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• Usher’s New Look partners with Emory University’s Executive MBA Program to develop program certification. • UNL Launches Powered By Service Tour in 5 US cities via Usher’s OMG Tour. • 2nd Annual World Leadership Conference and Awards held in Atlanta. Communities served: Atlanta, New York, Kenya, London, Hong Kong, Vancouver A man accusing Usher of exposing him to herpes claims the two had sex at a spa in Los Angeles. ... No love lost: Kim Cattrall doesn’t have ‘any regrets’ about blasting Sarah Jessica Parker . Numerous celebrities, including Usher, Mary J. Blige, Lil’ Kim and producer Russell Simmons attended the ceremony, which ended with fireworks. Combs was devastated by Porter’s death. Phyllis E. Usher of East Burke, Vt., born September 20, 1965, passed away at home after an extended illness and under the peerless loving care of her extraordinary partner of 20 years, Carl “C.J ... Kim Usher AM, RN PhD FACMHN. Corresponding Author. E-mail address: [email protected] ... The Effect of Prescription Drugs and Alcohol Consumption on Intimate Partner Violence Victim Blaming, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 10.3390/ijerph17134747, 17, 13, ... Usher Spotted Kissing Rumored Girlfriend Jennifer Goicoechea Backstage [Photo] It looks like Usher’s latest love has been revealed. A woman named Jennifer Goicoechea was seen giving him a kiss on the cheek while backstage at an event.And Usher appeared to be all for it!Photographer Jennifer Johnson caught the moment. More legal trouble is on the way for Usher.The R&B star is being accused of infecting more people with herpes — including a man according to celebrity lawyer Lisa Bloom.. After reportedly paying ... Relationships: Usher girlfriend, Jenn Goicoechea. Jenn seems to be the new romantic partner of the famous singer, Usher. Usher, who separated from his wife, Grace Miguel, with a divorce in 2018, might have found his new love. Their romance made headlines when Usher attended the Oscars 2020 with his new girlfriend.
Bound for Rebooking Pt. 13 - BFG 2017
2020.01.30 07:03 DGenerationMCBound for Rebooking Pt. 13 - BFG 2017
Petey Williams def. Trevor Lee(c), Matt Sydal, Sonjay Dutt & Desmond Xavier in a Ultimate X Match to win the X-Division Championship The Canadian Destroyers wins the title he hadn't held in a dozen years. Following the match, all of his opponents congratulated him except the former champion, who acted like a sore loser that his reign as X-Division ace had come to an end. Eddie Edwards(c) def. Taiji Ishimori to retain the GHC Heavyweight Championship Coming off of a heartbreaking feud with his longtime partner and friend Davey Richards, Die Hard went overseas to become a champion. Successfully retaining here over one of Pro Wrestling NOAH's top stars, Edwards showed that his steady rise up the Impact ranks could result in winning the World Title soon. Eli Drake def. Chris Adonis Drake took Adonis on as his bodyguard earlier in the year but things went sour. Adonis turned on his ally and wanted the spotlight for himself, turning Eli face. To show he wasn't going to play by the rules just because the fans were behind him, Drake snuck in a low blow before winning with the Gravy Train. Team Impact (Johnny Impact, EC3, James Storm & Abyss) def. Team AAA (Texano, Garza Jr., El Hijo del Fantasma & Pagano) in a Lethal Lockdown Match Impact's rudo antics in Mexico followed him to Impact. EC3 managed to rally company veterans Storm and Abyss to put their hatred for him aside to fight for bragging rights. Ironically enough, it would be EC3 that extended the olive branch to the luchadores after the match with Garza being the first on his side to accept it, showing respect between the companies. Jimmy Jacobs def. Grado (with Laurel Van Ness) to earn a Impact contract In order to stay in the company, Grado had to defeat a mystery opponent. Canada's own Tyson Dux and Anthony Carelli appeared as red herrings before Jacobs was revealed. Laurel turned on Grado to help Jimmy win. Allie def. Sienna(c), Gail Kim & Rosemary in a Four-Way Match to win the Impact Knockouts Championship Allie took the place of Taya Valkyrie, who pulled out of the show. In a huge upset, she ended up pinning the legendary Kim, ending the Hall of Famer's full-time career as a competitor and hopes of retiring as champion. Gail would embrace the new champion afterwards, giving Allie an endorsement in from of her hometown crowd. Sienna walked away in disgust while Rosemary creepily looked on with fascination. LAX (Santana, Ortiz & Homicide) (with Konnan) def. oVe (Sami Callihan, Dave & Jake Crist)(c) in a 5150 Street Fight to win the Impact World Tag Team Championship Santana and Ortiz sent The Broken Hardys out of the company with a loss, taking the titles in the spring. The Crist Brothers surprised everyone by turning heel to take the titles in the summer. Callihan would be unveiled as the reason for their change in demeanor but LAX was ready for war. oVe took out LAX's mentor Konnan backstage before the match but the previously suspended Alberto El Patron emerged under a disguise to help his Latin brothers regain the titles. Moose(c) (with Stephan Bonnar) def. Lashley(c) (with American Top Team) to unify the Impact World Heavyweight Championship and the Impact Television Championship The two most dominant champions in recent history collided in a winner-take-all clash of titans. Both of their reigns dated back to 2016 with no interruptions with the World Champion even holding the X-Division, World Tag and GFW titles along the way. Lashley, fully embracing his MMA side, was constantly surrounded by his American Top Team training partners to show off his proclaimed superiority over regular wrestlers. Moose brought in Bonnar to teaching him some MMA tricks and also back him up. Both men throw bombs throughout the match and just when Lashley stooped low enough to take his cornermen's assistance, Bonnar took them all out at ringside with a dive. This allowed Moose to finish Lashley off, ending his 600-day reign. 2017 was the first BFG under the new Impact banner and ushering in this era with the torch being passed sounded like one helluva start. This is more than likely my final entry in this series, so thanks for reading!
President Vladimir Putin extended an invitation for the following Heads of State to attend a New Year's Eve Ball at the Grand Kremlin Palace. Those invited will include members of CSTO and other influential regional partners. President Putin has planned an evening to include discussions of regional development policy to be coupled with the President's New Years Address, a feast, and of course, the famous Moscow firework ceremony to usher in the new decade. An invitation is extended to the following:
President Xi Jinping and Minister of Defense Wei Fenghe of the People's Republic of China
Supreme Marshal Kim Jong-Un of the DPRK
President Armen Sarkissian of Armenia
President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus
Chairman Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan
President Sooronbay Jeenbekov of Kyrgyzstan
President Emomali Rahmon of Tajikistan
President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan
President Aleksandar Vučić of Serbia
President Alexander Ananchenko of Novorossiya
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey
President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt
President Nguyễn Phú Trọng of Vietnam
Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India
President Khaltmaagiin Battulga of Mongolia
President Raul Castro of Cuba
The Russian cabinet, general and officer's staff of the Russian Armed Forces, and select members of the Russian Duma will all be present at the grand event to be held in The Hall of the Order of St. Alexander Nevsky. President Putin made a short speech outlining key points of his foreign policy and national plan for the Russian Federation reaching through the next coming decade.
"Fellow Heads of State, CSTO Tovarische, Ministers of Defense, Servants of the Russian People, Good evening, and Happy New Year to all of you. Firstly, I would like to thank all of you for choosing to spend your New Year's Eve with us here in the Russian Federation. For those of you that have traveled far and wide, I acknowledge that coming to Moscow at this time of year is no easy feat. The achievements under your leaderships through the past couple years has been imperative for defining our region, and commitment to a thriving global community. Each one of you and your nation share a special, indivisible and deeply cherished bond with the Russian Federation, the Russian People, and myself. As we chart our course into the next decade, let us do so as comrades, and humble servants of our people."
"Over the course of the next decade, the Russian Federation hopes to maintain and create deep bonds with each and every one of your nations, in the strategic partnership that we share. Together, our bonds are forged in the cauldron of innovation, national security, and economic development. We have combated terrorism together abroad, and engineered magnificent architectural endeavors, but most importantly we have remained steadfast in our many friendships that define Russian Foreign Policy."
"At this time I encourage all of you to drink, eat, enjoy the evening, the music, the fireworks, and the other festivities we have planned for the evening. I will invite Dmitry Medvedev to say a few words about the plans we have for the Russian Federation in the upcoming years. Once again, thank you all for coming, and Happy New Year to all of you. Dmitry..."
President Putin sat down at the head of the table and reached out an open hand to Dmitry Medvedev at his immediate left. Dmitry Medvedev stood up and began to address the attendees.
"Thank you, Tovarisch President Putin for your kind words, and to address our humble guests once again, thank you for coming. For those of you who are unaware at this point, the Minister of Finance, Economic Development, Sergei Shoygu and myself are working on a new economic plan that will overhaul the Russian interior, but more importantly will focus on satisfying the many needs that each of your nations hold to run in conjunction with President Xi Jinping's Belt and Road Initiative in the coming years. We are still finalizing what remains of the "Golden Russia Plan" to develop our interior and emphasize electronic, and technology and defense manufacturing, infrastructural upgrades and transportation development and research. Once that plan begins, we will turn our focus outwards with specific and targeted development and assistance plans to allow our neighbors and strategic partners to reap many of the benefits. In addition we are planning to launch a major dock upgrade and construction project in the Far-East, in the Black Sea, and in the North so we will be able to put the smaller port cities to work, decrease unemployment, increase our trade and container units capacity, and ultimately field our next generation Aircraft Carrier, The Shtorm, on-schedule. Ultimately, our next area of focus for regional security and national security will focus on the navy, and as always the Russian Ground Forces. Our Blue Water fielding project has gone very well these past five years, and will only be strengthened by this coming proposal. Ultimately, it will allow Russia to take part in emergency planning exercises and naval security exercises with our partners, many of which to include those of you that are here this evening. In addition, it will allow us to pay attention to our much forgotten Far-Eastern Fleet, to assist our friends and act as a united extension of our regional foreign policy. Much of which is shared by China, Vietnam, and India, our big regional strategic partners."
"As strategic and security partners of CSTO or the Russian Federation, we encourage you all to work together with us in the coming years so we can look out for each other and promote regional contingency preparedness. Thank you."
Dmitry Medvedev sat back down. President Putin took his spoon and pinged it on the side of his shot glass a couple of times,
"Now that we have gotten the formalities out of the way, we invite all of you to enjoy the rest of the evening. For those of you heavy drinkers we have the customary Russian Standard Vodka, a bottle for each head of state, to take part in our long-standing Russian tradition. For those of you who seek something sweeter we have champagne, and of course our bartenders can make cocktails at your choice. There is a dish of caviar at each end of the table, my strongest recommendation, and the main course will be around shortly afterwards. For those of you that smoke, we have Cuban cigars in a humidor that can be brought around, and for those of you that don't, I'm sure we can find something for you that tickles your fancy. Thank you everyone, and enjoy."
Additional Russian Negotiations
People's Republic of China Minister of Defense Sergei Shoygu and President Putin privately held a conversation with President Xi Jinping and Minister of Defense Wei Fenghe regarding the possibility of logistics of a joint Sino-Russo development of a CATOBAR that can be implemented on the new Russian Aircraft Carrier The Shtorm. President Putin asked President Xi what sort of deal the Chinese President would be open to regarding such a collaboration, and if such a collaboration could take place. Ultimately, the proposed CATOBAR could be implemented on The Shtorm as well as the Chinese Type 002 currently being constructed.
2019.11.20 04:31 millymichelleTaylor Swift: Revenge, Reputation and the Lover ft the Capricorn/Cancer Axis
Uh oh. Looks like I'm knee-deep in a trend of astrological hot-takes for celebs. First Kanye (unprompted), thenKim Kardashian(requested) and now Taylor Swift (unprompted AND requested?). 2019 Swift is intriguing. And her bounce from the dark tones of Reputation to the light neon of Lover, her two latest albums, are astrologically synchronistic. The recent drama surrounding the ownership of her music, and her general unapologetic foray into women's rights and political discourse has been lovely to watch, as I've only really ever known her to be a sparkly pop princess with pretty dresses and a benign, saccharine disposition. My personal fascination with this transformation is my motivation to write this, plus the fact that she's one of the most visible public figures and offers a great chance at seeing how Astrology manifests. The Saturn Return looks GOOD on her. DISCLAIMER--her birth time isn't graded well. In that event, let this interpretation instead be interpreted as a candidate for rectification versus a rock solid natal chart reading. The way her chart is set up with the current birth time makes an incredible amount of sense. Plus, the planet placements and aspects will remain correct, even though the house placements, to repeat myself, make hella sense. I want to talk first about Taylor's unaspected Sun in Sag in the 12th. 12th house is where a lot of artists go to create in isolation and unearth the unconscious motivations of others that then manifest through art in a way that is touching and relatable. This Sag Sun is ruled by an exalted Jupiter in the 7th in Cancer, making the primary focus of her ego: relationships and relating. An unaspected Sun in the 12th can be where the ego goes to die--a person who has a very hard time incorporating who they are into what they do and want. But Swift has taken the confusion of this placement and used it to fuel her craft. Unwieldy Sun in Sag is a great placement for a visionary, nothing to tie down or modify the archer's pursuits. But with her main luminary rather isolated, I opine that Swift then relies on the next best thing for forming identity: her dignified Moon in Cancer in the 7th house aka her other luminary. This is why, besides the Jupiter connection written about above, most of Swift's songs are about relationships. Also—with an unaspected Sun, a person may look to others as a way to form identity. Brad Pitt has a similar situation, and a meme went around about how he always subtly mimicked the appearance of his partners. But anyway…Back to Swift. Instead of relationship emphasis being looked at as some character flaw, it can instead be reinterpreted as the mission chosen to be undertaken in this lifetime, written in the stars. Chiron is also in her 7th, meaning that her greatest wounding comes from relationship. As an artist, it is fitting and kind of necessary that she heal these wounds with songwriting. It also makes sense that she had that Squad back in the day and has highly publicized friendships and gatherings (where she cooks--very Cancer). She needs and feeds off of relationships of all kinds, nurturing them--that is where she finds her identity, and that is where her emotions orient. And with Jupiter there, that is where she expands. Swift is also known for being extremely generous and kind to her fans. This is the signature of an exalted Jupiter in the 7th. Sun in the 12th of Sag then means her ASC is Capricorn. Physically, this makes sense. Capricorn and Saturn emphasize the bones, and Swift has a lanky, toned, and svelte figure similar to Ariana Grande or Zendaya (Aqua ASC). Capricorn ASC also makes her generally enterprising and hard working, which is apparent. Mercury conj the ASC gives a personality known for mercurial abilities, in this case, Swift's songwriting ----especially that she writes ALL her own songs. It is a major underpinning of her identity and her career. Mercury is also the court jester, the performer. Swift's top hat and magician get up on one of her recent tours is a perfect manifestation of Mercury. Uranus conj the ASC adds to the genius factor of her creations, and also a general independent streak or rebellious streak. Swift's isn't in your face, but subtle, like her tendency to like Tumblr posts that align with her views and feelings rather than expressing them explicitly. Her recent screenshots exposing the shady actions of those around her, and her way of covertly shading people she thinks have done her wrong, either in interviews or while accepting awards, also points towards this nature. And information disseminated through social media and the Internet in general is the domain of Uranus. There is a refined nature to Capricorn that won't play in the mud and get messy, but instead opts for a high-road. Uranus, though changeable, can represent a stubborn need to speak your mind (Speak Now, anyone?). Swift clearly does. Uranus cannot be suppressed. Also, the ricochet from the darkness of Reputation to the pastel creams of Lover, or starting out country and going into highly produced pop, is Uranian in and of itself. Just when you think you've got her pinned down...curve ball. Neptune in the 1st gives Swift a dreamy like quality, and grounded in Capricorn, can give the girl next door appeal. Unsuspecting. Neptune is also a planet of glamour and fame, and to have it in the first makes ripe ground for a star, someone who people can project onto, and someone who ultimately projects through their art. Someone who people want to be, an aesthetic they aspire to. Neptune is conjunct Mercury, which supplies the endless wellsprings of songwriting inspiration, and also makes her words relatable to the masses. Neptune also deludes, hopes, and fantasizes. I think of one of Swift’s most famous lyrics Why can’t’ you see/You belong with me. No one can see through Neptunian fog. In fact, so much of her early music (I’m not an expert) projects this fairytale type of love life that she yearns for, gets, and then that ultimately falls apart. Sounds like the work of Neptune. Plus Neppy opposes within a reasonable degree, her Cancer Moon, Jupiter and Chiron, making these flights of fancy and inevitable disappointments play out both in her music and in her real life. An endless feedback loop of life imitating art, and vice versa. Saturn is also in her 1st, and it notably rules her Aquarius Venus in the 2nd. Say what you will, but Swift capitalizes off her heartbreak. Placements in the 2nd house can show how we make money, and with Venus there, she clearly makes money from music, art, beauty and…her love life. (Let’s also remember that Aquarius Venus placements value friendship and connections with a broad swath of people. Yet another emphasis of relationship in her life, and in multitude) Saturn ruling over that placement plus everything in her 1st house (her final dispositor) basically says: in the end, this will all play out for your benefit. Fruits of her emotional labor. Saturn in the 1st also deepens the expression and seriousness of a person. Though her Jupiterian goodwill may shine forth more prominently, her serious and calculating side exists. Think about how she capitalized off of the Kim/Kanye/snake drama. That’s strategic, long-term Saturnian planning and reserve. Oh, and about that drama. Swift’s out of sect malefic is Mars. That means Mars causes the most issues for her. Swift’s Mars is in Scorpio in the 11th. This is the type of placement that confirms, for me, that her birth time or whereabouts is accurate. Trouble with communities, networks and friends, and in Scorpio, inundated in the dramas of revenge, sex, and secrets. How many beefs has Swift now publicly had? Mars is dignified in Scorpio, meaning that for better or worse, Swift’s talent for comeuppance is pronounced. Whether it is an ex who jilter her, a peer who stole her dancers, or her naked body being used in a video without her permission (which omg so Scorpio). Not only can Mars in Scorpio tolerate such trespasses, it regenerates through them. Mars sextiles her Venus. Sextiles mean opportunity—striking while the iron is hot. Swift has been demonstrative in being able to turn her worst public foibles (Mars) into art (Venus). With a Scorpio MC in the 11th—controversy and public spats may always follow her. When Kanye West interrupted her VMA speech on September 13th, 2009 (11th house rules awards)—Mars was in Cancer, Swift’s 7th house, conjunct her natal Chiron, suggesting adversarial energies with others that exacerbate a deep wound. At the same time, Pluto was newly ingressed into Capricorn, her first house. The energies and events around this Pluto ingress set the stage for the savage Swift that was to come. Years later, she pronounced the old Swift was dead. Swift released Look What You Made Me Do in the lead up to her Saturn Return and her Saturn Return album, Reputation. Swift wrote this song (and conceivably put together the album), while Pluto was conjunct her natal Mercury. The tone of her songwriting took a distinctly dark and vengeful tone. Pluto had been in her house of identity for several years by then, slowly overhauling her image to the world, and effectively killing the old Taylor, as she said, by confronting her with devastating power plays. Saturn was conjunct her natal Sun around this time, and then entered Capricorn, officially starting her Saturn Return. The name Reputation is an apropos Saturn/Capricorn and Saturn in Capricorn theme. As said before, Capricorn cares a great deal about how they are perceived and wish to be taken seriously, seen as authority. This album was Swift’s demand to be taken seriously. She was taking back her narrative. She reappropriated the snake imagery that was once used to deride her and instead used it as a PR gimmick. This is textbook Plutonian regeneration, by the way, and conjunct Mercury, makes perfect conditions for a marketing ploy. Also, Jupiter was in Scorpio during her Reputation era, awakening the natal promise of her scathing Mars, and expanding upon and deepening the drama found there. The imagery of this album cover was also markedly different from her others. There was no color, the font was reminiscent of hip hop/gang aesthetic, and Swift looked like she had had e-fucking-nough. Hello darkness, my old friend. This is the Saturn Return. The south node also entered Capricorn around this era, suggesting a draining in 1st house matters. Swift admittedly receded from the public eye in the lead up to Reputation and in the fall out of her Kim/Kanye scandal. When Swift released the first single of her Lover album, Jupiter was in Sagittarius conjunct her Sun. The mood difference between Saturn on her Sun and Jupiter on her Sun is so fitting, and why Astrology is legitimate (heh!). The first single was called ME!, the perfect encapsulation of Jupiter expanding and warming the ego of the Sun. Her second single was You Need To Calm Down (a banger), which to my Astrologer eye, is the wise surrender to the existence of social media bullying and call out culture. By this time, her exact Saturn Return was effectively over, and Saturn was retrograde, offering a chance to internalize the lessons and sigh a breath of relief. And in her case, this catharsis took the form of an optimistic, bubbly, and compassionate read on an issue that will likely follow her the rest of her life. The North Node was also transiting Cancer, reinforcing gains and karmic resolution in in her 7th house. That she proudly declared herself a lover after the devastation preceding Reputation was like a return to self. With Jupiter on her Sun, and dynamic energy on her natal Jupiter in Cancer, Swift was decidedly warmer this time around, and back in her comfort zone. During this time, Mars was once again conjunct her Chiron in Cancer, and also conjunct the transit North Node (where you make gains). Though Mars cycles are two years in duration, and Swift probably made incremental progress in the interim, this speaks to the overall resonance of planetary cycles. Back when Kanye interrupted her at the VMAs, Mars was there. And now 10 years later, Swift has grown into her own maturity and is handling similar adversaries with the grace and wisdom of a woman ushered into Astrological adulthood, and past the stressors of Pluto and Saturn. Saturn also rules her 2nd, so it makes sense that a final theme of her Return is struggle over what belongs her. She was blindsided when her songs were bought out from under her feet, and are now being held hostage by a former and currently problematic business partner. Only, unlike the last time something was stolen from her, she’s not a little girl anymore. (Swift is currently finishing a 6th house profection year. A signification of this house is law, which could be why she finds herself embroiled with her lawyers in a bitter pursuit to gain the rights to her music. Mercury rules her 6th house, which is why her songwriting is of particular import.) Who next?
2019.10.25 19:20 CrimsonClubsSelected Reviews for Liquorice Flavoured Love Potion
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Five Stars By Niel on August 10, 2019
Great product! Just what I needed.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ AMAZING By Lianne on August 28, 2019
Cannot reccomend strongly enough!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ Top quality, simply awesome. By Josey on September 2, 2019
This was life-changing. Phenomenal. It beat every expectation I had and then some. Honestly, I was sceptical at first seeing the price, but it works better than the name-brand version. I’ll probably pick-up a second for my daughter (and who knows maybe I’ll buy another one for myself, haha!)
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ Danger, poison, side-effects, urgent, this is fatal! By Kimberly on September 12, 2019 Verified Purchase
Please, please, please, please, please read this! It’s all I can do. I can’t get them to remove this item from the store page. I’ve tried reporting it online a hundred times but nothing happens. Maybe they don’t care. The police won’t take it seriously either. Just please, even if you don’t read this. Please don’t make the same mistake I did. Don’t fall in love with love. Love is cruel, ugly, hateful, and blind. Love is coarse and bitter like the ground coffee you find in the trash. Love chokes, strangling every joyful pulse from your veins. People love the illusions, or delusions, of love. But anybody who has seen love, purified and distilled, would know love’s true awfulness and horrors, and above all its foolishness. You know the saying: “You can fool some people all the time, and all people some of the time?” Well sometimes we’re all fooled by love. For the former 16 year old me, I was a fool for a guy. His name is Adrien Mathers, and back in high school he was my dirty blond dream walking the halls, the faint scent of roasted walnuts in his wake. In my eyes he was perfect. He was smart but not bookishly reserved, athletic minus the bruising jock attitude, funny without being a shameless class clown. (Of course, his visible muscle tone and high cheekbones certainly contributed, but so did the cute single dimple from his confident and constant half-smile.) Okay, this may seem irrelevant to the issue at hand, but I swear to you all this is important to understand the danger of this ‘love-potion’. Or, I don’t know, maybe I just need some place to vent and mourn… Confess. If there’s one thing I’m good at its throwing myself a pity-party. Anyway, what stole my dumb heart above all was, despite being one of the popular guys in school, Adrien was exceedingly kind. He only had nice things to say about everybody, never participating in gossip and back-biting. He was so nice, he made everybody else around him nicer. For example there was a special needs student, Isaac, and while at the start of the year everybody either teased him or did their best to ignore him, Adrien actually took the time to chat with Isaac. Not ironically or with ulterior motives. Just genuinely striking up a conversation. Asking him how it was going, about his interest. Normal stuff. Everyday he did this. Slowly, people stopped teasing Isaac, and, as the months passed, more and more people began to be friendly too, wishing Isaac a good day or to tell them one his many ‘space facts’ that Isaac knew off hand. That’s how Adrien was, he brought out the good in those around him by virtue of the good in him. And I melted for the fantasy he’d find the good in me. Someday he’d take me away beneath the stars in his used Saturn Ion, his kisses exploring the anticipation along my neck, his confident hands extending around my midsection before tentatively reaching under my shirt and also under my, well… At the time, that was pure fantasy. I was certain Adrien didn’t even know my name back when I first started crushing on him. Or the rest of that year for that matter. Luckily the goddess of love and fate must have heard my prayers, because Adrien and I were assigned as lab partners in our junior year chemistry class. That semester was magical. To me at least, it seemed like we hit it off immediately. We worked great together. I did most of the planning and note taking while he had no problems lighting the Bunsen burners and mixing the reagents. All the while we’d be laughing having fun. We started talking more outside of class too, even if we always had to start talking about chemistry first. However our conversations were never stilted or awkward and we’d soon be discussing deep topics like our fights with our parents and the reasons why we both wanted to leave our hometown. I just hated the bitterly cold winters here, but he wanted to leave because he never wanted to feel like his home was stuck and glued in one place and so he imagined he’d always keep moving places every few years. “I just want the freedom of it, y’know?” His nose scrunched when he said the word ‘freedom’ and I felt he meant the word differently than how others used the term. Eventually though, the semester was almost over, meaning I wouldn’t have an excuse to talk to him anymore. I gathered what tepid courage I could and I asked the question, “After the test… do you want to go see a movie? Together?” He blinked a moment, “Like a date?” “Yeah.” I confirmed. He half-cocked his smile, “Okay then.” It was just that easy. My legs nearly buckled when I made it around the corner but the butterflies swirling around my head made it all worth it. And that first date was incredible. He held me through the entire movie, and as he dropped me off at my house, he stared at me until I stopped talking. Then he kissed me. His kiss left a trembling need on my lips long after we parted. We made plans for another date immediately. That one didn’t go… quite as well. We were making out at his house, his parents weren’t home. Although I was nearly sick with the bundle of nerves in my stomach, I had readied myself for going farther than I ever had before. Suddenly though, Adrien stopped. I couldn’t figure out why. He cut the date short there. When we spoke again after that night, he told me the most crushing words I’d ever heard. He sighed and said, “I just feel… we are better as friends. I’m sorry, I tried but I just don’t see you as more than that.” I never told anybody about our fleeting time together, or the pain I felt. Even long after I never said a word. There’s a million break up songs out there. Each can explain the emotions I felt better than I could. Go over to the itunes store or spotify and buy a couple. You don’t want to hear more from me. Although part of me refused to put the pain into my own words because if I said exactly how I felt then it really would be over and no matter how much ‘healing’ I did over the months and years, I didn’t want us to be over. Even if that is what we were. We were little more than acquaintances when high-school ended. Anyway, life happened after that. Got accepted into college. Drifted away from my fair-weather friends. Made one or two better friends. During my studies I dated twice. The first relationship fizzled. Not a lot of chemistry besides my crippling desperation when we first met at a party. The second guy I dated, Nate, we had chemistry all right. Too much in fact. Which is why it blew up in a fiery spectacle, much like a plane full of TNT crashing into a fireworks factory, fun to witness at a distance, not so fun while screaming aboard the disintegrating aircraft. During this time I was doing my teaching practicum and I met Mrs. Jody Renyk. She was upbeat, gregarious, positive attitude, thoughtful, a teacher loved by all the kids, always putting others before herself, a mentor that I quickly did my best to model myself after. To me she was almost a saint in her selfless attitude. However after a few short months I’d discover her one flaw. Selfishness of a different sort ate away her body. A greed called cancer. She wouldn’t survive the year. Where we meet Adrien again is at Mrs. Renyk’s funeral. During the sermon, Jody’s brother mentioned how the Mathers family put Jody through school, but my brain didn’t link the Surname together until the reception, where I spotted Adrien comforting the much older brother of Jody. I tapped him on his shoulder. “Hey stranger.” Fortunately, I had chosen my more stylish black dress of the two hung in my closet. Adrien turned to me in his well fitting three piece suit and his eyes seemed to brighten, “Kim?” “Still stuck in this town I see.” “Nah,” he shook his head, “just here for the funeral.” I knew Adrien travelled around a lot, but I’d forgotten in that instant rush to say hello. After that the conversation was breezy, like summer. Just like I remembered it. I told him how Jody was a role model for me. He told me how Jody was his babysitter for, like, ten years, hence the comment about his family putting her through school. The conversation was getting more animated but with the funeral going on around us, we instead agreed to meet later that week for coffee before his flight left. Doubts crept in almost immediately. After a few minutes I’d convinced myself that I’d imagined the renewed romantic chemistry. The sparks were sputters. Flirting was just friendliness. Those hints of desire were merely shimmers of a polite facade. But other than bite my cuticles and nervously rock my legs, I didn’t know what to do. I’d be meeting with him soon. It was literally my last chance at a second chance. So… I started drinking a bottle of leftover tequila and set off online in search of answers. In a few short hours, my browser was clogged with Facebook profiles, self help blogs, and more cheesy dating advice than my hairdresser on particularly chatty day. It all seemed so useless and fake. None of this would actually work. On a whim, I decided to search for a “love potion.” Years ago, I went through a bit of an alternative religion, wiccan phase. Which is why I’d expected silly home brews of supermarket spices and willow leaves, which would vary in quality between an adequate tea and a putrid sludge. And I did find results like that, along with movie references, tacky perfumes, and a whole bunch of other crap. A few pages in though, and I was intrigued by one particular link. “Liquorice Flavoured Love Potion.” The name was less arresting than the web address. The fact that it was being sold by this very website made me think, Don’t they have standards? They can’t actually be selling a fake love potion. I convinced myself it was probably nothing more than a candy with the “Liquorice Flavoured” appendage, but tipsy me was curious. No kitschy hearts or playful colours greeted me, just the art-deco bottle with sharp glass lines and a black fluid within. This was a minor shock as I’d pictured sweet red liquorice not black. More than that though, as you can see the product description above makes it seem completely sincere. “Force your love to give you love by feeding them this love potion,” was the line that particularly stood out to me. Normally, love potions describe themselves in more poetic and saccharine terms. To see one bluntly advertise how you always imagine a ‘love potion’ is suppose to work was refreshing and… exhilarating. My cursor hovered over the ‘add-to-cart’ button. Except the price was fairly steep for what amounted to little more than brief thrill. It’s not like it would actually work. Besides, it probably wouldn’t arrive in time anyway. And how would I get him to drink it anyway? Liquorice wasn’t exactly an inconspicuous taste, he’d know if I slipped it into his coffee. That’s when I clicked. All those valid reasons were no match for serendipity. See, it was in that moment I remembered Adrien liked liquorice because he and his circle of friends once had a silly argument about whether liquorice was ‘the worst thing we were ever tricked into believing was candy’ or ‘a deliciously and unfairly maligned treat of the gods’. Adrien was firmly on the pro-liquorice side of that particular debate. He likes liquorice and I found a liquorice flavoured love potion. That’s kind of like fate right? Plus, the loudly advertised free shipping was hard to beat too. The class I had been teaching was outside for recess when I got a lesson of how fate really works. “Sorry, I have to leave town early.” The message read. I wasn’t even upset really. In a way I was relieved. Here I’d been stressing out like a stupid little girl over a simple cup of coffee. Some adult I was. “My flight leaves tomorrow morning. Can we meet tonight?” And just like that I was a girl again with hope. And pressure. Lots and lots of pressure. This would be my one and only chance and I knew I had no magic on my side. I rushed home to prepare. When I spotted the plain brown package patiently expecting me at my doorstep, I didn’t even consider it was the Love Potion. From my tequila buzz, I barely remembered ordering it, but I certainly didn’t expect it to be delivered so soon. In the past I’ve paid for the princely leisure of two day shipping on a few occasions but I’ve never had anything arrive in under 24 hours before. After I peeled away the tape, cardboard, and excessive layers of bubble wrap I found the ornate bottle delicately inlayed within a form-fitting casement of crunchy styrofoam. Curiously, the liquid inside was clear and not the jet black like in the picture. Although I’d solve this colourful discrepancy soon, later I’d only have unanswered theories gnawing at my mind to explain why. Wrapped around the deco neck of the art-deco bottle was frayed twine linking the bottle to a round paper tag. On it were these three simple instructions: 1. Mix a drop of your blood in with the love 2. Give this now activated love to the intended target 3. Enjoy the love! There were no ingredients list, or warnings, or even a brand logo. The first step was what gave me pause. A drop of blood struck me as hard-core. Which was fine by me, except it also seemed unsanitary? Still, I only had a bit of time before needing to head out for the coffee shop, so I got a pin from my cupboard, ready to do it right there and then. I popped open the cork cap like a bottle of champagne, and was blasted by the distinct scent of liquorice. “Here goes nothing,” I said as I pricked my finger and squeezed a single drop of blood. On my skin the scarlet bulge swelled then fell into the clear liquid below. Immediately on contact thin black roots grew sinking from the surface and slowly burrowed to the bottom of the glass. Without mixing or shaking, spindles of blackness jutted out from these roots like the rime of frost. They intersected and crisscrossed until all crystal light was woven shut and nothing but a solid impenetrable darkness remained. “Huh… neat.” Is all the gravitas I could spare for that damning event. I re-capped the bottle and tossed it casually in my hand bag. We met at the coffee shop, he with a simple white button down shirt and striped tie, me with a little black skirt and secretive black bottle. I did my best to pry a passionate conversation from him. That’s what I read, is guys like it when a gal shows an interest listening to his interests. It seemed to be going quite well, he was getting animated and excited, swinging his arms in exaggerated chopping motions, although to be honest the stories of his travels weren’t that interesting, not second hand anyway. After the first story, hearing about a traditional meal with colourful locals gets old whether it is in central Asia, Chile, or Uganda. Still, the evening was progressing so well I forgot all about the ‘Love Potion.’ It was sometime after sunset though when Adrien glimpsed his watch and then began checking it repeatedly every minute or so. “Umm…” I hesitated, “Do you need to leave soon?” He rubbed his neck apologetically, “Y-yeah. Early morning flight and all that. But it’s nice catching up like this. We should do it again sometime.” I panicked a bit. “No no.” I stammered practically jumping from my uncomfortable seat. “You can’t leave just yet.” He was surprised by my abrupt outburst. “Well, it’s not like I was planning on leaving right this second.” “Let me just, they sell this really great Kombucha here. You’ve tried Kombucha before, right?” “Yeah, it’s okay I guess.” “Then you got to try this one. It’s the best.” He stared at me in mild bewilderment. “Trust me. My treat. Let me just go—” Using both hands I pointed toward the barista behind the till and wandered off before he could object. After a single step, I twisted back around awkwardly snatching up my bag as I trotted to the counter. I was quickly devolving into a flustered mess. How could this be ending so soon? I thought. Everything had felt like it had gone great, like it was fate fixing her mistake. What happened? Was it something I said? I barely remember saying anything. While I ordered, fishing my credit card out for payment, the black vial clanked softly against my keys. If the barista noticed me spike Adrien’s kombucha tea, she gave no indication. “And, I’m back. Here, try it. Don’t be worried if it tastes a little… funky. It’s suppose to.” He took a sip and squinted his eyes. “This tastes like… liquorice.” He nodded, “I like liquorice,” and took another big sip. I let out a sigh I didn’t know I was holding in. Nothing seemed to happen though. There was no dramatic sound or cue. Adrien carried on like normal, checking his watch periodically. Dim sunset hues commingled with the soft interior lighting over the plain wooden tables. The clatter and tinkle of cups and mugs accompanied the racket back and forth of other couples talking as usual. No magic appeared to save me. Disappointment gripping my throat, our own conversation drifted listlessly to the one subject I promised myself I wouldn’t breach. “Why did you… back in school…” I shifted in my rigid seat, adjusting a troublesome crease in my skirt. “Why did you break up with me?” Adrien sputtered on his kombucha. “U-u-uh…” “You never, really, gave me a proper answer. Just said something about how it wouldn’t work out. How you had this feeling. But back then you didn’t describe it.” My head knows how impossible it is to describe a feeling, but my heart hated what my head said. Some say heartbreak and its ache is bitter like that. Except it never tasted bitter to me. Astringent, yes, it tastes like choking down harsh medicine that will never cure the sickness eating away inside, but definitely not bitter. If anything, a broken unrequited love is the opposite. Too sweet. It’s an overly syrupy saccharine taste that immediately promises to fulfil your hungering desire soon, soon you’ll have what you crave, like other sweet things before it promises you’ll be made whole again soon. Quickly though the hope of those promises is betrayed with a burnt rubber toxicity at the back of the palette as the synthetic and fake lie of that sweetness sears into the back of your throat. Once swallowed, the taste continues to ferment, unsettled, a bubbling fizz, belching up at the slightest jostle, a yeasty malty corpse of the sugary fruit that once was as it decays and moulders. In the end you’re still left with the lingering aroma of dessicated flowers left to rot untended in the heat of a wilted sun, or the dusty scent of unused spices uselessly cluttering the chambers of your heart, a mouthwatering sour reminder of nourishment you’ll never have. In other words, heartbreak is it’s own flavour. Words are made inadequate as much as you are left to feel. “I…” Adrien was still struggled giving shape to his answer. He looked squarely at me and I could feel myself drowning in the cruel sympathy watering his eyes. “Kim, I—I wasn’t… who you needed me to be. I—” “It’s not you it’s me? Is that it? Don’t give me that bullshit!” I slapped my palms flat clapping on the table. A few other patrons stopped and stared. So what I said next I barely whispered. “Be honest. Tell me you weren’t attracted to me. I was too ugly. Too weird. Too awkward. Too annoying. Because that’s the truth isn’t it? You just didn’t want me.” As long and often I thought those words, never before had I said them out loud, even as quietly as I did. For what it’s worth, I didn’t cry then. Not a single tear was shed. No, all my tears dried long before that moment of release. Actually it felt pretty good to say it. Ripping off a scab is often a most pleasant wound. The wound which struck Adrien’s expression was too much to bear though. “Goodbye Adrien.” I bolted, escaping. Behind me Adrien protested but I didn’t stop. I didn’t stop when I made it to the exit. I didn’t stop out on the cold shivering street. I only stopped as I fumbled for my keys in front of my shitty Subaru. “Kim wait,” his hand hooked my elbow but I shook it off immediately. “Kim, just, listen. Please?” Without turning I stopped. “Look… I was attracted to you, okay? I… liked spending time with you, talking to you, I mean— I, back then I could even see a future for us together.” Each daggered word carved into my back. “Then why—?” “Because that’s not who I am Kim. It’s not. I wanted you and you wanted me but— it wasn’t what I needed. I needed more than-than-than…” “Me?” There was a heavy sigh from over my shoulder. “Yeah… I said I saw our future. And… I saw us slowly grow apart. Two strangers who were never really that similar to begin with. I saw the rage and resentment I’d feel for you tying me down, holding me back to this place.” “I would’ve left this place with you.” “Would you, Kim? Would you really? Your idea of ‘leaving town’ was to eventually move to the city. Your version of ‘travel’ was an annual trip to the coast or maybe the occasional Caribbean resort.” There was the low crackle of a scuffing shoe on asphalt. A step closer. “Kim, as much as it hurts, we’re not the people the other needs.” “Ex-except you didn’t even try. You’re just a-a-a coward! That’s what you are. A coward.” “A coward, huh?” There was a dry chuckle. “Yeah. That’s just who I am. So don’t you think you deserve someone better?” “But I~,” I wanted to argue, change his mind. I wanted to spit insults, hurt him in all the ways I hoped he’d stop hurting me. I wanted to scream at him how he was an idiot, how there was no one better than him. Of course my mind was falling into itself, my senses telling me to finally move on despite being trapped by the senselessness of never letting go or getting a grip but given nothing to hold on to. There’s nothing lonelier than being apart from the person right beside you. Only then did I cry. Each sob folded over me like a rolling wave and as tears washed the hope from my eyes I felt a gentle touch on my back. “Hey, hey, hey now… don’t cry.” I kept crying. “Please Kim, don’t-don’t do this.” There was now genuine pain in the once soft edges of Adrien’s tone. His hand slipped up my shoulder and he tugged me around spinning. “Kim, c’mon, look at me.” Instead I stared down at our entwined shadows. “Kim… please…” He lifted my chin up so I had no choice but to face him. Yet through my sorrow shimmered vision, all I saw was his blurry shape. “Will this make you happy…?” His lips met mine in a tender caress. I jumped back jolting. “What—! What are you doing?! Why’re y—” “I love you Kim. I can’t bear to see you upset.” He leaned in again. This time, I pressed in closer. The depth of our kiss was deeper than the well of all my doubts. After a moment of clumsy shy pecks, quickly we found our rhythm. Our lips grew to fill the gap between us. Our tongues drew patterns words couldn’t express. Each time one of us lulled the other returned for more. On and on until time meant nothing, eclipsed by an infinite connection. How I wish we could’ve stayed in that complete moment forever. Back then, I didn’t even consider the subtle liquorice aroma lingering on his breath. We barely spoke on the trip back to my place. My keys struggled scratching to find the lock as we entwined at my door. Together we pressed inside not pausing at the barrier of our clothes. He peeled my skirt up like a candy wrapper and I tugged his tie down like a leash. Embraced in each other’s arms our bodies braced for every thrust. Sheets slid and tangled around uselessly in my drive to push further into his passion. It all tore away as we spread naked on the plane of the bed, tumbling to the floor, spinning against the wall dizzy in a haze of lust. Dancing to the tune of heartbeats, the vibrations of sex, the chorus of “Yes,” and “More,” and “Oh,” and “Ah.” Hungry for touch, taste of skin, hands slick with the other’s perspiration. Again and again we came arriving where we began leaving our senses again and again. That night we shared no sleep only the physical heat of our collective need. When I awoke mid-day I found Adrien watching me from his side of the bed. “Morning.” He said, his grin half-cocked. “Mmmh— morning.” I replied, bleary eyed and unsure of the hour. “Sorry, I was staring. Y’know, you’re even prettier when you’re asleep?” “Really?” I wanted to tease him a little. “Am I that annoying while awake?” “N-no! No, not at all. I just meant— I mean, what I meant was—was— I—” His panic seemed exaggerated but luckily I stopped playing along. “Relax lover boy. I was just teasing.” He visibly relaxed and I took a long breath in, rubbing my eyes. “What smells so good?” “That? Well, I made my special breakfast. Just for you. A goat cheese and roasted walnut omelette.” “Ooo, how fancy.” I sat up. “Wait. Hold on. Where did you get walnuts?” I didn’t own any walnuts. Or goat cheese for that matter. It was only then I realized he was fully dressed despite lying in bed next to me. Adrien turned and lifted a tray toward to me. “I went out and bought some.” “Adrien — you didn’t have to do that.” Secretly though, my heart skipped at the thought he went so far out of his way to make me happy. Little did I know how far that would be. The meal he had made looked incredibly delicious. A golden roll of egg folded over lush greens and earthy chunks of walnut. The entire thing glimmered gleaming with melted butter and maple syrup, its sweetness watering my mouth. I cut off a bite and ate it. “Well?” He asked expectantly. “It’s good.” “Are you sure? You made a face.” “No. I just — I didn’t know it would be cold, is all.” “Shit— I lost track of time.” He lurched, grabbing the tray, “Let me heat that back up for for you.” And like that he was up and gone. While I waited, I searched for my phone in the rumpled heaps tossed about the room, eventually finding it in the corner with my left shoe. The time wasn’t as late as I though, but there were several missed calls from the school I was suppose to be teaching at right now. I decided to worry about that later and instead check my messages. Most of them were demands to know about my absence. One though was from Nate, my ex, the one with too much chemistry. I rolled my eyes and tried ignoring that message too. Except I glimpsed Nate claim to be “On my way over now to finally pick up my—” Damn. What did he want this time? I thought, dreading coming confrontation. It didn’t matter. I wasn’t going to let Nate ruin my great new day. I tossed on some clothes which hadn’t been discarded haphazardly on the floor and went out to meet Adrien in the kitchen where the scent of roasted walnuts hung heavy in the air. He was standing over the stove which didn’t immediately strike me as odd until I heard the muted metal clinking of something hard being tossed around in a pot. “Is everything okay?” I asked. “Yup.” He said casually. “Just cooking you a fresh omelette.” “Why didn’t you just nuke the other one in the microwave?” “Well… I considered it, but the microwave would make the egg all rubbery, and so I decided to just start from scratch. It really is best fresh. Fresh egg, fresh cheese, freshly chopped and toasted walnuts. The works.” I saw the knife and cutting board next to a pile of broken walnut husks. “Wait… those are whole walnuts.” I observed aloud. In the back of my head the calculus was slowly adding up. Adrien got up, went out, bought groceries, came back, cooked a full meal, and that meal then had time to get cold. “A-Adrien, you didn’t have to do all this for me.” He paused, turning to me, his grin nowhere to be found and a deathly seriousness stretched across his stony expression. “Of course I did Kim. All of it. You’re worth all of it.” There wasn’t even a moment to react before an etched echo of a key tumbled into my front door lock. “Geeze, already?” I muttered. Nate erupted from the entryway as a ruptured boil. He was halfway into the living room when he abruptly stopped cold in his ugly azure bomber jacket. He turned, jumping, “Shit! Kimmy, what hell are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be at work? What the hell?” “What am I doing here!? What the fuck are you— T-this is my apartment Nate!” “Relax, alright. I’m only here for my PS4 and— shit. Is that your new beau? Oh oh, I’m real sorry I interrupted your love nest Kimmy.” At that time I thought: fuck him. He wasn’t the least bit apologetic. Nate was nothing more than a selfish asshole who I never should have left a key with. “Nate, leave! I want you gone. Now!” That’s the last clear thing I remember speaking to Nate. “I want you gone.” I remember repeating several times. Yeah. “I want you gone.” I definitely said that more than once. After that our yelling match quickly devolved into a trade of tirades and throat-shredding screams. No communication, just simple animistic howls for dominance. Heat and friction. A rolling boiling fire of emotion. This was when Adrien stepped between us. I remember my heart melting at that time. His strong confident shoulders looked like they were ready save the day. Like he always had, Adrien seemed like he would solve everything with a kind word and a half-cocked smile. Instead there was a lunge. Followed by a wet gasp for air. I couldn’t quite see it so I chose not to believe it. Except I had no choice but to accept the spray of blood splattering the floor. What did Nate do to Adrien? That was my first concern. That was my only concern. Of course, as the two of them spun further into view, I saw clearly that it was Nate’s neck split open, a clumsy knife widening a slit in his larynx, scarlet ink staining the gaps in his confused and crooked teeth. Nate was a motionless heap on the floor before I spoke again. “Nate… are you okay?” I asked like a complete idiot, as if I didn’t already understand Adrien murdered Nate mere moments after seeing him. Adrien turned, his white shirt a chaotic Pollock of darkening red. The blood wrapped kitchen knife weighed heavy in his grip. “Don’t worry. That man’s gone now.” He said. “What did you do?” I asked, once again dumbly. Once again questioning the obvious fact of Adrien slicing Nate’s neck open right in front of me. But what else are you suppose to say? Other than nothing. Saying nothing is the only other viable alternative. It would be funny, if it weren’t so tragic, the way our minds default to meaningless phrases when there’s nothing to say. There are no uncomfortable silences when you’re in love, or so they say. Adrien’s half-cocked smile twitched. “I got rid of him… for you. Don’t you see I did it for you?” I retreated backstepping further into the kitchen, to where burning walnuts permeated the room. “No. No I didn’t want this. Not this.” My fingers tangled in my hair as they massaged my temples in futility. “Oh god.” True terror whitened Adrien’s face. “You’re upset. You… you didn’t want this at all. I— I ruined everything. Oh god!” He put the knife to his own neck with the blade scraping his burgeoning unshaved stubble. “Stop!” I ran over nearly tackling into Adrien. I groped at his arm but the tension in his muscles were indomitable. Gazing up at him in the cold light of day, I could now see the black stains stuck to Adrien’s teeth and even the shadows blotting the edges of his eyes. This was me. This was my fault. This love potion, it poisoned Adrien’s mind. Turned him into something else, this thing in front of me. “It’s okay. It’s fine.” I reassured him. “I’m just… worried you’ll get arrested.” He put the knife down. His expression relaxed softening. “Don’t worry you’re pretty little head.” He kissed my forehead. “I will take care of the mess.” My mind drowned in a haze of confusion, from the pool of blood at my naked feet to the not Adrien figure tenderly embracing my shoulders. From then on, he lovingly ushered me to the bathroom. There he cleaned me up, lathering and massaging the evidence from my skin. He carried me to bed, brushing the hair from my face. Carefully and methodically he washed away his exit from my room. From behind the door I’ve heard all sorts of noises, heavy grunting noises of exertion and effort, scrubbing sawing sounds, the clunking thuds of footfalls and limbs falling. Every so often not Adrien has returned, carrying a cup of tea or a grilled cheese on a plate. He offered these to me like a gifts. Then he’d lean in for a loving kiss. Of course I’d pull away. Although I recognized the pain that flashed behind his eyes each time I rejected him. Told him no. And I’d force myself to reassure him in other ways. I was the one who first gave him my love after all. It is well past sundown now and not Adrien left several hours ago, heaving bags with him as he went. I’ve been little more than a wreckage on my bed, the same bed we had shared the night before, wondering where my skin ends and sheets begin. The Adrien that I loved isn’t the Adrien who loves me. I don’t love the Adrien who loves me, but I fear I know exactly where I can make that right. I know exactly where I can buy his love.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ meh By aj-coolio on October 15, 2019 Verified Purchase
gross i hate liquorice and they don’t take returns gave two stars for prompt delivery
2019.04.30 03:08 PlusFoPlusFo analysis: Disney will enter the market, token circle will usher in the master?
According to local Korean news media reports, Disney is currently one of the main bidders for the 98.6% stake in NEXON, Korea’s largest game developer. NEXON is the world’s second largest online game publisher. Founded in 1994, it has about 7,000 employees. Its main works include “Dungeon and Warriors”, “The Heroes of the Lodge”, “Kart Run”, “Adventure Island”, etc. . At present, 47% of NEXON’s equity is held by NXC, and its chairman, Kim Jung-ju, is the behind-the-scenes trader of this time. According to local media, many major companies are interested in these shares, including the development of Tencent and Kakao, which are developing their own cryptocurrency-related projects. The competition is so fierce but most people still think that Disney is the most likely to get equity. There is a big reason that Disney has a special place in the heart of Kim Jung-ju. Kim Jung-ju likes Disney very much. He once said: “The place I admire Disney most is that they will not force children to spend money… (consumers) are willing to pay for Disney, NEXON still has a long way to go, some people just hate NEXON.” There is more news that Kim Jung-ju has personally contacted the Disney side. How does Disney’s acquisition of a gaming company affect the currency circle? https://preview.redd.it/qaacpk90xav21.jpg?width=400&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=c2c685d434ab0d39a6573c36310e562c4cf5f720 Here is what you need to know: Nexon’s main controlling partner, NXH’s investment agency NXMH, bought the European exchange Bitstamp for about $400 million at the end of 2018. Nexon also owns 65% of Korbit, the mainstream Korean platform. This means that if the $13.2 billion transaction continues, Disney will have a controlling stake in the two major cryptocurrency exchanges. While the new shareholder can abandon Nexon’s newly acquired crypto portfolio, the past of these crypto platforms may remain attractive as the cryptocurrency market recovers in the near term. And Disney has almost no experience in the cryptocurrency industry, just launched a downturned ICO project called “Dragon Chain” in 2017. I don’t know if this transaction means that Disney is working on a cryptocurrency project. https://preview.redd.it/11kmu871xav21.jpg?width=415&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=a0c55dbd4a9eee8847b6a15c1be3d72c5d9b5440 The addition of Disney will undoubtedly inject new capital and vitality into the currency circle, which will inevitably affect the trend of various types of currency prices. Since there is no limit to the rise and fall of the currency in the field of cryptocurrency, this characteristic is destined to have a bear market and a bull market alternating with each other. Since the beginning of this year, the currency circle has gradually reversed the decline of last year and ushered in a small rejuvenation. The platform currency FOT released by PlusFo is also going up the next year’s great momentum, and has more than ten times. With the application of blockchain technology in various fields being favored by major companies, more and more companies are beginning to enter the token market. Disney’s acquisition is very popular. Therefore, we must not only stare at the news itself, but also analyze the deep meaning of the fluctuations of various enterprises, and gradually walk to the front of most people in the market. Since the token circle is being optimistic by all parties, why not try it? If you are interested in trying, then PlusFo Super Public Blockchain is a good choice. PlusFo is a rare platform for practical work, it is being promoted by all parties through its own efforts to help the blockchain technology. It is for this reason that the platform token has skyrocketed. At the same time, the platform also provides an exclusive insurance mode. If there is a loss, the platform will make up for it, so as to avoid your worries. https://preview.redd.it/fya4d5p1xav21.jpg?width=415&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=e29ac9b51bf53ccdac9e04094c07545a8628a4dc If Disney enters the market, then the currency circle will usher in another big battle. This is bound to affect the trend of the various currency prices. You look at the officials to polish your eyes, calmly analyze, and actively enter the market, or you can make a big profit. . . More info: https://plusfo.com Registration: https://zfo.one/register Contact us: Telegram: https://t.me/plusfo WeChat: plusfo4 BiYong: https://0.plus/plusfo
I am WWE SmackDown Women's Champion Becky Lynch and the Superstar everyone wants to see at Evolution, the first-ever all-women's pay-per-view. Ask the champ anything! (And boo the woo!) (4173 points, 1774 comments)
[Paige on fans blaming Sasha Banks for her injury]: "Nothing was ever Sasha's fault. She got so much backlash and even in the ring and we were in there, people are chanting 'Sasha sucks' and it really upset me to hear that because it wasn't her fault." (2075 points, 329 comments)
In light of the controversy surrounding The Fabulous Moolah and her life, I decided to find everything I could on the subject and typed up this 6,000 word super post listing every terrible thing that Moolah has ever done with videos, interviews, quotes, and different sources to back everything up. by PurpleGato42 (11150 points, 830 comments)
4246 points: deleted's comment in Roman soaks in the crowd reaction one more time before his speech.
4003 points: deleted's comment in WWE is changing the name of Moolah match: “After further consideration, we believe it’s best to proceed with the name ‘WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal.’ What remains most important is that this historic match is part of WWE’s unwavering commitment to the Women’s Division.
3702 points: NextChamp's comment in Due to the country's long history of human-rights violations, WWE cancels upcoming events in United States
3377 points: hullkogan's comment in Meltzer reporting that Fox wants Smackdown to be less comedy and more sports
3373 points: MarMar201's comment in I am Chris Jericho - 6 time WWE Champion, bestselling author, singer of Fozzy, and much more. AMA
3259 points: KOadjace's comment in WWE has come to terms on the release of Eric Arndt (Enzo Amore)
2018.10.30 15:32 JustinDoesTriathlon[Race Report] Running the Marine Corps Marathon while pushing an enabled wheelchair athlete (video race report inside!)
First off, as much as I hope you enjoy the race report below, I think this one is really best served with the video. Seeing Kim's excitement first hand is really something special. :) Pre-race: The organization that I work for (The Ability Experience) and one of our partner organizations (The Kyle Pease Foundation, of Brent and Kyle Pease Ironman fame) worked to continue our annual showing at MCM. This year was our biggest showing yet, with appx 25 wheelchair enabled athletes and 70 pushers. All told, over $100k was raised to put on the event, including a charity dinner the night before, being considered a full charity partner with MCM, and allowing the enabled wheelchair participants to participate at no cost to them. As for my own training, it’s been atypical. I completed in Ironman Chattanooga on Sept 30, didn’t run an inch until a local October 14th half marathon. I somehow tweaked my ankle while walking around a bunch and rolling it slightly after that half, which resulted in my not running any additional inches until the start of MCM. 4/10 don’t recommend, but I never claim to be smart. Kim (who we’d be pushing,) Chris and Ken (both of their first marathons) and I all met up at our charity partner tent, got her situated in her chair, and began moving to the start. If you’ve never seen a racing chair, they’re really quite something. Some have aerobars with elbow rests, a bunch of storage, and they’re comfortable (enough) for both parties to handle for hours. They also don’t really have brakes. Race The MCM did a great job of organizing the handcycles and wheelchair racers. We approached from the opposite side of the finish line than the runners did. At 7:45, the howitzer fired and sent the hand cycles off. At 7:50, it was our turn. Right at the gun, a few people went off the front hard and fast. One of these pairs, a member of our group, would end up BQing at a 2:58. Unreal. Because none of us had ever pushed before and it was 2/3 of our first marathons, I essentially adopted the role of pace hawk. I worked hard throughout the race to make sure we never dipped under 9:15, and pushed for about 9:45 up to the point where going slowly enough wasn’t a problem. The first three miles of the course have a bunch of elevation gain and drops, and we all worked to get the chair up and down. Pre-race we’d talked about rotating every mile or so, but we probably didn’t hit .5mi before we decided we’d just rotate or help whenever it was needed. Pretty sure this was the right way to do it. We’d been warned ahead that going downhill was as hard or harder than uphills, and wow. The front wheel has a small bike brake, but that wheel gets so little weight on it it’s essentially either off or locked up and skidding. The chair just absolutely takes off on downhills, and it’s murder on the quads to slow it down. This was a team effort. This was also compounded by the fact that we’ve now been caught by runners in the ~~3:15 group, and are beginning to get swarmed. Lots of encouragement was sent to the runners ahead of us, particularly those who would see the gap in front of us, decide to fill it, and then slow down. Miles 5-9 really settled down hills wise and went to a nice out and back in a fairly wooded section. By now, we’d really dialed in our team system. When we hit an aid, one of us would get the needs of the pusher, the other for Kim. At this point I should mention that Kim was an absolute Rockstar the whole race. I don’t think she asked for more than 2 or 3 cups of water and an orange the whole thing. All she did was just yell out encouragement and mile markers and tell us “We’re gonna do it!” every time she could tell we were struggling a bit. Miles 10-15 took us through East Potomac Park and the Blue Mile, honoring fallen service men and women. The running group quieted down through this section, and it was a pretty sobering reminder of where you’re at, who the race is organized by, and the sacrifices that have been made. At the end, the Wear Blue volunteers had ~100 yards of volunteers holding flags and giving out high fives, and they were just a fantastic group. On the running front, I was starting to feel a bit low on energy at this point. Maybe it’s because I do a lot of well organized smaller races by local race companies, but the one negative I really noticed on MCM was the lack of ‘real food’ on course. Don’t get me wrong, I actually really like gels and was working through them, but I was feeling hungry and could have gone for some physical treats. There were oranges around here and I think some bananas, but I didn’t see much. I was craving strawberries. Miles 15-20 took you past the Jefferson Memorial and onto the national mall. I’ve run this area before (from the mall path itself) but running past the museums on the road was very exciting. It should be said that crowd support on this race was amazing in general, but on the Mall it was just next level. Think Tour De France crowds-pushing-into-the-road level. Kim was loving it. It was around here that I started to feel my left nipple getting a little sore. I do not have the sore-nipples problem that seems to plague running forums, but I was running in my charity shirt, and the fabric was heavier than I was used to. Nabbed some petroleum jelly and put it on, problem went away. It was also here that I did my first ever in-race bathroom break. Didn’t have a choice in the matter, and when I saw the woman up the road who faced the same question and apparently chose not to stop at the port-a-john, I was happy I did. It was also around here that I really started getting into the pain cave. I know my body well enough to know that it was nutritional, but I just couldn’t take in enough gels to get out of it, and the only on-course liquid was Gatorade, which I can’t handle. RIP the dream. 20-25.5 Ken and Chris were setting distance PRs with every step and were just being monsters. Once we hit the infamous 14th St bridge at mi 21, we all hit the pain cave. It’s just a long, exposed, concrete bridge, and mentally very tiring, but we fought together and Kim encouraged us and we got over it. The rest to 25.5 was just a grindy trudge. 25.5-26.2. There it is. The runup to the finish is a straight stretch, a turn left onto a ~100yd STEEP hill (probably 25 feet of gain in 25s of running), a right through the bleachers, and then the arches. We strategized ahead of time: I was feeling better than Chris, who was on the knife edge of cramping, and Ken and I were each pretty deep into the pain cave. I pushed for the last mile or so, right up to my limit, then gave the chair to Ken right at the base of the hill, with the idea he would be slightly more fresh. He took center while Chris and I each held a side of the chair. We attacked this damn hill hard, and I’m proud to say we didn’t come close to walking, even passing a bunch of people on the hill. Turning right into the bleachers, the crowd cheers were wild, and Kim and I spotted her mom in the very front on the fence. Seeing Kim’s huge smile and hearing her say ‘oh my god oh my god as god!’ as we crossed is something I’ll remember a long time. Post Race The marines were right there to medal us all and usher us through back to the charity tent. This was just an absolute MASS of people, and again, being able to have our spot on the charity tent made this experience orders of magnitude better for our athletes. It would have been practically impossible to maneuver a chair in that crowd without the Marine’s help. Found Kim’s mom and family, got started on the recovery process, and went back to cheer on other athletes. Hung out at the tent until after the cutoff and ultimately tore down and packed up. Our athletes ran the gamut of speed, ranging from the 2:58 BQ to borderline cutoff. I had thrown out some 4:15 talk pre-race, but ended up being perfectly happy with our 4:51. The chair isn't too bad on the flats, but you burn lots of matches up and down hills. Some chairs had mechanicals and flats, but ultimately, everyone finished and medaled and had a hell of a weekend. If you’ve ever considered pushing an athlete (or maybe even you haven’t until now!) I can’t recommend it enough. There’s no need to be an ‘experienced’ marathoner; like I said, 2/3 on our time were first timers. Your athlete will not care how much you walk or don’t. If you think you might want to do it, then trust me, you’d love it.
I would like to warmly welcome everyone to waltonchain This is an updated, extended community-written post and I will try to update it regularly over time.
Please respect our rules (see sidebar) and feel free to comment, contribute and ask questions. Don’t forget to subscribe to the subreddit for any news on Waltonchain!
What is Waltonchain?
The Waltonchain Foundation is building a cross-industry, cross-data sharing platform by integrating Blockchain with the Internet of Things through self-developed RFID Chips with intellectual property rights. The in-house developed Waltonchain RFID chips integrate a proprietary, genuine random number generator and an asymmetric encryption logic and hardware signature circuit, all of which are patent-protected. The combination of self-developed RFID chips and the Waltonchain blockchain will ultimately achieve the interconnection of all things and create a genuine, believable, traceable businessmodel with totally shared data and transparent information. Waltonchain will unfold a new era of the Value Internet of Things (VIoT).
The Waltonchain team has formulated a 4-phase development plan, starting from infrastructure platform establishment to gradually incorporating retail, logistics and product manufacturing, and to finally achieving the full coverage of the business ecosystem.
As for the phase 1.0 of the project, the team has developed the clothing system integration scheme based on RFID. The application scenarios at phase 1.0 will establish Golden demonstration template At phase 2.0, our RFID beacon chip will be massproduced and can be used in clothing, B2C retail and logistics. At phase 3.0, manufacturers will achieve traceable customization of intelligent packaging. At the project phase 4.0, with the upgrading and iteration of assets information collection hardware and improvement of blockchain data structure, all assets can be registered in Waltonchain in the future.
Do Sanghyuk (都相爀) – Initiator in Korea Korean, Vice Chairman of the China - Korea Cultural Exchange Development Committee, Director of the Korea Standard Products Association, Chairman of Seongnam Branch of the Korea Small and Medium Enterprises Committee, Chairman of Korea NC Technology Co., Ltd., Senior Reporter of IT TODAY News, Senior Reporter of NEWS PAPER Economic Department, Director of ET NEWS.
Xu Fangcheng (许芳呈) – Initiator in China Chinese, majored in Business Management, former Director for Supply Chain Management of Septwolves Group Ltd., has rich practical experience in supply chain management and purchasing process management. Currently, he is the Director of Shenzhen Silicon, the Director of Xiamen Silicon and the Board Chairman of Quanzhou Silicon. He is also one of our Angel investors.
Kim Suk ki (金锡基) Korean, South Koreas electronics industry leader, Doctor of Engineering (graduated from the University of Minnesota), Professor of Korea University, previously worked at Bell Labs and Honeywell USA, served as vice president of Samsung Electronics, senior expert in integrated circuit design field, IEEE Senior Member, Vice President of the Korea Institute of Electrical Engineers, Chairman of the Korea Semiconductor Industry Association. Has published more than 250 academic papers with more than 60 patents.
Zhu Yanping (朱延平) Taiwanese, China, Doctor of Engineering (graduated from National Cheng Kung University), Chairman of the Taiwan Cloud Services Association, Director of Information Management Department of National Chung Hsing University. Has won the Youth Invention Award by Taiwan Ministry of Education and Taiwan Top Ten Information Talent Award. Has deeply studied blockchain applications over the years and led a block chain technology team to develop systems for health big data and agricultural traceability projects.
Mo Bing (莫冰) Chinese, Doctor of Engineering (graduated from Harbin Institute of Technology), Research Professor of Korea University, Distinguished Fellow of Sun Yat - sen University, Internet of Things expert, integrated circuit expert, Senior Member of Chinese Society of Micro-Nano Technology, IEEE Member. Has published more than 20 papers and applied for 18 invention patents. Began his research of BitCoin in 2013, one of the earliest users of btc 38.com and Korea korbit. Served as Technical Director of Korea University to cooperate with Samsung Group to complete the project Multi sensor data interaction and fusion based on peer to peer network. Committed to the integration of block chain technology and Internet of Things to create a real commercialized public chain.
Wei Songjie (魏松杰) Chinese, Doctor of Engineering (graduated from the University of Delaware), Associate Professor of Nanjing University of Science and Technology, Core Member and Master Supervisor of Network Space Security Engineering Research Institute, Block Chain Technology expert in the field of computer network protocol and application, network and information security. Has published more than 20 papers and applied for 7 invention patents. Previously worked at Google, Qualcomm, Bloomberg and many other high-tech companies in the United States, served as R D engineer and technical expert; has a wealth of experience in computer system design, product development and project management.
Shan Liang (单良) Graduated from KOREATECH (Korea University of Technology and Education) Mechanical Engineering Department, Venture Capital PhD, GM of Waltonchain Technology Co., Ltd. (Korea), Director of Korea Sungkyun Technology Co., Ltd., Chinese Market Manager of the heating component manufacturer NHTECH, a subsidiary of Samsung SDI, economic group leader of the Friendship Association of Chinese Doctoral Students in Korea, one of the earliest users of Korbit, senior digital money player.
Chen Zhangrong (陈樟荣) Chinese, graduated in Business Management, received a BBA degree in Armstrong University in the United States, President of TIANYU INTERNATIONAL GROUP LIMITED, leader of Chinese clothing accessories industry, Chinas well-known business mentor, guest of the CCTV2 Win in China show in 2008. Researcher in the field of thinking training for Practical Business Intelligence e-commerce and MONEYYOU course, expert on success for Profit Model course. Began to contact Bitcoin in 2013 with a strong interest and in-depth study of digital money and decentralized management thinking. Has a wealth of practical experience in the business management, market research, channel construction, business cooperation and business model.
Lin Herui (林和瑞) Chinese, Dean of Xiamen Zhongchuan Internet of Things Industry Research Institute, Chairman of Xiamen Citylink Technology Co., Ltd., Chairman of Xiamen IOT. He successively served as Nokia RD Manager and Product Manager, Microsoft Hardware Department Supply Chain Director. In 2014, started to set up a number of IoT enterprises and laid out the industrial chain of the Internet of Things. The products and services developed under his guidance are very popular. Assisted the government in carrying out industrial and policy research and participated in planning of multiple government projects of smart cities, IoT towns and project reviews.
Ma Xingyi (马兴毅) Chinese, China Scholarship Council (CSC) special student, Doctor of Engineering of Korea University, Research Professor of Fusion Chemical Systems Institute of Korea University, Korea Sungkyun Technology Co., Ltd. CEO, Member of Korea Industry Association, Associate Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry, has published his research results in the worlds top journal Nature Communications and participated in the preparation of a series of teaching materials for Internet of Things engineering titled Introduction to the Internet of Things. His current research direction covers cross-disciplines that combine blockchain technology with intelligent medical technology.
Zhao Haiming (赵海明) Chinese, Doctor of Chemical Conductive Polymer of Sungkyunkwan University, core member of Korea BK21th conductive polymer project, researcher of Korea Gyeonggi Institute of Sensor, researcher of Korea ECO NCTech Co., Ltd., Vice President of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Director of Korea Sungkyun Technology Co., Ltd. He has been engaged in transfer of semiconductor, sensor and other technologies in South Korea. He is an early participant of the digital currency market.
Liu Cai (刘才) Chinese, Master of Engineering, has 12 years of experience in design and verification of VLSI and a wealth of practical project experience in RFID chip design process, SOC chip architecture, digital-analog hybrid circuit design, including algorithm design, RTL design, simulation verification, FPGA prototype verification, DC synthesis, backend PR, package testing, etc. Has led a team to complete the development of a variety of navigation and positioning baseband chips and communication baseband chips, finished a series of AES, DES and other encryption module designs, won the first prize of GNSS and LBS Association of China for scientific and technological progress. Finally, he is an expert in the consensus mechanism principle of blockchain and the related asymmetric encryption algorithm.
Yang Feng (杨锋) Chinese, Master of Engineering, worked at ZTE. Artificial intelligence expert, integrated circuit expert. Has 12 years of experience in VLSI research and development, architecture design and verification and 5 years of research experience in artificial intelligence and the genetic algorithm. Has won the Shenzhen Science and Technology Innovation Award. Has done an in-depth research on the principle and realization of the RFID technology, the underlying infrastructure of blockchain, smart contracts and the consensus mechanism algorithm.
Guo Jianping (郭建平) Chinese, Doctor of Engineering (graduated from the Chinese University of Hong Kong), Associate Professor of the Hundred Talents Program of Sun Yat-sen University, academic advisor of masters degree students, IEEE senior member, integrated circuit expert. Has published more than 40 international journal conference papers in the field of IC design and applied for 16 patents in China.
Huang Ruimin (黄锐敏) Chinese, Doctor of Engineering (graduated from the University of Freiburg, Germany), academic advisor of masters degree students, lecturer of the Department of Electronics of Huaqiao University, integrated circuit expert. Mainly explores digital signal processing circuit and system implementation and works on digital signal processing technology long-term research and development.
Guo Rongxin (郭荣新) Chinese, Master of Engineering, Deputy Director of the Communication Technology Research Center of Huaqiao University. Has more than 10 years of experience in design and development of hardware and software for embedded systems, works on the long-term research and development of RFID and blockchain technology in the field of Internet of Things.
Dai Minhua (戴闽华) Chinese, graduated in Business Management, received a BBA degree from Armstrong University, senior financial expert, served as Vice President and CFO of Tanyu International Group Co., Ltd. Has 13 years of financial work experience, has a wealth of experience in developing and implementing enterprise strategy and business plans, as well as achieving business management objectives and development goals.
Liu Dongxin (刘东欣) Chinese, received an MBA from China Europe International Business School, Visiting Scholar of Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, strategic management consulting expert, investment and financing expert. His current research interest lies in the impact of the blockchain technology on the financial sector.
Song Guoping (宋国平) Qiu Jun (邱俊) Yan Xiaoqian (严小铅) Lin Jingwei (林敬伟) He Honglian (何红连)
Ko Sang Tae (高尚台) Liu Xiaowei (刘晓为) Su Yan (苏岩) Zhang Yan (张岩) Ma Pingping (马萍萍) Peng Xiande (彭先德) Fu Ke (傅克) Xiao Guangjian (肖光坚) Li Xiong (李雄)
What is Waltonchain? Waltonchain is the only truly decentralized platformcombining blockchain with the Internet of Things (IoT) via RFID technology. Their blockchain is implemented in the foundational layer, through their unique, patented RFID chips, which are able to read/write directly to the blockchain, creating a genuine, trustworthy, and traceablebusiness ecosystem, with complete data sharing and absolute information transparency. Official Sources • Waltonchain Whitepaper • Waltonchain Official Site • Waltonchain Official Medium • Waltonchain Github • Waltonchain Chinese Twitter • Waltonchain English Twitter • Waltonchain Korean Twitter • Waltonchain Slack • Waltonchain Telegram Walton Wallet • Waltonchain Explorer • Waltonchain Windows Wallet User Manual • Waltonchain Web Wallet User Manual • Waltonchain Blockchain Explorer User Manual • Waltonchain Progressive Mining Reward Program Unofficial • WaltonchainMining - For all your mining needs • Unofficial Guardian Masternode Tracker • waltonchain.tech - Unofficial collection of news and useful resources The Team • >>> Waltonchain Organizational Chart <<< • The Team (pt.I) • The Team - The Engineers (pt. II) • The Team - Angel Investors & Advisors (pt. III) • WaltonChain Office Tour • Meet the team #1: Xu Fangcheng • Meet the team #2: South Korean Team • Meet the team #3: Wei Songjie • Meet the team #4: Suk Ki Kim • Meet the team #5: Lin Herui • Meet the team #6: Bing Mok (CEO) Partnerships • Alibaba Cloud • China Mobile IoT Alliance • Xiamen Branch of China Telecom Corporation Limited • Zhangzhou Branch of China Telecom Corporation Limited • Fujian IoT Industry Association • "Smart Oceans" blockchain R&D project with Fujian Provincial Government • Air purification and smart monitoring project with Jinhu Provincial Government • Building "Blockchain Silicon Valley" with Taiwan Cloud and Fujian Provincial Government • Freyrchain • Huodull Technology • Ishijah • Loci • Shenzhen Card Cube Smart Technology co., Ltd • NIDS Sensor Technology • Mobius • Kaltendin • Yunnan Yunshanghuaxia Trading co., Ltd. • JU&KE Creative Design • ArtCrypto • Fanfangxiang Culture & Media co., Ltd. • Shenzhen M&A Association of Listed Companies • Septwolves • Fuguiniao • SMEN • Kehua • Lipson Plastic • Xiangyu Group • TANYU • JoeOne • Guangdong Original Clothing Trading Center • Lalabobo • Direct delivery • Fujian Soonbox Logistics Park • KISA and Korean IoT research centre • Korea University engineering department • Sungkyun Technologies • NH Tech • NC Technologies • NanKang City Furniture industry • Taiwan Cloud Association • Fuyao Glass Industry Group co., Ltd • Kediheng • Silictec • Sinolink Securites • Coinlink • Coinnest • SwftCoin • Jiangsu Zhongke Internet of Things Technology Venture Capital Co., Ltd. • Fujian C-TOP Electronics co., Ltd. • Foshan Haichen Technology co., Ltd. • Xiamen Aerolite Technology co., Ltd. • Aston Waltonchain Government Affiliations Infographic Waltonchain Business Affiliations Infographic Summary of Some of Waltonchain's Government and Business Partnerships Child Chains • Freyrchain - Freyrchain - The world’s first blockchain-based collectibles data authenticity platform News and Awards • Announcement on the WTC Wallet Android Release • Blockchain + Retail: the Product of the New Era • Waltonchain Brought You Smart Heated Insoles — the Most Eye-Popping Futuristic Tech • Waltonchain Invited to 2018 China IoT CEO Thousand Conference as China’s №1 Blockchain + IoT Company • Representative Director of NIDS (Korea) Professor Hwang Hak In Visited KEDIHENG • Organization Chart Update! • Waltonchain Provides Global Leading Blockchain + Cross-Border Logistics Solution • Citylink Awarded the Best Application Solution Award at the Annual IoT Star Award 2017 • Waltonchain Progressive Mining Reward Program • Waltonchain Initial GMN Airdrop • Good things comes to those who wait • Waltonchain Mainnet Official Launch • Waltonchain CEO Mo Bing announcing the official launch of Waltonchain Mainnet • Waltonchain Co-organized the Cross-Strait IoT Summit & 2018 Workshop on Advanced Wireless Communications, Networks, and IOT Applications • Waltonchain subsidiary, IOT Technology, Received Support Fund for Jimei District Xiamen City • Waltonchain’s First Child Chain Freyrchain Debuted at the 2018 TokenSky Blockchain Conference • Waltonchain Project Director Elected the Vice President of Fujian IoT Industry Association • Smart City Founders, Alibaba Cloud & Waltonchain Subsidiary Zhongchuan IoT, Sign Strategic Partnership • Waltonchain Affiliate, Citylink, Joins Hands with China Telecom to Promote the Xiamen Smart Community Pilot Project • Waltonchain Invited to attend 2018 IoT Industry Outlook and Policy Forum in Korea • Waltonchain Partners with Loci • RFID + IoT Global Leader, Waltonchain To Partner With Loci • Waltonchain to co-host Tokensky event • Waltonchain Affiliate Xiamen Citylink Technology Signed a Partnership with Zhangzhou Branch of China Telecom Corporation Limited • The summary for Waltonchain Annual Meeting — Blockchain Application Trends Forum themed “IoT Revolution, Common Future in the Chip Era” • Waltonchain CSO Mr. Huang Weihua signed a strategic agreement with SWFTCOIN CTO Mr. Ma Zhanlei • Announcement of the 2018 Waltonchain Annual Meeting with a Strategic Agreements Signing Ceremony • Waltonchain Won the 2018 Outstanding Blockchain Company Award of the 1st Summit Forum of Blockchain in Southeast Asia • Waltonchain is pleased to announce that we will be working with China Mobile IoT Alliance on a global initiative to incorporate Waltonchain IoT in 2018! • Waltonchain Project Director Lin Herui was Invited to Attend Beidou IoT Global Launch Conference & IoT Innovation and Development Conference • Waltonchain reaches strategic partnership with Coinnest to boost blockchain industry development • Nanjing Sleewa Information Technology Co., Ltd. Grand opening • World's First One-Click PoS + PoW Wallet/Miner • The Interview with Waltonchain CEO Dr. Mo Bing by Coinnest CEO Mr. Kim Ik Hwan Winded up with Great Success • Waltonchain Awarded the “Outstanding Blockchain Technology Service Provider in 2017" in China BTAS 2017 • Waltonchain was the feature presentation at the first-ever Coinlink investor meetup, Seoul • Professor Kim receives “Double-Hundred Project” Award • CAST-USA Members Visit Citylink • IOT Technology and Taiwan Cloud Service Association Signed a Cross-Strait Cooperation Agreement on Blockchain Talent Bases • Waltonchain joins hands with Coinlink to Promote the Development of Blockchain Industry • WTC is celebrating our 100th day of trading by introducing something revolutionary：Guardian Masternodes • Citylink wins the Outstanding Product award at the Global IoT Summit 2017 • Silictec (Quanzhou) Settled In Three Chuang Yuan, and Won the Start-Up Capital 3000000 Yuan • The Preliminary Results of the 2nd Session of China Blockchain Technology Innovation Application Competition Are Officially Released • Waltonchain Awarded a "Strait Elite Talents" award by the Fujian Provincial Government • KEDIHENG, a cooperative enterprise of Waltonchain project appeared in the Third China PoC Industry Chain Conference • Xu Fangcheng, the principal of a subsidiary of Silike Group- Jinjiang Silicon which is the Chinese technical support party of Waltonchain Foundation, participated in the microelectronics project docking meeting, and Deputy Mayor Wang gave guidance • Mr. Li Dejin, Vice-Governor of Fujian Province, Visited Chenglian and IOT (Walton chain Project) Booths • Waltonchain project team and Korea Korea University Engineering Department reached a cooperation intention • Waltonchain team entered into a strategic cooperation agreement with Guangdong Original Clothing Trading Center (OCTC) • Waltonchain circuit roadshow second station - Shenzhen station was successfully held • Invited to and attended CIFIT to display their IoT solutions - CIFIT is an international trade and investment showcase fair ran by the National Chinese Government Press Coverage Ran out of space. See link to Press Coverage List. Videos • Waltonchain Annual Meeting Presentation Video • Waltonchain Introduction Video • Waltonchain Visit and Product Demo! (Part 1 of 2) - Boxmining • Waltonchain Interview and Demo (Part 2 of 2) - Boxmining • Waltonchain Coinnest Meetup with Mo Bing • Dr. Mo Bing's First Live Interview with Coinnest CEO • Waltonchain CEO Mo Bing announcing the official launch of Waltonchain Mainnet List of AMAs • First Reddit AMA - October 1, 2017 • Technical AMA - October 9, 2017 • Hardware AMA Summary - October 17,2017 • Extended Hardware AMA - October 24, 2017 • Retail Demo AMA - November 27, 2017 • Masternode AMA - December 7, 2017 • Slack AMA Live Thread - January 3, 2018 • Waltonchain Beta Release AMA Part 1 - January 5, 2018 • Waltonchain Beta Release AMA Part 2 - January 15, 2018 • Waltonchain February Q&A - February 18, 2018 • Waltonchain March AMA Part 1 - March 19, 2018 • Waltonchain March AMA Part 2 - March 27, 2018 Progress Reports • Waltonchain Work Progress in Q2 2018 • Waltonchain Work Progress in Q1 2018 • Waltonchain: New Logo · New IC strategy ·New Journey! • The Summary of Waltonchain in 2017 • Waltonchain Project Progress Report (Nov. – Dec. 2017) • Professor Kim Suk Ki Arrived at Xiamen for Project Review and to Provide Guidance • A letter to the waltonchain family • A Letter from Waltonchain Foundation • Waltonchain Alpha Version Internal Testing Noteworthy Posts • Waltonchain’s Bigger Picture: OBOR • Waltonchain: Ushering an Era of IoT Mass Market Adoption • What is Waltonchain and Why Should We Care? • Waltonchain and the Chinese Government: Cooperation, Collaboration and a Bright Future • Top 5 Cryptocurrencies Set For Success In 2018 - Invest in Blockchain Exchanges • Binance • Coinnest • HitBTC • LATOKEN • OKEx • Kucoin • COSS • Coinlink • Allcoin • Coinrail • Cobinhood Frequently Asked Questions Q：What's the Total Supply of Waltoncoin (WTC)? The Total Supply is 100 million coins with no further issuance in any case. The Max Supply is currently 70 million coins, with the remaining 30 million left to be mined over the course of many years. Currently, the Circulating Supply is around 25 million. Q：I hear Walton is moving to its own blockchain? Main net has just been launched. Stay tuned for details about the token swap and transition to the new chain! Q：How do I convert my ERC20 WTC tokens to the real thing? You can either leave your coins on the exchange, and they will take care of the switch for you, or you can leave them in your MEW wallet, and the team will provide details on how the tokens will be swapped over. Just sit tight! Details are coming. Q: How do I move my WTC to MEW (or the new Walton Wallet)? For MEW: I. Send your WTC to your wallet address. II. Add a custom token using the information below: Address: 0xb7cb1c96db6b22b0d3d9536e0108d062bd488f74 Name: WTC Decimals: 18 For Walton Wallet: Do not send ANY coins to this wallet yet. Wait for instructions from the team. Once everything is safe, you will be able to just create a wallet on the Walton Wallet and send your coins to the public address generated. Q：What if I want to keep them on my Ledger Nano? You can do that, and the team will still snapshot your wallet and copy it along with your coins; however, the the Ledger may not support WTC currently. Don't fret. Your coins are 100% safe. What that means is, if there is no Ledger support, the only way to transfer your coins out of the wallet will be to expose your Ledger's private key. I don't recommend doing this, as it will make the ledger no more secure than a paper wallet (still very secure, but a waste of money now). So basically, your coins are safe. You can still mine to the address. You just won't be able to move them until Ledger support comes. But if you really need access to the coins, you can break out the Ledger's private key on MEW and log into your wallet. Ledger support will come, we just don't know exactly when. Walton is also making their own Walton hardware wallets.I'll update this with more information as it comes. Q：My GMN is on MEW. Will I ever be able to secure GMN in a hardware wallet? As you know, moving your GMN will void your Guardian status because it is attached to the wallet containing at least 5000 WTC; however, the team has stated that they are working on a solution for this and have reassured us that our coins will be safe. We will have to wait for more information regarding whether the transferring of a GMN to a new address will be possible in the future. Q：What is the utility of WTC? What gives the coin value? In the WaltonChain Ecosystem WTC will have multiple functions: • Issuing sub chains • Dividend interest • Credit and mortgage system • Distributed asset exchange • Distributed voting and governance system. More in depth coverage of each point here Q: Is Waltonchain a platform? Yes. Waltonchain is a smart contract platform that will have ICOs and dApps. Q: But I thought Walton just tracked clothing in the supply chain. What else can it do? Walton is capable of implementation in smart cities, smart waste management systems, and things of that nature. That's certainly beyond supply chain. Walton isn't so much a "supply chain" coin as it is a Big Data coin. The RFIDs are used to gather data, which is very useful in supply chain management. But it can also be used to combine with smart devices and make an Internet of things network. Q: Why does this need a blockchain? "It is difficult for the Internet of things under the current central structure to accomplish real autonomous cooperation and effective transactions, because the relevant parties of such cooperation and transactions often belong to different stakeholders with complex and uncertain trust relationships. Therefore, the collaboration and transactions of the current Internet of Things devices can only be carried out under the same trust domain. That is to say, the devices to collaborate and trade must be provided or verified by the same Internet of Things service provider, which significantly reduces the true commercial value of the Internet of Things applications." (Page 2 of the Whitepaper) To expand, counterfeiting is an obvious answer to this question. There needs to be a way to truly authenticate an item. Blockchain is that answer. Walton's blockchain also removes data silos. Companies won't have to manage any database anymore. Everything is handled by Walton. Walton uses child chains which are separate from the parent chain. Companies can keep proprietary information secret and private on their child chain, and only broadcast necessary information to the parent chain for public viewing. Blockchains make the sharing of info between companies easy and fast, too. And then obviously, blockchains have perfect transparency and are immutable. Smart contracts are also extremely useful. In the supply chain industry, after perfectly counting and storing inventory, things can be auto-ordered and paid for simultaneously with wtc, just as an example. Your mind can come up with a whole host of other ideas related to automation. Furthermore, decentralized, transparent, and immutable data for things like smart waste management systems, which Walton has designed, and air-pollution monitoring systems in smart cities would benefit greatly from the blockchain, for reasons explained in the first point from the whitepaper. You could also imagine on the customer end that wanting to know where all their goods come from is important. This is in line with counterfeiting, but also with things more benign. Imagine wanting to return an item to a store, but can't remember which grocery store it was from. Lots of simple improvements like that are all use cases for blockchain. Q: What are the 6 child chains rumored to launch around Main Net? One is a Smart City contracted by a local Korean govt. monitoring air particles (no further specifics). Another is based in the agriculture industry (no further specifics), and another is Freyrchain, a culture and arts chain. The other three have not been revealed yet. Q: I heard Waltonchain has patented technology. What are the patents? The Walton team has filed filed for 13 patents, 7 of which have been approved so far. The patents cover many inventions in chip design, but the main one of interest is the Transaction ID-reading RFID chip with memory storage. This allows the blockchain to be implemented in the Foundational layer through the RFIDs themselves. The chips can generate their own random ID hash within a secure Key Generation Center within the chip, and the hash along with the data are uploaded simultaneously to the blockchain via their RFID reader. This makes WaltonChain fully decentralized and secure. Q：What are the advantages of the RFID IC tag chip designed in this project? Existing RFID chip industry cannot meet the development of Internet of Things applications, especially applications for the Value Internet of Things: • There are few options available while the prices are high • The transmission power and stability need to be improved • The reception sensitivity is low • The anti-interference ability is poor and the transmission power is low • The existing RFID ICs have many problems such as high power consumption, poor matching with antennae, and difficult system integration, etc. The project’s IC design has the following significant advantages: • High security: The chip integrates asymmetric random password pair generation logic, uses a core asymmetric encryption algorithm with independent intellectual property rights, and an optimized design without increasing the cost and power consumption of the chip, enabling higher communication security • Tamper-resistant: A dedicated storage space is integrated into the tag chip for the storage of hash value of tag status and key information • Optimized anti-collision design: The chip uses a binary tree anti-collision algorithm with independent intellectual property rights and a time division multiple access design, significantly improving the tag recognition success rate and the number of identifiable labels at the same time • High sensitivity: The chip uses an optimized noise suppression technology to improve the noise figure at the receiving end and the overall receiver sensitivity, which plays an important role in increasing the recognition success rate • Good compatibility: The chip can achieve high-frequency and ultra-high frequency functions at the same time, so the end customer can read the information through their smart phone and inquire about reliable product information • Long lasting: The chip adopts a low voltage and low power-consumption design, allowing the chip to last more than 20 years Q：How much do the chips cost? Waltonchain in a nutshell with COO Monitor Chan: "We develop and produce hardware such as chips ourselves. This really differentiates us from other companies at the moment. Basically, Silitec, our technical support company, was founded in 2015 and is specialized in manufacturing chips. They already have a R&D team of around 20+ people, so in that way we are not 'increasing' cost. Next important detail is that Waltonchain’s blockchain technology is written into our chips. This means that unlike traditional RFID chips that have their own specific ID and cost around $0.15 to $0.20, the chips we develop will be below 5 cents. With the volume of sales increasing, the overall cost will spread over many units, and the system's cost and ID’s cost will go down consequently, or simply put, economics of scale will do the work." Q：I need help with mining. What resources are out there? WaltonchainMining is for this purpose. Community members here have done testing with many different configurations and have provided ample information for anything you need with setting up your cpu/gpu rig. Q：How many GMNs are left? The Waltonchain Explorer now tracks these addresses. Q：Who are the Knights? • u/fent11 • u/NetworkTraveler • u/yayowam • u/Crypto_RALLY • u/TheSideQuest • Crypto Buff (telegram)
2018.04.13 03:56 Kreios333PK, Tony, RS - My Take On The Situation
Introduction Hey everyone this is u/Kreios333 . Many of you either know me from discord as Lin’s Business Partner, FedEXMan, or Reformed BP. I have a reputation of working with sellers, however, I do believe in a fair market. Recently I have been working with Tony Sneakers and I would really like to bring some things to public attention. Relation With RS Mods While speaking with Tony in regards to the relation to moderators on RS such as Nivek I was told that he had none. The only interaction being that of a promotional giveaway where no money was exchanged. Proof While Tony and I were drafting our version of a tell all it came to my attention that another tell all was posted on RS and the account was only 17 days old (as of the time I took screenshots and the post was made). Therefore a moderator must have had to permit the account to post. Additionally Nivek posted another giveaway with Tony. When mentioning Nivek in our original draft of the post briefly he became very defensive and did not want his name mentioned. Relation To PK It is widely known that PK has a paid upper hand on the RS community; other sellers getting blacklisted by moderators, posts being removed, etc etc. The account Tony had tasked to post his “tell all” had commented this on a PK QC post. When questioned about PK Tony had previously told me that Kim (PK) has been some of his greatest competitors . If this were to be the case it seems to be quite odd for that account to make that comment on a PK post. To tie this all together Nivek and the RS staff works for PK and also works fowith Tony . What Does Tony Sell? Many users say that tony sells either Lin’s batches or even David’s due to the screenshot mentioned in the last section of this post. From what I gather, I believe Tony does in fact sell true G5 due to the conclusive evidence sent to me. Evidence 1Evidence 2 Yes this could be a random factory however there was a surplus in supply of footage from Tony so I believe it to be his factory. Conclusion I am not saying not to buy from neither Tony nor PK, I am just trying to say be mindful. Be aware of where your money goes and what they use it on; blacklisting other sellers, corruption, paying off mods, etc. Many of these other sellers need the money also and play the game fairly. They have a family to support and just as we do they deserve a fair market. Just be mindful. As For Me I am going to try to usher Lin to move into the future and get a stocklist, even communicate with him more, as we have not really been working together as of recently. I have not been working for any seller for some time as I have been sorting this all out. Take the post as you will it is just a culmination of my thoughts as I have spoken with Tony and others over the past 2 weeks or so.
2017.11.06 07:00 DGenerationMCThe (Re)Booking Game: Bound for Glory 2017
My second edition in this game. Just in case your unfamiliar with the rules:
Use only the wrestlers who were apart of the show
You can remove people from the show, but cannot book the same match as the original card
Cannot add those who did not appear on the show
Must not change the champions going into the event
Include backstory for matches if you like or simply just put down the results
Link to my TLC 2017 card: https://www.reddit.com/fantasybooking/comments/791h94/the_rebooking_game_tlc_2017/?ref=share&ref_source=link Once again, I'd like to give credit to Wrestling Forum's Machismo88 for the idea. I haven't been watching TNA/GFW/IMPACT in a long time but I did see BFG all the way through tonight so I'll give this a shot. Eli Drake(c) (with Chris Adonis) vs. Lashley (with American Top Team) vs. Moose in a Three-Way Match for the Impact Global Championship In my opinion, Lashley-Moose was the match that should've been the World Title main event for this year's BFG. To me it seems like the best way to crown Moose as the face of Impact while giving Lashley a good opponent to finally dethrone him. Now, while this isn't the direction Impact has gone in, Eli Drake is very entertaining. Lashley and his MMA friends want to take the Global Title and parade it around to prove the pro wrestlers aren't really that tough compared to MMA. Bobby plans to win the belt and never come back to concentrate 100% on his MMA career. Moose takes great offense to this and stands up for pro wrestling essentially, caught in a feud with not only Lashley but his training team as well. In the midst of all this, Drake and Adonis want revenge on Moose for teaming with football player DeAngelo Williams to humiliate them at Slammiversary. Not only does Drake want to retain his championship, but prove that Moose is just a failed football player, Lashley is a MMA wannabe and neither of them deserve to be in the wrestling business, much less be Global Champ. This match is basically Lashley and Moose beating the tar out of each other while Eli tries to steal a victory. Chris Adonis attempts to bail Drake out when Lashley and Moose gang up on the champ, but American Top Team scare him off. Wanting to show how dominant he is, Lashley asks his team to not interfere, so they leave. Moose is able put away Drake to become the new Impact Global Champion. Moose doesn't have long to celebrate when LAX comes down to attack him, Eli and Adonis. Lashley considers making the save but American Top Team usher him out. The show comes to a shocking ending as the masked man from the earlier 5150 Street Fight is revealed to be the former Impact Global Champion, Alberto El Patron, who is now the newest member of LAX. Upset that he was stripped of the title and suspended months ago, Alberto finally aligned himself with LAX to ruin BFG and send a message to current title holder that Moose is holding "his" title. In the aftermath, he cuts promos claiming that "his people" have been stepped on recently and together LAX will get what is rightfully theirs. Alberto felt betrayed by Impact and it's fans at how quickly they turned their backs on him after personal issues came out, so he wants to make them pay. Team Impact (Johnny Impact, Impact Grand Champion EC3, James Storm & Abyss) vs. Team AAA (El Hijo del Fantasma, Garza Jr., Texano & Pagano) in a Lethal Lockdown Match Depending on you look at the story, there is no set heel or face team. EC3 antagonizes AAA but is a dick to his teammates, Garza Jr. is very respectful to Impact and while Abyss wants to destroy everyone, he's an Original just like the beloved James Storm. The real game changer is Johnny Impact, who was the most hated AAA Champion of all time before coming to Impact, where he is cheered. It's teased that EC3 while abandon his team, but never happens. In the end, Impact wins (it is their signature match after all, so AAA doesn't look too bad in defeat) but Garza Jr. is willing to shake hands first before the rest of AAA follows, ensuring his future with the company and officially becomes a babyface. Jimmy Jacobs vs. Grado (with Laurel Van Ness) for a Impact Wrestling contract Grado must once again prove his worth as a part of the Impact roster, facing a mystery opponent for a spot in the company. At first we think Grado is facing the former Santino Marella, Anthony Carelli, who Grado challenges to hop the guardrail like he did in his WWE debut 10 years ago. But, Canada's own Tyson Dux puts a stop to that, complaining that he deserves a chance after being overlooked his entire career. Grado quickly rolls up him and thinks he's retained his job only to be notified that Dux wasn't the scheduled opponent. Suddenly, Jimmy Jacobs shows up and reveals this has all been ruse as he is Grado's real opponent. Somehow, someway, Jimmy was behind Grado's troubles to remain apart of Impact and had him jump through hoops recently. It's almost as if Jacobs is a Higher Power trying to write Grado out of Impact for good. Grado tries to overcome the shock but falls to Jimmy, who gets the cheap victory when Grado's crazy "girlfriend" Laurel distracts him from the crowd to earn a Impact Wrestling contract. After the match, Laurel kicks Grado in the nuts and goes to celebrate with Jacobs as Impact's new psycho couple. Sienna(c) vs. Gail Kim vs. Rosemary vs. Allie in a 4-Way Match for the Impact Knockouts Championship Rosemary was supposed to face Taya in a First Blood Match but due to Taya's visa issues, it was canceled. So, she'll replacing Taryn Terrell, who was originally going to be in this 4-Way but left the company. All signs point towards Gail retiring as the record breaking KO Champ's. However, the biggest underdog in the fight Allie rolls up Gail Kim after she had just give Sienna Eat Defeat. Rosemary is just a split second too late to break it up. Shocked that her moment was basically stolen, Gail remains classy and shakes Allie's hands in front of her fellow Canadians. Sienna throws a fit and leaves while Rosemary simply stares at the new Knockouts Champion with fascination. Trevor Lee(c) vs. Petey Williams for the Impact X-Division Championship Lee has been the biggest chickenshit heel X-Division wrestler in years and Williams is determined to complete his comeback story in Canada. Trevor cheats the entire match and almost steals the victory until Sonjay Dutt comes down to stop him. One Canadian Destroyer later and Little Petey Pump is once again X-Division Champion. Petey and Sonjay celebrate together tonight but the pioneers might have to battle over the gold in the future. oVe (Sami Callihan, Dave & Jake Crist) vs. LAX (Homicide, Ortiz & Santana) (with Konnan) in a 5150 Street Fight The tag titles aren't on the line as LAX simply want to hurt oVe. However, the Crist Bros haven't revealed their partner against LAX. Surely walking into an ambush, oVe appear confident as one by one, masked LAX members lurking are found backstage knocked out by an unknown assailant that can only be assumed to be the third member of oVe. The tag champs come out last and their partner is none other than Sami Callihan. While The Crist Brothers, Ortiz and Santana do the acrobatic moves, it's the violent veterans Homicide and Callihan who bring the street fight. Sami ends up going on a rampage, taking out Homicide, Ortiz, Santana and even Konnan. But, he never sees a masked LAX member (One LAX guy must've gotten away from Callihan during his pre-match LAX hunt) come from behind to knock him out. LAX recovers as Santana and Ortiz hit their Street Sweeper finisher to get the win. The titles may not have been on the line, but LAX's argument for another championship opportunity just got stronger after surviving this war. Eddie Edwards(c) vs. Taiji Ishimori for the GHC Heavyweight Championship I don't recall Ishimori ever getting a GHC Heavyweight Title match but he is the longest reigning GHC Junior Heavyweight Champion, so I guess he's qualified to receive a shot here besides being the only Pro Wrestling NOAH wrestler on the show. Another good match for the card, Eddie retains. Matt Sydal vs. Desmond Xavier Instead of a pointless 6-Man spotfest, we get a old school vs. new school clash of the X-Divison. Sydal has yet to become champion while Xavier has been touted the future. Desmond has Sydal on the ropes but the veteran capitalizes off the youngster's mistakes to win this exciting opener.
2017.08.19 01:11 feedredditWhy Bannon Lost and the Globalists Won
Why Bannon Lost and the Globalists Won by (Bill Scher) via POLITICO - TOP Stories URL: http://ift.tt/2uZVXbk The day after Christmas last year, New York Times sportswriter Marc Tracy by chance spotted Steve Bannon in the Atlanta airport and struck up a chat. Tracy noticed a little virtue-signaling from the incoming White House “chief strategist.” Bannon was carrying David Halberstam’s famous history of the hubris that led three presidents to disaster in Vietnam, “The Best and the Brightest.” “It’s great,” Bannon told him, “for seeing how little mistakes early on can lead to big ones later.” In a White House fond of superlatives, it would be insulting to call any of its mistakes “little.” Bannon’s mistakes were huge, and they not only led to his ouster, but also the collapse of his grandiose dream: a realigned American political map centered on economic populism. Days after Trump’s election, a giddy Bannon told the Hollywood Reporter that he was an “economic nationalist,” and then went on to explain what he meant: “The globalists gutted the American working class and created a middle class in Asia … If we deliver … we’ll get 60 percent of the white vote, and 40 percent of the black and Hispanic vote and we’ll govern for 50 years … Like [Andrew] Jackson’s populism, we’re going to build an entirely new political movement. It’s everything related to jobs. The conservatives are going to go crazy. I’m the guy pushing a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan … It will be as exciting as the 1930s, greater than the Reagan revolution — conservatives, plus populists, in an economic nationalist movement.” Nothing of this vision came to pass. There is no trillion-dollar infrastructure plan, or anything else resembling a “jobs” agenda. There is no multiracial economic populist movement behind Trump; his approval in the latest Quinnipiac poll is 44 percent among whites and 24 percent among nonwhites. And Bannon has lost several internal White House policy fights to his “globalist” nemeses, as Trump has flinched from junking NAFTA, gutting the Export-Import Bank, branding China a currency manipulator or raising taxes on the wealthy. Where did Bannon go wrong? His first order of business had nothing to with jobs, let alone bridging racial divisions. He played a singular role in engineering the travel ban targeting Muslim-majority countries, cutting Cabinet agencies out of the loop and purposefully dropping it without warning on a Friday to stoke maximum weekend street protest from the left. Courts balked, and Republican members of Congress complained about the shoddy process. It was Trump’s first political defeat as president, a humiliating own-goal that sowed early doubts about the administration’s basic competence. In an alternate timeline, Bannon could have encouraged Trump to avoid such racially divisive matters in his first week, as well as steer clear of the always politically treacherous health care debate, and put all his weight behind that trillion-dollar infrastructure plan. Top Democrats had been signaling to Trump since the election that they were open to an infrastructure deal, which need not violate their ideological principles. If there was any chance to erase the old partisan lines and start the new administration with a policy win, this was it. But Bannon apparently didn’t try or wasn’t able to stop Republicans from placing the ill-fated Obamacare repeal at the top of the domestic policy agenda. Bannon fancied himself a policy wonk and ferocious bureaucratic infighter. He posed for pictures in front of his office whiteboard with a detailed list of bureaucratic to-dos. Just this week he bragged to the progressive populist American Prospect that he was removing people from administration posts who had been blocking his plans for economic sanctions on China. Yet he didn’t have the chops to rebut substantive arguments. Bannon almost convinced Trump to unilaterally pull out of NAFTA, until Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue showed Trump a map of where trade-dependent farmers reside: states that Trump won. Trump was swayed, saying afterwards, “It shows that I do have a very big farmer base, which is good. They like Trump, but I like them, and I’m going to help them.” Bannon thought his trade and manufacturing agenda would be easier to execute. In February, he told the conservative CPAC conference that Trump’s withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership was going to usher in a new economic nationalist era. “People are starting to think through a whole raft of amazing and innovative, bilateral trading relationships with people that will reposition America in the world as a fair trading nation and start to bring jobs—high value added, manufacturing jobs—back to the United States of America,” he said. But even Trump’s top trade official recently admitted to POLITICO Magazine, “some of the TPP countries don’t want to do bilaterals” because it’s not worth lowering tariffs without wider global market access in return. And while the Trump administration loves talking about the occasional new American manufacturing plant, it has little to say about the likelihood that these plants will be increasingly run by robots. Attempts to economically punish China have been pushed aside by national security concerns, with State and Defense officials trying to enlist China’s help with the North Korea nuclear standoff. Bannon revealed to the American Prospect that he’s been making the case that “there’s no military solution [with North Korea], they got us” whereas “the economic war with China is everything. And we have to be maniacally focused on that.” Not even Trump, whose personal obsession with “Chi-ee-na” goes back decades, seems to agree; he has refused to fulfill his own “currency manipulator” campaign pledge while he rants about Kim Jong Un. “They’re wetting themselves” Bannon told the Prospect of his internal opponents, expressing confidence his proposed sanctions on China would soon resurface. But “they” are still in the administration, and Bannon is not. Bannon was clearly enamored with proposals that challenged partisan orthodoxy, like when he floated a new 44 percent top tax rate for incomes about $5 million. But he had no capacity to follow through. His trial balloons were laughed off by conservatives, and his association with the “alt-right” made him a toxic negotiating partner for the left. Bannon’s nemesis, economic adviser Gary Cohn, meanwhile, built up a relatively competent team that ran circles around the poorly staffed former Breitbart chairman. Contrast Bannon with the record of the last Republican White House Svengali, Karl Rove. President George W. Bush’s top political strategist had big dreams of political realignment as well. He saw Bush as walking in the footsteps of President William McKinley, who established Republican dominance at the dawn of the 20th century. During the 2000 campaign Rove said, “[McKinley] understood the new economy. It was a period of rapid industrialization. He also understood the changing demographic. Immigrants were now providing the manpower.” Joshua Green, before he chronicled the rise of Bannon, summed up Rove’s McKinley-inspired vision in 2007: “Rove’s idea was to use the levers of government to … force a realignment himself through a series of far-reaching policies. Rove’s plan had five major components: establish education standards, pass a ‘faith-based initiative’ directing government funds to religious organizations, partially privatize Social Security, offer private health-savings accounts as an alternative to Medicare, and reform immigration laws to appeal to the growing Hispanic population. Each of these, if enacted, would weaken the Democratic Party by drawing some of its core supporters into the Republican column.” Rove got farther along than Bannon did. He actually prioritized what he set out to prioritize. He met with Democrats immediately after the bitter conclusion of the 2000 election to talk education, and the No Child Left Behind Act passed with a big bipartisan vote in the spring of 2001. And he worked with Democrats again in 2003 to add a prescription drug benefit to Medicare. It was only the second term when Rove took on too much, and saw his dreams of Republican realignment vaporize. The sharp Josh Bolten, deputy chief of staff for policy during much of the first term, became budget director and later chief of staff. Rove assumed Bolten’s policy post in the second term, and proceeded to botch Social Security privatization and immigration reform. One official told Green, “[Bolten] was a strong enough intellect and a strong enough presence that he was able to create a deliberative process that led to a better outcome … Formalizing [Rove’s policy role] was the final choke-off of any internal debate or deliberative process.” Bannon lacked anyone like a Bolten to deftly shepherd policy initiatives, on top of serving a manic president and dealing with a fractious Republican Congress. All he had were Sebastian Gorka, a thinly credentialed counterterrorism adviser whose only duty seems to be going on Fox News, and Julia Hahn, a 20-something former Breitbart writer known for her hair-on-fire hot takes. He had no chance. Might Trump pursue Bannon’s economic agenda after Bannon is gone? Anything is possible. Simply being surrounded by “globalist” advisers cannot predict the behavior of a president who often revels in doing the opposite of what he is told. But Bannon’s failure almost surely prevents the realization of a broad political realignment in which Trump leads an economically populist rainbow coalition. Bannon crowed this week that “identity politics” is a loser for Democrats. But his own obsession with identity led him to shelve infrastructure in favor of the travel ban, and arguably racial grievance among whites also fueled the passion to repeal Obamacare. The focus on playing to the white conservative base culminated in Trump’s rationalization for the violent behavior of white supremacists, and seeking the protection of Confederate war memorials. All this has poisoned the well. Trump is now irredeemable in the minds of most Democrats and most nonwhite voters, no matter what he offers on infrastructure, trade or taxes. There were no small mistakes by Bannon. Only huge ones driven by a desire to divide, and an inability to sweat the details. Someday there will be a book about it. It won’t be called “The Best and the Brightest.”
2017.08.09 20:33 feedredditNorth Korea: The 'China' Options
North Korea: The 'China' Options by Uri Friedman via Master Feed : The Atlantic URL: http://ift.tt/2vnaoHx The Trump administration claims “all options are on the table” for dealing with North Korea’s nuclear-weapons program—from using military force, to pressuring China to punish its North Korean ally, to Donald Trump negotiating directly with Kim Jong Un. But what do those options look like? And what consequences could they have? This series explores those questions, option by option. The leaders of North Korea’s greatest adversary and greatest ally agree: It’s bad that North Korea has nuclear weapons, and it would be better if they gave them up. So why do the United States and China keep butting heads over North Korea, as Kim Jong Un fine-tunes his nuclear arsenal? The latest effort to counter North Korea’s nuclear program—UN Security Council sanctions on several North Korean exports, orchestrated by American and Chinese negotiators—appears to indicate that the United States and China are finally joining forces to crush Kim’s nuclear ambitions. Yet the unity of purpose fades upon closer inspection. U.S. officials have questioned whether the Chinese government will enforce the sanctions, as the Trump administration considers ways to retaliate if Beijing fails to get tougher on its ally in Pyongyang. Donald Trump has boasted that the Security Council sanctions will have a “very big financial impact” on the North Korean economy, but the Chinese likely prevented the impact from being even bigger; the UN measures, for instance, notably do not restrict China and other countries from exporting oil to North Korea. And mere days after the sanctions passed, Trump showed why UN cooperation may be less than meets the eye, threatening to unleash "fire and fury" against the North if its leaders continued to threaten the U.S. “China could easily solve this problem!” Trump has tweeted in the past. How? The United States could take at least three paths to partner with China on addressing the North Korean nuclear threat. Each path is beset with obstacles. Play by China’s Rules China has, in fact, proposed a plan for solving the North Korea problem. As part of an approach that it calls “suspension for suspension,” the Chinese government has offered to broker a deal in which North Korea suspends its rapidly advancing nuclear and missile programs in exchange for the United States suspending its regular military exercises with South Korea, as a prelude to negotiations to eventually rid the North of nuclear weapons. But the Trump administration has repeatedlyrejected the suggestion. Indeed, it strikes at the heart of how the Chinese government views the North Korean challenge differently than the U.S. government does. Whereas U.S. officials want North Korea to renounce nuclear weapons—or at least take steps toward “denuclearization”—as a precondition for talks, Chinese officials consider denuclearization an end goal of negotiations, not a starting point. Whereas U.S. officials see North Korean militancy as the sole threat to security on the Korean peninsula, Chinese officials perceive North Korean and American provocations as twin threats—“two accelerating trains coming toward each other” and refusing “to give way,” in the words of China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi. Whereas U.S. officials identify China as the central actor in the peninsular drama, holding the fate of North Korea in its hands, Chinese officials place their country just off-stage, merely directing feuding parties toward peace. While U.S. officials experiment with ways to exert pressure on North Korea, Chinese officials seek out pressure-relief valves. U.S. officials worry that nuclear negotiations with North Korea, which have backfired in the past, are a trap; Chinese officials claim dialogue is the only way out of the crisis. (Chinese embassy officials declined to comment on the record for this story.) “The most urgent task at hand is to halt [North Korea’s] nuclear and missile programs,” Wang, the Chinese foreign minister, argued in a speech to the UN Security Council in April. “To achieve this, it is worthwhile to put aside the contention over who should take the first step and who is right, who is wrong. Rather, we should start from reaching for low-hanging fruits, defuse any flashpoint endangering peace on the peninsula, and create conditions for stability in the region.” Wang’s counterpart, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, disagrees. “If we freeze where [the North Koreans] are today, we freeze their activities with a very high level of capability,” he explained in July, alluding to the fact that North Korea is close to having—or may already have—the means to hit the United States with a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile. “We’re asking North Korea to be prepared to come to the table with an understanding that these talks are going to be about how do we help you chart a course to cease and roll back your nuclear program. That’s what we want to talk about. ... Because stopping where they are today is not acceptable to us.” Somewhere in between these positions may be a diplomatic solution to the current impasse. But if so, the parties haven’t found it yet. Pressure China China shares an 880-mile border with North Korea. It has a 56-year-old defense treaty with the North Koreans. It accounts for over 90 percent of North Korea’s trade. No country has more influence on North Korea than China. But the question the Trump administration is currently probing is what the limits of that influence are—and how China can be pushed to those limits. The primary way that China can change Kim Jong Un’s calculus on nuclear weapons, according to the Trump administration, is by fully enforcing existing UN Security Council sanctions and restricting trade with North Korea well beyond what’s included in those sanctions. To persuade Chinese leaders to do this, U.S. officials have alternated between carrots and sticks. Trump has praised Chinese President Xi Jinping and offered him a favorable trade deal in exchange for help on North Korea, but the president and his advisers have also threatened to go to war on the Korean peninsula—a terrifying prospect for the Chinese—if China doesn’t rein in North Korea’s nuclear program. (Trump’s recent fire-and-fury warning may have been intended as much for Beijing as Pyongyang.) The main form of pressure under discussion is economic. Trump’s Treasury Department recently imposed sanctions on a Chinese bank for allegedly laundering money for North Korea, and the administration is mulling further “secondary sanctions” on Chinese companies that do business with the North Korean government. It has also floated a range of punitive trade policies, from a tariff on steel imports to retaliation against Chinese intellectual-property violations. U.S. officials have long avoided such actions out of concern that punishing China would make it less cooperative, not more, on North Korea. But Anthony Ruggiero, a sanctions expert and former Treasury Department official, argues that this analysis misses the way that targeted financial measures work. Beyond drying up funding for North Korea’s nuclear-weapons program, he has written, economic penalties could, for instance, “drive a wedge between Chinese banks that covet their access to the U.S. financial system and Chinese leaders who indulge North Korea. If the banks fear they will be the next target of U.S. sanctions, they will pressure political leaders to change course.” (There’s recent precedent for this: The U.S. sanctions campaign to contain the Iranian nuclear program coerced China into reducing its trade and financial ties with Iran.) Nevertheless, perhaps encouraged by China’s assistance at the United Nations and discouraged by the thought of sparking a trade war between the world’s largest economies, the Trump administration has proven reluctant to embrace this approach. Additional secondary sanctions, steel tariffs, and an investigation into China’s intellectual-property policies are all on hold at the moment. Even if Trump were to go all in on pressuring China, it’s far from clear that doing so would achieve the desired result: the dismantling of North Korea’s nuclear-weapons program. That’s in part because of an additional disconnect in how China and America assess and rank the threats posed by North Korea. As Jennifer Lind of Dartmouth College has pointed out, North Korea is presently a national-security priority for U.S. officials because Kim Jong Un is building missiles that could carry a nuclear device to the United States, but Chinese officials don’t share that sense of urgency. North Korea has possessed nuclear weapons and shorter-range missiles that can hit China for years now. And while China opposes North Korea’s nuclear-weapons program, its top security concern with regard to North Korea is something different: the collapse of Kim Jong Un’s government creating chaos in the North, which in turn could produce a refugee crisis, loose nukes, and an opportunity for the U.S. military presence in the region to expand right up to China’s borders. The Chinese government is therefore unlikely to crack down on North Korea to the extent the Trump administration wants, no matter how much pressure the United States applies, since that could lead to Kim’s downfall. Why would the Chinese fulfill America’s dreams only to usher in China’s nightmares? Consider what fears Cui Tiankai, the Chinese ambassador to the United States, chose to focus on in a recent op-ed on North Korea. The North’s “nuclear test site is just dozens of miles away from Northeast China,” he wrote. “Any accident, nuclear or military, will have a catastrophic spillover on us. … The pressure, economic and military, on [North Korea] continues to build up. Yet how much is sufficient without triggering a humanitarian crisis or pushing Pyongyang into desperation? Another Iraq, Libya or Syria in Northeast Asia is a nightmare for all.” China “is the umbilical cord that keeps North Korea alive,” Scott Snyder, a Korea expert at the Council on Foreign Relations, has observed. “But their main interest is in stability on the peninsula. So they’ve got leverage that they can’t use, essentially. Because if they use the leverage, they’re going to generate instability.” Hence the logic behind the Trump administration’s warlike rhetoric: Faced with imminent instability from a U.S. attack on North Korea or potential instability from squeezing North Korea economically, perhaps China would choose the latter as the least bad option. When I spoke with Shen Dingli, a professor of international relations at Fudan University in Shanghai, in June, he credited Trump’s threat of military action against North Korea—rather than his threat of secondary sanctions, which would only apply to a select number of companies in China’s massive economy—with spurring China to get serious about halting imports of North Korean coal earlier this year. Yet even if we assume that Trump applies maximum pressure on China, and that China fully complies with Washington’s wishes, it’s uncertain whether a Chinese clampdown could force the North Korean government to relinquish a nuclear arsenal that it has deemed essential for the survival of the Kim regime. North Korea has in recent years demonstrated a considerable degree of independence from China when it comes to its nuclear-weapons program. It has, for instance, persisted with missile tests despite China’s ban on coal imports. “If China were to abandon all its economic links [with North Korea], North Korea would still not abandon nuclear weapons,” Shen told me. “China does not trust that it is able to stop North Korea. Therefore, China is unwilling to do everything it can to stop North Korea.” Make a Mega-Deal With China The drawbacks of the first two approaches have prompted someto propose a third: Zoom out from the North Korean nuclear threat and think more radically. Jay Lefkowitz, a former U.S. special envoy for human rights in North Korea, has urged the Trump administration to negotiate a pact with China in which it abandons America’s post-Korean War policy of supporting unification of the Korean peninsula under South Korean leadership. Todd Rosenblum, a former Obama administration official, has gone much further, suggesting that the United States withdraw American troops from South Korea in return for China ousting the Kim regime from power. “The U.S. would remove all 30,000 troops from South Korea and close its military bases,” Rosenblum writes. “We could even consider ending its treaty with South Korea. In return, China would not only cease its support for North Korea but help end the Kim dynasty altogether, leaving behind a unified, democratic Korea that swears off nuclear weapons. The U.S. and China would jointly engage South Korea on its absorption of the North, since South Korea knows the cost of German reunification and is appropriately leery of reintegrating 25 million starved, information-deprived people into a modern state.” Lind agrees that the sheer difficulty of convincing China to “act against its own interests” on North Korea would require some kind of grand bargain with the United States, but she doesn’t think a deal is doable. The concessions that “Washington would have to dangle at Beijing would have to be big—really big,” perhaps involving the U.S.-Japan mutual-defense alliance, disputed islands in the South China Sea, or the sovereignty of Taiwan, she writes. “But, with its many treaty allies and interests in East Asia, Washington would be unwilling to offer that kind of carrot.” Shen also dismissed the notion of a mega-deal between China and the United States, less because it wasn’t feasible than because the goal of such an agreement would be futile. North Korea’s nuclear-weapons program is “impossible to stop,” he told me, “just like it was impossible to stop American nuclear weapons, impossible to stop Chinese nuclear weapons, impossible to stop Israel’s nuclear weapons, Indian nuclear weapons, and Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.” In that case, I asked, what would he advise the American president to do? “Live with North Korea’s nuclear weapons peacefully,” he said, “just like we live with American nuclear weapons peacefully, we live with Indian and Pakistani nuclear weapons peacefully.”
2017.06.20 12:51 feedredditTRUMP’S WASHINGTON: Biz is done in secret -- IVANKA to the Hill for paid leave talks -- GA election: what insiders think -- THE JUICE: Bezos and Carney at Le Diplomate, new gigs for Jack Quinn and Michael LaRosa
TRUMP’S WASHINGTON: Biz is done in secret -- IVANKA to the Hill for paid leave talks -- GA election: what insiders think -- THE JUICE: Bezos and Carney at Le Diplomate, new gigs for Jack Quinn and Michael LaRosa by [email protected] (Daniel Lippman) via POLITICO - TOP Stories URL: http://ift.tt/2tIAH97 Good Tuesday morning. FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: There has been a lot of chatter about the White House searching for talent these days. AN EXAMPLE of who the White House is trying to recruit: the Trump administration recently approached SCOTT JENNINGS to gauge his interest in a senior role, according to multiple people familiar with the discussions. Jennings is a confidant to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, was a special assistant to President George W. Bush and now is a principal at RunSwitch PR in Louisville, Kentucky. He’s a frequent Trump defender on cable TV. The White House offered him a job but he turned it down last week. THIS IS A SERIOUS EFFORT to bring in high-level operatives with applicable experience -- something the White House has shied away from, traditionally. Jennings declined to comment. The White House didn’t respond to a request for comment. INSIDE THE WHITE HOUSE -- “Spicer searching for candidates to take over White House briefing,” by Tara Palmeri: “White House press secretary Sean Spicer is leading a search for his own replacement at the briefing room podium as part of a larger plan to shake up the White House communications operations, according to two people with knowledge of the effort. Last week, Spicer and White House chief of staff Reince Priebus reached out to Fox News personality Laura Ingraham about the role of press secretary and Daily Mail editor David Martosko about the role of communications director, according to a White House official. Spicer and Priebus have had preliminary discussions with Ingraham and interviewed Martosko.” http://politi.co/2tGoT6X -- IF THE WHITE HOUSE is phasing out the daily on-camera press briefing -- as it appears to be -- Spicer’s job switch seems quite natural. ONE BAD SIGN: The White House does not have an on-camera or off-camera press briefing today. This could be bad for the White House, as it will be far more difficult for them to drive a message and respond to questions, and it's bad for democracy, because the public has grown accustomed to reporters quizzing the administration in a public setting. In short, it is a problem for everyone. The White House even forbade journalists from broadcasting audio from yesterday's off-camera session. -- BY THE WAY… The White House has been whispering about staff shake ups for months. We’ll believe it when we see it. WHERE THINGS STAND IN GEORGIA -- “Georgia special election comes to a messy end,” by Gabe Debenedetti in Marietta, Georgia: http://politi.co/2rLwmVR GEORGIA 6TH BRAIN DUMP -- WHAT THE INSIDERS ARE SAYING ON ELECTION DAY … -- FROM A DEMOCRAT INVOLVED IN THE RACE: “This race is truly too close to call -- best guess is that Ossoff gets between 48-51 percent. He’s consistently led in the polling and we have an advantage in the early vote, but GOP turnout (or lack thereof) will drive the day. On that note, it’s clear that the Republicans have learned from their near-loss in the primary and are actually running a field program, and the extent to which last week’s shooting of Rep. [Steve] Scalise will bring Republicans home is also unknown. “We are playing to win, but it’s important to keep in mind that the difference between a 51 percent win for Ossoff and 49 percent loss is that Georgia gets another Democratic Congressman. Nationally, either result is a huge problem for House Republicans in 2018, given where GA-06 sits on the GOP-held map in terms of competitiveness.” -- FROM A REPUBLICAN INVOLVED IN THE RACE: “Stock up on coffee. Poised to be a very late night. It’s a pure tossup. But we’re cautiously confident. Both parties have gone all-in here. Any press releases declaring a “moral victory” will be laughed at. “Around 7:45, the first early vote from DeKalb will come in. That’s the Dem county. Will look bad. People read too much into that. Between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m., once we start getting enough of the Election Day vote in, should be a clearer picture. We need a strong Election Day showing out of Cobb County (stronghold for us). Watch Fulton County. Ossoff needs to at least tie Fulton to have a shot.” -- FROM THE [email protected] at 5:49 a.m.: “Democrat Jon Ossoff, who wants to raise your taxes to the highest level and is weak on crime and security, doesn’t even live in district.” … at 6:02 a.m.: “KAREN HANDEL FOR CONGRESS. She will fight for lower taxes, great healthcare strong security-a hard worker who will never give up! VOTE TODAY”. -- IT'S WORTH NOTING: Ossoff would hardly be the first person to represent a district they don't live in. There are plenty of members of both parties who, for one reason or another, do not live in the district they represent. THE BIG PICTURE -- WAPO A18 -- “In Trump’s Washington, public business increasingly handled behind closed doors,” by Phil Rucker and Ed O’Keefe: “The Senate bill to scale back the health-care law known as Obamacare is being written in secret by a single senator, Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and a clutch of his senior aides. Officials at numerous agencies of the Trump administration have stonewalled friendly Republicans in Congress — not to mention Democrats — by declining to share internal documents on sensitive matters or refusing to answer questions. “President Trump, meanwhile, is still forbidding the release of his tax returns, his aides have stopped releasing logs of visitors to the White House and his media aides have started banning cameras at otherwise routine news briefings, as happened Monday. Trump even refuses to acknowledge to the public that he plays golf during his frequent weekend visits to his private golf courses. More and more in the Trump era, business in Washington is happening behind closed doors. The federal government’s leaders are hiding from public scrutiny — and their penchant for secrecy represents a stark departure from the campaign promises of Trump and his fellow Republicans to usher in newfound transparency.” http://wapo.st/2sKvWP2 IVANKA TO THE HILL TO MEET RUBIO, FISCHER ON PAID LEAVE – via Ian Kullgren and Seung Min Kim in Morning Shift: “Ivanka Trump is scheduled to meet today [on Capitol Hill] with Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and other members to discuss paid leave and family issues, according to two sources with knowledge of the plans. The meeting comes as the Trump administration pushes its paid leave proposal, which would provide six weeks of leave for mothers and fathers. The White House hasn’t found a sponsor yet, though today’s meeting would indicate that Rubio and Fischer are two top choices. “Fischer, for her part, has embraced the idea of paid family leave, but has stopped short of endorsing the White House’s vision. She’s pushing an incentive plan that would give a two-year tax break to companies that offer at least two weeks of paid leave, an idea she’s put forth in previous years. Rubio has embraced that approach, too, saying during his presidential campaign that he would give companies a 25 percent tax credit for offering four to 12 weeks of paid leave.” AND THERE’S MORE -- “At height of Russia tensions, Trump campaign chairman Manafort met with business associate from Ukraine,” by WaPo’s Roz Helderman, Tom Hamburger and Rachel Weiner: “In August, as tension mounted over Russia’s role in the U.S. presidential race, Donald Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, sat down to dinner with a business associate from Ukraine who once served in the Russian army. Konstantin Kilimnik, who learned English at a military school that some experts consider a training ground for Russian spies, had helped run the Ukraine office for Manafort’s international political consulting practice for 10 years. At the Grand Havana Room, one of New York City’s most exclusive cigar bars, the longtime acquaintances ‘talked about bills unpaid by our clients, about [the] overall situation in Ukraine ... and about the current news,’ including the presidential campaign, according to a statement provided by Kilimnik, offering his most detailed account of his interactions with the former Trump adviser.” http://wapo.st/2sQdtkl FOR TRUMP’S WIN COLUMN -- “Gallup: Public trust in government’s counter-terror efforts rebounds,” by Jake Lahut: “Seventy percent of Americans feel assured of the government’s ability to protect against terrorism, a Gallup poll released on Monday found, reflecting a boost [up from 55 percent] in public confidence since the last time the question was asked after the December 2015 attack in San Bernardino, California.” http://politi.co/2rxgvGr MUELLER’S MUSCLE – “Mueller team lawyer brings witness-flipping expertise to Trump probes,” by Reuters’ Karen Freifeld: “A veteran federal prosecutor recruited onto special counsel Robert Mueller’s team is known for a skill that may come in handy in the investigation of potential ties between Russia and U.S. President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign team: persuading witnesses to turn on friends, colleagues and superiors. “Andrew Weissmann, who headed the U.S. Justice Department’s criminal fraud section before joining Mueller’s team last month, is best known for two assignments - the investigation of now-defunct energy company Enron and organized crime cases in Brooklyn, New York - that depended heavily on gaining witness cooperation.” http://reut.rs/2tlSFPp FOR THE PRESIDENT -- “A Top Presidential Public Defender Was Also a Twitter Critic,” by NYT’s Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Maggie Haberman: “In April, Mark Corallo, the spokesman for President Trump’s personal legal team, used Twitter to suggest – twice -- that Vice President Mike Pence, not Mr. Trump, should be the Republican nominee for president in 2020. In May, he posted several remarks disparaging the influence of Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter, and Jared Kushner, his son-in-law, in the White House, suggesting they were part of ‘the swamp’ the president had promised to drain. ... ‘Hey Mr. President, where’s all the “winning?”’ Mr. Corallo wrote last month, appearing to compare Mr. Trump to Bill Clinton, who hailed from Arkansas, and his famous parsing of words. ‘Or, like the guy from AR, are you going to tell me it depends on the definition of “winning?” ” http://nyti.ms/2sk2YoB ... Corallo’s Twitterhttp://bit.ly/2rQo62d WHAT MITCH MCCONNELL IS UP TO -- “Sources: Senate GOP prepares for Obamacare repeal vote next week,” by Burgess Everett and Jen Haberkorn: “Senate Republicans are preparing to vote on Obamacare repeal next week, according to multiple sources familiar with the negotiations, potentially leaving rank-and-file lawmakers with no more than a week to review legislation that would affect millions of Americans and one-sixth of the U.S. economy. Senators are expected to see the text of the bill as soon as the end of this week, those sources said, provided this week’s work goes smoothly. The timeline could change based on the response from individual senators toward the proposal at party meetings, but Republicans are increasingly optimistic they can hold a vote next week if this week’s lunch talks go well.” http://politi.co/2rxd1n6 MIXED MESSAGES -- “Some Dems reluctant to shut down Senate committees over Obamacare,” by Elana Schor and Seung Min Kim: “Even as Senate Democrats began a Monday night talk-a-thon designed to spotlight the GOP’s still-secret Obamacare repeal plan, some of their own questioned the party’s other potential procedural tactic to block committees from meeting this week. The skepticism within the caucus underscores the risk facing Senate Democrats as they launch an all-out battle against a Republican health care bill they have had zero power to influence. “Democrats want to use every procedural tool at their disposal to slow the GOP's progress, but one of their more arcane options - the power to block committee meetings two hours after the Senate goes into session - risks inviting Republicans to paint them as heedlessly obstructionist. … Two high-profile Tuesday hearings could get sandbagged by a Democratic blockade using the so-called ‘two-hour rule,’ if it is invoked: the Foreign Relations Committee's discussion of presidential authorizations for the use of military force and a Judiciary Committee look at past congressional and criminal investigations. If the tactic is used Wednesday, it could prematurely cut off an Intelligence Committee hearing on Russian meddling in the 2016 election.” http://politi.co/2sQzZcR WHAT PAUL RYAN WILL SAY TODAY ON TAX REFORM -- Speaker Paul Ryan is giving what his office is billing as a major address on tax reform today at the National Association of Manufacturers conference. He isn’t going to discuss the vast and crucial disagreements between the House, Senate and White House but will aim to “describe the important components of any reform – both for individuals and businesses, big and small.” ONE BIG THING: He’s going to lean into permanent tax reform instead of temporary measures, and will argue against “half measures” -- both signals that he wants to avoid a simple tax cut, which many see as an easy way to avoid tough decisions and political pain when cleaning out the cluttered tax code. -- EXCERPTS: “We are actually unique in the world in the way we discourage capital from coming back to America and how we incentivize off-shoring jobs. This is not the kind of exceptionalism we should aspire to … We must think differently, so that once again we make things here and export them around the world.” “We are going to get this done in 2017. We need to get this done in 2017. We cannot let this once-in-a-generation moment slip ... Transformational tax reform can be done, and we are moving forward. Full speed ahead.” SCALISE WATCH -- “McHenry steps up as Scalise recovers,” by Rachael Bade and John Bresnahan: http://politi.co/2sRzmzX NEW SUSAN GLASSER PODCAST, “The Man Who Argued With Dictators”: “Tom Malinowski spent years trying to get President Obama to care more about human rights. Now, he’s figuring out what to do with a president who doesn’t seem to care at all.” http://politi.co/2sIU58D ... Subscribehttp://apple.co/2kJ9q1U WHAT JERUSALEM AND RAMALLAH NEED TO KNOW -- “Jared Kushner Is About to Plunge Into Middle East Diplomacy,” by NYT’s Mark Landler and Maggie Haberman: The trip “also demonstrates Mr. Kushner’s determination not to let investigations into the Trump campaign’s alleged ties with Russia, or his own business dealings, distract him from his day-to-day work. ... Several officials said this could be the first trip in which Mr. Kushner and Mr. Greenblatt delved into the nitty-gritty of a possible peace agreement — borders, security and other questions that have bedeviled American peacemakers for decades — by asking both sides to list their priorities for negotiations.” http://nyti.ms/2rLlPKs TRUMP’S TUESDAY -- TRUMP will drop by VP Mike Pence’s meeting with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and will have a legislative affairs lunch in the afternoon. The president and the first lady will head up Massachusetts Avenue for dinner at the Naval Observatory with the Pences tonight. -- HOT VIDEO: @BraddJaffy: “He speaks! Have you ever heard Jared Kushner’s voice before? Here you go.” http://bit.ly/2rOJC7A THE JUICE … -- SPOTTED AT LE DIPLOMATE last night: Jeff Bezos and Jay Carney. -- NATALIE JONES HALLAHAN has started as SVP of external affairs at Meridian International Center. Jones was acting chief of protocol at State in the Obama administration. -- JACK QUINN has joined the D.C. office of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips as a partner in the litigation group and chair of the firm’s federal regulatory and government practice. At Manatt, he will work with clients involved in “complex regulatory proceedings, government investigations and public policy campaigns.” Quinn previously chaired QGA Public Affairs. -- MICHAEL LAROSA starts on July 10 as comms director for Democrats on the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources under ranking member Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.). He has spent the last six plus years as a producer for MSNBC’s “Hardball” with Chris Matthews. He is emailing friends this morning: “I am eternally grateful to Chris for taking a chance on me six years ago; his mentorship and friendship have been invaluable. I’ve had a front row seat to history during two Presidential Election cycles.” -- SNEAK PEEK: CBS's NORAH O'DONNELL interviews South Korean President Moon Jae-in on "CBS This Morning." http://cbsn.ws/2slOkNx DEEP DIVE -- “7 Sailors Emerged From Diverse Backgrounds to Pursue a Common Cause,” by NYT’s Dave Phillips: “The seven sailors who died when the destroyer Fitzgerald collided with a container ship last weekend were a snapshot of the nation they served: an immigrant from the Philippines whose father served in the Navy before him; a poor teenager whose Guatemalan family came north eager for opportunity; a native of Vietnam hoping to help his family; a firefighter’s son from a rural crossroads in the rolling green fields of Virginia. The roll call of the dead also illustrated the degree to which the military relies on recruits from immigrant communities around the country.” http://nyti.ms/2sRq1YP 2018 WATCH -- “Sources: Heller gets Democratic opponent for 2018 race,” by Seung Min Kim and Burgess Everett: “Rep. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) plans to run against Republican Sen. Dean Heller for his Senate seat in Nevada, according to multiple people familiar with her plans. Heller is widely considered the most vulnerable Republican up for re-election in 2018 and is the only GOP senator this cycle who represents a state won by Hillary Clinton in 2016. … The recruitment of Rosen has the strong imprint of former Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, who was entrusted by the party establishment to identify the strongest candidate to challenge Heller. Reid settled on Rosen, figuring that she’s a fresh face with little political baggage and would be the most formidable opponent, according to a person familiar with the matter.” http://politi.co/2sNTZxo SNEAK PEEK – JASON ZENGERLE in the N.Y. Times Magazine, “Is North Carolina the Future of American Politics? The state is narrowly split between Democratic and Republican Parties that agree on virtually nothing. Are its scorched-earth politics what the rest of us have to look forward to?”: “Welcome to North Carolina circa 2017, where all the passions and pathologies of American politics writ large are played out writ small -- and with even more intensity. Ever since 2010, when Republicans seized control of the General Assembly for the first time in a century, and especially since 2012, when they took the governor’s mansion, the state’s politics have been haywire. ‘There’s been a bigger and quicker shift to the right here than in any other state in the country,’ says Rob Christensen, a longtime political writer for The News and Observer ... “In just a few years, North Carolina Republicans have not just run quickly through the conservative policy checklist; they’ve tried to permanently skew the balance of power in the state in their favor, passing some of the most restrictive voting laws in the country and drawing some of the most egregiously gerrymandered congressional and state legislative districts in modern American politics (though their moves have repeatedly failed to pass muster with the courts). Cooper’s victory, and the blowback to H.B. 2 that preceded it, seemed to suggest a chastening of the party — until Republicans contested the election results with a series of baseless allegations of voter fraud and legal challenges that left the state in limbo for four weeks before [Pat] McCrory finally conceded.” http://nyti.ms/2sQAfc1 NEW WIRED COVER STORY – “How to Switch a Country Off. The New Weapons are Digital -- and They’re Pointed at Us,” by Andy Greenberg in the July issue (online headline: “How an Entire Nation Became Russia’s Test Lab for Cyberwar”): Viktor “Yushchenko, who ended up serving as Ukraine’s president from 2005 to 2010, believes that Russia’s tactics, online and off, have one single aim: ‘to destabilize the situation in Ukraine, to make its government look incompetent and vulnerable.’ He lumps the blackouts and other cyberattacks together with the Russian disinformation flooding Ukraine’s media, the terroristic campaigns in the east of the country, and his own poisoning years ago—all underhanded moves aimed at painting Ukraine as a broken nation. ‘Russia will never accept Ukraine being a sovereign and independent country,’ says Yushchenko, whose face still bears traces of the scars caused by dioxin toxicity. ‘Twenty--five years since the Soviet collapse, Russia is still sick with this imperialistic syndrome.’” http://bit.ly/2ry3bkX … The coverhttp://bit.ly/2svS3GS THE LATEST ON THE TRAVEL BAN -- “Judge narrows injunction on Trump travel ban,” by Josh Gerstein: “A federal judge in Hawaii has reined in in an injunction he issued three months ago blocking key parts of President Donald Trump's revised travel ban executive order. U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson scaled back the injunction Monday, nullifying its impact on studies and policy reviews ordered under the directive Trump issued in March and billed as an anti-terrorism initiative.” http://politi.co/2rLcz97 JUST POSTED -- “The Man At The Center Of This Trump Scandal Wants To Clear His Name,” by BuzzFeed’s Borzou Daragahi: “[Kamil Ekim] Alptekin said the work Flynn did for him — for which he was paid $530,000, and included research into Erdoğan’s nemesis, the U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gülen — had nothing to do with the Turkish government, and challenged anyone to prove it did. … But Alptekin’s story has raised eyebrows in Washington, where many have been left wondering where he got the money to pay Flynn — and why a relatively obscure businessman in Turkey had hired the former general to dig up dirt on one of Erdoğan’s enemies. ... Alptekin prizes the work done by Flynn’s researchers. ‘This is the only real intense investigative work done on the Gülenists,’ he said. ‘Is it worth the money I paid? You bet your ass.’” http://bzfd.it/2rQ7R5m FOR YOUR RADAR -- “Rich Venezuelans eat sushi, guzzle cocktails amid chaos,” by AFP’s Carlos Reyes in Caracas: “While most Venezuelans struggle to buy food and make ends meet, a small group still manages to eat sushi and sip cocktails in exclusive discos and country clubs. The country may be stricken by poverty and political violence, but a rich minority acts like they are untouched by the crisis. Case in point: Caracas, one of the world’s most violent cities, is the first in South America to open a branch of the trendy Buddha Bar international nightclub chain. In a country where basics such as flour and sugar are in short supply, Buddha Bar guests can order tuna steak, pork ribs or fish tacos -- as long as they have dollars to pay.” https://yhoo.it/2rxfWwj OFF MESSAGE WITH ISAAC DOVERE: TRUMP STUMBLING INTO WAR -- Ben Cardin, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, tells Isaac Dovere in the latest “Off Message” podcast that Trump’s impulsiveness leaves him wondering “whether he will do the right things under pressure,” and that this could lead to things quickly spiraling out of control in Syria, North Korea, the South China Sea and Ukraine. “There’s many areas where there could be a miscalculation that could lead to a shooting war. In every one of those circumstances, the Trump administration has not given us a strategy,” Cardin said. Listen and subscribehttp://apple.co/2e2dLvm MEDIAWATCH -- FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: CLINTON ALUMNI – Maya Harris is joining MSNBC as political analyst. She was a senior policy adviser on the Clinton campaign and is a CAP alum. SPOTTED: Kellyanne Conway and Wilbur Ross both dining separately at RPM Italian last night ... Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) last night at Bluejacket Arsenal in Navy Yard. OUT AND ABOUT – SUSAN PAGE and CARL LEUBSDORF hosted a 200th birthday party for their house in Georgetown on Saturday night, complete with family, friends and two birthday cakes. “The three-story stone house was built by the Georgetown Building Company in 1817 and is still standing -- from James Monroe to Donald Trump. ... [F]amous residents ... include Inez Buck Robinson, who was a Broadway actress in the 1940s, and a really interesting diplomatic couple, John Cooper Wiley and Irena Baruch Wiley. He was the U.S. charges d’Affaires in Vienna when the Nazis took over; the Wileys helped many Austrian Jews escape, among them Sigmund Freud. He went on to hold other ambassadorships. They were close to FDR; when the Polish-born Irena became a U.S. citizen, FDR swore her in.” SPOTTED: historian Robert Dallek, Tommy Burr, Clark Hoyt, Bob Hillman, Robin Sproul, Chris Rowland and Nancy Cook. ENGAGED -- Rodd McLeod, co-founder of Radar Strategies and former Giffords campaign manager, got engaged on Friday to Rebekah Sanders, political reporter at The Arizona Republic, at a mountaintop restaurant overlooking Phoenix. “As Rebekah’s favorite all-female mariachi band played, Rodd dusted off his newspaper-delivery-boy skills and presented her with a custom ‘special edition’ Arizona Republic with the A1 headline ‘Will she? Won’t she?’ and a column by their dog, The Magnificent Gingersnout. The couple met in 2012 when she covered campaigns he managed for Reps. Barber and Sinema. After years of arguing with each other about politics professionally, they started dating after their career paths diverged and have decided to debate politics for decades more.” Pichttp://politi.co/2rxbkGs WELCOME TO THE WORLD -- Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation and Krish Vignarajah, founder of Generation Impact, a social impact consulting firm, email friends and family: Sunday “at 1:38 a.m., Krish gave me the greatest Father’s Day gift: the birth of our baby daughter, Alana Vignarajah O’Mara! Krish was amazing throughout the entire pregnancy and especially during a daunting 39 final hours at the hospital before Alana arrived -- proving time and time again that women are stronger than men. And in the O’Mara family tradition, baby Alana is a healthy, hardy 8 pounds 11 ounces and 20.5 inches long… We look forward to introducing you all to the newest member of America’s growing conservation army and another Ranger Rick kid!” Picshttp://bit.ly/2sKSyPx … http://bit.ly/2sRraj6 TRANSITIONS -- NIKI CHRISTOFF is joining Salesforce as SVP of strategy and government relations based in Washington. She currently heads up Uber’s D.C. policy shop and is a Google and John McCain alum. She’ll begin in July. … … The Network Branded Prepaid Card Association has promoted Brian Tate to be its CEO and president. He has been the VP of gov’t affairs at the association since 2013. ... Emil Caillaux has joined the Inter-American Development Bank's external relations team. ... ... Stami Williams has been named comms director for Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), chairman of Financial Services; she previously was on the press team for Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.). ... Latham & Watkins has hired Nick McQuaid, former deputy counsel to President Obama in the WH Counsel’s office and former prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. http://bit.ly/2tlqT5k BIRTHWEEK (was yesterday): Alex Kisling, principal in the Kivvit DC office (hat tip: Emily David) BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Adrienne Elrod, president of Elrod Strategies and former director of strategic communications for Hillary for America. How she’s celebrating: “I’ll be in Los Angeles for work on my actual birthday, so I’ll be dining with my friends on the West Coast, followed by drinks back in DC later in the week. My friends know that I’m partial to a good glass of Chardonnay, so I’m leaving the planning to their capable hands.” Read her Playbook Plus Q&A:http://politi.co/2svyG0w BIRTHDAYS: Bill Maher is 61 … Josh Gerstein ... DOJ’s Ian Prior is 4-0. He’s celebrating at DOJ’s National Summit on Crime Reduction and Public Safety in Bethesda, Maryland, and hopefully some time with his two little girls back at home too (h/t Sarah Isgur Flores) ... Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) is 67 (h/t Joe McCarthy) ... Gregg Birnbaum, senior political editor at NBCNews.com … Megan Murphy, celebrating “by having dinner at the Polo Club with friends BUT late because Tuesday night is the magazine’s late night. And she and the BW team are producing a ‘jobs issue’ to follow up on the rave reviews the magazine got for last week’s re-launch” (h/t Rachel Nagler) ... former Rep. Phil English (R-Pa.) is 61 … David W.H. Kornahrens ... Robert Yoon, InsideElections contributing reporter and analyst and a CNN alum ... Politico’s Jeltsje Skeens ... Kyle Scriven, who does digital for AARP and is an MPAA alum ... Rachel Meadows … Politico Europe’s Jeanette Minns ... Washington Business Journal’s Michael Neibauer ... Brenda Cullen ... David Kornahrens, assistant analyst at Tulchin Research (h/t Tia Seltzer) ... Brad Howard, COS for Rep. Stephanie Murphy and former Blue Dog spokesperson (h/t Kristen Hawn) ... ... Sara Pearl Kenigsberg of MoveOn.org ... Chris Grieco, a lawyer in the WH Counsel’s office who was a key part of the team that worked to confirm Justice Neil Gorsuch (h/t Jon Nabavi) ... Brandon Arnold, EVP of the National Taxpayers Union, is 4-0 ... Tommy Zigo, senior associate at Precision Strategies and SoulCycle’s biggest fan (h/t Jeff Solnet) ... Kristin White, major gifts manager at AAUW, and alum of DNC, Kamala Harris and EMILY’s List (h/t Carla Frank) ... Dan McManus of Rep. Tammy Duckworth’s office ... Ernie Thornton ... Ming Long … León Rodríguez, former director of USCIS ... Roya Soleimani, corporate comms. manager for social impact at Google ... Ginger Gregory Loper ... Ed Miyagishima ... Valerie Mackoff Graham ... Anna March ... Tony Wilson ... Sue Dvorsky ... Deanna Busalacchi-Zabel ... Sarah Diminuco ... Michelle Diminuco (h/ts Teresa Vilmain) ... Stephen Frears is 76 ... Lionel Richie is 68 ... John Goodman is 65 ... Nicole Kidman is 5-0 (h/ts AP)
2013.06.21 05:16 bookerTmandelaMan Law Charge: Don’t Skeet Where We Eat.
Most of teamhighrisk stuff is NSFW. Plaintiff: Coach Dean Defendant: The Statistic (myself) Plea: Not guilty; it was a different shift. teamhighrisk will generally assemble at Waffle House the morning after “Purple Rain” has been declared. Purple Rain serves as our mantra and it’s used as a call to action. Think “Regulators, Mount Up”. It also happens to be the Boss’s favorite selection for karaoke. When these three syllables are uttered or put out in a mass text to all team members, Please Believe, it’s about to go down. (If you stopped and asked yourself, Why Purple Rain? kill yourself. Signed, sincerely, the 80’s.) Functioning alcoholics are creatures of habit. Work, eat, drink, eat work drink. Sleep is an overrated crutch. Therefore, Waffle House serves multiple purposes for us. It has decent food, a jukebox, and the particular establishment we frequent has an amazing morning shift. It’s most vital function is that it serves as the courtroom to try our Man/G/Bro Code violations. Cases are pleaded to the unbiased jury of waitresses and cooks. The plaintiffs and defendants vary, but my routine stays the same. I put $5 in the jukebox and start with P.Y.T by Michael Jackson, followed by the Temptations and various Motown artists, every now and then throw in some Usher (yeah, I said it). Without fail, at least one chick in the joint is wet by the time I get my biscuits and gravy. The morning shift is well versed in this routine. The waitresses are semi-attractive, flirtatious and teamhighrisk tips well, so it would be easy enough to pursue some Waffle Pu$$y. However, I’m subject to the same laws every man is: Never Skeet Where You Eat. That being said, let the record show we exclusively eat there on weekend mornings. It’s a Thursday around 6 p.m. as Coach Dean and I walk in. The establishment is empty except for two waitresses and a cook, none of whom we’ve ever seen before. (Exhibit A for the defense.) One waitress is in her early twenties, and by all accounts she’s trailer park attractive. Rated 6 out of 10. She has a habit of awkwardly dropping every racial slur imaginable. Ok, 5 out of 10. She’s also caucasian. Fine, she’s a 4. Logically, with my history of choosing the most upstanding women, I’m infatuated with her. Her response to every song I pick on the jukebox is, “OH DATZ MY SHIT RIGHT THERE”. She makes eye contact with me while mentioning she needs a drink. Naturally, I ask what time she gets off. Numbers are exchanged. We pay and leave. Coach Dean wants to scold me on our way to the car but he’s caught in a paradox. Which is worse? Cock blocking or fucking a waitress at your favorite restaurant? I pick her up around 10 p.m. and we head to the bar. I already can’t stand the sound of her voice. She’s 21 though, so fuck it. She insists I’m not getting laid. Challenge accepted. We get to the bar and she wants shots. Of course she does. I oblige and within 20 minutes she’s Kim K. on my Ray J. I immediately stop drinking. It’s a Thursday. Time check tells me I have six hours until I need to be at work. We bounce from the bar around 1 a.m. and she gives me head on the way home. I push an old school wide body and it floats naturally, but the “Young and Fellatio” is surprisingly amazing for her age and I swerve. Amateur hour. I don’t even get the whole siren from this pig. “Whoop, whoop.” Blue lights. FML… Pleasantries are exchanged between the officer and me and I’m asked to step out of the vehicle. No problem. I offer upfront to take a sobriety test and I pass. His partner is talking to “Y and F” when it dawns on me how wrong this could go. I never even asked if she had drugs on her. Fucking amateur hour, indeed. Thankfully she plays a convincing dumb white girl and they let us go. She informs me as we pull away that she extremely wet from the excitement of talking to a cop with a about an ounce of teamhighrisk in her purse. FML… We arrive at her place. Predictably, she is loud and obnoxious, scratches, draws blood, but I can’t find the fucks to give to stop her. I leave by 4 a.m., but not before examining every inch of my car to make sure there aren’t any surprises when I pull through the guarded gate to get on post. Clean. After a quick 30-minute power nap in the parking lot I lead my platoon on a five-mile run at an eight minute pace because I’m a ‘Merican Paratrooper. Every step I take is powered by hate and Mac Dre. Believe that. Later that evening I stop by the ex’s house to drop off some grocery money. I ask her to apply Neosporin to those hard-to-reach places on my back. She informs me I have no soul. I need a drink teamhighrisk verdict: Guilty Sentence: Verbal abuse and ridicule from teamhighrisk. Also, if I fuck her again, I must make her wear gloves. Turns out being a grown man with scratches isn’t a good look.
2013.06.21 04:57 bookerTmandelaMan Law Charge: Don’t Skeet Where We Eat.
Plaintiff: Coach Dean Defendant: The Statistic (myself) Plea: Not guilty; it was a different shift.
teamhighrisk will generally assemble at Waffle House the morning after “Purple Rain” has been declared. Purple Rain serves as our mantra and it’s used as a call to action. Think “Regulators, Mount Up”. It also happens to be the Boss’s favorite selection for karaoke. When these three syllables are uttered or put out in a mass text to all team members, Please Believe, it’s about to go down.
(If you stopped and asked yourself, Why Purple Rain? kill yourself. Signed, sincerely, the 80’s.) Functioning alcoholics are creatures of habit. Work, eat, drink, eat work drink. Sleep is an overrated crutch. Therefore, Waffle House serves multiple purposes for us. It has decent food, a jukebox, and the particular establishment we frequent has an amazing morning shift. It’s most vital function is that it serves as the courtroom to try our Man/G/Bro Code violations. Cases are pleaded to the unbiased jury of waitresses and cooks. The plaintiffs and defendants vary, but my routine stays the same. I put $5 in the jukebox and start with P.Y.T by Michael Jackson, followed by the Temptations and various Motown artists, every now and then throw in some Usher (yeah, I said it). Without fail, at least one chick in the joint is wet by the time I get my biscuits and gravy. The morning shift is well versed in this routine. The waitresses are semi-attractive, flirtatious and #teamhighrisk tips well, so it would be easy enough to pursue some Waffle Pu$$y. However, I’m subject to the same laws every man is: Never Skeet Where You Eat. That being said, let the record show we exclusively eat there on weekend mornings. It’s a Thursday around 6 p.m. as Coach Dean and I walk in. The establishment is empty except for two waitresses and a cook, none of whom we’ve ever seen before. (Exhibit A for the defense.) One waitress is in her early twenties, and by all accounts she’s trailer park attractive. Rated 6 out of 10. She has a habit of awkwardly dropping every racial slur imaginable. Ok, 5 out of 10. She’s also caucasian. Fine, she’s a 4. Logically, with my history of choosing the most upstanding women, I’m infatuated with her. Her response to every song I pick on the jukebox is, “OH DATZ MY SHIT RIGHT THERE”. She makes eye contact with me while mentioning she needs a drink. Naturally, I ask what time she gets off. Numbers are exchanged. We pay and leave. Coach Dean wants to scold me on our way to the car but he’s caught in a paradox. Which is worse? Cock blocking or fucking a waitress at your favorite restaurant? I pick her up around 10 p.m. and we head to the bar. I already can’t stand the sound of her voice. She’s 21 though, so fuck it. She insists I’m not getting laid. Challenge accepted. We get to the bar and she wants shots. Of course she does. I oblige and within 20 minutes she’s Kim K. on my Ray J. I immediately stop drinking. It’s a Thursday. Time check tells me I have six hours until I need to be at work. We bounce from the bar around 1 a.m. and she gives me head on the way home. I push an old school wide body and it floats naturally, but the “Young and Fellatio” is surprisingly amazing for her age and I swerve. Amateur hour. I don’t even get the whole siren from this pig. “Whoop, whoop.” Blue lights. FML… Pleasantries are exchanged between the officer and me and I’m asked to step out of the vehicle. No problem. I offer upfront to take a sobriety test and I pass. His partner is talking to “Y and F” when it dawns on me how wrong this could go. I never even asked if she had drugs on her. Fucking amateur hour, indeed. Thankfully she plays a convincing dumb white girl and they let us go. She informs me as we pull away that she extremely wet from the excitement of talking to a cop with a about an ounce of #teamhighrisk in her purse. FML… We arrive at her place. Predictably, she is loud and obnoxious, scratches, draws blood, but I can’t find the fucks to give to stop her. I leave by 4 a.m., but not before examining every inch of my car to make sure there aren’t any surprises when I pull through the guarded gate to get on post. Clean. After a quick 30-minute power nap in the parking lot I lead my platoon on a five-mile run at an eight minute pace because I’m a ‘Merican Paratrooper. Every step I take is powered by hate and Mac Dre. Believe that. Later that evening I stop by the ex’s house to drop off some grocery money. I ask her to apply Neosporin to those hard-to-reach places on my back. She informs me I have no soul. I need a drink
teamhighrisk verdict: Guilty
Sentence: Verbal abuse and ridicule from #teamhighrisk. Also, if I fuck her again, I must make her wear gloves. Turns out being a grown man with scratches isn’t a good look.
2012.11.13 08:54 TitansRiseA Return To Your Roots-November 13, 2012
“Jesus tap-dancing Christ, it is fucking cold out here,” Jamie mutters while she pulls her eyes from the spotting scope and tries to rub the life back into her fingers. Her words produce enough steam to fog the glass on the scope, and she cuts loose with another string of barely-audible expletives as she rubs her thumb against the lens so hard it looks like she’s trying to burrow a hole into it. “That’s really not good for the glass,” I say out of the side of my mouth, trying to maintain a visual on the nearly undetectable door about two hundred yards in front of us. It’s set among a wall of nearly black stone and is painted to match; even the handle is a flat black color. When she doesn’t respond I pull back from the scope and rub my eyes before looking at her. “That’s really not good for your eyes. Also, go to hell. I’m too cold for your shit. What’s the temperature, anyway?” “Not cold enough to make you shut up, so I’d guess somewhere just north of absolute zero. Besides, the cold is your friend. Just keep saying it to yourself until you believe it. The cold is your friend.” “Who are you now, Jack Frost? Is this some more of your squid stuff?” “Yeah. Hey, do you know what we do if the mantra doesn’t work?” “What?” She seems genuinely curious. That makes this next part all the sweeter. “We piss on our hands.” “Way ahead of you,” she responds with no hesitation or quiver in her voice. Damn it, I’m not sure if she’s actually peed on her hands or not. To call this a backfire would be a great injustice to plans-gone-awry the world over. “Man, you nasty,” I say while casting a furtive glance at her gloves, which look suspiciously dry and urine-free. “I hadn’t expected any snow up here at all, especially not this much. This is weird to say the least.” “Frozen hurricane, if you ask me. I feel like I’m inside a slushy machine. It wasn’t like this outside of this hollow.” “This place attracts terrible weather. We shouldn’t have to wait much longer. The roving patrol should be back soon. Unless the asshole tripped in the snow and froze to death, that is.” “I still say we should just blow the door, get whatever it is we need, and shoot our way out. There can’t be that many people in there.” “And I still say this is a no-impact op. We’re in an area that houses some of the most powerful surveillance and communications gear in the world. How far do you think we’d get if someone blew the whistle on us?” “If this is a no-impact op, why the hell are you behind a rifle?” “Bears.” “There are bears up here?” “Yeah, and be careful; they’re attracted to bitching.” “Fine. Any more fascinating trivia about this place?” “Maybe. I was born around here for starters.” “What? That’s just,” she pauses, furrows her eyebrows, and squints her eyes while thinking of how to continue, “that’s just so God damned fitting it’s almost comical. Scratch that, it’s absolutely poetic. Does this place just breed secretive government crap or is it a giant coincidence?” “I’m just a product of my environment, I suppose. I’m not a freak, I’m just nature.” “You’re about as natural as cheese on a trampoline, Mister Philosophizer. Not just any cheese, either. Augmented cheese. The shit they keep in the back because they’re afraid of what it’ll do to the customers. That’s you in a nutshell, or, in this case, a cheese rind.” Oddness aside, I find myself struggling to contain violent bursts of laughter that are spawned by the image of a cheese wheel with my face in the middle jiggling atop a trampoline. Eventually we both surrender and dissolve into sniggers that we try to muffle by burying our faces in the snow. When I raise my head, it’s only to see that Jamie is already staring at me. She wiggles her nose in an attempt to shake off the snow that’s collected there and fails. As I lift my hand to her face to brush away the ice, I can’t help but focus on how beautiful her eyes look when she blinks slowly, the snowflakes hitching rides on her eyelashes clinging on for dear death. I must have gotten lost in the moment and taken too long as she pushes her cheek into my hand. “What is it?” “Nothing,” I grunt as I pull my hand back and return my eye to the scope. The spell of the moment broken, she drops back into her previous mode, barely missing a stride. “So, any more interesting info on Whatever County, Virginia we’re freezing in right now or is this place’s only claim to fame that it served as the spawn point for the world’s biggest prick?” “Alleghany County. Yeah, this area is a hotbed for military technology that nobody is really supposed to know about, and it’s not just limited to one specific field, either. Communications gear, surveillance stuff, deployable weaponry, space warfare technology, the works. Hell, one time when I was three or four years old my dad and I stopped at a store for sandwiches and saw some V-22 Ospreys being tested nearby. They flew right over our heads and the pilots waved at us.” I stop short; the memory hit me harder than I expected it to. Asshole or not, I miss the old fart. With a sigh I clear my head and continue on, albeit at a different tangent. “The iron for the CSS Virginia came from a place nearby called Longdale Furnace or something like that. The Homestead, a super high end resort kind of place, is pretty close by. My uncle used to work there. The Greenbrier is nearby, too.” “That’s the hotel that was really a giant bomb shelter, right?” “Sure enough. Son of a bitch, this patrol should have been through here by now. I’m starting to think there isn’t one.” “Agreed. No helicopters, no jets, no tracks anywhere around here, no sound at all for several miles on the way here, all the roads have stayed snowed in. I think this place is deserted.” “Alright. Pack up; we’re moving.” We go about collecting our gear and start threading our way through the trees to get to the front of the bunker, but stop short when we see the door inch open. I drop to a knee and unsling the rifle before sighting in on the face that emerges. I breathe a sigh of relief as I get a good look at him. “What’s the deal?” “Old man, computer nerd; scared shitless. He’s by himself. Let’s pop on over for tea. Knock three times and be polite.” “Yeah, he’ll open the door if he’s by himself. Good call, Jesus.” “He’s alone, and he has been for a while if the shitty beard is any indication. He’ll be looking for support and we have enough military gear to be convincing. Plus he’s a lonely old man and you’re hot. I’ve seen that video before. I’ll let you do the talking.” “That was the most sideways compliment ever, but I’ll take it. What are you going to do, stand behind me and menace him?” “I’ll be the strong, silent type.” With a roll of her eyes she starts moving toward the door, all thoughts of stealth and slit throats left behind. With the confidence of a couple of apex predators we stride up to the door. I knock three times and step back behind Jamie who stands, arms akimbo, right in the center of the doorway. Within moments the door pops open and the same guy I had seen before pokes his head out from behind it and waits for us to say something. “Ready to go, sir?” I’ve got to give her credit; Jamie nailed that one. Her voice was light and sweet, almost coddling. It was the perfect antidote for a lonely scientist whose mind had poisoned him into believing that he was tough enough to make it out here on his own. I could tell by the hollowness of his cheeks, the bags under his eyes, and the slope of his shoulders that this guy was starving and feeling completely alone and deserted. A fake rescue mission was the perfect bait. “Go where? Who the hell are you?” “RTB. We’re going home. We’re Kilo-2, a recon unit attached to NIOC. They sent us in to get you the hell out of here. I’m Haley, and the big bastard behind me is Damon. He doesn’t say much.” The man looks at me for a moment, and I nod while keeping eye contact with him. It seems to work as his next question seems more like a formality than an actual interrogative. “How do I know you guys aren’t just out here to steal something?” I decide to step up. I lift the massive rifle so he can get a good look at it. His eyes go wide and he swallows like a cartoon character. “They aren’t selling these things at Wal-Mart, Doc. Besides, you think anybody is really just going to walk up on this damn place? I have a GPS and we still had to ask for directions.” The joke lands and he chuckles, something he probably hasn’t done in two months. He opens the door and ushers us inside. We slip through and I instinctively duck as I cross the threshold, only to feel stupid as I look up and realize that the ceiling is over fifteen feet high. The hall I’m in is just as wide as it is tall with bars of lights all along the walls, stretching for what must be hundreds of feet. The scale of this place is just silly. “What the hell are they keeping in here, aliens?” “Don’t joke about that,” he replies, only to burst into laughter when I give him a wide-eyed look. “Not actual aliens, but we do have recordings of some rather unsettling transmissions we’ve picked up in space.” “Damn space whales,” Jamie says absentmindedly as she runs her hand over the wall to her left while she stares, awestruck, at the size of the structure. “Not quite. And, to answer your question, Damon, we keep records of nearly every type of transmission you can think of here. Or we used to, at least. That all changed when the world’s population did. Some men in suits came by and systematically removed every last piece of data we had here and said they’d come back to get me. That was about a month and a half ago. They left me here with no vehicle and almost no food. They knew what they were doing. I’m surprised someone was human enough to actually send someone for me.” “There are still some good folks staying low out there, Doc. Hey, since you were a communications guru, I figure you’re a good person to ask: what is going on with this Plague thing? “No point in secrecy now, I suppose, and you look like you might be someone who could make something happen with the information.” “Meaning?” “Meaning, depending on your actual vocation, you’re either going to want to do a cartwheel or go on a killing spree when you hear what I have to say.” “I might do both. Go ahead, let’s walk and talk.” “From what I read before they sent the cleaners out here-” “Sorry to interrupt, but you’ll need to be specific here. Who, exactly, is ‘they’?” “My apologies, Damon. The NSA and a couple of the bulldogs with brass. Every branch was represented; Army, Air Force, Navy, the whole nine yards plus a quarterback sneak. Anyway, from what I got my eyes on, they wanted a small group to be infected by something they only called ‘S-16’. The test group got out of hand and the infection spiraled out of control from there. Make no mistake: they were fully planning on releasing this nightmare on the world at some point, just not this early. In my opinion, that’s the only reason it wasn’t any more lethal than it was. Too many were left alive, so they started a cleanup on certain types of people in certain areas.” “What kind of people, and in which areas?” “Fighting men and women who were the right age to resist, win, and then run off to breed and produce a bunch of hate babies that would be brought up on water that tastes like government blood. As far as areas go, well they were going after places where there was a lot of internet and cell phone activity or well documented mini-civilizations.” “Knoxville, Tennessee; what happened there? Why didn’t they storm that one early on?” “That one was strange. It seems they wanted one guy in particular there alive. Titan, or something like that.” “Any idea why?” “No, I only know that they want him more than they want global domination.” He gives me a look that I can’t decipher, then asks with all of the concern he can muster, “You aren’t thinking of trying to kill him are you, Damon?” I let out a short laugh before answering, “No. Sometimes you just have to pull for the underdog. I think I’ll try to help him out if I ever get the chance.” “You’re a good boy, then; and a smart one. This world is shaping up in favor of those considered to be the underdogs. Keep that in mind. If you ever do meet him, tell him thanks. I’ve got family down there under their protection, assuming they made it, that is.” “Roger that. I’ll let him know. We’ll stay here while you go and get your things together. Pack light, the trip out of here is no joke. If we have a clear schedule, we may just take you on down to Knoxville ourselves.” The old man gives me a look that borders on wistful before nodding and tottering off farther down the passageway and making a right. “Are you seriously going to try to take him with us?” I turn, surprised by Jamie’s tone, but find myself unable to meet her gaze. “Yeah, I am. The old bastard stood by his post even when he knew it would kill him. He deserves an extraction after that,” I mutter while rubbing the toe of my boot against an imaginary scuff on the floor. “You know he won’t make it out of here. Even if he wasn’t starved he wouldn’t have a chance in this weather. We don’t have much food and the roads may be too icy to drive on.” “So I’ll wrap the geezer up in a blanket and carry him out.” “Mace, even you can’t make that work. It won’t just kill him, it’ll kill you both.” “I’ll make it work. Are we done here?” She relents and takes a step back. “Sure thing, Petty Officer. Whatever you say.” I sigh as I turn on my heel and stalk off down the hallway in search of the man. “I’ve got all the time in the world and I still don’t have time for this shit.” I take a right at the same place the old man did and walk for a few seconds before I see a room on the left. The door is standing open so I stick my head in and look around. It’s some type of living quarters. On top of the neatly made bed in the corner is a single piece of paper. I pick it up and scan the chicken scratch before darting out into the hallway and running a short distance, only to come up on a four way intersection. I stop and listen for any sound that would indicate someone running away, but hear nothing. I look at the note again and give up on the chase. There’s no way I can find the old man now. He’s gone, just like I should have been about five minutes ago. I retrace my steps and return to where Jamie is still waiting, leaning against the wall like she has nothing better to do than wait to tell me I’m stupid. I walk past her and hand her the note. “Don’t worry about it. He’s gone,” I say while heading for the door. “What?” She cuts herself off as she looks down at the note. “Oh, God damn; come on, you know he was dead whether he went with us or not. Where are you going?” She runs after me after pocketing the note, and when she catches up to me she asks again, “Hey! Where are you going?” “Home. There’s nothing here.” I open the door and immediately hear the sounds of several engines approaching our position. They’re relatively small, most likely ATV engines. “Let’s go; no time!” I take off in a sprint in a straight line from the door. After about a hundred yards the engines are behind us and still heading for the door. “Hold up, tracks.” I look around for a moment, reach up and grab a pine branch, draw the tomahawk, and slice the limb off with a swipe. “Go in front of me. At that tree up ahead, you spread out left and I’ll go right. We’ll meet back up on the far side of the clearing. Go, now!” “Alright. Keep your head down. If they break on you, fucking shoot. I’ll drop down and cover. Shoot and move, dig in, cover me, rinse, and repeat.” “Roger that. Don’t hit the ATVs; we’ll need those if they find us.” She nods and, without another word, turns and launches into a sprint. She’s covering ground at track star-pace, snow flying up behind her boots and breath coming out in bursts of steam. Reassured that at least she’ll get away, I draw the MP7 on my thigh and flick the safety off. I keep the weapon in one hand, turn my back to my objective, and set off in a crouched, backwards run while dragging the branch to obscure my tracks and throw off any pursuit. A few hundred feet into my run, I hear a voice drag itself over the snow and through the sleet to fall flat on my ears. “Drop the branch. It isn’t worth the effort.” I do as I’m told, but not out of fear, merely so I can pivot and line up the weapon’s sights on the speaker’s forehead. I expect to be looking down the barrel of an M4 but instead I’m greeted by the outline of a mountain of meat wearing a watch cap and sweater, both in black, with a snow-covered SCAR-H resting across his knees. “Who the hell are you? Start talking or start bleeding.” “Lower the weapon. I’m a friendly. The guys on those ATVs aren’t, though. I’m Tyson, formerly Marine Expeditionary Unit.” He unfolds his legs and rises to his feet, shrugging a pair of enormous shoulders to remove a layer of snow. I’m a big dude but sweet Christ this guy looks like a defensive end for the 49ers. “Nice sweater. Who are you?” “Mace. I used to be a SEAL.” “Which team?” “All of the ones you know of plus about seven more.” “Impressive. A jack of all trades, then; my kind of man. Ever go out for Delta?” “No. I wasn’t allowed to sit at the cool kids’ table at lunch.” “Neither was I. Apparently I’m too fat. Alright, if you want to get out of here then follow me. I know this place like the back of my hand. Or, you know, the palm.” Despite the circumstances, I chuckle at the deadpan declaration. “I think I catch your drift. We’re going to have another shooter once we meet back up.” “That’s fine. Look, you lead the way to the rally point, we’ll hook up with your shooter, and then I’ll lead us out. Hold on a second.” He puts two fingers to his ear, probably pressing on an earpiece, and nods to himself a few times. The fingers drop down to his collar and he says, “Roger that. On me, Arson; we’ve got a package. Yeah, there are two. Yeah, let’s get them out of here.” He removes his hand and looks back at me. “Let’s get moving. Those hunters aren’t going to be confused for long. We’ll hook up with Arson after we rally on your partner.” “Alright. Let’s see what those big legs can do,” I say while turning away and putting the pedal to the metal. Surprisingly, he’s keeping up with me so I give it all I’ve got and run flat-out for the rally point in the distance. I see Jamie with her rifle raised and lift my hand to wave her off, only to get passed by the behemoth. We slide up to the tree and take a moment to catch our breath. “Is this your teammate? Prettier than I expected.” “Yeah. Jamie, this is Tyson, former Marine. Tyson, Jamie. She used to be an EOD in the Army.” “EOD? Many thanks, you guys pulled my ass out of the fire more than a few times. Let’s hit it.” And with that, he was gone; the most graceful wrecking ball you could ever hope to see barreling through the forest, dodging the limbs he could and smashing through those he couldn’t. She stares after him for a second with unease plastered across her face. “What do they feed that thing?” “I don’t know. Old cars, maybe. It doesn’t matter; let’s move.” I take off, Jamie right behind me, in pursuit of the leviathan. After a few minutes of running, we cut around a large rock face and come upon Tyson and his partner, who I assume is Arson, crouched down, under an overhang, around a row of foot lockers that show signs of being buried until very recently. Several are open and they’re busy stuffing food, NVGs, satchel charges, coat liners, ammunition, PDWs, and detonators into packs. Tyson turns and waves us into the overhang. “We’re going to get you out, but we’re going to have to fight our way out. Plus, we’ll take advantage of having some extra hands and cut down some more of these assholes. Is that alright with you guys?” “Sure thing. These guys are Corporation, right?” “Yeah, they’re containment specialists that have been trying to track us down for a while now. Before you ask why, it’s because we’ve been bleeding their forces since everything went south in June.” “Okay,” Jamie cuts in, “but why here? Aren’t there better places for guerrilla warfare?” “Not really. When you go guerrilla, you fight in the places you know. I was born here. Where the hell else am I supposed to go?” Jamie gives me a sideways glance and I stare at Tyson, suddenly remembering a face that looks a hell of a lot more boyish than the granite form in front of me. “Tyson my ass; Danny Marzjiack, you son of a bitch!” Danny’s eyes go wide as he tilts his head to the side and stares at me through brand new eyes. Recognition hits him like a hammer. “I’ll be damned. The Mace I knew was a fat little bastard that didn’t know how to whistle. What the hell is this?” Before I know it, I’m trapped in the bear trap embrace of a body that feels more like it belongs to a gargoyle than a guy I used to know. “Danny, let go, man. You’re killing me. You’re killing me to death and I don’t like it.” I can hear Jamie in the background, complaining to no one in particular. “Seriously? Everywhere we go. Mister Popular just steals the damn show. Here’s a question for you: is there anyone in the world you don’t know?” Danny releases his death grip and when I recover enough breath to be an asshole again, I launch right into it. “I’m sure there has to be at least one person that doesn’t love me; maybe the Grinch or something. You could be popular, too. You know, if you had a better attitude.” “Shove it. So, what? Were you guys little football buddies or something?” “It was baseball, but yeah more or less. We can have the reunion later. We need to get moving.” “Right, here’s the plan-” Danny starts before he looks us over and gives us a small grin. “Fuck plans. We’re going hunting.” He passes us a pack each and nods to Arson before they drift out of the camp, if it can be called that, and disappear into the snow. “You should have made a run for president,” Jamie pokes while we go about combining the contents of the new packs with the ones we were already carrying. “Nah, I have a thing against kissing babies. And ass.” “What about babies’ asses? It cancels out.” “I don’t think that how this math works,” I mumble while wrenching the bolt on the Savage and catching the massive shell that flies out in one hand. “We’re going to hold them off, away from us, and let me send a few of these bad boys down range. I don’t think these guys have the nuts to stand in front of a .338 Lapua Magnum; especially after they see what one does to a soft target. If it gets out of hand, start working that M4. Visibility is about 250 yards, so if you can see them then you can aerate them.” I stare at the shell for a moment, catching my reflection in its casing, before dropping the magazine and stuffing the round back inside with the others. I set the rifle down along with my pack and pull my mask from its nest within before peeling the watch cap from my head and securing the mask in place. I return the contents and put everything back to normal and turn to Jamie, with the mask still rotated up away from my face, and give her a smile born from bloodlust. She returns it and says, “Bare your teeth, baby.” I lower the mask and consider saying something deep and thought provoking, but scrap it before it ever really gets going. “Yes ma’am.” Without another word, we trudge off through the snow, guns up, in search of our prey. A few tense minutes pass without any surprises and soon enough I halt us and scope up on Danny who is standing with his back pressed into a tree and a grim look on his face. He lifts his right hand and extends two fingers before turning his hand sideways and dragging it across his throat. He lifts his rifle and peers at me through the ACOG. I give him a thumbs-up before tapping my scope and dragging my fingers across my throat. I look back and he returns my gesture, signaling that he understands that while he’s doing the wet work I’ll be running counter-sniper operations. “Jamie, eyes peeled. This is great territory for sniping. It might get interesting.” “I doubt it. These guys like to get up close and personal. Remember Knoxville?” “Sure. Still, better safe than sorry; besides, Danny can hold his own.” She chews her lip for a moment before deciding that she has a worthy question. “Do you know why he introduced himself as Tyson?” “Boxing. We were both into it when we were young and Tyson has always been his favorite.” “I can see why. What about you? Who is your favorite?” “Duk Koo Kim.” “I don’t recognize that name, which is surprising,” she says with a chuckle. “Why him? What did he do?” “He died after fighting Ray Mancini. He went into a coma right after the fight was stopped and died four days later. His mother committed suicide after the fight. So did the referee. He changed the boxing world forever. It’s so much safer now than it was then,” I say before trailing off while thinking of all of the friends I made while boxing, and how many of them are now just as dead as Kim. I look over and she’s staring at me as if she expects me to continue, so I oblige. “He was before my time but I remember watching the film of that fight. It was haunting. I could only watch it once. In the last round, Mancini hit him with two of the hardest right hands I’ve ever seen, and Kim just collapsed at the ropes. Then, from out of nowhere, he starts pulling himself up, climbing the ropes, while he was dying. It was one of those larger than life moments. Yeah. Larger than life but smaller than death.” Jamie looks away from me before turning her gaze on the ground. I wait a moment to give her the chance to say something, but as soon as it becomes obvious that she has nothing to say right now, I try to save the situation. I stand and pull her up by her arm. “Come on, the fighting is probably over already.” We walk in silence until we run into Danny and Arson; both leaned over a body, searching it with great care. Danny looks up at me and smiles. “That was easy. They never knew we were here. They were busy trying to figure out the track patterns. Thanks for that and the rifle cover, Mace.” “No problem, Danny,” I say mechanically, the words coming forth without any perceptible direction from my brain. “We’ll be in there,” I say while pointing to the door for the bunker we came from earlier. He furrows his eyebrows at me and rolls his head to the side but thinks better of asking the question. “Roger that. We’ll clean up here and meet up with you guys after a while.” I nod and Jamie and I trundle off to the warmth of the bunker. “Come on,” I say while striding down the main hallway, “there’s a bed in here and I’m cold, tired, and sore. Plus I’m hungry. Food and sleep sounds like Heaven right now.” To say that I’m babbling to make up for the fact that she’s been silent since the boxing conversation wouldn’t be totally accurate, but it would be close. Realizing that I’m not someone who can win that kind of battle, I knock it off and wait for an opportunity. We walk into the living quarters I found earlier and she sits on the bed while I pull some of the food out of our packs and go about placing it on the small table in the corner. I look around the room and wonder how a man who wasn’t trained could handle living here for so long. The walls were bare and grey, the floor was the same, and even the furniture was bland to a point that it was off-putting. I pull off the mask and stuff it back into my pack before tossing the whole thing down near the bed, pulling the table over in front of Jamie, dragging the chair over in front of her and taking a seat facing her. I spend a few seconds struggling with a package of beef jerky until a faint smile sends small wrinkles to the sides of her mouth; she shakes her head and plucks the bag from my grasp. “Thanks,” I say, returning the smile and hoping that the war of audio attrition is over. “So, are you going to tell me what’s wrong?” Her fingers freeze for a fleeting second, no longer working toward an objective. They start again but not on their previous path, now stuck doing small repetitive motions while she focuses her attention elsewhere. Even though her head is bowed, I can tell by the tiny movements of her eyelids that her eyes are darting back and forth and her breath is quicker and more shallow than normal. I decide not to force the issue, but I’m not going to change the topic and give her an easy out on this one, either. “Nothing.” I lean back and cross my arms, not as an act of disapproval but as a way to get comfortable in preparation for what appears to be a long conversation. I think twice of my posture and the message it will send and correct myself by leaning forward and sliding my hands, open and palms down, to the center of the table; neutral, but attentive. “Nothing,” I repeat. “Are you sure?” “Yes. Nothing is wrong, really, it was just-” She falters, but immediately finds the right combination of words and voice and continues, “Sometimes there are small things that show me that the situation we’re in is, well, real.” I inhale sharply but before I can continue, she cuts me off cleanly. “I know that sounds odd, but most of the time I feel like everything is a dream. It’s still hard for me to wrap my head around it. Everything, absolutely everything, is gone. I’ve moved beyond the panic portion of all of this, but I guess I’m stuck in the reminiscing part. Plus, I think I got a little jealous of you.” “Me? I can’t imagine why.” “Come on, Mace. Everywhere you go, people treat you like some sort of mini-celebrity or something. 99 percent of the people we’ve come across have instantly fallen in love with you. Don’t think I’ve forgotten what Jones said when she met you, or that I don’t see the way she looks at you when you say or do anything. Also, for a post-apocalyptic setting you sure have a lot of old friends still walking around out there. The odds of a childhood friend surviving, much less running into you, are pathetic. It’s not that any of this really bothers me, but-” Once again she diverts her gaze, but this time it doesn’t return for the rest of her statement. “I’ve thought of you a lot, and always with the term ‘larger than life’ in the back of my mind since pretty much the first day we met, and when you said all of that about being larger than life but smaller than death, it shook me.” Now it’s my turn to lower my gaze. I stare at my fingers and pray that they’ll send me the answer through sign language, but the little bastards don’t give me any help. “Jamie, I’m-” “Don’t. Don’t say you’re sorry. You’ve done nothing wrong, and I don’t want you to feel like you have.” I don’t know where to go from this point, so I fall back on the old standby. “So what do you want me to do?” “What you’ve been doing all along. I couldn’t ask for more.” She slides her hands onto mine and lets them rest there for a moment before deciding that’s not good enough and working them under mine until we’re holding hands. She looks down at the pairing before she raises her eyes. I see them wander over my face before they meet mine. “You’re the best man I’ve ever met, even before the world tore itself apart. I’m not saying I’d give up without you around, but you are the thing that keeps me going.” I feel a wave of cold heat rush over me and I actually feel a little light-headed after that. Every drop of sweat, every spurt of blood, every personal comfort sacrificed for the greater good just became worth it. I give her hands a squeeze and say with a slowness that borders on exaggerated, “Don’t you ever believe that doesn’t work both ways.”
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