.
There were tears in his eyes. “I’ll never forget you.”
Sunny turned, briefly glancing in my direction. “Do you think she’s here, in the room?”
“I know she is,” Abby replied, looking up at the ceiling. “Even as a child, I could always feel my mother’s spirit watching over me.”
“Can she hear us?” Sunny asked, still looking in my path but not actually at me.
“If the calculations and the technology are correct.”
“Do you think she can save us?” Her large, emotional eyes, blinked back tears. With every blink she started to disappear, vanishing from reality like a spirit lost to time. When Sunny was completely gone, all that was left was my adult son. His arms were wrapped around the empty space.
All around me I could hear sobbing. I assumed this meant I was going to wake up. My baby son was probably crying for food or maybe because of the cold: but I was going to wake up. Right? I wanted so badly to wake up. Wake up! Wake up!
I felt a sharp pain. I awoke with a jolt under the tarp, to the collapsing of our little shelter. Touching my hip, I felt blood and splinters. All around me all I could see was tarp. I wanted to scream. Where was my son? Where was Baron?
I needed to calm down; breathe, just breathe. I opened my hands, placing them palms down as if I was going to attempt a snow angel. There was a secret, a lock. There had to be. I felt a strange crack in the pavement. Digging my fingertips in, the piece seemed to transform into a handle (or a lever.) Even if it was just a hand hold, it would be my ticket out of the tarp since I could use it to keep myself grounded in place (as opposed to flopping around like a dying fish.) Turns out, it was a handle. I found myself falling down a slide. At the bottom I finally managed to get free of the tarp.
Baron was sitting in a dark corner with a finger to his lips. “Shh, follow me. This is a mezzanine level.” He motioned towards what looked like a second series of tunnels. “I’m not sure how deep it goes. We’re not going to slide: we’re going to crawl. I’ll go first and you follow close. Do not lose sight of me. Understand?”
“Are you holding the baby?”
Baron nodded. “If shit goes bad, I want you to find my body. I’ll protect him with everything I have.”
I knew what he meant, and trusted him fully, but I was still afraid. “You’re a better fighter than me.”
“Yeah, that’s why I’m going to hold the baby.”
“Ok.”
Baron and I snuck down the tunnels, we emerged in an underground factory facility. “What is this place?”
“Trash processing facility,” Baron replied. “You head left I’ll head right.”
“Sure, I guess.” I went left until I saw what appeared to be a light source.
I passed between several cargo boxes, emerging in an open area. There was a series of large vats, bubbling with hot oil or (more likely) acid. “Acid?” I had never seen acid before but the scene looked like something out of a comic book.
“It is acid,” said a voice from a nearby balcony. “the typical use is to process heavy metals and other non-recyclable materials.”
“Faust?” I couldn’t actually see his location.
“Today we’re disposing of inorganic material of a different kind.” He hit a button causing a limp body to start to descend. It was clearly Tony, but I couldn’t tell if he was even alive. “Are you willing to make a deal; trade his life for the contents of the battery?”
“I don’t even know if the copy I have is real.” And there was also the fact that the infamous flash drive was in a van, in the care of Axel and Dr. Toki.
“The one that Baron put on the dark web? Trust me it’s the real deal.”
“So, what’s on it?” I blurted out the words, although I wasn’t expecting any kind of logical answer.
The man snickered. “Does it matter?”
“Yeah, kind of.”
“Look, do you want to know my entire evil plan or will you be a good girl and save your beloved boyfriend’s life?”
I looked over at Tony. I had no way of helping him. If he was still alive, he was more then capable of saving himself. I had to believe that. “Is it time travel?”
“What?” Faust asked with a laugh. “Seriously, what did you just say?” With a flash of light, Faust teleported, placing himself in front of me. He stood tall, in a tailored suit, staring me down with his creepy metallic eyes. “Answer me, little girl.”
Why did he look so much like the adult version of my son? Because he was a shape shifter? Or was there something else? “Time travel?”
The once stern man cracked a smile. “Time travel is the stuff of movies and fairytales. The contents of the battery will bring this world to its knees.”
“Yeah, I’ve heard.” I blinked my eyes as the pieces fell into place. There was a reason why my son had been able to communicate with me so clearly through dreams. “Selective telepathic time travel.”
Faust was no longer smiling. “Would you prefer that power fall to the hands of Kitsune? She and her brother, they’d use it to cause a gang war; an apocalypse of weapons and drugs. You wouldn’t want that blood on your hands.”
We he seriously trying to appeal to my humanity? “What about you? What’s your plan, to go back in time to give Hitler a migraine?” I knew what his plan was. Or at least I think I did. There was something about Lucy or maybe Denny. What I knew for certain was that the final goal was Sunny; her existence held the key.
“You’re not alone, are you? Such a pity.” Faust teleported off, in a blast of blue light.
I already knew where he was going and there was nothing I could do. Faust landed on top of Baron as he attempted to free Tony’s body. Both men were knocked in to the acid. There was no sound; no screams, or even cries.
Where was my baby?
Faust teleported in front of me, holding my son in his arms. “You might not have been willing to save your boyfriend, but perhaps you will be willing to trade for your child.”
My back hurt, my arms hurt and my head was pounding, but I ran straight at him, charging like a football player going in for a tackle.
I was blinded by a familiar blue light. We had teleported, but to where? I could hear Abby crying. He was alive and that’s all that mattered. I blinked my eyes once then twice.
“Fire?”
submitted by dourdan to BarryPepper [link] [comments]

TIL an ex-WW2 luftwaffe pilot and millionaire once planted a bomb at a casino; it would explode with light vibrations and the screws were rigged to the trigger. The culprit was found after his son's ex told on him.

TIL an ex-WW2 luftwaffe pilot and millionaire once planted a bomb at a casino; it would explode with light vibrations and the screws were rigged to the trigger. The culprit was found after his son's ex told on him. submitted by Shazamo333 to todayilearned [link] [comments]

Polish soldiers under Monte Casino must've been like: Animals 20

submitted by FanTeQQ to RimWorld [link] [comments]

Sep/24/2020 news: \\ shipping cost plummets \\ free speech \\ police reform \\ Tsarukyan: voter bribe, gold mine, trial \\ Vedi reservoir \\ consumer prices \\ Kocharyan lawyer in trouble \\ HHK tatik drops diss-track \\ NSS agent & officials busted \\ 25th COVID aid \\ resignations \\ Azeri \\ more

update: Tsarukyan's gold mine didn't have a license

Back in July we learned that Nature Ministry issued a $200 fine to BHK leader Tsarukyan's Mkhart gold mine for operating without an environmental audit. The Ministry sent the case to prosecutors for examination.
The report says: // Tsarukyan's Multi Group company operated the mine without a license to use water since 2011. The structures were built without a SHMAG environmental assessment, and the pollution exceeded the legal limits.
The mine underwent an audit on Feb-12-2018. This audit revealed a document that exposed the existence of these unauthorized structures (factory and mine's tailing). //
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1028576.html

ex-official's company fined for damaging a river

Former Investigative Committee chief HHK Aghvan Hovsepyan's family runs a hydro-plant called Astghaberd. It was licensed in April 2020.
It received a $400 penalty (second occurrence) for blocking too much river water.
https://hetq.am/hy/article/121829

Vedi Reservoir / new and expensive

85 reservoirs were built in Armenia during USSR. New ones are needed to solve the water shortage.
Vedi Reservoir is being built, since 2017, near the Ararat province's Vedi river. The $90m project is co-funded by France (75) and Armenia (15). It'll be completed by 2022.
irrigation
4,000 hectares land in 8 settlements of Ararat valley will be auto-irrigated without electricity use. Part of these lands is already irrigated with Hrazdan river water. It remains to be seen whether the $90m project is "worth it".
seismic stability
Armenia was divided into 4 seismic zones after the 1988 earthquake. On the scale of 1-4, the Vedi reservoir is in the Level-3 danger zone. The builders took this into account and will make it resistant to 9-10pt quakes. "Even during the 1988 quake no reservoirs were destroyed in Armenia," said the builder.
More: https://www.civilnet.am/news/2020/09/23/Վեդիի-ջրամբարը-ոռոգման-համակարգի-հին-ու-նոր-խնդիրները/395799

Kocharyan's lawyer is in trouble for not disclosing properties / Grants from George Soros

You're supposed to disclose your income and property if your spouse is a judge. Kocharyan's top lawyer Hayk Alumyan's wife Armenuhi Badiryan is a judge.
Alumyan hasn't filed declaration paperwork for 9 years. CivilNet outlet contacted the Corruption Prevention Committee (CPC). The CPC then asked Alumyan to explain why the docs are missing.
Alumyan claims his record contains attorney-related legal secrets that are protected under law, so he's exempt from the declaration.
CPC, citing a law, made a counter-claim. If Alumyan fails to submit the docs, CPC will launch an ethics hearing which could turn into a felony case.
CPC only needs the 2019 documents. "Our primary job is to prevent corruption and to give a person a chance to correct their mistake."
Alumyan is currently preparing the documents.
 
could he be hiding it due to George Soros connection?
Kocharyan's camp is a starch critic of George Soros. They like to present Nikol Pashinyan as Soros's puppet who is here to make your kids gay and to force you to forget the Armenian language.
Alumyan revealed in 2019 that he took grants from Soros's Open Society Foundation because his clients didn't have cash, so Soros paid their bills. He also traveled to a lawyers' conference paid by Soros. He also cooperated with Soros's team tasked with various legal reforms between 2014-2019.
dOes 👏 yOuR 👏 mOm 👏 kNOw 👏 yOU'rE 👏 fRienDs 👏 with GEorGie?
https://www.civilnet.am/news/2020/09/23/Դրամաշնորհներ-և-վարձատրություն-Սորոսի-հիմնադրամից․-Հայկ-Ալումյանի-չներկայացրած-հայտարագրերի-շուրջ/395785
https://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/266149/

HHK tatik roasts Pashinyan with a diss track / Thanks America / Asks Putin to wire cash

HHK party has a fangirl grandma known as "HHK tatik". She used to stay outside of HHK office and Parliament to ask for handouts while praising Serj.
Today she thanked the United States Congress and the government for recognizing the Armenian genocide.
She also thanked Vladimir Putin. "I love you very much, Vladimir Putin. My father died in WW2 at the age of 40. I'm his only child. I ask you to help with an apartment for my 7-child family. I'm sending you my bank account. Can you wire some cash to grandma?"
She then badmouthed Levon Ter-Petrosyan and read a poem about Nikol Pashinyan being a liar. (gotta give it to grandma, she knows how to appease Putin)
Full: https://youtu.be/Pr5m5Tj-Lf0

former officials busted with stealing money dedicated for elderly

The report says: // Labor Ministry officials and social services employees embezzled public funds in 2015-2018.
The budget envisioned funds to help thousands of lonely elderly and disabled. For the funds not to be cut, the officials exaggerated the number of recipients by entering thousands of fake names. $373,000 was embezzled. A felony case is launched. //
(HHK tatik should get apartment money from Serjik instead of Vlad. Change my mind.)
https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/196472

U.S. authorities arrest former HHK MP Arthur Gevorgyan

He's accused of breaking U.S. laws. Although not impossible, it's a difficult process to extradite him to Armenia due to lack of certain agreements with the U.S., said Armenian prosecutors.
The ex-MP is also wanted in Armenia for alleged illegal enrichment and failing to dislocate properties. That's the former boxer dude who bought mansions in LA and was exposed by Hetq outlet.
https://armtimes.com/hy/article/196543

trial begins for Tsarukyan's right-hand man

Tsarukyan's Multi Group director Sedrak Arustamyan is a suspect in 3 cases: bribing HHK's IRS boss to give Tsarukyan's business favorable conditions, North-South highway fraud, and knowingly continuing an illegal construction in Yerevan despite being told to stop.
Today's trial is for the latter. He asked Yerevan deputy mayor to appear for questioning. It's about construction on Abovyan 5/1, 5/2, 5/5 address.
https://armtimes.com/hy/article/196538

Tsarukyan's "voter bribery" case

BHK leader was earlier charged with buying voters during the 2017 elections. Two dozen people are facing charges.
162 people have been questioned, including ex-BHK officials, some of whom confessed.
https://www.azatutyun.am/a/30856187.html

Privet Rob

19 years ago today, Kocharyan's bodyguards murdered his co-villager in the Paplavok restaurant's toilet for simply greeting Kocharyan with "privet Rob".
That case was recently sent for retrial after new evidence and witnesses emerged. The old verdict was a slap on the wrist.
https://youtu.be/9MZe1xxLloo?t=237

drone footage contradicts former police chief's claims

Ex-top-cop Vladimir Gasparyan allegedly assaulted Azatutyun journalists for filming his [illegal] Sevan mansion with a drone. He claimed the drone endangered his health and privacy by flying 10 meters away and intruding in his backyard.
The police investigated the drone footage and found that the drone was at least 40 meters above and "couldn't even identify people by face".
The police refused Gasparyan's petition against journalists.
https://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/285445/

NSS busted one of their own agents w/corruption

The report says: the agent defrauded 6 citizens of $2,700 by giving fake promises about being able to "solve" their DUI cases and giving them driver license in exchange for a bribe.
A felony case is launched. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/196523

still no air travel to Russia

On Monday, Russia lifted the COVID-related travel ban with three EAEU states, but not Armenia, which prompted criticism and accusations of purposeful discrimination. Dozens of people gathered in front of the Armenian govt building demanding the ability to return back to Russia.
EAEU states have agreed to meet in Yerevan to discuss travel and other issues on October 8th.
https://armtimes.com/hy/article/196492

COVID stats / Govt warns not to lose vigilance

+3,913 tested (the number is high due to mass testing of teachers and co-workers of infected people). +374 infected. +240 healed. +3 deaths. 3,748 active. 272,235 tested.
Pashinyan: there is an increased physical movement activity. The numbers are rising. We need to remember about personal responsibilities. Inspections will become stricter.
Healthcare Minister Torosyan: 30% of beds are free. 5+3 hospitals are handling COVID. Next week we'll find out if the resumption of schools caused a big spike.
https://armtimes.com/hy/article/196511
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1028611.html
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1028612.html

consumer product prices

Product prices +0.8% YoY in the January-August period.
August YoY: all together +1.8%, food & beverages +1.6%, fruits +31%, sugar -4%, meat -4%, cheese and eggs -4%, eggs -21%, fuel -23%.
https://factor.am/286292.html

25th COVID aid package approved / tourism

The govt will support transport companies in the tourism industry by reimbursing 75% of unpaid interest, between April 2020-2021.
https://armtimes.com/hy/article/196512

tuition aid for university students?

Education Minister Harutyunyan says they're discussing multiple ways on how to help students who can't pay tuition. Details available soon.
The 14th COVID aid package provided tuition subsidy but was mainly for those with A and B grades. The students want a new aid package that applies to everyone.
https://armtimes.com/hy/article/196528 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/196561

deputy Education Minister and anti-plagiarism chiefs are sacked

Grisha Tamrazyan had disagreements with QP MP Julfalakyan over sorts (Education Ministry includes Sports Ministry). This resulted in the MP's resignation. He had problems with Tamrazyan.
Tamrazyan was also criticized by his fellow Education Ministry official Gogyan in a case involving plagiarism investigation of Economics university's rector. There was a back and forth argument.
The anti-plagiarism chief Gogyan will also leave his position.
https://armtimes.com/hy/article/196544 , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1028720.html

old HayFilm movies will be digitized

Education Ministry and Cinema Center began a process to digitize old Armenian movies and documentaries that were left abandoned in the HayFilm office. They're mostly from the 1980s and 90s.
https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/196554

freedom of speech / the U.S. Library of Congress

You may remember that when the Emergency State was declared, per legacy law, the media was required to circulate only official info about the virus.
After prompt criticism about free speech, the govt quickly lifted the restrictions. Pashinyan would later complain that the removal of restrictions allowed conspiracy theories to aid the spread of the virus. Nonetheless, the restrictions weren't re-implemented.
 
The Library of Congress prepared a report about the fake news and how various countries dealt with it, and also mentioned the aforementioned process in Armenia.
It mentions another law drafted by Nature Ministry that could allow the Ministry to keep certain info secret from the public. Critics say it will hinder environmental activists' efforts, while the Ministry says it's needed to protect rare animals/plants by keeping their location/details classified.
The Library also mentioned a law that restricts the entry of foreign channels in Armenia's free over-the-air public airways, unless an agreement is signed first. The govt says it's aimed as "protecting the Armenian language" and "prioritizing programming in Armenian" by preferring Armenian channels over foreign ones.
https://www.amerikayidzayn.com/a/5595119.html , https://factor.am/286364.html

Russia-Armenia shipping costs will drastically reduce

High-Tech Minister Arshakyan: // HayPost and Russian Post signed an agreement to reduce shipping fees beginning in October 1st.
3x reduction between the Moscow region, and 1.5x reduction with the rest of Russia.
To Moscow region: $6 for 1kg and extra $2.6 per additional kilo.
To other regions: $12.5 for 1kg and extra $3 per additional kilo.
This is great for our small and medium online businesses. //
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1028623.html , https://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/285439/

relations with USA, RUS, EU, and neighbors

Security Councilman Grigoryan: a Russian analytical agency published a report about CSTO bloc cooperation which gave Armenia a very high mark.
Pashinyan: we'll soon hold the second round of strategic cooperation talks with the U.S. We have unusual but effective relations with our colleagues. The U.S., EU, and Russia are very important to us. There will be an EAEU meeting in Yerevan soon. Relations with Iran and Georgia also remain warm.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1028641.html

police reforms enter a new stage

Armenia will have a new high-paying and better-equipped police patrol. The U.S. is aiding with the reforms. The applicants will be tested in 3 phases:
Step one (complete): check the applicants' computer and tech skills.
Step two (ongoing): check their physical skills. 1km run, strength measurements, etc. (էլ պուզատիկ միլիցյա չենք տեսնելու? 😞😞😞)
Step three: 5-month learning courses in the police academy.
https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/196579

a new bridge near the Georgian border

The govt formed a committee tasked with preparing the construction of a new bridge on Debed river near the Sadakhlo-Bagratashen border point.
Some nearby lands will be legally taken from villagers in exchange for compensation to allow the construction of the bridge.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1028670.html

Spanish Senate has unanimously approved

... the EU-ARM comprehensive cooperation agreement.
https://armtimes.com/hy/article/196527

Azeri media is forced to retract fake news about Lavrov

Yesterday we learned how Russian MFA made a "standard" statement about Artsakh conflict resolution. Azeri outlets distorted his words to present it pro-Azerbaijan.
When asked about it, Russian MFA said "get your news directly from us instead of [Azeri] interpretation."
Today the Azeri outlet edited the story to remove the misinformation.
https://factor.am/286333.html , https://eadaily.com/ru/news/2020/09/24/baku-dopolnil-moskvu-azerbaydzhan-udalil-svoyu-traktovku-slov-lavrova

Azeri tourist enters French municipality and makes a scene over Artsakh flag

... the mayor tells him "This isn't Azerbaijan. You don't make rules here."
The incident happened in Bourg-lès-Valence which is a sister-city with Artsakh's Shushi.
Mayor Marlen has been receiving threats from "dictatorial Azerbaijan" and "its ally Turkey" for flying the Artsakh flag.
Mayor's post: https://www.facebook.com/marlene.mourieposts/10217541848726693
https://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/285436/

Sweden appoints its first ambassador

... to Armenia, who is based in Armenia. He expects to see more Swedish companies operating in Armenia. President Sarkissian spoke about high-tech cooperation.
https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/196571

they are taking a bath

A group of volunteers are helping Nature Ministry to save storks by washing them.
In some areas, as much as 60% of the population is covered in dirt and oil waste. The theory is that stonks look for food from above, notice a fish breeding facility with plenty of fish, land there, and submerge in facility's pollutants.
Photos: https://armtimes.com/hy/article/196536
 
You've read 2185 words.

Disclaimer & Terminology

1) The accused are innocent until proven guilty in the court of law, even if they sound guilty.
2) Currency in Armenian ֏ unless specified otherwise.
3) NSS/SIS/SOC = law enforcement agencies. QP = Civil Contract Party. LHK = Bright Armenia Party. BHK = Prosperous Armenia Party. HHK = Republican Party. ARF = Armenian Revolutionary Federation Party
4) ARCHIVE of older posts by Idontknowmuch: PART 1 ; PART 2 ; PART 3 ; PART 4 ; PART 5.
5) ARCHIVE of older posts by Armeniapedia.
submitted by ar_david_hh to armenia [link] [comments]

ive got like a years worth of content for you Sam

1. Ching Shih

She was a Chinese prostitute who married a pirate and took over his fleet when he died. She ran her ships with an iron fist and took no shit and was super successful, to the point that the Chinese government sent out an armada to stop her. She kicked their asses and captured 63 of their ships. They fought for two years and even brought in Dutch and British ships before they gave up and offered amnesty to her and her 17,000 crewmen. She got to keep ALL of her loot, spent her later years running a brothel/casino and lived to be 69.

2. Jack Churchill

He was a WW2 Commando who served with distinction in a number of theaters, his exploits earned him the Military Cross. He was known as ‘Mad Jack’ by his men and his fellow officers for his ferociousness in combat. Unlike his more conventional peers his weapons of choice were not the traditional British fire arms of the period, instead he chose to rush in to combat with a fucking long bow, a fucking sword and his trusty bag pipes. In 1943 him and a corporal infiltrated a German held town in Sicily capturing 42 men and a mortar position. With only his bagpipes, sword and bow. When the war ended in 1945 after the dropping of the bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, he was extremely disappointed and was quoted as saying “If it wasn’t for those damn Yanks, we could have kept the war going another 10 years.”

3. Khutulun

This Mongolian Princess insisted that any man who wished to marry her must defeat her in wrestling, forfeiting horses to her if they lost. She gained 10,000 horses defeating prospective suitors.

4. Genghis Khan

“I am the punishment of God. If you had not committed great sins, God would not have sent a punishment like me to you.” Only someone badass enough to know they are badass enough to say that can be considered the baddest ass in history.

5. Simo Häyhä

The White Death

6. “Tank Man”

Tank Man, of Tiananmen Square fame. We tend to think that you need an army at your back to be a badass, but when you’re a true badass you face the army in front of you even when there’s no one behind you.

7. Rasputin

Trusted advisor to the Romanov family and was nearly impossible to kill (poisoned, shot, drowned).

8. Christopher Lee

*worked in military intelligence during WW2, the character of James Bond is supposed to be part based on him (Ian Fleming was his cousin.) About his war service (from wikipedia): Lee spent time with the Gurkhas of the 8th Indian Infantry Division during the Battle of Monte Cassino. -While spending some time on leave in Naples, Lee climbed Mount Vesuvius, which erupted three days later. – During the final assault on Monte Cassino, the squadron was based in San Angelo and Lee was nearly killed when one of the planes crashed on takeoff and he tripped over one of its live bombs. *played Count Dracula in a string of popular Hammer Horror films; a James Bond villain in The Man with the Golden Gun; Lord Summerisle in The Wicker Man; Saruman in The Lord of the Rings films and The Hobbit films; and Count Dooku in the final two films of the Star Wars prequel trilogy. *released a Heavy metal album at the age of 88; has won awards for his metal music; the single he released in his 90th birthday made him the genre’s oldest performer; he had a song in the Billboard Hot 100 in December 2013 making him — at 91 — the living oldest performer to ever chart; released an EP earlier this year, at 92. If he’s not the world’s baddest ass, he might still be the worlds most interesting man.

9. Subutai

Subutai, Ghengis Khan’s primary military strategist. Tore through Eastern Europe like tearing toilet paper, with only a scouting force. Check out the wiki link, because he was unbelievable.

10. Roy P. Benavidez

“Sergeant Benavidez’ gallant choice to join voluntarily his comrades who were in critical straits, to expose himself constantly to withering enemy fire, and his refusal to be stopped despite numerous severe wounds, saved the lives of at least eight men. His fearless personal leadership, tenacious devotion to duty, and extremely valorous actions in the face of overwhelming odds were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service, and reflect the utmost credit on him and the United States Army.” – Medal of Honor citation

11. Anne Boleyn

I’ll always stand by Anne Boleyn – she manipulated an infamous king into turning away from his beloved religion, kill his supporters who objected (Cardinal Wolsey), and broke with the church to marry her. She’s usually seen as conniving, a witch and evil, but in a male dominated world she cut out her own path and went from low born to the queen of England. She’s such an interesting person in my opinion

12. Frederick the Great

Frederick the Great is one of the most underrated badasses in history. The guy took on Austria, France, Russia, Poland, Sweden, and a bunch of smaller German and Italian states and won with his tiny kingdom-Prussia. He turned a small obscure German state into the nation that would end up uniting Germany and guide it on its path to evoking the most powerful country on Earth…until WW1. He was also a very wise monarch. He was friends with Voltaire and passed reforms that helped out the serfs and Jews.

13. Boudicca

The Queen of the Iceni tribe of ancient celts, she led a ragtag army of Celtic tribes against the invading and highly organized roman army. She burnt Londonium (modern day London) to the ground and wiped out a decent portion of Roman forces. And, oh yeah, this is after the Romans came and ignored her rule, beat her up, and raped her two daughters. Boudicca didn’t mess around.

14. Albert “Hard” Jacka

On the morning of 7 August 1916, after a night of heavy shelling, the Germans began to overrun a portion of the line which included Jacka’s dug-out. Jacka had just completed a reconnaissance, and had gone to his dug-out when two Germans appeared at its entrance and rolled a bomb down the doorway, killing two of his men. Emerging from the dug-out, Jacka came upon a large number of Germans rounding up some forty Australians as prisoners. Only seven men from his platoon had recovered from the blast; rallying these few, he charged at the enemy. Heavy hand-to-hand fighting ensued, as the Australian prisoners turned on their captors. Every member of the platoon was wounded, including Jacka who was wounded seven times; including a bullet that passed through his body under his right shoulder, and two head wounds. Fifty Germans were captured and the line was retaken; Jacka was personally credited with killing between twelve and twenty Germans during the engagement.” And that was the second time he had done something like that. I suspect he was a terminator sent back to save some historically important grandfathers.

17. Daniel Inouye

Second longest serving Senators in US History (representing Hawaii since it gained statehood in 1959) and a WWII vet with this remarkable story to tell: “On April 21, 1945, Inouye was grievously wounded while leading an assault on a heavily-defended ridge near San Terenzo in Tuscany, Italy, called Colle Musatello. The ridge served as a strongpoint along the strip of German fortifications known as the Gothic Line, which represented the last and most unyielding line of German defensive works in Italy. As he led his platoon in a flanking maneuver, three German machine guns opened fire from covered positions just 40 yards away, pinning his men to the ground. Inouye stood up to attack and was shot in the stomach; ignoring his wound, he proceeded to attack and destroy the first machine gun nest with hand grenades and fire from his Thompson submachine gun. After being informed of the severity of his wound by his platoon sergeant, he refused treatment and rallied his men for an attack on the second machine gun position, which he also successfully destroyed before collapsing from blood loss. As his squad distracted the third machine gunner, Inouye crawled toward the final bunker, eventually drawing within 10 yards. As he raised himself up and cocked his arm to throw his last grenade into the fighting position, a German inside the bunker fired a rifle grenade that struck him on the right elbow, severing most of his arm and leaving his own primed grenade reflexively “clenched in a fist that suddenly didn’t belong to me anymore.” Inouye’s horrified soldiers moved to his aid, but he shouted for them to keep back out of fear his severed fist would involuntarily relax and drop the grenade. While the German inside the bunker reloaded his rifle, Inouye pried the live grenade from his useless right hand and transferred it to his left. As the German aimed his rifle to finish him off, Inouye tossed the grenade into the bunker and destroyed it. He stumbled to his feet and continued forward, silencing the last German resistance with a one-handed burst from his Thompson before being wounded in the leg and tumbling unconscious to the bottom of the ridge. When he awoke to see the concerned men of his platoon hovering over him, his only comment before being carried away was to gruffly order them to return to their positions, since, as he pointed out, “nobody called off the war!”

18. Stanley “Swede” Vejtasa

He was an American pilot during WWII. At the Battle of the Coral Sea, he shot down two Japanese Zeroes in an SBD Dauntless – a dive bomber – and rammed a third. Upon learning of this, the Navy transferred him to a fighter wing flying F4F Wildcats. Later, at the Battle of Santa Cruz, he became an “ace in a day”, shooting down seven Japanese planes in a single sortie. At least one of these kills was accomplished after running out of ammunition; he charged an enemy plane (which was also out of ammunition) head-on at low altitude and forced it to crash. He survived the war, as well.

19. Grainne Mhaol (known as Grace O’Malley by the English)

16th Irish noblewoman, when she was a child her father (the chieftain of the Uí Mháille clan) refused to take her to sea and she cut off all her hair to embarrass him into taking her (her nickname means Bald Grainne). She was born at a time when the Tudor conquest of Ireland was picking up the pace. Throughout her life she was a pirate, she was leader of fighters, under her leadership castles and forts were taken and withstood sieges, she was a revolutionary and war-leader and when Elizabeth I captured her sons and brother, she came to the royal court and negotiated their release in Latin, as she spoke no English and Elizabeth spoke no Irish. Her life would seriously fill about ten books.

20. Audie Murphy

Audie Murphy, aka real life Captain America. He was 16 in 1942, weighing 110 pounds and standing 5’5″. He applied to both the Marines and Air Force, but was turned down by both, and eventually managed to get into the Army, where he passed out halfway through training but insisted on going to fight. He contracted malaria in Italy, but was still sent into France in 1944, where he found a German machine gun crew who pretended to surrender, then shot his best friend. Murphy flipped shit, killed everyone in the gun nest, then used their weaponry to kill every Nazi in a 100-yard radius. 6 months later, his company (down to 19 men out of the original 128) was tasked with defending a critical region in France. The Nazis showed up with a ton of guys, so Murphy and his men sent out their M-10’s, which didn’t do much. They were about to be overrun when the skinny short kid with malaria ran to one of the burning M-10’s, grabbed the machine gun, and started mowing down every enemy he could see. He kept going for an hour, until he ran out of bullets, then walked back to his men as the tank exploded behind him.

21. Leo Major

For starters, he was part of the D-Day invasion. That very day, he killed a squad of German soldiers and captured a half-track that was loaded with intelligence information. Quite a while later, he ran into 4 SS soldiers and killed all of them. However, one hit him with a phosphorous grenade, blinding him in one eye. He refused discharge, saying that as long as he could see through the scope, he had enough eyes. During the Battle of the Scheldt, Major single-handedly captured 93 German soldiers and was offered a Distinguished Conduct Medal. He refused, saying that the man awarding it, General Bernard Montgomery, was an incompetent, so any award from him was worthless. In the beginning of 1945, he was in a vehicle that struck a landmine. He broke both ankles, 4 ribs, and fractured 3 vertebrae. He still continued, refusing evacuation. In April of that year, his unit came upon the Dutch city of Zwolle. His commander asked for two volunteers for a reconnaissance mission. Major and his friend Willie volunteered. They were expected to go see how many German soldiers were in the town. Shortly into their mission, Willie was killed, and the plan changed. Major was out for blood. He went down the street guns blazing and throwing grenades while yelling in French to convince the Germans that the Canadians had sent their whole force into the town. He captured nearly one hundred German troops who went fleeing from their cover. Later that night, he came upon the Gestapo HQ and burned it to the ground. He barged into the SS HQ later that same night, killed 4, and ran the other 4 out of town. At 4:30 a. m. He discovered that the city belonged to the Dutch again, and the Germans had been run out. He received a Distinguished Conduct Medal for single-handedly liberating the town of Zwolle. But he still wasn’t done. In the Korean War, he was asked to lead a strike team of elite snipers to support an American division. He and his twenty men took the hill single-handedly and held it while nearly 20,000 Chinese soldiers attacked their position. He was ordered to retreat. Instead, he held the hill for three days until reinforcements arrived. For this action, he received a bar to his DCM.

22. Hugh Glass

While the story is probably embellished some, it’s still amazing. While on a fur trapping expedition, he was mauled by a grizzly bear, which he killed with some help, then passed out. Later, he woke up to find his party abandoned him and he had no equipment. So he cleaned his multiple wounds, used the bear’s skin as a bandage, and spent the next six weeks making it back to civilization. Along the way he fought off wolves, made his own raft to travel down a river, and with the help of natives sewed the bear skin in place to replace his own.

23. Witold Pilecki

Witold Pilecki was a Polish soldier and resistance member who volunteered to get imprisoned in the Auschwitz concentration camp in order to gather intelligence and escape. While in the camp, Pilecki organized a resistance movement and as early as 1941, informed the Western Allies of Nazi Germany’s Auschwitz atrocities. He escaped from the camp in 1943 after nearly 3 years of imprisonment.

24. Louis Zamperini

To elaborate, he was a tiny guy that ran track for the US Olympic team in Germany. He got cleated up so bad by the other runners he was bleeding all over the place and he busted it down the final stretch, didn’t win but the crowd was going nuts for the guy so much so that hitler asked to shake his hand after the race. Plane gets shot down in ww2, survives longer a drift than anyone has ever survived while fighting off sharks. Washes ashore a Japanese prison camp, much badassery ensues here. Gets tortured for a couple years and after he’s released, this cat returns to japan to tell his torturer that he forgives him, the coward won’t meet him. This guy even died on the Fourth of July. Oh and some say he was actually the first to run a mile in under four minutes, in the sand.

25. General John J. Pershing

If Commanding General of the American Expeditionary Forces in WWI, John J. Pershing was alive today, he would probably say the following on how to deal with suicide bombers and deter Islamic terrorists: further action can be taken once they blow themselves up; there is an effective substance that can deter these bombers. Its pork, and it will deny any Muslim extremist what they seek after death. During the Philippine Wars 1899-1913, we fought another Islamic terrorist group called the Moro’s, which were decisively quelled by John J. Pershing. One tactic he employed is said to have happened in 1911, when Pershing was serving as commander of a garrison. Following numerous Islamic terrorist attacks, Pershing captured fifty of the Moro’s, and used their religion against them. Forced to dig their own graves, the terrorists were all tied to posts, for execution by firing squad. American soldiers then brought in pigs, slaughtered them, and then coated their bullets with the blood and fat from the pigs. Pershing turned the tables, and terrorized these terrorists; he ensured they saw that once struck by the firing squad’s bullets, they would be contaminated with the pig’s blood. Even worse, their bodies would be dumped in a grave with a pig carcass, meaning that they could not enter Heaven, even if they were engaged in a Jihad. Pershing followed through with the operation. Forty-nine Moro’s were shot, their bodies dumped into the graves, and the dead pig carcasses and entrails poured all over them. The Fiftieth Moro was spared, and allowed to return to his camp, to spread the word to his fellow Jihadists what happened to the others. He must have made it clear what fate awaits any Jihadists caught by the Americans from that point forward, as it brought an end to terrorism in the Philippines for the next 50 years.

26. Leroy Jenkins

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The Devil all the Time [Netflix 2020] is a prequel to Bad Times at the El Royale [2018]

The Devil all The Time on Netflix is a prequel/character backstory of character Miles Miller from Bad Times at the El Royale.
Now I’ve seen Bad Times several times, I loved that movie. Tom Holland is the lead in The Devil who obviously looks just like Lewis Pullman/Miles in Bad Times.
The Devil is a mystery, murder, crime drama just like Bad Times with similar pacing, style, music, themes, and flashbacks. They both feature bad priests, religion, murder, and chance encounters that weave together multiple unrelated peoples’ stories. They both even feature a subplot about film/pictures taken of indecencies that could be used as blackmail or political purposes.
In The Devil, Arvin Russell grew up in a devout religious family but grew distant from the church. He suffered close losses, and was naturally a sharp shooter with guns. It’s set post WW2 but ends leading up to the Vietnam war. He gets wrapped up in a web of bad characters set off by the death of his stepsister caused by a Charlatan priest, who he revenge kills. Soon after has a chance encounter with two serial murders. It ends with him killing the murders and the town sheriff who was brother to one of the serial murders, who’d wanted to cover up their crimes to save his own reputation. The serial murderers had taken pictures of their victims, which sheriff had discovered and Arvin pulls a print out of sheriffs pocket as he dies, solidifying his actual fear that these were bad guys who meant to harm him. Long orphaned and now alone without his sister, he contemplates joining the Vietnam war and hitchhikes out of town.
Bad Times features a similar plot of several peoples stories coming together for one night at a shady motel, serviced only by one man - a very young looking but haunted veteran of the Vietnam war who also moonlights as the nighttime video recorder to capture the guests activities due to its popularity among celebrity and politician guests. The guests of the night are a fake priest/bank robber, a CIA agent, a casino singer and two sisters one of which is from a Manson type murder cult. Their stories are revealed of course and they clash ultimately with the cult leader, saved only by the young man at the end, shell shocked veteran Miles Miller who sadly finally dies while confessing his sins to the fake priest.
Bad priests, religious overtones, guilt and shame and vengeance. Even the cia agent and the sheriff have the similar fates, except one dies trying to help while one dies trying to cover up. The cult sisters, the serial murders, the film.
I swear if you watched them back to back, it would perfectly explain Miles Miller’s ptsd and religious guilt and repentance in Bad Times. It’s actually blowing my mind right now, I thought these movies were actually related but they’re not.
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Gravity's Rainbow Group Read | Sections 22-25 | Week 7

Slothrop's Hawaiian Shirt by Zak Smith (2006).
I just want to begin by thanking u/Bloomsdayclock for coordinating this endeavor, for all of the previous posts thus far, and for the enthusiastic interaction and scholarship that’s been happening in the comments for each post. This group read has rekindled my love for this book and is helping me understand it in so many different ways and in such greater depth that it's honestly like I’m reading a different book at this point. Also, kudos to each previous poster for creating a coherent post! The book is complex enough on its own but once you start going down the rabbit hole, sussing out the references, reading through some of the scholarship, etc., I almost found myself paralyzed by information overload (kinda feeling a bit like Charlie Kelly trying to figure out who “Pepe Silvia” is :) ). When this reading group started, I was like, “damn, I’m trying to read this insanely complex novel and the group posts are just as long, dense, and complex” and now I’ve gone and written some super long and dense post, too. To paraphrase either Blaise Pascal or Mark Twain (or Woodrow Wilson or apparently a rather large number of dead white guys from history): I would have written a shorter post if I’d had the time! Apologies in advance!
Anyways, this post will (attempt to) cover the start of the second section of the novel, Un Perm’ au Casino Hermann Goering. The events that transpire are zany and sinister, titillating and deeply sad. There is a mix of images both gorgeous and disgusting and much of the planning and plotting that took place at “The White Visitation” during the first section are starting to come to fruition in part deux. For each “Episode”, I will provide a general summary of the “action” and then some commentary and we’ll finish this post up with a few discussion questions. Let’s begin!
Episode 22
Summary
Slothrop is on furlough/leave at a casino in Monaco (from what I’ve read...I thought it was France before, still not completely sure) that’s been renamed in honor of the big fat slob that led Hitler’s air force during the war. He’s in paradise but wakes up “...[waiting] for a sudden noise to begin his day, a first rocket” (p. 181). His friend Tantivy Mucker-Maffick and a somewhat suspicious friend of his, Teddy Bloat (“[there’s] something about the way he talks to Slothrop, patronizing? Maybe nervous…” (p. 182)), are staying down the hall. They’re talking about meeting some girls but, as the first song of the section reminds us, Englishmen can be very shy. Slothrop is happy to help his “buddies” out, but tells them not to “expect [him] to put it in for [them]” (p. 183). Classic Slothrop!
Slothrop decides to wear a hideous (or amazing, depending on your sensibilities) genuine Hawaiian shirt that he received from his brother Hogan in the Pacific. The shirt seems to emit a glow (once he steps into the sun, it “blazes into a refulgent life of its own” (!) (p. 184), so Tantivy, “friend” that he is, tries to convince Slothrop to cover it up with scratchy Savile Row coat.
The trio hit the beach and the ladies are on them already. They’ve got food and booze and are ready for a nice day on the beach. The morning seems too good even for a bit of the “early paranoia”. And then Bloat ruins everything by drawing Slothrop’s attention to the woman down the beach being attacked by “the biggest fucking octopus Slothrop has ever seen outside of the movies”. Slothrop rushes off to intervene and, left without recourse, starts trying to bash the cephalopod on the head with a wine bottle to no avail. Thankfully, Bloat just happens to have a big, tasty crab on his person, which he tosses to Slothrop with the advice, “It’s hungry, it’ll go for the crab. Don’t kill it, Slothrop.” Slothrop uses the crab to bait away the animal from its current prey, noticing that it does not seem to be in good mental health. He eventually tosses the crab, like a discus, into the sea, and the octopus follows. The damsel has been saved, Slothrop is championed as a brave hero and his first thought is where in the fuck did that crab come from.
The exchange:
“Tantivy smiles and flips a small salute. “Good show!” cheers Teddy Bloat. “I wouldn’t have wanted to try that myself!”
“Why not? You had that crab. Saaay-where’d you get that crab?”
“Found it,” replies Bloat with a straight face. Slothrop stares at this bird but can’t get eye contact. What th’ fuck is going on?” (p. 187).
The damsel thanks Slothrop. Her ID bracelet identifies her as Katje Borgesius. Slothrop feels like he knows her and “...voices begin to take on a touch of metal, each word a hard-edged clap, and the light, though as bright as before, is less able to illuminate….it’s a Puritan reflex of seeking other orders behind the visible, also known as paranoia, filtering in…” (p. 188). How does Slothrop deal with this? By dividing up his present company into a dichotomy: the increasingly drunk Tantivy, “a messenger from Slothrop’s innocent, pre-octopus past” flirting with the girls and Bloat, “perfectly sober, mustache unruffled, regulation uniform [on the fucking beach!], watching [him] closely” (p. 188). And then there’s Katje, who, with her glance, makes Slothrop think she knows something (what?), asking him “Did you know all the time about the octopus? I thought so because it was so like a dance-all of you” (p. 188). Well, fuck me! Katje then tells “Little Tyrone” to be “very careful” and that “Perhaps, after all, we were meant to meet…” (p. 189). Now that’s a “meet cute” for ya!
Commentary/Questions
  1. Is the casino fully owned and controlled by Them at this point (is César Flebótomo (Spanish for “sandfly”) a(n) (un)willing patsy in Their employ?). Is it the “lab” for this “phase” of the Slothrop experiment. Or is it just secured enough to ensure the results of the experiment aren’t tainted by some unforeseen variable/interference?
  2. Teddy Bloat seems like a purposeful pun in reference to the bureaucracy of government/intel agencies
  3. Tantivy Mucker-Maffick’s name is also filled with meaning
  4. Songs are one way that Pynchon fills his book with “the language of the preterite”, a term from Weisenburger used to describe the “slang, underworld cant, songs, games, folk-genres, and material culture” used by Pynchon to pit “open, unsanctioned, and “low” languages” against the “closed, orthodox, privileged language of a culture”. This idea is expanded on by literary critic/philosopher Mikhail Bakhtin who notes that the “heteroglossic” aspect of novels allows them to be radical, open-ended artworks filled with a variety of voices that each embody a particular time and place (his term for this idea is a “chronotope”).
  5. The whole episode is just soaked in paranoia, from beginning to end. Whatever Slothrop thought he thought he was feeling in Section 1 has been taken up a notch. He senses a plot but keeps playing along.
  6. Is “Borgesius” a tribute to J.L. Borges?
  7. “Little Tyrone” echoes “Baby Tyrone” from Jamf’s experiments and maybe is supposed to make us realize that while the antics in this episode could possibly be construed as a “loss” of Slothrop’s “innocence” that was actually taken from him as a baby.
Episode 23
Summary
Dr. Porkyevitch (“Porky the pig”?) and “Grisha” (“[frisking] happily in his special enclosure”) stare back at the “blazing bijou” of the Casino from their ship, contemplating their future now that they may no longer be of use to Pointsman, yearning for traces of the Russia they’ve been exiled from.
To the casino: Katje is a vision in shades of green and is escorted by a two-star general and a brigadier. Is it Pudding? RHIP :) Slothrop and Tantivy in the dining room. Slothrop raises the “The Ballad of Tantivy Mucker-Maffic” to get the room singing of his friend’s drunken exploits so that he can speak to Katje who uses the cacophony to invite him to her room after midnight!
Slothrop then probes his buddy to see if he notices anything funny going on. Tantivy brushes him off a bit (“there’s always, you know, an element of Slothropian paranoia to contend with…”(p. 192)) but then concedes that the bastard Bloat is receiving coded messages. Ha! And it turns out Bloat has become a bit of a different man over the last few years, something more than being “Blitz rattled”. He’s also warned Tantivy away from Katje (“I’d stay clear of that one if I were you” (p. 193)) and Tantivy feels used by Bloat (“being tolerated for as long as he can use me” (p. 193)). The encounter ends with Tantivy telling Slothrop to be careful and, should he need help, he’ll be there for him.
At midnight, Slothrop leaves for his rendezvous with Ms. Borgesius, “ascending flights of red-carpeted stairway (Welcome Mister Slothrop Welcome To Our Structure We Hope You Will Enjoy Your Visit Here)” (p. 194). Arriving, he teases her about her date at dinner and then about their slightly sinister “meet cute” while examining her closet which is absolutely filled to the brim with a variety of outfits. The “Too Soon To Know (Fox-Trot)” before they get down to it. As he is undressing her, he notices “...the moonlight only whitens her back, and there is a still a dark side, her ventral side, her face, than he can no longer see, a terrible beastlike change coming over muzzle and lower jaw, black pupils growing to cover the entire eye space till whites are gone and there’s only the red animal reflection when the light comes to strike no telling when the light-” (p. 196). Yikes! As they fuck, she wonders if his “careful technique” is for her or “wired into the Slothropian Run-together they briefed her on”. Either way, “she will move him, she will not be mounted by a plastic shell” (p. 196-197).
Then, a slapstick fight with a seltzer bottle (planted by Them?) that has Slothrop looking for a banana cream pie to toss (classic!) after which they fall asleep, lying like two Ss. In the morning, their post-coital bliss is interrupted as Little Tyrone is rudely awakened by the sound of someone robbing his pants in the room next door. He chases after the thief, first naked, then dressed in a purple satin bedsheet. As he’s chasing, from way down the hallway, “a tiny head appears around a corner, a tiny hand comes out and gives Slothrop the tiny finger” (p. 199). Haha! He chases the thief up a tree only to have the tree cut down while he’s in it. The thief escapes and Bloat and some general find Slothrop a mess.
Bloat takes Slothrop to his room where, “every stitch of clothing he owns is gone, including his Hawaiian shirt. What the fuck. Groaning, he rummages in the desk. Empty. Closets empty. Leave papers, ID, everything, taken… Hogan’s shirt bothers him most of all” (p. 201). Nobody knows where Tantivy’s gone off to. Bloat gives Slothrop a uniform (“a piece of Whitehall on the Riviera” (p. 201)) which doesn’t fit but the book advises, “Live wi’ the way it feels mate, you’ll be in it for a while” (p. 201). Slothrop ponders the meaning of the architecture and design of his surrounds, but “shortly, unpleasantly so, it will come to him that everything in this room [The Himmer-Spielsaal, no less] is being used from something different. Meaning things to Them it has never meant to us. Never. Two orders of being, looking identical….but, but….” (p. 202). THE WORLD OVER THERE. Against this realization Slothrop issues the only spell he knows, a defiant “Fuck You”. Walking, rainstorm, entertainment at the casino, no one has seen the dancing girls from the drunken breakfast, Slothrop is “finding only strangers where he looks” before freaking out in the casino, then getting wet in the rain, then returning to Katje, the only place he knew to come.
Commentary
  1. I love “The Ballad of Tantivy Mucker-Maffic” and would like to write a similar tune about the inebriated shenanigans committed by my best friend and I during college.
  2. The bit about Oxford and Harvard not really existing to educate was a nice touch (p. 193)
  3. “Snazzy” is an “Americanism” in the 40s! (p. 195).
  4. Slothrop ponders an impending loss of innocence (but, again, it seems like that has already happened). He has nothing and no one in a foreign country and the sensation that his life is being purposefully, possibly nefariously influenced by forces he can vaguely perceive. “It’s here that saturation hits him, it’s all this playing games, too much of it, too many games: the nasal, obsessive voice of a croupier he can’t see...is suddenly speaking out of the Forbidden Wing directly to him, and about what Slothrop has been playing against the invisible House, perhaps after all for his soul, all day - terrified, he turns, turns out into the rain again where the electric lights of the Casino, in full holocaust, are glaring off the glazed cobbles.” And then, “How did this all turn against him so fast? His friends old and new, every last bit of paper and clothing connecting him to what he’s been, have just, fucking, vanished. How can he meet this with any kind of grace?” (p. 205)
  5. The word “holocaust” is used quite a bit in this story
  6. Setting this all in the casino is a nice touch: there is the illusion of chance and luck in a casino but the house always wins.
  7. The juxtaposition of the comic (seltzer fight) with the tragic (Slothrop alone, trying to understand what’s happening) heightens both effects.
Episode 24
Summary
They wake up with Katje calling slothrop a pig, which responds to by oinking. At breakfast, he is taking a refresher course in technical German and learning about The Rocket. His tutor, Sir Stephen Dodson-Truck (who speaks 33 languages!) aiding his understanding of German circuit schematics by way of ancient German runes. Slothrop understands immediately that Dodson-Truck is in on the plot but not sure how (“There are times when Slothrop can actually find a clutch mechanism between him and Their iron-cased engine far away up a power train whose shape and design he has to guess at, a clutch he can disengage, feeling then all his inertia of motion, his real helplessness… it is not exactly unpleasant, either. Odd thing. He is almost sure that whatever They want, it won’t mean risking his life, or even too much of his comfort. But he can’t fit any of it into a pattern, there’s no way to connect somebody like Dodson-Truck with somebody like Katje…. The real enemy’s somewhere back in that London anyways” (p. 207).
Back in the Himmler-Spielsaal: “in the twisted gilt playing-room his secret motions clarify for him, some. The odds They played here belonged to the past, the past only. Their odds were never probabilities, but frequencies already observed. It’s the past that makes demands here. It whispers, and reaches after, and sneering disagreeably, gooses its victims.
When they choose numbers, red, black, odd, even, what did They mean it? What Wheel did They set in motion?
Back in a room, early in Slothrop’s life, a room forbidden to him now, is something very bad. Something was done to him and it may be that Katje knows what. Hasn’t he, in her “futureless look,” found some link to his own past, something that connects them closely as lovers?” (p. 208-209). “It is a curve each of them feels, unmistakably. It is the parabola.”
No more news from London or Achtung. Bloat is gone now, too. Sir Stephen and Katje with their identical Corporate Smiles to dazzle him while they rob his identity. But! “He lets it happen” (p. 210).
Slothrop is getting hardons after his rocket study sessions and then goes looking for relief with Katje. Sir Stephen appears to be timing these erections! So, Slothrop gets the smart idea to get him drunk via a drinking game and many, many people end up getting sloshed on some high class bubbly. Half the room is singing the “Vulgar Song”. Slothrop and Sir Steve get pretty hammered and start walking through a nice sunset, where Slothrop sees robed figures, hundreds of miles tall, on the horizon. Sir Stephen informs Slothrop that he’s got “potency issues” (which makes him the perfect observer for Slothrop’s sexual misadventures… “no nasty jissom getting all over their reports, you know” (p. 216)). He’s about to tell Slothrop the secret of “The Penis He Thought Was His Own”...
...but then starts waxing nostalgic about Sir Stephen’s son and his wife, Nora and her “Ideology of the Zero”. An interlude with Eventyr, Sachsa, Leni… “but where will Leni be now? Either we didn’t mean to lose her - either it was an ellipsis in our care, in what some of us even swear is our love, or someone has taken her, deliberately, for reasons being kept secret, and Sachsa’s death is part of it too” (p. 218). More on Sachsa’s death.
Then, Sir Stephen vanishes (“but not before telling Slothrop that his erections of high interest to Fitzmaurice House”). Katje is pissed that Slothy got Sir Steve drunk enough to dish on the plot. They fight and then fuck. More rocket study sessions. The rocket taking off looks like a peacock, def pfau. Slothrop pressing for more information, Katje rebuffing, warning/advising“Oh, Slothrop… You don’t want me. What they’re after may, but you don’t. No more than A4 wants London. But I don’t think they know...about other selves...yours or the Rocket’s. No more than you do. If you can’t understand it now, at least remember. That’s all I can do for you” (p. 224).
Then, “They go back up to her room again: cock, cunt, the Monday rain at the windows” (p. 224) (Oh, Tom, you romantic!). And finally, a bit of kazoo music, a final night together, and Katje disappears, too.
Commentary
  1. Slothrop makes an important connection to his childhood and wonders if Katje knows about it/whether she’s with him because of it (ol’ Pynch even manages to work in the rocket, too!): “You were in London while they were coming down. I was in ‘s Gravenhage while they were going up. Between you and me is not only a rocket trajectory but also a life. You will come to understand that between the two points, in the five minutes, it lives an entire life. You haven’t even learned the data on our side of the flight profile, the visible or trackable. Beyond them there’s so much more, so much none of us know” (p. 209).
  2. More on the import of setting the action in the Casino: “The Forbidden Wing. Oh, the hand of a terrible croupier is that touch on the sleeves of his dreams: all his life of what has looked free or random, is discovered to’ve been under some Control, all the time, the same as a fixed roulette wheel-where only destinations are important, attention is to long-term statistics, not individuals: and where the House does, of course, keep turning a profit…” (p. 209).
  3. A beautiful passage: “‘Holy shit.” This is the kind of sunset you hardly see any more, a 19th-century wilderness sunset...this anachronism in primal red, in yellow purer than can be found anywhere today, a purity begging to be polluted...of course Empire took its way westward, what other way was there but into those virgin sunsets to penetrate and to foul” (p. 214). Always dualities in this book.
  4. “A pornography of blueprints” (p. 224). is a nice turn of phrase.
  5. Foreshadowing: “She has her hair combed high today in a pompadour, her fair eyebrows, plucked to wings, darkened, eyes rimmed in black, only the outboard few lashes missed and left blond.
  6. Connection to Nabokov: I really do think “Signs and Symbols” influenced this novel. Lines like this, “Here it is again, that identical-looking Other World - is he gonna have this to worry about, now? What th’ - lookit these trees - each long frond hanging, stuny, dizzying, in laborious dry point against the sky, each so perfectly placed…” (p. 225) remind me so much of the atmosphere in the story (itself about paranoia (“referential mania”)). This is a key excerpt from the Nabokov ditty: “In these very rare cases the patient imagines that everything happening around him is a veiled reference to his personality and existence. He excludes real people from the conspiracy - because he considers himself to be so much more intelligent than other men. Phenomenal nature shadows him wherever he goes. Clouds in the staring sky transmit to one another, by means of slow signs, incredibly detailed information regarding him. His inmost thoughts are discussed at nightfall, in manual alphabet, by darkly gesticulating trees. Pebbles or stains or sun flecks form patterns representing in some awful way messages which he must intercept. Everything is a cipher and of everything he is the theme.” Obviously this guy is, uh, slightly more clinical, but I still think the atmosphere/tone is similar between the two.
Episode 25
Summary
We begin this episode with a Pavlov lecture about the physiological symptoms of hysteria and one of Pointsman’s poems (which he never shows to anyone). Then to the “White Visitation” chaps (Pointsman, Grunton, Throwster, Groast) rumor-mongering about their future. Things are looking bleak. Pudding might cut off funding, “Slothrop’s knocked out Dodson-Truck and the girl in one day” (p. 227), and Sir Steven’s got the P.M.’s son-in-law making embarrassing inquiries. But Pointsman is calm. Very calm. In fact, “[b]y facing squarely the extinction of his program, he has gained a great bit of Wisdom: that if there is a life force operating in Nature, still there is nothing so analogous in bureaucracy. Nothing so mystical. It all comes down, as it must, to the desires of individual men. Oh, and women too, of course, bless their empty little heads. But survival depends on having strong enough desires - on knowing the System better than the other chap, and how to use it. It’s work, that’s all it is, and there’s no room for any extrahuman activities - they only weaken, effeminize the will: a man either indulges them, or fights to win, und so weiter” (p. 230). And then we find out that Pointman’s figured out how to play Pudding to keep his support (more on that in a bit…) as he’s figured out Treacle, Groast, and Throwster, how to use them and manipulate them to get what he wants. What a fucking devious guy!
Webley Silvernail sticks around after the meeting and imagines the lab animals putting on a beguine performance of a song called “Pavlovia” (right after this realization by Silvernail: “From overhead, from a German camera-angle, it occurs to Webley Silvernail, this lab here is also a maze...but who watches from above, who notes their reponses?” (p. 229)). And it’s all song and dance for a bit but since it’s Pynchon, it’s followed by an incredible poignant/tragic moment of clarity: “They have had their moment of freedom. Webley has only been a guest start. Now it’s back to the cages and the rationalized forms of death-death in the service of the one species cursed with the knowledge that it will die…. “I would set you free, if I knew how. But it isn’t free out here. All the animals, the plants, the minerals, even other kinds of men, are being broken and reassembled every day, to preserve an elite few, who are the loudest to theorize on freedom, but the least free of all. I can’t even give you hope that it will be different someday - that They’ll come out, and forget death, and lose Their technology’s elaborate terror, and stop using every other form of life without mercy to keep what haunts men down to a tolerable level - and be like you instead, simply here, simply alive….” The guest star retires down the corridors” (p. 230). What a soliloquy. [Tangent: almost 50 years later, how prescient is this passage?! This little monologue filled me with so many conflicting emotions: hope (because humans like Pynchon exist to dream this stuff up) and also dread because this paragraph describes a fundamental aspect and egregious flaw (or flaws) in human nature. Reading and re-reading this passage depresses me a little (hence my question about mental health below).
Now Pudding is sneaking about the bowels of “The White Visitation”. He heads past the cells of loonies on his way to a secret rendezvous. It seems like Pointsman may have drugged him at some point to get at hidden desires. We watch as our dear old Brigadier putters from room-to-room, finding items left for him by Pointsman that mock him and describe his descent into a personal hell (for info on the symbolism, the Weisenburger book is quite helpful).
In the final room, Pudding drops to his knees at the feet of his Domina Nocturna (with “her blond hair...tucked and pinned beneath a thick black wig”... “naked except for a long sable cape and black boots with court heels” (p. 233)). Pudding is thinking of the night they first met. He saw “her” “...through the periscope, underneath a star shell that hung in the sky, he saw her….and though he was hidden, she saw Pudding. Her face was pale, she was dressed all in black, she stood in No-man’s Land, the machine guns raked their patterns all around her, but she needed no protection. “They knew you, Mistress. They were your own.
And so were you” (p. 233).
And then he offers her a “nice” memory of a legion of Franco’s troops killing and getting killed at a massacre at Badajoz for which he is “rewarded” with her beating and then pissing and shitting in his mouth… … … …
However off-putting this may be for some (most), it does something for Pudding. He needs pain. “They have stuffed paper illusions and military euphemisms between him and this truth, this rare decency, this moment at her scrupulous feet….no it’s not guilt here, not so much as amazement - that he could have listened to so many years of ministers, scientists, doctors each with his specialized lies to tell, when she was here all the time, sure in her ownership of his failing body, his true body: undisguised by uniform, uncluttered by drugs to keep from him her communiqués of vertigo, nausea and pain. Above all, pain. The clearest poetry, the endearment of greatest worth…” (p. 234-235).
Munching down on a hot turd makes Pudding think of the horrible smells of his service during WWI: putrid mud, rot, death, “...the sovereign smell of their first meeting, and her emblem” (p. 235). After eating her shit, he jerks off (his release), in a style that Domina Nocturna has learned from watching Captain Blicero and Gottfriend (at this point, it is safe to say, Domina Nocturna is Katje. Will we ever be able to look at her the same?).
Pudding is then dismissed to “...a late-night cup of broth, routine papers to sign, a dose of penicillin that Pointsman has ordered him to take, to combat the effects of E. Coli” (p. 236). So thoughtful, that Pointsman...
Commentary
  1. The Silvernail hallucination/phantasmagoria seems like something straight out of “The Big Lebowski” had Jodorowsky had a bit of influence over the Coen Bros. art direction. Many of the songs in this section feel “Lebowski-esque” but this one especially so to me. Maybe its the detailed choreographic notes: “They dance in flowing skeins. The rats and mice form circles, curl their tails in and out to make chrysanthemum and sunburst patterns, eventually all form into the shape of a single giant mouse, at whole eye Silvernail poses with a smile” (p. 230).
  2. The Franco bit is a nice way of linking facism and death worship
  3. Pudding eating Domina Nocturna’s shit really, to quote an earlier passage, gave “de wrinkles in mah brain a process!”. There is so much symbolism there! Instead of ascending to heaven, Pudding heads down to hell. We have so many dualities linked in the act: between young and old, sacred and profane, pleasure and pain, pleasure through pain, WWI and WW2, man and woman, life and death, the general as a slave, even the food transformed through Katje into waste, all linked through the act of eating shit. For a moment they are linked so intimately, so delicately. No parabolas, a circle. And, of course, there’s also the diabolical Pointsman in the background, pulling the strings and manipulating to keep Pudding in line. I remember reading this for the first time and just being shocked and confused and now reading it again and finding so much meaning. That ol’ Pynchon is a devious bastard, hiding such loaded symbolism in such an obscene encounter. The Pulitzer committee had no idea what was coming for them!
So, if you’ve reached this point, congratulations and I am sorry! Here are my discussion questions. Looking forward to future posts!
Discussion Questions Both On Topic and Tangential
  1. Why is paranoia described as a “Puritan reflex” in Episode 22?
  2. In Episode 23, as Slothrop peruses Katje’s extensive wardrobe, what is the significance of the line, “Aha! wait a minute, the operational scent in here is carbon tet, Jackson, and this wardrobe here’s mostly props” (p. 195)?
  3. In Episode 24, what’s the significance of “the watchmen of world’s edge”? Is this an intrusion of the spirit world? Is Slothrop just hallucinating?
  4. In Episode 24, when Peter Sachsa gets the blow to the temple from Schutzmann Jöche, why is his last thought, “How beautiful!” (p. 220)
  5. In Episode 25, there’s a line in the part where Pudding is sneaking around: “A voice from some cell too distant for us to locate intones:...” (p. 231). Why us here? Why the change in perspective?
  6. How’s this book affecting everyone’s mental health (you know, given that we’re in the end times right now)? Seriously, though, there are times when this book makes me so happy to be alive and proud of humanity and also times where it depresses the everloving shit out of me and makes me think that, as a species, we’re doomed to continue making the same mistakes, over and over again, until we end up destroying ourselves.
  7. In a similar vein, do you think people as prodigiously talented and brilliant as Pynchon have any responsibility to counter the evil they see in the world? Is writing books enough or should they do more (lead, teach, etc.) to fight against the awful things they are able to see before the rest of us do?
Resources
submitted by grigoritheoctopus to ThomasPynchon [link] [comments]

I am a social outcast and misanthrope

I am someone who has really lost all faith in humanity and is extremely pessimistic.
In my first 5 years I was raised by my parents and grandparents to be one of those good naive and optimistic boys who instantly trust and gladly helps another person in need. In elementary school, your worth was decided by others by how much balls you got breaking shit, pissing off teachers, and especially how good are you at sports. With that, I was instantly an outcast. I started hating sports from a very young age but I was interested in computers and video games. Since I was so damn naive, I started getting bullied. 9 fucking years of constant slander, mockery and other humiliation (the juiciest one was the one where they spread that I was a neo-nazi because I was interested in WW2 and knew how to speak German a little). All this time the only good thing that kept me at least a little bit happy were my games, and the internet. Because of the bullying I developed an inferiority complex that I still have today. I constantly have a feeling that I am in the way of someone and need to go away ASAP. I still am very shy/angsty AF since every single time that I only made a sound everyone in the class would start screaming at me to STFU (yes, really) and on top of that I also have anger issues.
After I finally reached HS I didn't really have any problems with classmates since unlike before I didn't even bother with other people. Just went to school, waste there 7-8 hours, go home and play games. I became a pessimist in 2016 when I just happened to get a feminazi bitch as my physics teacher, and of course this was the only subject I failed and had to repeat a year (I was soooo optimistic that I will make it). I also started becoming more and more of a sexist and racist (all races including my own) from 2015 foward when the Feminist/SJW scum started invading my 1 or 2 hobbies by shoving in their retarded politics. Almost my entire life is me being online and after years of constantly being exposed to this hatred that I am complete scum because I have the big 3 "sins" (white straight man) and so I am instantly both sexist and racist and I need to die, I developed hatred towards literally every race and both genders. I am living in a eastern european country so I never even saw IRL a non-white person but for some reason I am worse than Hitler and need to be killed. I quitted games and those few social media sites since now they are more or less woke propaganda or RNG casinos and I blame Feminism and woke PoCs for the death of the only 2 things that actually were interesting and fun for me in this world.
And with a childhood and teen years like this I developed a big hatred fueled with prejudice towards other people. I don't trust anyone outside of my family or those few childhood friends in our apartment complex, in fact if I see a tragedy I even am laughing at it. I am constantly paranoid that others will constantly try to fuck me over anyway anytime they will be able to. I still have that trauma from ES that I was constantly treated as a nuisance and waste of space and only making a sound was very big crime and for that I needed to be berated, have my stuff vandalized (especially stuff in my pencil case). And also the mid 2010's woke wave only made thing alot worse. I dislike women because feminism made me sexist and I am paranoid that I could be a future victim of a false rape allegation because some bitch was mad I didn't allow being her bitch. I dislike whites because ES & those sensitive retards getting triggered on behalf of others. I dislike blacks because their culture is gangbanger garbage with shit music, 0 responsibility, serious racism towards my race. I dislike muslims because of terrorism and I was badly beaten once in 3rd grade by a 3 muslim kids because I was reading out loud a comic book to my friend and 1 character was muslim and he was saying something about allah or something and at that age I had no idea about any religion at all in general and I just found it weird, but for them, those gypsies though it was enough to beat me up for that.
TL;DR because of very bad experiences with all kinds of people during my childhood and teen years, I became a Misanthrope and I don't trust anyone.
submitted by throwaway15578gh to confessions [link] [comments]

All Movies I Watched During Quarantine With Reviews

Late to the trend but these are all the movies I watched during the quarantine. I just went back to work this week so I saw that as more or less of the end of the quarantine for me. Rated the movies on a scale of 1-10 with a short review of each movie. Hope you enjoy it and sorry for any grammar errors I wrote all of the reviews today so I went through them fairly quick.

Raiders of the Lost Ark: Great start to an amazing franchise 9/10 (Rewatch)

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom: Another good entry to the series but definitely not as good as the first or third 8/10 (Rewatch)

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: In my opinion the best Indiana Jones movie, Sean Connery is great in this 9.5/10 (Rewatch)

The Great Gatsby: Interesting movie, I really enjoyed how grand everything felt but would have been much better if they used music that fit the time rather than Jay z songs 7.25/10

Burnt: Enjoyed this movie a lot more than I thought I would with it being about cooking 7/10

Memento: One of the most mind bending movies I have seen. Great movie 9/10

Saving Private Ryan: Had meant to watch this awhile ago and I'm glad I finally did. Definitely live up to the hype 8.75/10

Zodiac: Really good movie with some great acting. Crazy to think they came to close to catching him (allegedly) 8.25/10

Days of Thunder: Entertaining but the plot is really all over the place and seem very just slapped together 5.5/10

The Running Man: Classic Arnold movie cheesy but in the best way possible 8/10 (Rewatch)

Rocketman: Was very disappointed with this movie I was not a fan of the more musical style rather than biopic. I really enjoyed the Queen movie and was hoping for something similar but I was very wrong. Although Taron Edgerton is very good as Elton 5.5/10

The Fighter: Christian Bale almost never seems to disappoint and Mark Wahlberg is good as well. Very inspiring story 7.75/10

Lucky Number Slevin: Really interesting movie seems predictable at first but catches you off guard 7.5/10

True Grit(2010): Heard a lot about this movie and was not disappointed at all 9/10

Whiplash: I had the impression I wouldn't like this movie but by the end its hard not to be amazed by the performances. Also the the cinematography was surprisingly good 8.75/10

Clear and Present Danger: Decent movie with a good cast although easily forgettable 6.75/10

Old School: Hilarious comedy movie I had never heard of until recently, give it a watch you wont regret it 8/10

Looper: Really enjoyed the plot of the movie and the whole time travel aspect. The Joseph Gordon Levitt CGI on his face to look like Bruce Willis just felt weird though 8/10

A Night At the Roxbury: Very dumb comedy not necessarily in a bad way. A lot of better comedies out there 6/10

Death Proof: I know this is a popular opinion but my least favorite Tarintino movie. You don't really care about any of the characters and their is little to no actual story being told 5.75/10

Jackie Brown: Again definitely one of my least favorite Tarintino movies but much better than death proof. Really loved Samuel L Jackson in this one 7/10

Kill Bill: Great Tarintino flick with amazing action and an awesome cast 8.5/10 (Rewatch)

Kill Bill vol 2: Good follow up to the first and has a satisfying ending, not as exciting/fun as the first 7.75/10 (Rewatch)

Equilibrium: You can tell how hard this movie tried to be the matrix. Still has some redeeming qualities 6/10

The Hunt for the Red October: Another Jack Ryan movie, I liked this one better than Clear and Present Danger. Good story and very suspenseful 7.5/10

Casino Royale (2006): My favorite Daniel Craig Bond movie so far and great start to a new era of Bond. Also Mads Mikkelsen is great as Le Chiffre 8.5/10

Quantum Of Solace: Extremely disappointing movie after how great Casino Royale was. The villain barely feels like a villain and the editing/ camera work in this movie is one of the worst I have ever seen 5/10

Skyfall: A return to form after Quantum of Solace. Much better and cohesive story and with a compelling villain 8/10

Goldeneye: My favorite Bond movie I have seen so far (all the ones i have listed here). As much as I enjoy the Daniel Craig movies I have always like the gadgets and a bit campy vs the very realistic Craig 8.75/10

12 Monkeys: Had never heard of this movie before but It was awesome and quickly became my favorite time travel movie. If you haven't seen this movie watch it asap! 9/10

Star Wars The Phantom Menace: Started a Star Wars Marathon and got sidetracked but I have to admit I have always loved the prequels having grown up with them even though im well aware of the issues that plague these movies. Duel of the Fates is Tied for best lightsaber duel of all time 7.5/10

Star Wars Attack of the Clones: For sure the worst movie of the prequels imo but still a lot of memorable parts and another good duel with Count Dooku, Obi Wan, Anakin and Yoda 6.5/10

Star Wars the Clone Wars (2008): I love the clone wars tv show but you can easily tell this movie was just episodes of the show put together to movie length. Also the animation in this movie and the beginning of the series in pretty poor but thankfully it only goes up in quality 5/10

Dune: Ok Movie but does not hold up well at all. Its obvious the plot of the book was far too much to contain in one movie. I'm looking forward to the remake of this and that they are going to do it in multiple movies rather than just one. As much as people shit on remakes this one movie that really deserves another go especially with modern special effects 5.5/10

Once Upon A Time in Hollywood: Might be a bit of a hot take but my favorite movie of all time! I loved every moment of this movie and the connection between Dicaprio and Pitt is pure gold. I could watch this movie every night and still enjoy it just as much as I did when I saw it for the first time in theater. 10/10 (Rewatch)

Donnie Brasco: Not a bad mob movie Depp and Pacino are both good but it follows all the typical mob tropes 7/10

Ace Ventura Pet Detective: Jim Carrey is always great and Ace Ventura is no exception. Solid comedy 7.5/10

The Lord Of The Rings The Fellowship of the Ring: An amazing beginning to one of the best film trilogies of all time 9.25/10 (Rewatch)

The Lord Of The Rings The Two Towers: My personal favorite of the LOTR movies you just can't beat when Gandalf shows up at the battle of Helms Deep 9.5/10 (Rewatch)

The Lord Of The Rings The Return of The King: Another amazing movie and a great ending to such a great film trilogy also with one of the best battles ever filmed 9/10

Spy Game: Entertaining and fairly suspenseful movie not a bad watch 6.75/10

Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back: First Jay and Silent Bob movie I have seen, was a fun movie and I liked all the cameos 7.25/10

Total Recall (2012): Not a terrible movie but the original with Arnold is much more memorable and a lot more fun than the 2012 version 5/10

Constantine: Bit of a weird movie but was still entertaining and has a great dark tone. Hard not to love Keanu 6.75/10

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: Very dark movie but I absolutely loved this movie. Great murdemystery along with great performances from Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara. Must watch if you haven't seen it 8.75/10

Sin City: Really interesting story and has a very different style to it. Makes you feel like it has been pulled right from the comic book. Also a really awesome cast 8.25/10

From Dusk Till Dawn: This movie really caught me off guard. Very campy 90's style but I had a blast watching this movie and would definitely watch it again. Seeing Tarintino as a main character in a movie is weird but also hilarious 7.75/10

Team America World Police: Really dumb movie but it is still pretty funny 6.25/10

American made: Another movie its hard to believe that its a (mostly) true story. Tom Cruise is really great in this 7.75/10

Live Die Repeat / Edge of Tomorrow: One of the most amazing concepts for a story I have seen in years and they manage to pull it off in an amazing way. Both Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt are great in this movie. Loved the dark humor and quirkiness of all the characters 9/10

Blade Runner: Amazing movie that still stands up today. Such a great story and the atmosphere of the blade runner world is like no other. RIP Rutger Hauer 9.5/10 (Rewatch)

Blade Runner 2049: A great sequel to the original Blade Runner. 2049 is one of the most beautiful moves I have seen with gorgeous cinematography from Roger Deacons. One of Ryan Gosling's best performances 9.25/10 (Rewatch)

American History X: An important story about how even smart people like Edward Nortons character can be convince into an evil cult like mentality. This movie also breaks down the race tensions and shows how nobody can really be too far gone to be changed for the better 8.25/10

The Ninth Gate: Easy to watch movie with a interesting story. Nothing special but still enjoyable 6.75/10

Fury: Really good WW2 movie, you get really invested into all the characters and shows what the war was like towards the end 8/10

The Chronicles Of Riddick: Enjoyable action movie looks pretty good for an early 2000s movie since they used a lot more practical effects rather than the typical shitty cgi at the time 6.5/10

Sicario Day Of The Soldado: Pretty bad sequel. The first half of the movie is decent but the second half is slow and boring. The story just ends up really going nowhere and is just a letdown 4.5/10

The Prestige: I can't believe it took me this long to see The Prestige but holy shit is it an amazing mind bending movie. Both Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale are amazing in this. Chris Nolan is such a great director and I can't wait for Tenet to finally come out 9.5/10

The Bourne Identity: Good and Entertaining action movie. Matt Damon is a great Jason Bourne 7.75/10

The Bourne Supremacy: Another good action movie that's fun to watch throughout 7.75/10

The Bourne Ultimatum: I feel like Ultimatum really took the Bourne franchise to another level. Really great action and intriguing story Best Bourne movie for sure 8.25/10

Knives Out: Really fun murder mystery with a great cast. Only gripe is that they wouldn't have given away so much so soon. You know most of what happened like 30 min into the movie 8.25/10

Murder On The Orient Express: Another really funny murder mystery. All the characters are very quirky and unique which makes the whole movie a lot of fun. The ending is also very satisfying how it all comes together 8.5/10

Layer Cake: Good movie but I cant help feeling like this is a Guy Ritchie movie without the Guy Ritchie flair to it 7/10

Wind River: I really liked Jeremy Renners whole tracking aspect in this movie rather than the typical Detective stuff you see in most murder mystery movies. Also you really feel and understand the pain some of the characters go through 8/10

Let me know what you think!
submitted by Ozavi to movies [link] [comments]

Theories on the mortal and pre series lives of demons, Husk

Husk was born in 1951 as Tom Allen. The son of a WW2 veteran, he had a difficult childhood as his father suffered from PTSD and was prone to violence at the drop of a hat. But his mother was too weak willed to leave him. Eager to find thrill after the war, his father founded a successful casino in Las Vegas and even moved his family in. Tom grew up in a world where drinking and gambling was considered "civilized".
When he was only 8, Tom's father was arrested on embezzlement charges, and his father took her life. Tom was bounced from foster home to foster home until he reached his 18th birthday and drafted into the army. Tom served 2 tours in Vietnam and watched his friends get killed at least once a week. It was also around this time when Tom realized he was gay. But he feared mentioning it to anyone, as this was the 60's and 70's. When his tours were up, Tom returned to the states, but like his father, suffered from PTSD.
Despite his homosexuality, Tom tried to blend in by marrying a woman whom he was close friends with, and despite his lack of sexual interest, was able to father at least one child. But Tom's PTSD put a wall between him and his family, and like his father, Tom turned to drinking and gambling. This caused him to have violent outbursts and come home broke. Eventually his wife divorced him and Tom spent the rest of his life drinking and gambling, until he died of alcohol poisoning in 1977.
Upon his death, Tom was transformed into a cat demon with wings, and he forgot his mortal name, and was renamed "Husk". At some point, he ended up joining Alastor's faction in hell, but due to his heavy drinking, he served as bartender of one of Alastor's joints.
submitted by godzillavkk to HazbinHotel [link] [comments]

Double Deadly

US coronavirus deaths projected to more than double to 410,000 by year's end

MOD: Locked for too much off-topic political conversation and medical advice comments. Get your medical advice from your doctor, not randos on Reddit.
Locked, but not deleted, of course. Can't just delete a thread with 22,100 upvotes. That's just silly. How else would people read the off-topic political discussion and terrible medical advice?

in my relatively low population county I personally know of more people testing positive than are stated in official numbers of new cases.

Most Americans are too dumb to understand that MILLIONS will be victim of the EXPONENTIAL VIRUS!!

The other question is how high the hidden deaths will be. Now, with 190,000 dead there are an additional 210,000 hidden deaths. If this rises proportionally, there will be a million dead Americans by the end of the year.
A million! How many does it take to bring down Trump .... 1m, 10m, 100m? The mind boggles.

The prediction is 3000/day in December.

Covid has almost killed as many Americans as in ww2 died over 4 years.

keep in mind a virus is continuously testing the willingness and ability of people to keep it contained. [+868]

Thank god we’ll get a hastily and likely imperfect vaccine rushed out before the election !

I don't know if I'd trust the first round of vaccines. It seem awfully suspect that it's potential release date is right before the election

There is a 25% chance that a vaccine will not work for this virus.

Ah, you think the vaccine will save us. Unless it protects against stupidity, it’s not going to be terribly useful.

So we relax standards, we open up, and we see a huge spike. We then lock down, go back to a plateau, and do the same shit again--only this time the plateau is higher than the last plateau, meaning that it's objectively more dangerous even though it subjectively feels safer because the numbers aren't going up. [+229]

Like, how many dead parents/students/teachers will it take to close a school district? How many people does a person personally have to know that died before they decide going to the casino isn't worth it?

It’s gonna be an even deadlier 2021.

Human blood must be sacrificed to the Wall Street gods.

Covid doesn't make you immune to regular colds and flus, so you can have both, and the coughing and sneezing from little colds can spread the far more dangerous Covid much faster.

And the more times this virus is transmitted, the more opportunities it has to mutate into virus that is deadlier for young people.

can we really trust the data at this point?

Don't blindly trust the data. They are trying to hide the spread.

The US has been under-reporting cases and deaths for months. Some states try to bury everything. I'm willing to accept between 1500-2000 deaths a day being realistic.
Literally admitting that you won't accept information beyond your own arbitrarily applied limits?
They say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem...
Close enough?

Likely number of COVID-19 related deaths in the U.S. are about 40% higher.

I ignore the reported COVID-19 deaths, and pay attention to the % of excess deaths in comparison to previous years. When I can't find current total deaths, I multiply the COVID-19 reported deaths by 1.4.

At this point I think we've missed the boat on containing the virus. We had a good chance this spring and absolutely blew it.

I’m sorry, but they didn’t give a fuck about me when they took down their masks to cough in the grocery store, or invade my personal space when I was out walking on the sidewalk, or give me weird looks for wearing my mask to the pharmacy. They’re the ones who have been partying and traveling and going to movies. They never gave a fuck about me, so I’m not going to concern myself with them.

Nobody will be guilt me into going for Thanksgiving.

Save yourself the frustration and disappointment and just stop talking like there's any hope of those Americans that dont give a fuck to start giving a fuck. Just buckle up and stay safe. [+160]

I think we'll separate into 2 factions: the mask wearers and those who die.

The second and third waves of the Spanish Flu were exponentially worse.
I’ve basically given up trying to correct redditors who think they’re educated and smart by saying “what about Spanish flu?!?!” without an ounce of consideration for the historical circumstances that gave rise to that situation.

These guys had awful predictions in the past. Why are we listening to them now?
We both know exactly why the apocalypse fetishists are suddenly falling over to praise this model.
submitted by Whizgigger to coronavirusvirus [link] [comments]

All of Bolsonaro's Men - An Explanation on how Brazil's Current Politics and why a Cabinet Meeting is now on Youtube (Part 3)

This is the final part explaining Bolsonaro's April 22nd cabinet meeting. At the end there are some final remarks, and in the comments my sources.
Braga Netto introduces Abraham Weintraub, Minister of Education
Note: Weintraub currently is being sued for a racist tweet that implied China created Covid
Weintraub: [...] I don't want to be a slave in this country. And end with this crap that is Brasília. This is a cancer of corruption, of privilege. [...] The people here lose perception, empathy, public relations. [...] We are losing the fight for liberty. This is what the people is calling for. They are not calling for more State, for more projects, to have more ... the people are calling for liberty, full stop.
Note: This right now is one of the most controversial moments of the meeting, with the Supreme Court taking legal action on what he says right now
Weintraub: In my opinion, I'd arrest all those lazy bums. Starting with the Supreme Court. [...] I notice there's many people with a personal agenda. [...] I have a bunch of lawsuits in the ethics committee of the presidency. I'm the only one here that took a lawsuit. [...] I'm really here with an open chest, as you know it, I get shot ... hate ... hate the Communist Party [Redacted]
They are trying to turn us into a colony. [...] We need to end this thing of people and privileges. [...]
Bolsonaro: Let me complement this. What Weintraub is saying - I'm 65 - we get close to people we shouldn't. I have to police myself in regards to that. It's people here in Brasília, of the three powers, that don't know what's the people. I talk to a few, don't know what's rice and beans, don't know what's a supermarket. Forgot. Think that money falls from the sky. "I have my guaranteed privileges, my 100k per month" on average, 100k per month they earn, right? Legally. And think this will never end. Like some think the liberty "What's the deal with that guy, is he crazy?" I see the oldest one here, General Heleno here. He knows what is six, what was sixty four. Many of the ones here don't know. The people that tried to get into power in sixty four, if they had arrived, we were all fucked here. Cutting ... super happy if we were cutting sugarcane earning twenty USD per month. Can't forget that
Note: reference to how it is claimed that the military did the coup in 64 to prevent a socialist revolution
Bolsonaro: We can't forget who this people is. I'll invite the ministers to go on Sunday visit Ceilândia and Taguatinga. (Two local neighbourhoods). It's an invitation, not a ... not a mission no. Invitation. To see how the guy in the corner is doing. So that some piece of shit comes up and says, right? Same pieces of shit as always "Ah but the guy broke isolation. You're giving a terrible example" Ok ... Bad example is my dick, fuck! Worst is to starve! You're in shit, fuck! Feel how the people smell, like I said, there. It's an experience for every politician to feel! Go there and see how it is. Or there's people that is, like it was, right, huh? A general in the rear letting the troops get fucked in front. No! The General is, is in the front, the colonel is in the front, the captain is in the front. Our heroes of WW2 had ahead of them a battlefield. If it was needed, I'm sure, our armed forces will do their job, but, right? We have to give an example and show what Brazil isn't - I'm less rude than Weintraub, improved a lot, right? In the language he used - but that's not what people say around. Meeting around midnight, here and there. Informations systems, mine works.
Bolsonaro: My particular one works. The ofi ... which have officially, misinform. And back to the theme, I prefer not to have information than to be misinformed by the system of informations that I have. So, people, many will be able to leave Brazil, but I don't want to leave and see my sister form Eldorado, another from Cajati, my poor brother Army captain from ... from ... from ... from Miracatu getting fucked, fuck! It's being pursued all day long! And then the shit Folha de São Paulo, says my brother was kicked from a slaughterhouse, buying meat without a mask. Proved in writing, he was in São Paulo that day. The owner of ... of restaurant of ... of ... of ... of the slaughterhouse said he wasn't there. And that's it. I know it's his problem, right? But the bullshit is the whole time to hit me, messing with my family. I already tried to change the staff of our security in Rio, officially, and wasn't able to! And this ended. I'm not going to wait to fuck my entire family, of bullshit, or friends of mine, because I couldn't switch someone from our frontline security in our structure. It'll switch! If I can't switch, I'll switch his boss! Can't switch his boss? Switch the minister! Full stop! We're not joking here
(note): the minister and one of the bosses mentioned here are Ramagem and Moro
Bolsonaro: And then some kid shows up, with - all due respect - the one from BNDES, ok? I met him when he wore shorts, and ... Fuck, he came from the United States over here, could very well be there. Came here to try to change Brazil invited by Paulo Guedes, who is a friend of his parents. Coincidence, isn't it Paulo Guedes?
Bolsonaro: I don't think so. .. I don't remember your parents, I remember you, fuck! All right? But it's someone I'm investing here. And all of those have to think about this.
What these sons of bitches want, huh Weintraub, is our freedom. Look, how it is, how easy it is to impose a dictatorship in Brazil. How easy it is. Everybody is home. This is why I want, the Justice and Defense Ministries, let the people be armed! It's the guarantee that some son of a bitch won't show up to impose a dictatorship here! How easy it is to impose a dictatorship! Ridiculously easy! Some bullshit mayor makes some bullshit decree, handcuffs, keeps everybody home. If they were armed, they would go to the street. If I was dictator, right? I'd want to disarm the population, like they did in the past when they wanted, before imposed their respective dictatorship. Then, what's our demonstration, I ask Fernando (Minister of Defense) and Moro that please, sign in the Executive Order today and I want to give a bitch of a note to these pieces of shit! Because why am I arming the people? Because I don't want a dictatorship! There's no way to hold back! Right? No way to hold back.
Yeah, who won't accept my flags Damares: "family, God, Brazil, guns, freedom of speech, free market". Who won't accept this is in the wrong government. Wait until twenty two, right? Your Álvaro Dias. Wait for Alckmin. Wait for Haddad. Or maybe Lula, right? Go be happy with them, fuck? In my government it's wrong! It's make the armament question obvious here. I want everybody armed! The armed people will never be enslaved. And that each one does, does your job. Expose yourself. Here I already said: you'll lose the ministry if you get spoken positively by Folha or by Globo! By Antagonista! Right? So there are some blogs there that only have good news from the ministers. No idea how! The president ... takes a beating, but the minister is congratulated. And then we see around. "Ah, the government is, the ... the ministry is doing well, although the president." Go fuck yourself, fuck! I picked the team, fuck! We switched five. Hope I won't have to switch anybody else! I hope! But we have to, in Weintraub's line, in a more gentle way, right? It's ... caring about this. What the guys want is our hemorrhoid! It's out liberty! This is a truth. What these guys did with the virus, this piece of shit governor of São Paulo (João Dória), this shit from Rio de Janeiro (Wilson Witzel), amongst others is exactly that. Made use of the virus, there's a piece of shit mayor in Manaus now, opening mass graves. A piece of shit. Who doesn't know his history, try to learn, which I met inside the House, with him next to me! Right? And we know the ... his ideology and what he preaches. And what he always was. It's what ... he's making use now, of a climate like this, to bring terror to Brazil. Right? So people, please, care about was important with everybody's life, what is your liberty. An arrested man is worth shit.
(note: the mayor of Manaus, Artur Virgílio Neto is the son of Artur Virgílio, a Congressman who was exiled and stripped of his position after the military shutdown the Congress under accusations of being communist)
Braga Netto introduces Paulo Guedes
Guedes begins by presenting a more moderate stance. Saying that although they are breaking of from the establishment, they need to work together to pass the reforms. He then mentions a conversation that he had with the G20 Ministers of Economy and the BRICS. Also mentions the pension reform and how it passed in contrast to France. "Now, the same thing, I've been saying: we are deepening the reforms, we are continuing, we are following". Followed up by saying how he doesn't believe in dogmas, how Brazil was heading in a strong direction, but suddenly crashed. Brazil was one of the first countries to prepare to alleviate the crisis financially, and in his opinion, it's only worse than the United States because Powell and the Fed put out money to help keep markets afloat. Also of note is that part of the economic recovery plan involves unconventional methods, like allowing taxes to be paid later while moving forward government benefit payouts, as they were limited by the constitution. It's been planned to cost around three hundred and something billion, last deficit under Temer was around one hundred sixty. These plans reach seventy million Brazilians. "We made a banking committee, we are there with Montezano now doing exactly the restructuring. There won't be easy work for airlines, none of this. We are putting in money, and it's going to work using the best financial technology available. We are putting in money, and it's going to work and we are going to turn a profit. We are going to turn a profit using public resources to save large companies. Now, we are going to lose money saving small companies. Guedes insists the necessity to continue with the reforms mid pandemic, using the bailouts to reform the economy. "A Marshall Plan per year". Insists on lowering interest rates, and blocking government raises for two years. In his own words, you can't impeach if you're going by the book. "And the president is in the future, because the president said the following: ok, there's the first wave, which is health, but there's the second one that's the economy, and one follows the other. We are still trying to leave the first ... and the second is trying to arrive. I still think we are preserving the vitals of the Brazilian economy". He mentions how the economy will likely be held by the expected large soy production and new logistic projects. A mention of China is also present, as for every USD exported to the US, Brazil exports three to China. Mourão and Guedes talk about this, but it is redacted. In Guedes' words, "We are going to sell our soy to them This we can sell as much as we want. They have to eat, they have to eat. India also needs to eat, they'll need water. They'll say it's the best water trade. Strangely, it's also suggested to have a mobilization of the Young Apprentices Program working with the military, as they could be paid with government spending. He criticizes Damares for being against casinos, mentioning Macau. In his own words "the president speaks about liberty. Let everybody get fucked the way they wan't. Especially if he's overage, vaccinated, and a billionaire. Let him get fucked, fuck!" Also mentioned is a meeting with the US Ambassador, who says there is a few hundred billion dollars earmarked for investments in Brazil, but dependent on a good business environment. "Simplified taxation, juridical safety". He also recommends signing the General Purchase Agreement, and joining into the OECD to allow for more government transparency, allowing for improved trade. Bolsonaro then says he has Trump's support. Guedes disagrees "we can't lose the opportunity of having the president being this friendly with Trump".
Tereza Cristina (Agriculture) speaks briefly about how countries are shifting to have government stocks of food post COVID. Currently Brazil is not self sufficient in wheat production, most of it is imported from neighbouring Argentina. Of course, funding is an issue, but there is two million acres set aside in the Matopiba region ready to invest in. 9% interest rates are an issue according to her.
Bolsonaro asks if the Banco do Brasil (another one of Brazilian Government Banks) can help
Guedes intervenes "Banco do Brasil is neither an armadillo or a snake. It's neither private or public. If you pressure Rubem (head of the bank), poor him. He's super liberal, but if you pressure him and he says "lower the rates", he goes "I can't or else the team, the private, my minoritaires, pressure me". Then if you say "put interest rates high", he goes "I can't or else the government pressures me". Banco do Brasil is a ready case to privatize. It's a ready case and we aren't doing this step. Have you sir noticed that the BNDE and the ... the ... the Caixa which are our, public, we do what we want. Banco de Brasil we can't do anything and we have a liberal there. So we need to sell this shit fast.
Bolsonaro makes a quip about Rubem not being invited to the next meeting. Rubem explains how even in the changing situation Banco do Brasil has expanded loans, and the bank doesn't have liquidity issues. At the same time, the bank handles the payments for public companies and the military, which are more stable than private companies. Guedes makes a joke about him to "confess his dream". In Rubem's own words "In regard to privatizing, it's clear that with BNDES taking care of development and Caixa with the social needs, Banco do Brasil would be ready for a privatization program, right?" It is then highlighted that Banco do Brasil has some clear advantages, which would have to be sorted out by the public status. Judicial deposits and government payments would usually be handled by either Banco do Brasil or Caixa, now it's a public competition. The bank is no longer competitive in these sectors. "Then you only keep the bad sides of being a government company. We don't have the same ease in hiring, we don't have the same ease in firing bad employees and ... and ... and ... so forth". He follows with a few closing statements, about how he has to present all documents to the government comptrollers, and Covid perspectives.
Braga Netto closes off the meeting.
A few takeaways
While the meeting was to debate the Pró-Brasil recovery plan, it ended up being more focused on Bolsonaro's gripes with his ministers.
Bolsonaro has strengthened himself in this, as it shows he's still going strong in his position. This is both in the campaign promises and the way he has been underplaying Covid. What he says in the video is suspect, but is nothing that can be used as clearcut evidence in an impeachment trial. The Supreme Court has also subpoenaed his phone, but still has not reported on anything.
Moro is likely the biggest loser in this. While there is evidence Bolsonaro changed command of the Federal Police for political reasons, there is still a degree of reasonable doubt. This meeting was not the silver bullet he expected. Within the Brazilian right wing, he's now seen as a traitor to a degree. Populism is a hell of a drug.
Salles is one of the losers. Supporting the using the Covid news cycle to roll back environmental regulations is not a good look, especially when you're the first one to talk. There is now a movement to impeach him.
Damares is another loser with this. Threatening to arrest governors due to human right violations was a bad move. Luckily, her ministry has little to no legal strength, and thus, is mostly an empty threat.
Guedes on the other hand, has returned confidence to investors. While Brazil may have no clear plan to deal with Covid medically, it has a plan to deal with it economically. At the same time, there's the favorite word of a Brazilian investors - privatizing. The BOVESPA index has shot up from around 82000 points on Friday to 85400 by Tuesday's close.
Weintraub now has a bad look. From having to deal with a racism case, he know is having to explain his threats against the Supreme Court. Outside of Bolsonaro's circle there is now pressure for him to resign or be sacked.
Another loser, out from left field has been Bolsonaro's head of security, General Heleno. After reading the news of Bolsonaro's phone subpoena, he has stated there will be "severe implications for Brazil's democratic institutions" if Bolsonaro's phone is analyzed. Many have considered this to be an overt coup threat. He is now facing possible impeachment.
Teich, which resigned after the meeting has gone through relatively unscathed. With a simple, stump speech on how Brazil can only leave the distancing after it has the virus under control and how testing must be expanded. Of note is mentioning how a plan to ease restrictions is being created. Given how there has been an expanded focus on creating medical capacity instead of waiting for the virus, it is likely that restrictions would be modified to a looser system, closer to that of Sweden.
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