the greatest event in the history of the world

10 years ago: The Chris Benoit double murder-suicide
[June 25th, 2017]

It was Sunday, June 24th, 2007. I was at a Buffalo Wild Wings with my ex-girlfriend and a friend of mine as we’d gathered monthly to watch the WWE pay per view. On this instance, it was Vengeance: Night Of Champions, an event where CM Punk would be battling Chris Benoit to determine the new ECW World Heavyweight Champion, a title that had been vacated by Bobby Lashley. As the event went on, it was announced that John Morrison would be replacing Benoit, with little explanation given as to why Benoit wasn’t on the show.

The next day, as I was driving home from work, my friend Brandon (who I’d watched the pay per view with the night before) called to tell me the news: Chris Benoit was dead. As I sat at a stoplight only minutes from my house, I remember crying immediately. Benoit wasn’t just a favorite wrestler of mine, but an inspiration to work harder, to never give up, to persist in the face of adversity, and to chase every dream you have, regardless of whether or not they’re attainable. I remember a video package the WWE had released for Benoit featuring the Finger Eleven song “One Thing”. This song still stands as one of my biggest inspirations as I recall how hard Benoit worked in wrestling.

What made this death that much more of a shock to me was that only weeks earlier, Benoit had wrestled at an Ohio Valley Wrestling event that I was at. He was very personable, smiling at anyone who approached him and happy to speak with anybody who had questions. This is a photo snapped that day:

I watched Raw that night as Vince McMahon, who only a week earlier had been “blown up” in a limousine, stood solemnly in a ring that stood in an empty arena, speaking about Benoit as the episode showcased Benoit’s finest moments in the ring. The episode was originally supposed to be a 3-hour memorial tribute to McMahon. Throughout the night, different wrestlers spoke on their fallen friend, some very upset and downtrodden, but it seemed that some knew the grisly details where others hadn’t. Two testimonials that stood out to me were Chavo Guerrero Jr.’s, and a very grim one from William Regal:

Regal seemed to lead on that he knew more about the situation, as he neglected to comment on Benoit the man, but rather on Benoit the wrestler. As the week unfolded, details surrounding Benoit’s death came to light and showed that Chris, his wife Nancy (formerly known as Woman in ECW and WCW), and his youngest son Daniel were all found dead in the home that they shared in Atlanta, Georgia. According to the autopsy, Nancy was murdered first, bound at the feet and wrists. She died of asphyxiation on Friday, June 22nd, and was found wrapped in a towel with blood under her head and a bible placed next to her bed. According to the autopsy on Daniel, he had died on Saturday morning as he lay in bed, again with a bible placed next to him, with Benoit himself dying on Sunday, having used a weight machine to break his own neck as a bible lay on the weight machine.

Although that’s the official cause of death listed for each of those involved, there are a lot of details that have been ignored following the incident. For example, several voicemails were left by Benoit to wrestler Chavo Guerrero Jr. and WWE official Brad Armstrong, both of whom stated that Benoit seemed “off”. Chavo later told that he had spoken to Benoit, who claimed that he’d missed his flight and wouldn’t be appearing at Vengeance: Night Of Champions, and was stressed out due to Nancy and Daniel having food poisoning. On Sunday morning, between 3:51 and 3:58am, several texts were sent to co-workers and fellow wrestlers from both Chris and Nancy’s cell phones, stating that the dogs were in the enclosed pool area, and that the garage side door had been left open. A call was also placed to WWE officials by Benoit, who alleged that he was taking his family to the hospital and would be in Houston for the event.

According to Nancy’s sister, Sandra, Benoit’s computer history included “ the quickest and easiest way to break a neck”. When WWE official John Laurinaitis contacted the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department to check on the family, the police notified the WWE around 4:15pm to say that three bodies had been found, and that the home was ruled as “a major crime scene”.

Several motives have been listed for the crime, such as Benoit’s mental state being so deteriorated due to years of head trauma that his brain “resembled an 85-year-old Alzheimer’s patient”. Steroids were also listed as a potential lead for the cause, as “roid rage” has been prevalent for years among athletes, but as several wrestlers have stated since the incident, “how many baseball players have killed their wife and kid?” It’s also noted that steroid rage usually leads to “rage, not deliberation”, which leads to the question of why Nancy’s arms and legs had been bound. It’s been stated by Benoit’s peers that he was immensely paranoid, often traveling different routes from the airport to get to his home in order to evade potential followers. Several wrestlers have claimed that Benoit would have two sides: one that would lash out at you, and another that would be your best friend, with the events of the day dictating which one you spoke to. Brad Armstrong, however, stated that Benoit “never said a cross word to anybody”.

In 2003, Nancy had filed for divorce, citing “domestic abuse”, but the divorce was dropped and the two continued to be married until their deaths. Hardcore Holly would later state in his autobiography that Benoit would drink heavily when issues with Nancy would arise, which several wrestlers later confirmed. As more details surrounding the Benoit case arose, the WWE issued the following statement on SmackDown:

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Last night on Monday Night Raw, the WWE presented a special tribute show, recognizing the career of Chris Benoit. However, now some 26 hours later, the facts of this horrific tragedy are now apparent. Therefore, other than my comments, there will be no mention of Mr. Benoit’s name tonight. On the contrary, tonight’s show will be dedicated to everyone who has been affected by this terrible incident. This evening marks the first step of the healing process. Tonight, WWE performers will do what they do better than anyone else in the world: entertain you. 

Following this, the WWE have done all but eliminate Benoit from their history, often negating that he was part of several high profile events such as the Royal Rumble which Benoit won in 2004, or the main event of WrestleMania XX, where Benoit defeated Triple H to win the World Heavyweight Championship. Truly tragic, as the moment has often been cited as one of the greatest in ‘Mania history.

This photo is said to have been taken on Saturday morning, as Nancy was dead in Benoit’s home. One strange part of the Benoit situation is that Nancy’s Wikipedia page (which can be edited by anyone) listed Nancy as being dead 14 hours before the bodies were found. The original edit listed, “Chris Benoit was replaced by Johnny Nitro for the ECW World Championship match at Vengeance, as Benoit was not there due to personal issues, stemming from the death of his wife Nancy.” The man who posted this claimed that it was written due to rumors he’d heard on the internet, and it was found that he’d also made several edits to other Wikipedia articles that were unfounded.

It was claimed that Benoit was “given ten months to live due to an enlarged heart” by Nancy’s sister. What’s strange about the case is that a large knife was found under Daniel’s bed. Prior to her marriage to Benoit in 2000, Nancy was charged with aggravated battery after chasing her former husband, Kevin Sullivan, with a knife in 1997. Benoit’s friend Dean Malenko stated, “He’s not a monster. We’re talking about a guy who, a month ago, was in Jacksonville and rather than drive down to Orlando, where he needed to be the next day, he took a flight to be home with Daniel.”

Another bizarre detail that never seems to get mentioned is that wrestler Dave Taylor was allegedly spotted at the Benoit residence before police arrived. Benoit’s neighbor Holly Schrepfer was contacted by police to enter the property before they arrived to secure the dogs and check on the family. She discovered the bodies, and whilst fleeting the home, claimed that she saw Dave and his wife carrying a platter of deli food. In no way does this point to Taylor being involved in the deaths, but it’s possible that he was coming by to check on his friend. It was suggested that he was sent by the WWE to check everything out and get the facts early to prevent a PR problem. This could also be why William Regal’s tribute was so grim, as the two were friends and tag team partners in the WWE. Taylor has since denied that this is possible, as he says he was in Texas on tour with the WWE. There is no evidence for him being in either location, other than Schrepfer’s claim.

Benoit kept a personal journal following the death of longtime best friend Eddie Guerrero. In it, he would write letters to Eddie, which makes me wonder why he never wrote a suicide note or a farewell. In the personal effects returned to Benoit’s father, a handwritten note was found in a bible that said “I am preparing to leave this Earth.” Within a few months of each other, Guerrero, Johnny Grunge, and Victor “Black Cat” Mar all died, respectively consisting of Benoit’s best friend, his local buddy who he went to after problems with Nancy, and his riding partner on Japanese tours. Chris’ diary remains weren’t found by police, but rather by neighbor Holly Schrepfer in a garbage can.

There are a lot of facts that don’t make sense with what has been alleged to have happened. Toxicology reports claim that all three involved in the incident, Chris, Nancy, and Daniel, were sedated heavily. There are claims that beer cans were found near Benoit’s body, but there was no alcohol found in his system. There were texts sent from Benoit’s phone that were sent AFTER Benoit’s time of death, as determined by police.

There are several wrestling fans who have turned on Benoit and refuse to give credit to his hard work in the sport. That is their prerogative. I personally loved Benoit as a wrestler and will never shun the fact that he gave a lot to wrestling, but I also don’t have children and have never been married. I don’t know how I’d feel from that perspective. That being said, after watching several videos and reading endless articles and write-ups regarding the case, I do think that everything is worth a second look, as I don’t think it happened quite like we all have been told that it did. Nevertheless, two great figures of wrestling history died ten years ago, and the wrestling world was changed forever as a result.

Rest in peace, Chris, Nancy, and Daniel.

anonymous asked:

I'm looking for good fic recs for smart/evil Harry in a tomarry story.( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Pretty much anything by Athey fits this.

Other recs: Death of Today & Dreams and Darkness Collide by Epic Solemnity.

Visionary by BC | 116K | T | Abandoned

Harry wakes up on the first of August 1943, and Tom Riddle’s presence seems like the least of his problems… until Tom makes Harry his problem.

Consuming Shadows by Child_OTKW | 176K | Mature | WIP

On the night of the attack, Lily managed to escape with her infant son, but at the cost of her husband’s life. Distraught and distrusting of her friends, she fled to France with Harry, to raise him away from the corruption in Britain and the rising influence of the Dark Lord. She trains him to the best of her abilities, shaping him into a dangerous, intelligent and powerful wizard.

But when Britain re-establishes the Triwizard Tournament, and Harry is forced to return to his once-home, he finds himself questioning whether he really wants to kill the Dark Lord. Voldemort finds an unexpected challenge in the child, and as his intrigue and amusement grows, so too does the desire to possess the spark in those defiant green eyes.

Enochian Prophecies by Kalfu | 255K | M | Complete

History is the sum of infinite minor events, each one contributing to the next. Some say this is written, this is destiny. Yet when those who walk outside Fate arrive, how can an unmarked invitation change the destiny of the world’s two greatest enemies?

In a World Gone Astray by Vallory Russups | 81K | M | Abandoned

HPLV. An “ordinary” Death Eater, Harry hides his true self to survive in this world ruled by the murderer of his parents. On his way to revenge, he schemes, kills, uses unwitting people, plays games with his superiors. He doesn’t have anything to lose, and the path he is walking looks clear and uncomplicated. Until the Dark Lord himself takes an interest in him. Dark!Harry

The Rise of a Dark Lord by LittleMissXanda | 228K | Mature | WIP

Dumbledore was sure he had made the right choice. Ten years later Harry shows him just how wrong he was. With little regard for most, Harry makes a name for himself at Hogwarts, and shows everyone that he is far more than just the BWL. In doing that he attracts the attention of the Dark Lord, making Voldemort believe that the Boy-Who-Lived could be far more than an enemy.

A Waste of Time

“I decided not to waste my years planning dances and masquerades with the other noble ladies.”

Stop. No. Bad. Wrong.

That is a line from 2.08 (“The Prince of Winterfell), from Talisa Maegyr to Robb Stark in one of their relationship development scenes. The line is meant to demonstrate that Talisa is not shallow, that she wishes to do something of substance with her life. While being a battlefield nurse is undoubtedly admirable, the denigration of dances and masquerades here is part misogyny, part misconception. The misogyny comes in where for Talisa to be a “worthy” love interest, she must express distaste for feminine-coded pleasures, and she must almost word for word be “not like other women”. This is emphasised by the beginning of her monologue, where she says “I was raised to be the perfect little lady. To play the harp, and dance the latest steps, and recite Valyrian poetry,” in such a way that shows she has turned her back on these things. 

Liking balls and parties is not inherently shallow as the line implies. Everyone’s got something they enjoy. If you’re one of those people who like parties, A+, I hope you have a great time when next you go out. (If you’re not, also A+, I hope you enjoy your quiet evening wherever.)

Second, and the topic of the majority of this post, is the misconception. The sheer history fail and textual comprehension fail of this line is so great it’s hard to adequately express it. Throughout history, parties amongst the aristocracy have been anything but a waste of time. If courtesy is to be your armour, then a party will be your battlefield.

Keep reading

deathsock-deactivated20161130  asked:

Hello! I'm developing a graphic novel and I would very much like some resources on the 1980's, specifically fashion, slang, technology, and entertainment :) Thank you!

With the lack of a specific region or location, my answer will be centered on American culture since it’s easier for me. Please note that I am a ’90s kid, so I have no personal experience of the ’80s.

While it should never be used as your only source of information, wikipedia is a great place to start since it touches on almost everything you’re looking for. From there, look at the eternal links at the very bottom of the page or take what you need and google it. Tumblr is another great place to look through—there are many blogs based on the 1980s. The best source, however, is to talk someone who lived through the 1980s. Even better, talk to people of different ages who lived through the 1980s; that way, you get a sample of the different views depending on the age group. For links (tumblr blogs are in italics):

General

Entertainment - Movies and TV Shows

Entertainment - Music

Entertainment - Misc

Fashion

History 

Slang

Technology

Sorry for the wait, but I hope that helps!

anonymous asked:

Hi! Hopefully this isn't repetitive. I'm writing a novel set in the 1940's. It doesn't focus much on the wars and stuff, but basically I need anything about 40's conflicts, Psychiatric care/hospitals and methods in the 1940's, any sort of cryptozoology/paranormal history in that area of time, and any sort of boarding school info, like lifestyles and how it worked and stuff like that. If that's too much, I'm sorry. Any help in any areas that sound interesting to you are fine. :) THANK

General:

Pop Culture: 

Food: 

Language:

Health:

Psychiatric care/hospitals:

Education: 

Crime: 

Sexuality in the 1940s:

Racism in the 1940s:

Cryptozoology and the paranormal:

Current Affairs recently published an article that signals, I think, the real beginning of the Hamilton backlash, which has been in its incipient stages for a few months now, if only because everybody I know who’s sick of hearing about Hamilton shared it, even though it’s terrible criticism.


Called “You Should Be Terrified That People Who Like Hamilton Run Our Country,” the piece is by Alex Nichols. He dislikes Hamilton’s refusal to talk about slavery, because the Founding Fathers the musical talks about didn’t really deal with slavery either. At its core, Nichols’s piece worries that by turning the Founding Fathers into self-consciously “cool” characters, the center of a hip-hop musical that rewrites the founding of the country to star people of color, Hamilton is trying to sweep America’s sins under the rug. (Nichols uses this to draw a connection between President Obama’s love of Hamilton and his love of drone warfare, which…)


But this fundamentally misunderstands everything Hamilton is trying to do. It isn’t a celebration of the Founding Fathers. It’s barely even a demystification of them (though that’s closer to the mark).


No, Hamilton agrees with Nichols more than he thinks. It’s not a work that tries to excuse Alexander Hamilton’s failure to do anything substantive about slavery. At times, it even loathes the title character. Instead, it’s a story about how inadequately we are all preserved by history, about how after our deaths, we are all reduced to stories our survivors tell each other.


As such, Hamilton is mystified by its own characters. It turns over its final half-hour to Eliza Schuyler, Hamilton’s wife and a supporting character who, by virtue of outliving everybody else in the cast, left behind more of a record of her life than the other characters did. It wants to stick to history, more or less, but it conflates events and fudges things to make a better story. It’s not an accurate record of these people’s lives. It’s a rumination.


So Hamilton is a mystery. In its first song (“Alexander Hamilton”), in its first lines, no less, it asks a question:

How does a bastard, orphan, son of a whore
And a Scotsman, dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot
In the Caribbean by Providence, impoverished, in squalor
Grow up to be a hero and a scholar?


But the show never really answers that question. It tries, but it’s cut off by the dark mist that surrounds the past.


[…]


Why didn’t the show end with the duel, when the two men at the story’s center were forever marked and changed? Why the Eliza-focused conclusion that comes out of nowhere?


The answer is surprisingly similar to the one I usually give for Lord of the Rings — the story that seemed like the most important one wasn’t actually the most important one. Eliza outlives everybody. She gets to cement the legacies of so many, and she works tirelessly to make the world a better place for as many people as possible. She builds an orphanage in her husband’s memory, for God’s sake.


And that would make for kind of a crummy protagonist in a work of dramatic fiction, where we expect characters who are strivers, who are after something. But why does fiction insist the only thing worth going after is something impersonal and massive? Why is building a nation somehow more worthy than preserving a husband’s legacy?


Like Angelica and Hamilton, Eliza is never satisfied, but only in the sense that she sees the world as a template to be made better. She enters the story as a supporting character to her sister, becomes a supporting character to her husband, but exits it as the protagonist. If anyone’s model here is to be emulated, it’s hers. It’s the show’s biggest, most ambitious leap, one that’s hard to get on board with right away, but one that works better and better for me the more I think about it.


And in a show about attempting to rewrite the country’s founding to include everyone, not just the white men who are usually at the story’s center, it’s quietly radical to end everything by talking about a woman whose achievements aren’t as distinctive but have proved longer-lasting.


Or maybe the answer is present from the first, from very nearly the first words Eliza speaks on stage, a simple phrase that the entire chorus picks up multiple times throughout the show: “Look around, look around, at how lucky we are to be alive right now.”


We are, all of us, accidents, in a sense. The events that create us are terrifyingly random, and the paths of history that led to our existence are as unknowable to us as the paths that will stretch out from our own lives, into the distant future.


The characters in Hamilton tell stories and worry about legacies and hope for greatness, but Hamilton’s greatest gift in the end is that it reminds us that there is more to life than living the kind of life that gets a Broadway musical written about you centuries after your death. Kindness is important. Building a better world is important. Compassion is paramount.


There is immense value in greatness, yes, but in the end, Hamilton says, there is even more value in goodness. It’s a hard message to argue, and it’s one Hamilton argues imperfectly. That it even tries, though, is, to me, worth all its frayed edges.

Wherein Social Media Specialist Marya E. Gates (aka @oldfilmsflicker) tells you about the San Francisco Silent Film Festival

The 21st San Francisco Silent Film Festival will be held at the Castro Theatre on June 2-5 2016. This year special guests include Illeana Douglas, Leonard Maltin, and film historian David Robinson - who just retired as the director of Giornate del Cimea Muto in Pordenone, Italy (a bucket list festival for this TCMHQ staffer). 

The opening night presentation this year will feature Louise Brooks in William A. Wellman’s BEGGARS OF LIFE (‘28) with live musical accompaniment by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra. 

Every year at the festival the AMAZING TALES FROM THE ARCHIVES panel talks with preservationists. This year Georges Mourier will talk about his work with the Cinémathèque Française and Emily Wensel will discuss her work with Universal Pictures.

SFSFF always programs films from around the globe, with films as diverse as Yasujiro Ozu’s THAT NIGHT’S WIFE (SONO YO NO TSUMA) (’30), MOMA’s restoration of A WOMAN IN THE WORLD (’25) starring Pola Negri, and THE STRONGEST (DEN STARKASTE) (’29) scheduled. 

TCMFF favorite Serge Bromberg from Lobster Films will be presenting restorations of comic films, including a long thought lost reel from Laurel and Hardy’s THE BATTLE OF THE CENTURY (’27), featuring possibly the greatest pie fight in cinematic history. 

I attended SFSFF several times when I was in grad school in San Francisco and my memories of this festival are some of my most favorite movie going experiences. By the time the event is over you’ll be dreaming with inter-titles. Plus the Castro Theatre is one of those beautiful old movie palaces that takes your breath away every time you visit.

You can find out more about this year’s San Francisco Silent Film Festival here

Why is Richard Henry Lee so important to American History?  

Richard Henry Lee aided in lighting the torch of American Freedom and kept it burning for his nation. From a farmer, to a politician, to congressman, to a statesman, to a patriot, to a senator, Richard Henry Lee performed a very important role in American history. 


Lee had the advantage in life of living during one of the most crucial times in American History. Allowing him to take part in one of the greatest events the world has witnessed, the pregnancy, birth, and childhood of the United States of America. Striving against the British Crown with such men as Patrick Henry, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin, his influence has a lasting effect on the outcome of American History.Richard’s career began, like most begin, by his birth into the famed, old family of Virginia, the Lee family. 

Richard was born on the 20th of January 1732, at his family’s plantation, near Stratford, in Westmoreland County, Virginia. He was the oldest of four boys, Francis Lightfoot Lee, William Lee, and Arthur Lee. He was educated early on in life by private tutoring at his family home in Virginia. Having reached the latter years of his education, his family sent him off to England to complete his studies. Finally on completing his education he returned home, from England, in 1752.The Lees’ of Virginia had a fine tradition of public service. 

In 1758, following in the footsteps of his family, entered the Virginia House of Burgesses at the age of twenty-five, thus, he began seventeen years of continuous services for his colony. His stanch opposition of British measures, such as the Stamp Act and Townshend Acts, centered him in the forefront of defenders of colonial rights. Openly calling the Townshed Acts, “arbitrary, unjust, and destructive of that mutual beneficial connection which every good subject would wish to see preserved.” Richard was now planted firmly on the colonial side. Being more than a man of words in February of 1766 he drew the residence of his own county into the “Westmoreland Association,” uniting themselves not to buy any British goods until the Stamp Act was repealed.

Richard was among the first persons to propose a system of inter-colonial committees of correspondence. These committees were set up to coordinate the efforts of the colonies against the British. The committees directly led to the forming of the First Continental Congress, with Virginia appointing Richard Henry Lee, Patrick Henry, and George Washington. 

On September 5, 1774, these men with others such as John Jay and John Adams met in Carpenters Hall in Philadelphia for the first meeting of the Continental Congress. Even more aggressive now than before, Richard was pushing for stronger action against the British. With the issue of independence stalling in congress for the better part of a year, it was noted that a shrewd political move was needed to push the dream of independence into a reality. Richard’s openly advocating independence from the British Crown in the spring of 1776, led to his being chosen to move the issue of independence in congress. Finally, on June 7, 1776 he stood up in congress and uttered a resolution that would forever change the course of American History.

Resolved: that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is, and ought to be totally dissolved.

This resolution set a chain of events into action that would lead to the writing of the Declaration of Independence and finally to the adoption of it, and American Independence on July 4, 1776.Richard remained in congress until 1779 missing only a brief period to return home to Virginia to help form the new state government. Retiring from congress in 1779 due to ill health, Richard returned home to Virginia. On his return he was elected to the Virginia Legislature. 

Remaining there until he was once again sent to congress in 1784. This time he served his first year as that bodies president. Remaining two more years in congress, where he played an important role in the passage of the Northwest Ordinance. When the Constitutional Convention was held in 1787, to form a centralized government, Richard outright refused to attend, even going as far as to lead in Virginia’s opposition to the new constitution. 

Richard’s opposition to the constitution was based on the fact that it called for a strong central government, one thing he did not ever intend to have again. Also the fact that the constitution itself lacked a bill of rights gave him reason for concern. He felt the combination of these factors, giving a strong central government the power to do what it likes against individuals without any form of guaranteed rights to its citizens, would eventually put them back in the hands of a tyrant.

Having lost his battle over the new constitution, he accepted appointment in 1789 as one of the first senators from Virginia. As a senator he immediately proposed a number of new resolutions to correct the oversights in the constitution. Several of his proposals were adopted and many were used in the Bill of Rights. He had now become one of the strongest advocates of the Bill of Rights. It was a strong part of the new government that he felt they could not afford to leave out. 

Richard continued in the senate until ill health finally for the last time forced his resignation in 1792. Retiring to his Virginia estate Chantilly, near Stratford, in Westmoreland county Virginia he died on June 19, 1794 at the age of sixty-two.

meggannn  asked:

13 and 18!

Thank you lovely! I’ll answer these two for Jane :D

13. How far past the canon events that take place in their world have you extended their story, if at all?
OH MY WELLLLLL besides the obvious dad thing, what really piqued my interest and got me snowballing with Red Streak was toying around with the idea of merging **parts** of all the Shepard psych profiles and pre-service histories into one blended AU backstory. I say “parts,” because I wanted to make sure that those histories didn’t have to compete with each other for the greatest mental scars, haha. After all, each one of those origins is pretty intense, and to pile ALL of those experiences onto one person would… result in someone who is pretty unbelievable. Jane definitely is dealing with some PTSD, and I wanted to respect that within the fiction and have all of those events be reactions to one another, a series of tragedies in dialogue, rather than just one long list of “super intense shit just because grararrrrrrtouuuughhhh.” Cuz no.

So, bearing that in mind, I wanted to pick and chose different facets from each story and meld them together into a single character arc, as if certain parts of those profiles were all sort of interconnected, inevitably tied to one another. The best example is Torfan, which, to me, has always felt like the darkest timeline response of a badly-coping colonist Shepard, so that’s in there. Jane - who already has trauma because of Mom, has to watch Dad (and a lot of other familiar faces) get killed. She gets no therapy for years after this, instead funneling her rage into negative outlets. Later, she gets a chance to take very personal revenge, and she does not pass it up. Yeah, she beat back the Batarians and got the Star of Terra, but I imagine Elysium and Torfan as being two sides of the same coin, rather than opposing stories. The medal was more a gesture, like a begrudging admittance on the Alliance’s part, sort of a “shut up here’s your gold star now please de-enlist and go away.” But she didn’t, of course; at that point she’s very much on a quest for redemption vis-a-vis glory, trying to live up to both of her parents. So yeah, she won the Blitz and saved a lot of lives, but she had almost exclusively selfish, ruthless, revenge-seeking reasons for being there at all. In the years since, she’s had to confront and manage all of that internally - with actual therapy this time, which I imagine started somewhere shortly after N1.

As for the Earthborn origin, it’ll make an appearance too, though again, it’s me picking and choosing parts that fit. After Mindoir, Jane ends up dumped on Earth in the care of the state, and the Reds weren’t so much a big scary gang as much of a wannabe teen vigilante outfit that Shepard and her makeshift friends made to comfort themselves in a dark time. And, to connect more dots, that underage hubris winds up having severe consequences that play out directly during the Blitz. She gets a lot of people killed; people that matter to her. There are. uh. some not-so-subtle parallells to Archangel in there.

The only thing that’s kind of out there in the middle of nowhere is Akuze, and because of that, I intentionally downplayed the psychological impact of that story. Sure, Akuze was a tough fight, and it earned her N7 so it was an important milestone, but in this AU Akuze could be a lot more lighthearted. Most of her unit lives, and she makes a friend in Wrex. So… it’s more like Akuze is a… cutesy cameo, haha. A nod to the larger canon.

Mostly all of the above is narrative tension/extra backstory that hasn’t become immediately relevant to Jane’s in-story character development (also the whole Earth/Torfan chunk is half the plot of Midnight Blue) so I haven’t focused on it in Red Streak much yet, aside from some hints here and there. 

Anyway wowwwww that was a long answer, sorry. haha.

18. What is the most recent thing you’ve discovered about your OC?
That she is not nearly as much of a Paragon as she was supposed to be when I started writing her. The Jane we see on the Normandy is making politically savvy decisions and generally doing the merciful and diplomatic things but mannnnnnnn it’s because she’s making that choice. She’s got to fight for every face not punched, for every enemy lackey not shot in the knee. And sometimes, when it’s just her and Garrus, that façade slips. She’s a bit two-faced, a bit of a hypocrite, and I had NO idea she had that side when I started. But I really like that darker edge to her now, like. So much. 

Plus? I’m sure that whole post-Saleon stay-your-hand speech will be just… hilariously “do as I do not as I say” coming from this Shepard.

Yeah. “You can only control how you react,” out of the mouth of a woman whose “reactions,” 99.9% of the time, even in the name of the the greater good, involve some pretty startling skill with a weapon. I’m sure that won’t like……………… badly inform Garrus’ emotional decision making in the sequel hahahah what, Shepard, a bad role model?? Yes, very.

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Historical Bibliography: Byzantine Empire and the Rise of Islam and Caliphate Rule

Intro/Methodology
Bronze Age Collapse-Roman Period

Byzantine Empire

The Byzantine-Islamic Transition in Palestine: An Archaeological Approach (Oxford Studies in Byzantium) by Gideon Avni

The Byzantine Empire by Robert Browning

Religious Communities in Byzantine Palestina: The Relationship Between Judaism, Christianity and Islam AD 400-700 (Bar International Series) by Eliya Ribak

A Short History of the Byzantine Empire (I.B. Tauris Short Histories) by Dionysios Stathakopoulos

Rise of Islam and Caliphate Rule

Mongols and Mamluks: The Mamluk-Ilkhanid War, 1260-1281 (Cambridge Studies in Islamic Civilization) by Reuven Amitai-Preiss

The Byzantine-Islamic Transition in Palestine: An Archaeological Approach (Oxford Studies in Byzantium) by Gideon Avni

The Great Caliphs: The Golden Age of the ‘Abbasid Empire by Amira K. Bennison

The Rise of Islam (Greenwood Guides to Historic Events of the Medieval World) by Matthew Gordon

The First Dynasty of Islam: The Umayyad Caliphate AD 661-750 by G. R Hawting

The Early Abbasid Caliphate: A Political History by Hugh Kennedy

The Great Arab Conquests: How the Spread of Islam Changed the World We Live In by Hugh Kennedy

When Baghdad Ruled the Muslim World: The Rise and Fall of Islam’s Greatest Dynasty by Hugh Kennedy

Islam in the Middle Ages: The Origins and Shaping of Classical Islamic Civilization (Praeger Series on the Middle Ages) by Jacob Lassner

The Ottomans and the Mamluks: Imperial Diplomacy and Warfare in the Islamic World (Library of Ottoman Studies) by Cihan Yüksel Muslu

The History of Jerusalem: The Early Muslim Period (638-1099) by Joshua Prawer

The Politics and Culture of an Umayyad Tribe: Conflict and Factionalism in the Early Islamic Period (Library of Middle East History) by Mohammad Rihan

Exploring An Islamic Empire: Fatimid History and its Sources by Paul Walker

Fatimid History and Ismaili Doctrine (Variorum Collected Studies) by Paul Walker

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If lightning strikes, it’s probably Yuzuru Hanyu

Posted on December 13, 2015 by BevSmithWrites

At the end of a busy December Saturday, Shae-Lynn Bourne finally had a chance to watch history unfold at the Grand Prix Final in Barcelona.

On her Smartphone, Bourne could see just enough from the tiny little figures to know that Yuzuru Hanyu, for whom she had created the free skate, could make no errors. Not possible. “He seems to have real confidence,” she said. “It was quite amazing to see. It was quite something. But I think it will only get better. Once you have a taste of it, it’s hard to lose it.”

Only get better?

What Hanyu did astonished anybody who thought he’d stumble under the pressure of what he had created for himself by shattering world records at the NHK Trophy two weeks ago. Imagine him surpassing the short-program record score of 106.33 at NHK, or the 216.07 he put up for his free skate there, or the combined total score of 322.40, which had laid to waste (by more than 27 points) Patrick Chan’s previous world record of 295.27. Hanyu had first signaled that lightning was about to strike when suddenly, he included two quads for the first time in the short program at NHK. And he did three in the long.

Hanyu became the first to break 100 points for the short, 200 for the long and 300 for the total. Beyond belief, right?

Now, nothing seems impossible for Hanyu, a 21-year-old skater who endured the Japanese earthquake and tsunami in 2011. In Barcelona, Hanyu transcended all ideas of what a skater can do or what marks an astonished judge can punch in. Short program? 110.95 (by getting the maximum bonuses possible for both his quads). Long program? 219.48 (by getting the maximum bonuses possible for his first two quads and a triple Axel – double toe loop).

And total score? Hanyu blasted that old record of his, too by about eight points, earning 330.43. Hanyu won the gold medal by 37.48 points, the largest Grand Prix Final victory ever, and left poor training mate Javier Fernandez saying: “If he does a great program, there is nothing I can do.”

“Our free programs are so close technically, with almost the same elements, that if he skates well, it is impossible for me to get 20 points more than him. So I was really calm and thought I am just going to skate and do my best.”

Fernandez also broke the 200-point barrier in the free with 201.43 points and took silver with 292.95. Three-time world champion Patrick Chan finished third in the free skate, earning 192.84, intending to land two quads, but only landing one. And ended fourth overall with 263.45 points, exactly the same as quad-hopping Boyang Jin, who attempted four quads, but did so rather like a magic hopping machine. The second mark breaks the tie. And that was not Jin’s forte.

This event may have been the greatest, wildest, most electrifying men’s competition – ever – in history. Four of the six skaters broke the 100-point mark in the free skate for technical points only: Hanyu, 17-year-old Shoma Uno (100.74 with two quads), Boyang Jim (101.86), and Fernandez (104.65, with three quad attempts. His quad Salchow – triple-toe loop effort was so sweet, he almost maximized his points on it, too, earning 17.51 for that one combo alone.)

And Chan was close, with 96.76. Judges didn’t forget him, awarding him seven marks of 10.00 for components. And they rewarded him mightily for that stunning opening quad toe – triple toe, akin to a freight train hurtling down the tracks. It’s beautiful in its power. It was a magnificent comeback, considering Chan admitted afterwards that he just really wanted to go home after his demoralizing short program that has been causing him grief this year (now three poor efforts). The jazzy Mack the Knife piece isn’t part of his comfort zone. He said he felt angry at himself, and frustrated. “I was to the point when they announced my name, I didn’t want to be here,” he said. “That’s natural with how my days have been going here. That says a lot about my training…the fact that I was able to do a long program like that, that’s pretty impressive.” He had rocky practices all week and doesn’t know whether to blame his mindset, the ice or jet lag, something he’s always struggled with.

The free skate is a comfort to Chan. Skating to Chopin is “the style I grew up skating with Mr. [Osborne] Colson,” he said.

“That’s what I always did when I was younger,” he said. “That’s where my strengths are. My skating quality was born from that style.” He’s not giving up on Mack the Knife, though. It’s supposed to be a routine that combines his competition world with his show performance experience. He hasn’t figured out how to mix them together yet. It’s a work in progress.

Chan returned to the competition wars after a year off touring because he missed training and the regimen of it. But he forgot to put the stressful moments before a competition into the equation. He’d forgotten. “I really didn’t think about that when I came back,” he said. “I was more thinking about 90 per cent of my life and career, which is training. I love the training. I never get tired of it.”

Chan has to get himself back into the competition swing. “I think I’m very, very stressed and nervous at competitions because it’s just unknown to me,” he said. “It’s different. We have different men in the field now…. And Yuzu and Javier have improved a lot, I think, since I left. It’s not comfortable. It’s not fun. I don’t like it, but like anything, my body will adapt.”

Hanyu flooded the rest of them with his scores. Hanyu was given 24 perfect marks of 10.00 out of a possible 45 for program components. Judges mostly lauded his performance and execution, his choreography and interpretation, but not so much his skating skills and transitions, although that’s picking hairs. His lowest mark for those two categories was 9.25 and he received only one of those.

Fernandez got 13 perfect marks, mostly in interpretation and choreography. While the young Uno is highly praised as a future contender, he got marks as low as 7.50 for transitions and linking footwork. He skates a lot on two feet. His component score was far lower than his technical score. Uno was surprised at how high his mark was. “This is not a goal,” he said. “It’s just a starting point.”

If skating was looking for a star, it has found it in Hanyu. Bouncing into Bourne’s Facebook box was a warm message: “Thank you,” a skating friend said. “I watched Yuzu. And I’m excited about skating again.”

Even Evgeny Plushenko didn’t miss the drama on the Barcelona ice. “This is what I am talking about after almost six years,” he said on twitter, remembering his words at the 2010 Olympics about how wrong it seemed to have an Olympic champion that did no quads. “All the boys, thank you for pushing the sport to no limit.

And this: “Yuzu, you are my hero.”

Plushenko’s highest scores were 91.39 that he set at the Vancouver Olympics for the short program, 175.52 for the long at 2012 Europeans and 261.23 total score, also at Europeans. (And Plushenko still speaks of doing another Olympics against them. Will this event change his mind?)

Hanyu admitted that he felt very nervous before he competed the long program because he heard the loud audience for Fernandez. And of course, it would be loud. Fernandez was competing at home, a rare luxury for him. The event in Barcelona existed because of his ground-breaking success.

“I couldn’t think about scores,” Hanyu said. “I am exhausted now but I did an almost perfect performance today so I am satisfied.”

Satisfied? Hanyu notes that his step sequence got only a level three of difficulty.

He admitted he felt pressure after having set the world records at NHK, but “these were the pressures I put on myself,” he said.

“During the free program, I was actually released from this pressure, and I felt like I can only do what I can do for now. So I managed to perform quite well, I think.”

He won’t think about trying to repeat what he did in Barcelona. He’ll keep his eyes on the day-to-day, practicing and improving. He wants to be perfect in every competition. “I feel like the score is the score and my performance is my performance. These are different things.

“I’m feeling really good today because everybody supports me. I owe my performance to the audience.”

Bourne knows that Hanyu is capable of more, which should scare the hair off everybody else for years to come. “The sky is the limit,” she said.

A Day in History

June 26, 2015, same-sex marriage was legalized across the United States. It’s known as one of the greatest victories for the LGBTQ+ community. And, in light of some recent events, a victory is highly welcomed. Considering where the community has come from, this day last year was a huge step forward. That said, it is nowhere near the finish line. The world has been all too keen to remind us how far we still have to go. From political discrimination in North Carolina to outright murder in Orlando, we are still being fought. In far too many places, queer people are shunned, abused, killed for living as they are. But days like today, June 26, our victory day, remind us that we can fight back and more importantly, that we can win

Today is just as important this year as it was last year because it reminds us there is hope. Hope for change and hope for a future, one that teaches tolerance and love. It’s a future we can create, and one far too many of us won’t get to see. Remember those who have fallen and allow hope to be stronger than those who seek to suppress it. 

Change is the only certainty in this world. Change the world. Love yourself. And always take pride in who you are.

–Words from my girlfriend J

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History Repeats Itself: Brazil suffers another heartbreak on home soil

By Zack Goldman

The world’s most decorated football nation waited 64 years to erase a nightmare.

Instead, a worse one came.

It has been said it could never get as bad for Brazil as the Maracanazo, the nation’s famous loss to Uruguay in the 1950 World Cup Final in Rio.

That was carnival recast into funeral, when 400,000 horrified eyes looked on as a haunting blur of sky blue rendered their heavily-favored heroes powerless.

It was the unthinkable happening to the invincible.

It was like watching one’s own home being robbed during a party.

And, while the five World Cup triumphs that followed for the Seleção certainly displaced the prominence of that memory, it would be disingenuous to say that the historical mosaic of futebol in Brazil has altogether discarded that recurring fever dream of so many years ago.

Whether the goalkeeper Barbosa’s infamous blunder — which has long been blamed for the loss — was heard in the stadium or through staticky radio waves or via trembling voices or quivering hands or lines of print on a page years later, it is a story whose legacy lives on and that no Brazilian of any generation since has forgotten.

If anything, the Maracanazo’s influence and significance is more alive this year, as the country hosts the World Cup for the first time since 1950, than at any moment in recent history.

Yet, while every Brazilian grew up hearing the legend, the vast majority of the country never knew anything of the taste, the smell, the sight of that kind of disappointment. After all, this is a nation that hadn’t lost a competitive match on home soil since 1975.

Until today.

Keep reading

Scribble-Doodle: Remembered

An anon asked: “I’ve always wondered how Alec would deal with it if Magnus never came back from Edom, if Simon hadn’t interfered. Would you write this, please?” Well, and now I actually made myself cry. 


Magnus Bane dies in Edom. He dies to save his beloved Alexander and his family and friends.

Keep reading

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What CNN stated about Barbados’ festival…

CNN Article

(CNN) - Think the only world-class Caribbean carnival takes place in Trinidad and Tobago?

Not even close.

Barbados’ vibrant Crop Over summer festival, which once marked the end of the sugar crop harvest and a celebration for slaves, has evolved into the greatest representation of the island’s saucy spirit.

This year’s party wrapped on August 4, with the usual smash of color, costumes, music, food and unique history from one of the Carib’s easternmost islands.

Crop Over events range from historic remembrances such as the Ceremonial Delivery of the Last Canes, where plantation-era traditions are on display, to Foreday Morning, in which participants slather each other in mud, paint and powder, to Grand Kadooment, in which revelers wine the day away in scanty costumes of feathers and beads, grooving to soca music.

As the photo gallery above shows, the 21-mile-long island of Barbados may be small in size, but its unique spin on carnival is proof of its fervor.

July 4th, Baseball and Americana A Marriage Deep in History and Meaning
There’s something about the holiday that makes the hot dogs taste better, the fireworks appear brighter and even baseball seem more exciting. How can a sport that we enjoy so much for six months out of the year suddenly gain a new intensity in emotion and make our baseball senses feel even more alive? A number of reasons come to mind… More than any other sport, live baseball relies on our smells, senses, and feelings, and less on non-stop action or movement. The smell of hot dogs, sounds of the crack of the bat and the roar of the crowd pulsates through our bodies. Even stronger is the feeling of not only being part of something larger than oneself in supporting your home team, but being proud to be an American by experiencing the one event which has the ultimate feeling of Americana. Stepping into a ballpark literally has the feeling of what it would feel like to step into a classic Norman Rockwell painting. As fans of the game, historical baseball events occurring on July 4th also gain a level of intensity. My first July 4th, baseball memory is of Dave Righetti’s 1983 no hitter, the first for the Yankees since Don Larsen’s perfect game in 1956. Reading about and listening to one of the most powerful moments in baseball history, Lou Gehrig’s “Luckiest Man on the Face of the Earth” speech occurring on July 4th 1939, is another classic. The list goes on and on. There is no question that we are lucky enough to live in the greatest country in the free world. And there is no better way to celebrate the significance of this than stepping into the slice of Americana we call baseball. Happy Fourth of July of Everybody!

*Update, 4th of July is SOLD OUT so if you don’t have tickets join us Saturday, were throwing a 2 night celebration! Tickets still available at: http://goo.gl/fdCDi5

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u know what? fuck you all. Russia has the biggest and the most interesting and eventful history in the world, the greatest culture in the world. Russian people are the badassest ever, while our hospitality doesn’t know any boundaries. Putin is truly the most powerful person in the world nowadays.
We’ve truly deserved these Olympics. And if you’ve seen that amazing opening ceremony, you might have got it already that we’ve deserved the right to make this fucking mistake.
Fuck you, h8ers. I’m Russian and you’re, evidently, not.

Never Abandoned

Guest post by Mike Weisman

A group of friends sits in an average room, in an average home, in an average city. They’ve been close since college, learning how to be adults together. They got jobs, lost jobs, made plans and broke plans all along the way.  They’ve all lived blessed lives: A marriage, a promotion, a child.  For years, they have celebrated each other.  But eventually one moves away for a new career, one leaves to work overseas, and one is drawn to another community.  To be left is to be human.

A group of friends sits in an average room, in an average home, in an average city.  They’ve been close since they moved to the neighborhood 50 years ago.  They raised kids, built lives, and threw parties all along the way.  They’ve all lived real lives: a job loss, a grandchild, a divorce, a death.  For years, they have both celebrated and grieved.   But eventually one moves to a nursing home, one moves in with their son, and one doesn’t laugh quite the same way he used to. To be left is to be human.


A group of friends sits in an average room in an average home in an average city.  They’ve been close ever since they met.  They fed the hungry, they started political rallies, and formed a grassroots movement. They’ve all witnessed the unbelievable: a blind man see, a lame man walk, and they even saw the winds and the waves tamed. They all have followed Him ever since He called.  But eventually one runs away, one commits suicide, and one claims he doesn’t even know Him.  To be left is to be human.


Whatever the reason for being left, you can only hope to ignore the lonely shadow of a childhood you, standing up in the dark and crying “I’m alone…”  Loneliness is a slow and plodding figure.  We spend our days easily outrunning him, but when we lay down to sleep and stop moving, he finally catches up. Eventually, our hearts quietly succumb to everything the world says is true: you’re alone.  But out of the tempest, that still small voice says something new:


“No, you’re not.”


On the night before the greatest event in human history, the Son of the Living God sat in an average room, in an average home, in an average city with a group of friends.  He was there, and He loved them, Knowing full well that every one of them would leave Him.  


See, to be left is to be human.  And our God knows what it is to be left.  This is the only man ever to live who has the right to look you in your tear-filled eye and make a promise that no one else can: I will never leave you.  Even when we left Him, the fact that we might be saved made the very Word of Life explode in heavenly joy and consume our hearts in the fire of His love.  For this was the joy set before Him: Never to leave you, never to forsake you. For He is with you, even to the end of the age.