Twenty-seven-year-old Omaha, Nebraska, resident Erin Duffy has never had – or even wanted – a credit card.

“I’ve been able to get along without it,” she says, attributing the choice to ambivalence and a wariness of plastic her parents fostered in her during her formative years. “I’ve liked being able to pay for things as I go, not having to worry about missing a bill.”

Duffy’s decision to live without credit cards is more common than you may think. A whopping 63 percent of millennials (ages 18 to 29) don’t have a credit card, according to a survey commissioned by Bankrate and compiled by Princeton Survey Research Associates International.

Comparatively, only 35 percent of adults 30 and over don’t have credit cards.

There are, admittedly, external factors influencing the statistics. An April 2014 Gallup poll found Americans’ reliance on credit cards, in general, has declined steadily since the Great Recession. Moreover, the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009, or CARD Act, made it harder for anyone under 21 to get a credit card.

There’s also a more straightforward reason why a majority of millennials aren’t carrying the payment method: Many, like Duffy, just don’t want credit cards.

“I don’t really feel like there’s a need for one in the way I live my life,” says Melissa Pileiro, a 24-year-old resident of Vineland, New Jersey. “The idea with a credit card is you’re essentially putting money down that you don’t have.”

Like many members of her demographic, Pileiro is perfectly content with her debit card, a payment method whose existence has eaten into the credit card’s market share.

Millennials “grew up in a world where the economy was tanking,” says David Pommerehn, senior counsel with the Consumer Bankers Association. “There was great concern about jobs and debts and paying off bills.”

At the same time, college costs – and subsequently student loans – have ballooned. According to the Project for Student Debt, student debt increased an average of 6 percent each year from 2008 to 2012, with college graduates from 2012 having an average student loan debt of $29,400.

Nobody cares David

Our senior price at Box Office went up 25 cents and now costs $9.75. This elderly couple bought two tickets so of course the total came to $19.50 and they realized it went up. The husband is infuriated and screams at me after the transaction saying “if I ever have to pay $20 for our damn tickets then you will lose a customer!” Before I could even say anything his wife was already walking away and said “David she only works here she doesn’t care if you don’t come back!” 😂😂😂

“he sounds like neil but he doesn’t look like him.”

@frxnkenstein and ayah wanted this out there so

this shade of red looked familiar.

david gathered his striker in his arms and closed the door with his hip. hair burrowed its way under his chin as he walked towards his apartment.

it bothered him. not just the memory at the tip of his tongue, teetering over the edge, but also the weight in his arms. or lack thereof. athletes should weigh more.

in his junior and senior years, david coached the baltimore little leagues. little children running around in borrowed gear, bringing the community together. he realized his dreams twenty-five years ago, letting children play non-contact exy in soccer fields made to look like exy fields, let them forget what brought them to the streets he’d belonged to not so long before he started coaching.

on the fifth year of its existence, gear was hard to come by, especially with teams from the inner city. since it was non-contact, children made do with the lack of helmets.

this shade of red looked familiar and it was bothering him.

the back liner that insisted on playing shirts on a practice scrimmage, looking ecstatic every time he blocked a shot, even though wymack had to reprimand him not to tackle the strikers. his mother thanking him for letting her son enjoy the game, even just for practice. the bags under her eyes were more purple than dark.

it wasn’t easy to move around with someone unconscious in his arms, but in his last few years coaching the foxes, he’d grown used to it. david put his striker down on the couch once he got there. the bleeding had started halfway into their trip but abby’s reminder nagged at him. neil didn’t like to undress in front of people.

he grabbed his bottle of scotch and waited.

it didn’t take long enough, and it wasn’t a sudden thing. neil’s eyes moved under his eyelids, his breaths hitching like his body was remembering its injuries by the second. wymack took another swig and put the bottle down on the table.

neil opened his eyes.

that shade of blue.

neil said, “i’m sorry.”


David Kenyon Webster Senior page and club photo from The Taft School ‘40 yearbook.

                David Kenyon Webster

                33 Millard Avenue,

                Bronxville, New York

In the three years that Ken has been here at Taft he has gained the respect of his masters and classmates with his quiet and studious manner. He never gets upset over the little things that bother most of us. Web has shown that he has an eye for business and does it in a very efficient way. He has an unusual liking for sailing vessel. If you were to drop in his room some quiet afternoon, you would most likely find him lost in a pile of shavings that are scraps from the boat he is at the present building. He has a “Stick-to-itive-ness” and “never-give-up” Attitude, which he has shown in his wrestling that will undoubtedly bring him happiness and success at Dartmouth as well as in later life.

                  Three years in School

“Ken”, “Web”                    Alpha

Second Team Wrestling ’40; Track Squad ’39, ’40; All-Club Football ’40; German Cub ‘40

Coming Home

A/N: An anon request for a fic where the reader is Hotch’s daughter that he and Haley gave up for adoption because they had her in their last year of high school. One day, the reader ends up obtaining a position with the BAU and revealing herself as their daughter.  Also Y/B is your birthday.


“Aaron, I can’t do this! How am I supposed to let her go?”

As the young Aaron Hotchner looked down at this little girl that they’d created, just at the wrong time, a tear trickled down his cheek. “We can’t give her what she needs right now, Haley. Keeping her would be…selfish.”

A choking gasp escaped her, causing the sleeping infant to stir. “I know,” she breathed. “It’s not fair. What if she thinks we didn’t love her? What if this couple ends up being horrible parents? What if-?” Aaron watched helplessly as Haley broke down in tears. They’d done everything right; they’d practiced safe sex every single time, and yet this little girl still happened, and now they had to say goodbye, for her sake more than theirs. 

“We’ve looked into the Fosters every which way they can. They want her. They want to love her. They have the money to give her everything we can’t.” He was trying to console her, and it looked like it was working, but inside, every word he spoke broke down his resolve, especially because she was sleeping so peacefully in his arms. 

Haley reached out, desperate to clutch the sleepy bundle for just a few more moments before she left her sight for good. “It’s a closed adoption…we’re…we’re never gonna see her again.” 

“The Fosters said they would tell her when she gets older and allow her to make her own decision.” Aaron prayed her beautiful eyes, the ones that she’d inherited from her mother, would grace his life at another point in time. 

They were young - too young to give their daughter everything she deserved, but in his 16 years of life, he’d never felt this kind of love. Hopefully one day, he’d be able to tell her in person just how heart-wrenching this decision had been. Hopefully, she’d know how much she was loved.

“Welcome to the BAU, Agent Foster,” Chief Strauss said as she extended her hand toward the young woman. 

Agent Y/N Foster had worked for years to get here - for two reasons. One, ever since she was a little girl, she’d been the protector. There was nothing she wanted more than to stick up for the people who couldn’t do so for themselves. The second reason? Well that was a bit more complicated. After learning at the age of 16 that she was adopted, she’d sought out every avenue at her disposal to find out who her biological parents were. Four years later, she found them. Now it was three years after the fact and she was here, plucked straight from the Academy to be a part of her father’s team. Every time she’d come in for an interview, he hadn’t been there; she was interviewed by Chief Strauss, David Rossi and another senior agent, Emily Prentiss, but she had yet to meet him.

Would he recognize her?

It’s been 23 years, she thought to herself. Why would he? 

Did he even want to see her? She had been given up after all. Maybe he didn’t want to see her. 

As Chief Strauss led her to her boss’s (and more importantly, father’s) office, she felt the bile rise in her throat. Through all her research, she found that she looked very much like her biological mother with just a slight mix of her father. 

The knocking on the door seemed to take place in slow motion and then she heard him - in person. Y/N had found videos and heard him before, but she’d never heard him in person before and nearly broke down right there. As the door opened, she swallowed her emotions and followed Chief Strauss. “Agent Hotchner, this is your new team member, Agent Y/N Foster.”

“Hello Agent Foster,” he greeted without taking his eyes off his paper. “I’ll be with you in one moment.”

Chief Strauss smiled. Apparently, her father was typically knee-deep in paperwork. “I’ll leave you to get to know your new agent considering you weren’t able to meet before.”

Seconds after Chief Strauss left the room, Agent Hotchner lifted his head from the desk. His face fell as their eyes met. “Agent Foster,” he greeted again, as he stood up. “I-It’s nice to meet y-you.”

Did he know?

This was not the calm, cool and collected man she’d been exposed to in videos. 

“It’s nice to meet you too,” she breathed. She wanted to hug him; she wanted to walk right into his arms. More than anything, she wanted to ask why she’d been given away, but all she could do was cry. 

A tear escaped her eye and fell to the floor before she could catch it. “Sorry. It’s a big day for me.”

“Me too,” he said. “At least, I think it is.”

“Why?” She asked. She wanted to give him the opportunity to bring it up; if he didn’t, she’d find out another way to go about telling him of their connection.

As he sat down, he pulled his jacket tighter, his eyes never leaving hers. “I-I-I…I’m sorry. I’m normally not the type of person to ask invasive questions and please feel free not to answer if you’re uncomfortable, but your eyes…they remind me of someone else’s…were you adopted?”

“Yes, sir.”

“When were you born?”

“I was born in Manassas, Virgina on Y/B.”

“Do you know who your birth parents are?”

Her lip quivered as she nodded her head. “I believe you might too. My birth mother’s name is Haley Brooks, and my father…is Aaron Hotchner.”

Tears sprung to his eyes as his beliefs were apparently confirmed. “You’re so…beautiful.” He didn’t try to hide himself as he walked toward the blinds and pulled them closed. “Can I…?”

Y/N nodded. “Yes, sir.”

Her father strode across the room and wrapped his arms around her as she sobbed. “Dad?”


“Are you and mom still together?”


“Do I have any half-brothers or sisters?”

“Half-brother. His name is Jack.”

She found herself hesitating at her next question. “Why…why did you give me away?”

“We were only 16…we couldn’t give you the life you deserved. We’ve…we’ve thought of you every day…wondered if you were loved…because we loved you so much.” His arms tightened around her even more. “Will you…come meet Haley? Giving you away was the hardest thing she’s ever done, and I know…”

“Yes,” she said instantly, pulling away and wiping her tears away. “Should we get to work first? Introduce me to the team?”

Looking toward her, he could see in her eyes that she was definitely his daughter. “Absolutely. Just…give me a minute.”

A slight chuckle escaped her as she took a deep breath. “Me too.”


After getting thrown from the frying pan and into the fire, Y/N and Hotch returned to DC. For the last three days, he’d kept the knowledge that their daughter was back in their lives from his wife. “Are you ready?” He asked. Jack was at a friend’s house, so thankfully they’d have a little time alone before having to explain to Jack that he had a much older sister.

“No,” she replied honestly. “But as ready as I’ll ever be.”

“Haley! I’m home.”

A sweet, melodic sound emanated from somewhere deep within the house. “Did you bring our guest?”

“Yes,” he replied shakily.

When Haley rounded the corner, she dropped the glasses in her hands. “Oh my god…this can’t be…our…”

“Y/N,” she breathed. “My name is Y/N Foster.”

A flood of tears cascaded down Haley’s face as she approached. “You’re my…my baby girl.” Aaron stood by, eyes welling again as Haley wrapped her arms around their daughter. “You’re so beautiful.”

For nearly 20 minutes, the three of them stood in the middle of the living room, arms wrapped around each other and sobbing. “Can I ask you some questions?” Y/N asked.

“Of course,” Haley said, her hand grasping tightly to her daughter’s, afraid to let go ever again.

While they all sat down on the couch in the living room, Haley smiled at Y/N; she looked so much like her. “I asked…Dad, already, but why did you give me up? Was it hard?”

“It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” she cried, her body shaking. “I wanted to keep you, but we were so young, and keeping you would’ve been selfish. Watching the Fosters take you away was the worst thing I’ve ever experienced…did you have a happy childhood? Were they good to you?”

Y/N smiled. Her mom and dad loved her to the moon and back. “Yes, I love them. They’re amazing parents. And I wanted for nothing.” She lifted her mother’s hands to her mouth and planted a kiss on them. “I wondered for a while whether you didn’t love me and that’s why you gave me up, but I can see that’s not the case, so…thank you.”

Haley grabbed her daughter’s face and pressed a kiss to her forehead. “I’m so glad you’re okay. I’ve been so worried. Every day. D-Do you t-think that we could get to know you?”

“Please,” she said eagerly. “I know my mom and dad would like to see you again too.”

A mixture of laughs and cries emanated throughout the small house as the three continued to get to know each other. “Will you stay for dinner?”

“I’d love to,” she replied.

After 23 years, she’d found herself. There’d always been a piece of her missing, but no longer. Now she knew the truth. She’d had four loving parents. Two who’d taken her in despite the fact that she wasn’t their own, and two that had given her away with the hope she’d be given what they couldn’t provide.

@coveofmemories @jamiemelyn @sexualemobitch @unstoppableangel8 @iammostdefinitelyonfire26 @rmmalta @lukeassmanalvez @yoinkpeter @the-slytherin-ice-queen

Twice a day since the beginning of the Trump administration, a special folder is prepared for the president. The first document is prepared around 9:30 a.m. and the follow-up, around 4:30 p.m. Former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and former Press Secretary Sean Spicer both wanted the privilege of delivering the 20-to-25-page packet to President Trump personally, White House sources say.

These sensitive papers, described to VICE News by three current and former White House officials, don’t contain top-secret intelligence or updates on legislative initiatives. Instead, the folders are filled with screenshots of positive cable news chyrons (those lower-third headlines and crawls), admiring tweets, transcripts of fawning TV interviews, praise-filled news stories, and sometimes just pictures of Trump on TV looking powerful.

One White House official said the only feedback the White House communications shop, which prepares the folder, has ever gotten in all these months is: “It needs to be more fucking positive.” That’s why some in the White House ruefully refer to the packet as “the propaganda document.”

The process of assembling the folder begins at the Republican National Committee’s “war room,” which has expanded from 4 to 10 people since the GOP won the White House. A war room — both parties have one regardless of who’s in the White House — is often tasked with monitoring local and national news, cable television, social media, digital media, and print media to see how the party, its candidates or their opponents are being perceived.

Beginning at 6 a.m. every weekday — the early start is a longtime war room tradition — three staffers arrive at the RNC to begin monitoring the morning shows on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News as they scour the internet and newspapers. Every 30 minutes or so, the staffers send the White House Communications Office an email with chyron screenshots, tweets, news stories, and interview transcripts.

White House staffers then cull the information, send out clips to other officials, and push favorable headlines to a list of journalists. But they also pick out the most positive bits to give to the president. On days when there aren’t enough positive chyrons, communications staffers will ask the RNC staffers for flattering photos of the president.

“Maybe it’s good for the country that the president is in a good mood in the morning,” one former RNC official said.

Contacted by VICE News, Spicer disputed the nature of the folder. “While I won’t comment on materials we share with the president, this is not accurate on several levels,” he said in an email. Asked what about the story was inaccurate, Spicer did not respond.

Of course, every White House monitors media coverage to see how they’re being covered, and the RNC may have decided more staff was needed after the party won the White House. As the political media environment has become faster-moving and more frenzied, the efforts to follow it have also become more robust. The Obama White House usually had at least one very caffeinated point person and two others dedicated to watching Twitter, online publications, print media, and cable news, and then compile relevant clips and send them around to White House aides.

But the production of a folder with just positive news — and the use of the RNC to help produce it — seemed abnormal to former White House officials. “If we had prepared such a digest for Obama, he would have roared with laughter,” said David Axelrod, the senior adviser to Barack Obama during his first two years in the White House. “His was a reality-based presidency.”

“The RNC is always going to work to defend the White House, the administration, and its members of Congress, and our war room’s efforts help capture and drive how our team can echo that defense,” said RNC spokeswoman Lindsay Jancek.

Another current White House official said that the idea for the twice-daily ego boost came from Priebus and Spicer, who competed to deliver the folder and be the bearer of the good news. “Priebus and Spicer weren’t in a good position, and they wanted to show they could provide positive coverage,” the official said. “It was self-preservation.”

In the two-plus weeks following the departure of both Spicer and Priebus, White House officials say, the document has been produced less frequently and more typically after public events, such as Trump’s recent speech at the National Boy Scouts Jamboree in West Virginia. It’s unclear what will change, if anything, once a new White House communications director is appointed to replace the briefly tenured Anthony Scaramucci.

It’s not the first recorded instance of Trump welcoming excessive flattery.  

He frequently cites or thanks cable television hosts like Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs, and the hosts of “Fox & Friends” who cover his presidency more favorably.

And at a broadcasted Cabinet meeting in June, Trump listened contentedly as the vice president, his chief of staff, and nearly all of the 15 Cabinet secretaries heaped praise on him. Priebus took that opportunity to tell Trump: “On behalf of the entire senior staff around you, Mr. President, we thank you for the opportunity and the blessing that you’ve given us to serve your agenda and the American people.”

S5E18- The Fight

The two teams, buzzed, tired, and thrilled with the added company, had finally circled around the almost worryingly large cooler in the dimly lit warehouse. Hotch and Cooper were on opposite sides facing each other and the junior agents had instinctively taken sides with their commanders. Cooper was chortling away at Reid’s intellect curiously exploring the minds of his own agents, specifically “the Prophet,” whose unique experiences made for excellent stories for the young genius. Hotch, who had submitted to Morgan’s relentless arm twisting and had abandoned his jacket, loosened his tie, rolled up his sleeves, and had partially unbuttoned his shirt, was sitting casually on a table, his legs dangling and gently kicking Emily, who was sitting cross legged at his feet, nursing a beer.

Morgan, who was sitting, legs spread, on the floor in between the babbling Dr. Reid and the cheerful Emily Prentiss, held up his bottle towards the opposing Unit Chief. “Yo, Cooper! Do you have any good Hotch stories?”

Hotch swung his legs in the man’s direction and groaned, unable to reach him. He bored his eyes into Cooper, attempting to intimidate him into silence. “Don’t,” he warned. “He asks every senior agent we come across and I have to hear about whatever embarrassing story they tell for weeks.

Senior agent?” Cooper repeated incredulously. “Well, Aaron, if you’re going to insult an old man like that I’m afraid I’m an open book.” Hotch’s team’s eyes shot open, eager to hear tales of their leader’s junior exploits. Before their need for blackmail could be properly satiated, Cooper frowned and turned to Rossi, who was content leaning on a cement pillar and watching the young ‘uns foolish antics. “Hang on, you have more than enough stories, Dave? Why don’t you share any?”

The man shrugged. “I prefer to stay out of bullpen dramatics.”

Cooper and Emily snorted simultaneously. “Please,” Cooper said. “If I remember correctly, it was you who started all of that ‘bullpen dramatics’ in the first place.”

Rossi held up his hands. “Woah. They asked for humiliating Hotchner fables, not David’s nighttime extravaganza.”

Emily snorted again, drawing the attention of the senior profiler. “And what about you? You seem to have been keeping Mick entertained.”

The raven-haired agent scoffed. “If by ‘entertained’ you mean ‘struggling to keep him more than two feet away from me’ then you’ve got that right.” Nonetheless, she felt her ears getting hot under Hotch’s gaze.

Gina nudged the Brit in question. “Aw, Mick. You really tried going after one of Hotch’s agents?”

“Unsuccessfully,” Emily added.

“We’ll see,” Mick smirked. “This is all a part of a grander plan.”

“I’m sure,” Cooper dismissed. “But really I would like to get to know you agents better. I don’t talk to Hotch here as much as I would like and when I do he rarely talks about anything but Jack.”

Emily laughed, ducking when Hotch’s leg came swinging overhead and grabbing it, pulling to make sure it remained secure. “Of course. That does sound like him.” She deftly avoided the other leg and was saved by Morgan, who began a very odd wrestling match with Hotch’s single leg. The others pretended not to notice.

“Care to introduce yourself? I’m afraid I wasn’t present for your introductions.”

She bowed her head and raised her arm as if to curtsey. “Hello. My name is Emily Prentiss. I like to consider myself the brains and brawn in the group because I am both the smartest and the most physically capable of the team.”

Morgan rolled his eyes. “Sure, Em’. We all know it.” He released Hotch’s leg and looked at the other Unit Chief. “I’m Derek Morgan. I specialize in all things tedious and excel in all things grand.” It was Emily’s turn to roll her eyes.

Reid bobbed his head in greeting somewhat awkwardly. “I’m Doctor Spencer Reid. I have an eidetic memory and three PhD’s currently.”

“Currently?” Simms questioned. The boy shrugged and turned to the woman next to him.

“I’m Jennifer Jareau, the communications liaison for the team,” she said, the most graceful of them all.

Rossi offered his hand to Cooper, who shook it firmly. “I’m David Rossi, senior agent operating under Agent Hotchner.”

Emily tugged on Hotch’s leg, which she had wrapped her arms around and was now leaning heavily on, who groaned and continued the bit. “I’m Supervisory Special Agent Aaron Hotchner, Unit Chief of the Behavioral Analysis Unit operating out of Quantico, Virginia. I think of myself as the father of the group. Except for, of course, Emily Prentiss, whose high school photos are indicative a life preferably isolated and ostracized from civilized society.” He grunted as a surprisingly sharp set of teeth made its mark in his leg.

“Our technical analyst, Penelope Garcia, can actually get practically any information on anyone in this room,” Reid boasted about his friend. “One day she brought in a picture she’d found of Emily. Hotch wasn’t with us when we saw it, though, so Garcia probably gave him the copy-“

The genius was interrupted by a large crash as Hotch toppled on top of Emily, who shoved him off. The Unit Chief settled against a pillar and wrapped the attacking agent in a quick headlock before releasing her and allowing her to slump against his chest.

“Speaking of!” Morgan interrupted before the teams could derail the subject even more. “Humiliating Hotchner fables! I want them!”

“As do I!” JJ raised her beer.

“And I as well!” Emily reached for her beer, but was held back by Hotch, who’d wrapped her hands around her stomach in order to prevent her from participating.

“Me too!” Reid added, much to everyone’s pleasant surprise (except for Hotch, whose lethal glare was lost upon the oblivious Reid). JJ wrapped her arm around Reid’s shoulders while Morgan ruffled the kid’s hair.

“Well,” Cooper began, smiling down joyfully upon the team who looked so blissfully content. “If you insist.”

The preferred free-market plan for health care policy should be no plan whatsoever. The idea that we need a federal top-down strategy to manage a huge chunk of the economy is at the very heart of the problem. We don’t need a federal plan for health care. Yet Republicans have allowed liberals to frame the entire health insurance debate in these anti-market terms.

So the American Health Care Act, or AHCA, is obviously weak tea, falling far short of a promised free-market solution, much less a full “repeal” of Obamacare. It’s a half-measure that endeavors to fix Obamacare with small doses of deregulation while failing to repeal its core. It’s almost as if Republicans were trying to mollify their constituents and save Obamacare at the same time.

—  David Harsanyl, Senior Editor of The Federalist
BRB: dying alone with cats

The summer following my sophomore year of college, I had roommate who turned into my lover, who later that term became a vicious, wounded, pathologically lying adversary, but would ultimately become a dear friend and psychic consultant. He found humor in the most morbid and tragic circumstances. Years later, my ex in Baltimore, who found things morbid and tragic dismal and doleful, would call him “the psychic sissy.”   I pride myself on being empathetic with most people and in most situations, but sometimes it’s just too much to bear and I can do a 180 and laugh inappropriately, recalling the acerbic coping skills of my psychic sometime-suitor.  There’s also something tragically laughable about having a pathological liar as a psychic consultant.

At 46, I have a background of broken relationships that never made it to the twelve-month marker. I had my first orgasm at age 13 by a 54 year old latter-day Fulbright Scholar who was supposed to be giving me organ and harpsichord lessons at his workshop outside Boston.  This was made possible due to my mother’s schizophrenia taking center stage of most of my childhood and my father’s preference for her as his favorite child. Such was my childhood, growing up in rural Maryland with the white-flight diaspora of blue-collar Baltimore.  

I had a couple of high school crushes on other young organists that I felt most deeply but due to distance and cultural backgrounds (more observant but equally dysfunctional parents) never solidified. And then there was the psychic sissy. And then there were a couple thousand other one-hit-wonders, met in tea rooms and various and sundry places. But then, Memorial Day Weekend 1996, came *cue lights and music* my LTR with the internet.

I bought a Commodore 486 and I’ll never forget my first time logging into AOL- it were as though I had a portal to inter-dimensional travel. Shortly thereafter, I stumbled on BigBellyM4M, which led to meeting a fellow Baltimore belly hound who introduced me to Belly Builders and thus became my “maker.”  It was there I found my source and summit of my sexual engine: the gainer and encourager community.  So began my love-loathe relationship with gaining and losing and self-acceptance.

To the best of my recollection, my first erections were over bellies: the enormous old barber who maligned my towhead locks with a botched whiffle cut in an era of unisex haircuts, and the wildly adorable chubby fourth grade clarinet-playing classmate whose perfectly spherical belly resembled a lower-case cursive “s”. Following my Fulbright experiences, my desires were trained on more conventional gay attractions: slender twinks with incredibly long penises that were enshrined in gay porn of the 1980’s. I don’t think anyone in our community can forget the first time they saw SFGutMuscle’s progress pics. It’s one of those coming home moments that stays with you for the rest of your life.

Later in my time in Baltimore I had two short-lived relationships with two men named David, both of whom had bellies, played the organ, and were older than I (one 18 years or so and the other only 7 years my senior).  David No. 2 saw in me the potential to forego my shame and flaunt my belly online, so when I moved from Baltimore to Atlanta in 2000, that’s just what I did. I had my first Bearadox69 profile on Bear411, which eventually translated into my Gainrweb and Grommr profiles.  

I met Manuel the summer of 2000, when I was applying for a job in Miami, again, off BigBellyM4M on AOL. He had the most magnificent cock- he needed two hands to jack off, and I was smitten. He neglected to tell me he had HIV, knowledge I needed to request in order to obtain, but so full of cock-lust was I, that I was more than forgiving of him.  And I did love him (enough to not give out his real name here).  And maybe he had a point- you should assume that everyone is positive unless you ask otherwise.  Neither this particular omission nor any of his previous or subsequent emissions would have any negative impact on my health, thanks be to God.

He remained one of the hottest hook-ups of my life and I revisited him there a few times while I worked in Atlanta. This transitioned into a short-term long-distance relationship in the spring of 2003 which culminated in my move to Miami that August, just before Hurricane Isabel hit land. Did I mention my mother’s name was Isabelle?  Manuel and I lasted through the following March. Indignant at having to sit through yet another classical choral concert I accompanied, he broke the sun visor off the passenger’s side of my 2002 Chrysler Sebring Limited Convertible.  We really did have a lot in common, but not enough to making our relationship work. I can credit him for being, among other things, the inspiration for me crossing into the 300′s, where I’ve stayed through most of my 30′s and 40′s.

Brokenhearted, I found plenty of men to play with but no-one to love and be loved in returned. I was hired for a position in South Carolina that warrants an entire book of stories all its own, a parallel version of Savannah’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. That will likely commence in the next six months. I bought home which shared with a big 6′6″ Italian lummox who loved to cook for me, got my first laptop with a webcam and suddenly Skype was my tearoom.  And I crossed over into the mid 300′s.   

Still loveless (in the sense that I wasn’t anybody’s boyfriend nor they mine), fast-forward to September 2013 and I discovered a random Grommr profile for a chaser-encourager in Memphis with eyes that could light up a city and such a countenance that would make the archangels blush. I had to let him know how stunning he was. We had a rapid dialogue, exchanged phone numbers and Facebook profiles, and promptly forgot about each other. Or maybe we skyped and I couldn’t handle his intensity. Anyhow, I put him out of my mind (and probably blocked him on Skype) with the other men who expressed their attraction for me and whom, for whatever reasons, I simply couldn’t handle. Sometimes, nothing makes a man turn and run like expressing your admiration.

Also that fall, I received a Grommr message from a faceless profile in Edmonton, just as innocent as you please. He had seen some of my pics on Tumblr and traced them back to Grommr. He wooed me hard and in January 2014, just before I crested 400 lbs for the first time, he asked to be my valentine. That was it. I was on his hook and I had, at 44 and jaded by thousands of sexual liaisons, a Canadian virgin for my first boyfriend in 10 years, his first ever in his 19 years.

I have to hand it to Mike’s parents- they were incredibly accepting of their gay sons (identical twins).  Mike was the slightly stockier of the two: about 6’ tall with broad shoulders, smooth milky skin, dense-and-wild dirty blond hair and a big, angry uncut cock. Mike came to see me just after Easter in 2014 and then I returned the favor and went to Edmonton that June and even stayed in his home with his brother and parents. I loved him deeply, about as much as I could have loved anybody then, enough to realize how incredibly pointless our relationship was for the long haul and how much he needed to be the one to break up with me.

When he and his brother came to see me that August, I drove them to Myrtle Beach where they spent a week with online gaming friends. We then met partway so Mike and his brother could come back to my home, where his brother flew home early. The day before my birthday, Mike got on my laptop and found that I had been sharing pics with online admirers. To say Mike was the jealous type didn’t nearly assess the extent of his umbrage. He waited until the day after my birthday to break up with me, but we still had a full week together before he flew back to Edmonton.

I figured that it would be good for both of us to make the best of an awkward situation that last week.  We slept together and jacked off and fucked, but he wasn’t much on kissing after that.  He was incredibly athletic- he could do a full backflip from a standing position – and he was also an adroit swimmer.  We would swim in the pool and he would try to carry me on his back. He also was incredibly horny – constantly, since I was his first and only and he was getting his meal ticket stamped as often as he could.

The days and weeks after Mike’s final visit and in the denouement of our fated relationship brought on the deepest depression I’ve ever known.  I sought counseling and went on Wellbutrin, which proved disastrous at work.  Who should surface on Facebook, but Mr. Memphis Chaser-Encourager, who’d moved to Los Angeles with his brother 28 February 2014.  Chris could not have been a more compassionate friend, and sat through endless hours of me reliving my relationship with Mike and its lachrymal cadence. He was also in the throws of negotiating the termination of his first long-term relationship, oddly enough, with a gainer whom I found wildly attractive.  

In the sullied and rumpled world of relationships, there are rarely clean breaks. But Chris came to see me 3 November 2014 after visiting Memphis on a Fall break. He warrants a story all his own that would be told without the veil of pseudonym for the widest audience possible. You can get the unfiltered prologue here. What followed our first “date week” together is, and will be, the reason I’ll not die alone with cats.   





Chomsky was right: We do have a "grammar" in our head

A team of neuroscientists has found new support for MIT linguist Noam Chomsky’s decades-old theory that we possess an “internal grammar” that allows us to comprehend even nonsensical phrases.

“One of the foundational elements of Chomsky’s work is that we have a grammar in our head, which underlies our processing of language,” explains David Poeppel, the study’s senior researcher and a professor in New York University’s Department of Psychology. “Our neurophysiological findings support this theory: we make sense of strings of words because our brains combine words into constituents in a hierarchical manner—a process that reflects an ‘internal grammar’ mechanism.”

The research, which appears in the latest issue of the journal Nature Neuroscience, builds on Chomsky’s 1957 work, Syntactic Structures (1957). It posited that we can recognize a phrase such as “Colorless green ideas sleep furiously” as both nonsensical and grammatically correct because we have an abstract knowledge base that allows us to make such distinctions even though the statistical relations between words are non-existent.

Neuroscientists and psychologists predominantly reject this viewpoint, contending that our comprehension does not result from an internal grammar; rather, it is based on both statistical calculations between words and sound cues to structure. That is, we know from experience how sentences should be properly constructed—a reservoir of information we employ upon hearing words and phrases. Many linguists, in contrast, argue that hierarchical structure building is a central feature of language processing.

In an effort to illuminate this debate, the researchers explored whether and how linguistic units are represented in the brain during speech comprehension.

To do so, Poeppel, who is also director of the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics in Frankfurt, and his colleagues conducted a series of experiments using magnetoencephalography (MEG), which allows measurements of the tiny magnetic fields generated by brain activity, and electrocorticography (ECoG), a clinical technique used to measure brain activity in patients being monitored for neurosurgery.

The study’s subjects listened to sentences in both English and Mandarin Chinese in which the hierarchical structure between words, phrases, and sentences was dissociated from intonational speech cues—the rise and fall of the voice—as well as statistical word cues. The sentences were presented in an isochronous fashion—identical timing between words—and participants listened to both predictable sentences (e.g., “New York never sleeps,” “Coffee keeps me awake”), grammatically correct, but less predictable sentences (e.g., “Pink toys hurt girls”), or word lists (“eggs jelly pink awake”) and various other manipulated sequences.

The design allowed the researchers to isolate how the brain concurrently tracks different levels of linguistic abstraction—sequences of words (“furiously green sleep colorless”), phrases (“sleep furiously” “green ideas”), or sentences (“Colorless green ideas sleep furiously”)—while removing intonational speech cues and statistical word information, which many say are necessary in building sentences.

Their results showed that the subjects’ brains distinctly tracked three components of the phrases they heard, reflecting a hierarchy in our neural processing of linguistic structures: words, phrases, and then sentences—at the same time.

“Because we went to great lengths to design experimental conditions that control for statistical or sound cue contributions to processing, our findings show that we must use the grammar in our head,” explains Poeppel. “Our brains lock onto every word before working to comprehend phrases and sentences. The dynamics reveal that we undergo a grammar-based construction in the processing of language.”

This is a controversial conclusion from the perspective of current research, the researchers note, because the notion of abstract, hierarchical, grammar-based structure building is rather unpopular.

FLYING SKY HIGH is a oc small group set in the sky high universe. high in the heavens above lies a school like no other – an airborne institute for teenagers with super powers. while sky high prides itself on raising the next generation of superheroes and sidekicks, every so often there are the black sheeps – supervillains who defy the very principles that were ingrained in them. but before their fate is sealed on them, there is the beginning. there is high school.

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A Hero For The Arts And Sciences: Upcoming Marvel Covers Promote STEAM Fields
The five covers feature the company's heroes — including Spiderman, Iron Man, and the Hulk — all engaging in activities educators have been trying to promote.

Last week, the publisher unveiled the last of five special covers featuring disciplines that guide school curricula nationwide — Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math, also known as STEAM. It’s part of an effort, the company says, to encourage young readers to double-down on their studies and explore fields said to lead to better jobs.

“We plan to continue to motivate our fans to explore their passions in the fields of science, technology, engineering, art, and math and present these disciplines through some of our favorite young heroes who are doing just that — following their dreams and preparing for the challenges that await them ahead,” David Gabriel, Senior VP for Sales & Marketing of Marvel Comics said in a statement.

GKIDS Acquires Studio Ghibli's Animated 'Only Yesterday'
A 25th anniversary release is planned for early 2016.

Indie animation distributor GKIDS has entered into a distribution agreement with Japan’s Studio Ghibli for the North American rights to Only Yesterday from studio co-founder and Academy Award nominee Isao Takahata (The Tale of The Princess Kaguya). GKIDS reported that the film has never before been released in North America, and a theatrical release is planned for early 2016, coinciding with the film’s 25th anniversary.

The film explores the drama and humor of everyday life through Taeko, an unmarried 27-year-old, who while traveling to visit her family recalls memories of her childhood. An English-language version is being produced by the studio’s Geoffrey Wexler with a voice cast that includes Daisy Ridley (Star Wars: The Force Awakens), Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire, Best Exotic Marigold Hotel), Ashley Eckstein (Star Wars Rebels) and Alison Fernandez (Orange is the New Black).

Studio Ghibli was founded by Takahata and Hayao Miyazaki (who received an honorary Oscar at last year’s Governors Awards, and also won a competitive Oscar for his feature Spirited Away). The studio has a history of working with GKIDS on distributing its highly-regarded library; this has included the North American releases of its Oscar nominated Princess Kaguya and the recently released When Marnie Was There (which Miyazki has said would be the studio’s last feature).

“With this 25th anniversary release [of Only Yesterday], a broad new audience will now be able to discover what passionate supporters have known for years,” said David Jesteadt, GKIDS’ senior vp distribution. “Only Yesterday is a groundbreaking classic, and further demonstration of Isao Takahata’s incredible legacy as a filmmaker.”

The deal, negotiated by GKIDS’ Eric Beckman and Studio Ghibl’s Wexler, also gives GKIDS the non-theatrical, home video and television rights in North America.

Since 2009, GKIDS has scored six best animated feature Oscar nominations including Princess Kaguya. Current and upcoming releases include 2014 Annecy winner Boy and the World from director Alê Abreu, and Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet, from director Roger Allers and producer Salma Hayek.