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Overwatch League 2021 Season Rosterpocalypse [Megathread]

2020.10.15 15:13 SpriteGuy_000 Overwatch League 2021 Season Rosterpocalypse [Megathread]

See stickied comment for notes about this thread.

Table of Contents

About this Megathread

This thread will reflect all official player and coach changes after August 23rd (the end of the 2020 Regular Season). All changes will be referenced by official communication by teams, Blizzard, or the player of discussion. Unofficial sources and rumors will not be listed.

Important Dates

Oct. 12th, 2020: Teams may begin submitting player trades for League Office review. All player trades are subject to League Office approval prior to becoming effective. Teams may also begin extending or otherwise signing their current players to standard contracts.
Oct. 16, 2020: Deadline by which teams must exercise any options to extend existing contracts which were initially executed in 2020.
Oct. 23, 2020: PSAs signed using the 2020 PSA template that are not extended terminate and such Players become free agents. Players who are signed using the 2020 PSA template whose contracts extend into the 2021 Season begin receiving Base Salary at the 2021 Season rate.
Oct. 24, 2020: Teams may begin signing free agents to contracts for the 2021 Season.
Nov. 13, 2020: Deadline by which teams must exercise any team options to extend existing contracts which were initially executed in 2019.
Nov. 20, 2020: Players whose contracts that are not extended become free agents. Teams and players also may mutually agree to an early release from contracts prior to this date.
Jan. 4, 2021: Deadline for all teams to have a minimum of seven players signed to season-long contracts for the 2021 season.

Confirmed Roster Changes

Teams Departures Extensions Additions Two-Way Players
Atlanta Reign Dogman, FRD, Fire, Pokpo, Erster, Saucy Edison2, Sharp3, Gator3 , Hawk3 , Lr1s2 , Masaa2
Boston Uprising Halo, Mickeyy Fusions, Punk, Colourhex, Myunbong, Jerry2
Chengdu Hunters Ating, Baconjack, Lengsa1 Leave3 , Molly3
Dallas Fuel uNKOE, OniGod, NotE, Paintbrush, Trill, Closer, aKm, Gamsu, Crimzo Doha Sp9rk1e, Hanbin
Florida Mayhem Sayaplayer, Karayan, Kris, Byrem, BQB1 , Gargoyle1 Yaki3 , Gangnamjin3
Guangzhou Charge neptuNo, Chara, Krystal, Wya, nero, Happy1 , Shu1 Eileen3 , Cr0ng2
Hangzhou Spark Ado, Adora, SASIN, Ria, Bebe Architect3 , GodsB3 , Guxue3 , QOQ2 , Coldest2 , IDK3 , M1ka2 Shy
Houston Outlaws LiNkzr, blasé, Muma, Jecse, MekO, Danteh, Boink1 , Rapel1 Hydration3
London Spitfire Although, Babel, Clestyn, Highly, Jihun, Krillin, Schwi, JMAC Glister3 , Bernar3 , Fuze3 , SanGuiNar3
Los Angeles Gladiators Jaru, Bischu, Bigg00se, Shaz, LHCloudy, OGE Birdring2 , Kevster2 , MirroR2 , SPACE2
Los Angeles Valiant Apply, GiG, McGravy KSP2 , Shax2 , Dreamer2 , Lastro2 , RaiN2
New York Excelsior Haksal, Hotba, Bianca, Nenne, WhoRu Mandu3
Paris Eternal NoSmite, Fielder, Smex, Sp9rk1e, Hanbin Sp9rk1e2 , Xzi2 , Hanbin2 , FDGod3
Philadelphia Fusion Boombox, Eqo, ChipSa, Ivy1 , Fury1 Carpe3 , Hessu2 , Alarm3 , FunnyAstro2
San Francisco Shock Rascal, Super1, moth1 , Viol2t1 Ans2 , Striker2 , Ta1yo2, Choiyobin3 , Smurf3 , Twilight2
Seoul Dynasty Toyou1 , Bdosin1 , SLIME1 , Tobi1 Gesture, Profit, Creative3
Shanghai Dragons Dding, Diem, Diya, Geguri, Luffy Fleta3 , Lip3 , Fearless2 , Stand13 , Void3 , Izayaki2 , Leejaegon3
Toronto Defiant KariV, RoKy, Mangachu, Beast, Surefour, Numlocked, Agilities, Kruise, Zykk, Nevix Logix
Vancouver Titans Tsuna, CarCar, KSAA, Shockwave1 Dalton, Roolf, Shreadlock
Washington Justice LullSiSH, Decay1 , Stitch1 , Jjanu1 , Aimgod1 , Ark1 , rOar Ttuba3 , Roar3 , Decay Mag
1 Official 2021 Player Contract Status Update (Free Agent)
2 Official 2021 Player Contract Status Update (Team Optioned for 2021)
3 Official 2021 Player Contract Status Update (Under Existing 2021 Contract)

Confirmed Coaching Changes

Teams Departures Additions
Atlanta Reign Silence, Kodak, Mentalist
Boston Uprising Mini, Mineral Lori
Chengdu Hunters Chen, Garry, Ray RUI
Dallas Fuel Vol'Jin Rush
Florida Mayhem
Guangzhou Charge J1N, Tydolla, Sungwoo
Hangzhou Spark Andante
Houston Outlaws Dream, Hooreg JunkBuck
London Spitfire Agape, Pavane, Twinkl, Sqix
Los Angeles Gladiators CurryShot, Faustus
Los Angeles Valiant
New York Excelsior Garrincha
Paris Eternal NineK, Rush, Aid, Levy
Philadelphia Fusion KDG NineK
San Francisco Shock JunkBuck, Arachne
Seoul Dynasty
Shanghai Dragons
Toronto Defiant Lilbow KDG
Vancouver Titans Wheats
Washington Justice Wiz

New to the 2021 Season

2021 Player Contract Changes

Season-long contracts: These contracts have a minimum initial term of one season. They may include a unilateral team option to extend the term for one additional season. The maximum term of a season-long contract is three seasons, including any team option year.
30-day contracts: If a team has at least seven players signed to season-long contracts, a team may sign additional players to 30-day contracts. Upon expiration of a 30-day contract, a player becomes a free agent who may negotiate with other teams. Teams do not have the option to extend 30-day contracts unilaterally.

Update to Two-Way Players

First, there is no longer any limit to the number of players who may be designated as two-way players at any given time. Additionally, two-way players on teams with no academy team affiliate are now eligible to participate in Contenders competitions.

References

Official Liquipedia Over.gg GosuGamers
Roster Construction Rules for 2021 Overwatch League Season
Liquipedia's Player Transfers Tracker
Over.gg's Transfer Tracker
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2020.10.15 00:17 AndyJPuente Biggest 2020 NBA free-agency, draft and trade decisions for the New Orleans Pelicans:

Source: https://www.espn.com/nba/insidestory/_/id/28953850/biggest-2020-nba-free-agency-draft-trade-decisions-all-30-teams
Offseason focus
Draft assets
Cap space breakdown
Team needs
Extension eligible: Jrue Holiday, Lonzo Ball (rookie) and Josh Hart (rookie)
Free-agent status

The next head coach

Gentry had a year remaining on his contract, which left executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin and ownership with a decision. Typically, this is the point when a front office decides whether to sign a coach to an extension or move forward without him -- and the Pelicans decided to move into the future with a new coach.
How will the Pelicans approach the decision about Gentry's replacement? That's the first big question, and one that Kevin Pelton addressed in his breakdown of how the Pelicans should proceed.
Andrew Lopez and Adrian Wojnarowski noted four names to watch, according to sources: LA Clippers assistant Ty Lue, Los Angeles Lakers assistant Jason Kidd, former Brooklyn Nets coach Kenny Atkinson and current Nets interim coach Jacque Vaughn, if available.

The free agency of Brandon Ingram

Last year, with Ingram overcoming health issues that had sidelined him, he and the Pelicans did not move forward at the time with a long-term extension. That was the right call at that time.
But with Ingram proving healthy this season and being named to his first All-Star team, his status is a priority for the Pelicans.
The Pelicans can take one of two approaches to negotiations:
Play the waiting game
Because he is a restricted free agent and the Pelicans have the right to match on an offer sheet, they can let Ingram shop for an offer from another team.
Right now only two teams -- Atlanta and New York (if the Knicks waive their non-guaranteed players) -- project to have max cap room. That's subject to change when we see what the salary cap is. Miami, one potential competitor for Ingram, has prioritized having cap space for the summer of 2021.
For New Orleans, the major downside of the conservative approach is that the offer sheet could have such undesirable facets as fewer years, a trade bonus and a salary advance. So, for instance, instead of having Ingram under contract for five seasons, the Pelicans could lose him in three years.
Get aggressive about extending Ingram
Ingram is still 22 (turning 23 in September) and one of the 10 best young players according to our most recent 25-under-25 rankings. As a young All-Star with All-NBA potential, he checks the boxes for a max or near-max contract.
An Ingram contract starting at $27.3 million (25% of a $109.1 million cap) would still have the Pelicans $13 million (which could increase to $20 million if Darius Miller were waived) below the tax line. That would be enough to bring Derrick Favors back on a one-year contract or sign a player to the midlevel.
Because there are important financial decisions on the horizon (as discussed below), the Pelicans could create financial savings if they leave the contract flat (without an 8% increase) at $27.3 million in Years 2 to 5. In that case, Ingram would get a max salary in Year 1 and the Pelicans would save $20 million spread out over the remaining four seasons. The total guaranteed money would be $136.5 million.
One option available to Ingram, but not recommended, is to sign the one-year, $9.5 million qualifying offer. That amounts to a worst-case scenario if New Orleans plays hardball and no other team steps up with an offer to his liking.
History shows that only one player (Greg Monroe) has signed the QO and benefited with a lucrative contract the following year.

The Jrue Holiday contract

A year ago I noted that Holiday's tenure with the Pelicans would likely be foreshortened after the trade of Davis. In other words, as a veteran who represented the top trade asset on a very young team, with the possibility of becoming a free agent in 2021, it seemed likely that Holiday would be moved before his contract ended.
Now, a year later, Holiday remains potentially a valuable trade piece. But the trade of Davis, along with drafting Williamson, also boosted the Pelicans into immediate playoff contention. So what does that mean for the 30-year-old Holiday?
Holiday has two years remaining (at $25.1 and $26.0 million), with a player option in 2021. Before the NBA's financial situation took a downturn this year, it appeared likely he would exercise that option to become an unrestricted free agent.
Given the uncertainty ahead, Holiday might want to reconsider. If the projected $125 million salary cap declines in 2021, Holiday might not be able to replace that salary as a free agent.
As of this offseason, the Pelicans can offer the guard a new contract for an additional three or four seasons. A new extension might benefit both sides.
For instance, the Pelicans could offer $117 million for four seasons, with the extension starting in 2021-22. The salary would start at $30 million, a raise on what Holiday has coming. The final season, when Holiday would be 34 years old, would include $15 million guaranteed, with incentives for games played that could take it to as much as $27 million. That would allow New Orleans the flexibility to move on before that season, if necessary.
That would be comparable to the three-year, $93 million deal that Kyle Lowry signed in 2017, which likewise took the Toronto point guard to age 34.
The alternative, of course, is to go ahead and trade him. If New Orleans and Holiday cannot agree on an extension that works for both sides, the Pelicans should not risk letting him walk for nothing.

Their plentiful draft capital

The Pelicans need to determine the value of their draft assets and how to deploy them.
Including their own and two from the Lakers, the Pelicans have nine first-round draft picks (and a potential pick swap) in the next seven years -- including a lottery pick this year. That's not to mention 10 second-round draft picks in the next four years.
They have two basic options:
Draft and develop
How patient will they be?
Remember that four-year rookie contracts are below market value and will allow the Pelicans to keep the payroll in check as their young stars get more expensive. Ingram will be paid soon, and after that, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart. A new Zion Williamson contract would start in 2023-24. That might encourage them to keep more of their picks.
The Pelicans can structure the contracts of their second-round picks to resemble a rookie-scale salary of a first-round selection, which can also help with cost control.
Explore the trade market
Of course, with the Pelicans already a playoff contender, they'll be tempted to shop for the next disgruntled All-Star to ask out. Could that be a player like Bradley Beal or Victor Oladipo?
A trade like that would require some of the Pelicans' trade assets. That would reverse the Pelicans' role, putting them on the opposite side of the table from when Davis forced his way out of New Orleans.
The hybrid approach would see New Orleans holding onto some draft assets but making a strategic trade when the opportunity arises.

Offseason cap breakdown

Removing all the free-agent cap holds except for Brandon Ingram's ($22 million) leaves the Pelicans above the projected salary cap of $109.1 million.
If Ingram is signed to a contract that starts at $27.2 million, the Pelicans would be $18 million below the luxury tax. They can create additional flexibility by waiving the $7 million non-guaranteed contract of Darius Miller.
Expect New Orleans to have the $9.3 million midlevel and $3.6 million biannual exception.

Resources available to build the roster

Dates to watch

• Tagging Ingram as a restricted free agent is merely paperwork. By Oct. 17, the Pelicans will give the forward a one-year, $9.5 million qualifying offer as a prelude to a potential long-term extension.
Frank Jackson ($2.0 million) and Kenrich Williams ($1.9 million) are also eligible to receive qualifying offers by Oct. 17. Jackson is only 22 and has contributed at times this season, including putting in 13 points in 20 minutes in a win against Washington during the seeding games.
• New Orleans has until Oct. 25 to guarantee the $7.0 million contract for Darius Miller. The forward suffered a torn right Achilles last August and missed the entire 2019-20 season.

Restrictions

• Miller's outgoing salary counts as zero -- the amount of salary protected in his contract.
• From two prior trades (with the Lakers and Wizards), New Orleans received $2.1 million, and is now restricted from receiving more than $3.5 million before Oct. 19.

Extension candidates

Other than Ingram and Holiday (discussed above), the big decisions here involve Ball and Hart. If the Pelicans can sign both to team-friendly deals that provide salary-cap flexibility for 2021-22 and future years, they should. If not, they can wait and let things play out for another year.
Ball and Hart can be extended until Nov. 30 and for a maximum of four additional seasons starting in 2021-22.
After two injury-plagued seasons, Ball has been relatively healthy, missing only eight games this season. From mid-January to the season postponement in March, Ball played his best ball, often alongside Williamson, averaging 13 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds and almost 2 steals. He was especially productive just before the season was stopped. He's struggled offensively in the restart, but that isn't likely to affect how the Pelicans view his long-term future.
Hart is valuable because of his versatility on both ends of the court. He's an excellent rebounder for a guard and an adequate 3-point shooter.
New Orleans can take an aggressive approach since only Holiday and Ingram (if he signs a new contract) are on the books for more than $20 million. In other words, they will have flexibility next year if they can't reach a deal now.
Players who can't demand a max contract often find a point of compromise. For instance, last year the Nets signed Caris LeVert to a three-year, $52.5 million extension, while Dejounte Murray got four years from the Spurs for a total of $64 million.
We should expect New Orleans to offer Ball about the same amount that Murray got -- which Ball, as a former No. 2 overall pick, might decline, expecting a offer closer to the one Buddy Hield signed in Sacramento (four years, $86 million).
The compromise for Hart would likely be in the four-year, $50 million range.
Without extensions reached, Ball and Hart would become restricted free agents in 2021, allowing New Orleans to sign them or match an offer sheet on either player.

The draft assets

Here's how ESPN's Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz have New Orleans selecting in October:
The Pelicans own all their future first-round picks.
New Orleans has a first-round pick from the Lakers in 2021 (if it falls in the top seven) that becomes unprotected in 2022 if not conveyed. The Pelicans also have the right to swap firsts with the Lakers in 2023 and an unprotected first in 2024 (which can be deferred to 2025).
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2020.10.14 23:32 AndyJPuente Biggest 2020 NBA free-agency, draft and trade decisions for the Houston Rockets:

Source: https://www.espn.com/nba/insidestory/_/id/28953850/biggest-2020-nba-free-agency-draft-trade-decisions-all-30-teams
Offseason focus
Draft assets
Cap space breakdown
Team needs
Extension eligible: James Harden, P.J. Tucker, Russell Westbrook
Free-agent status

The options with the roster

Houston general manager Daryl Morey is one of the most innovative executives in the NBA, constantly exploring options for improving the roster to chase a championship, but with an eye on the Rockets' financial situation.
Since he was promoted to GM in 2007, Morey has made 73 trades, including the acquisitions of Harden, Paul, Westbrook and Covington. The Rockets have never had a losing record under Morey, and they've paid the luxury tax only twice: $757,000 in 2010-11 and $4.9 million in 2015-16.
That said, the Rockets could be approaching a dead end on roster improvements.
While this paints a gloomy picture, the Rockets do have Tucker's expiring contract. Covington's deal is reasonable and expires in two years.
Morey has been aggressive trading out of the first round, with 2015 (Sam Dekker) the most recent time the Rockets picked in the top 30.
The front office also has a strong track record of signing second-chance players to minimum contracts -- most recently Austin Rivers and Ben McLemore -- and finding role players such as Danuel House Jr. and Jeff Green.
Rivers and McLemore combined to average 19 points this season, with McLemore shooting 40% from 3 and Rivers 35.6%.

Extension candidates: Tucker, Harden and Westbrook

Back in February, former teammate Chris Paul made the case for why Tucker deserves a new contract. "[Tucker] needs a [contract] extension," Paul told the media during All-Star Weekend. "That's all the man wants. The man plays every night and can't get an extension." Paul called the 35-year-old Tucker the "unsung hero" of the NBA.
In the three years since signing a four-year, $32 million contract, Tucker has yet to miss a game, and he's played every position he's been asked to play, including center in Houston's small-ball lineups.
Although league rules allow for teams to extend a player for a total of five seasons (including what is left on his contract), the length of Tucker's extension would be limited by the NBA's over-38 rule. So in this case, the extension would essentially be for only three additional years at the most.
(The Rockets can still sign him to the maximum extension allowed, which is four years at $55.3 million, but the final year would be considered deferred compensation and would be spread over the first three seasons and be counted as such for salary cap purposes.)
If the Rockets offer him a more reasonable two-year, $20 million extension, there is no additional cap hit in each season beyond the $10 million.
The Rockets have $124 million in committed salary between five other players: Harden, Westbrook, Gordon, House and Covington. With or without a Tucker extension, the Rockets will likely be a tax team in 2021 (if the threshold stays at $132 million) once their roster is filled out.
Normally players with three years left on their contract are not extension-eligible. However, Harden and Westbrook both signed supermax extensions in 2017, so they have fulfilled the three-year anniversary criterion to sign a new deal.
In each case, an extension would first have the player exercise his $47 million player option in 2022-23. The Rockets could then add an additional two seasons, for a total of $103 million ($49.7 and $53.7 million) of new money. That would be the maximum number of years and salary allowed.
While there are restrictions on how much the first year can increase over the previous year, in this case 105% off the player's 2022-23 salary, there is no limit on how much the salary in the first year of an extension can decline. We saw an example last October, when Kyle Lowry signed a one-year, $30 million extension with the Toronto Raptors, which was for $3.3 million less than his 2019-20 salary.
Westbrook would be 35 and Harden 34 in the first year of an extension.

Offseason cap breakdown

Resources available to build the roster

Dates to watch

Restrictions

The draft assets

For a fifth consecutive draft, Houston has traded out of the first round. In fact, the Rockets do not have a pick in the 2020 draft, with their second-round pick in possession of the Atlanta Hawks.
The Rockets owe Oklahoma City first-rounders in 2024 (top-four protected) and 2026 (top-four protected).
In addition, OKC has the right to swap picks in 2021 (top-four protected, with Houston receiving the least favorable of its pick, OKC's pick and Miami's pick), and 2025 (top-four protected; OKC has the right to swap with the Rockets or Clippers).
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2020.10.12 20:42 jonisantucho Oscar Watch - Post Venice/TIFF/NYFF Edition

Several months ago, right after the last Academy Awards, I posted a long, long, long list of possible contenders that had prospects to fight for the next Oscars. It was a time of hope, of looking forward, and of positivity.
Then, COVID-19 happened.
And now, we find ourselves in a year that may change the movie industry forever, with the lack of safety of theaters in times of a pandemic accelerating the switch of mainstream audiences to streaming and VOD. These are times where some people are beginning to wonder, even after they pushed the eligibility date for two more months, why the Academy doesn’t cancel next year’s Oscars. And in this rocky terrain, we lost many contenders. Fire up the Hunger Games cannons, because these are some casualties of the season (so far).
Launched to 2021: Annette, Benedetta, Deep Water, Dune, In the Heights, King Richard, Last Night in Soho, Memoria, Nightmare Alley, Passing, Red, White and Water, Raya and the Last Dragon, The Last Duel, The Power of the Dog, Tick, Tick… Boom!, West Side Story.
Unknown status / missing in action: After Yang, Blonde, Breaking News in Yuba County, C’mon C’mon, Next Goal Wins, Stillwater, The French Dispatch, The Humans, The Tragedy of Macbeth, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Those Who Wish Me Dead.
But even if this year isn’t as loaded with clear awards candidates, there are plenty of movies that are already drawing buzz for an Oscar season that started brewing a month ago, with the kickoff of the Venice Film Festival, and will go on for six and a half more months, when the Academy Awards take place on April 25, 2021. It’s gonna be a long, weird and rocky season, which is gonna be great to see in terms of the narratives that are coming up.
-Ammonite (trailer): When people were betting on the likelier contenders of this year, many people pointed in the direction of Francis Lee’s period drama, with previous Best Actress winner Kate Winslet and constant nominee Saoirse Ronan. Going into the premiere at Toronto, people had their eyes set in this queer romance between a paleontologist and a young wife in the coasts of England during the 19th century. But then, some things happened. First, Winslet started her promotion of the movie by talking about her regret for working with Woody Allen and Roman Polanski that sounded unconvincing to the ominous Film Twitter. Then, another queer period drama, Mona Fastvold’s The World to Come, started to take the attention away at Venice. And finally, the movie premiered. The reaction? Cold. Critics came out mixed with the movie, with many of them comparing it negatively to last year’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire, and saying that it’s too dull and alienating. Does that mean that all is lost? Not exactly. While the movie (which, considering the genre, really needs critics' support to get into the Best Picture category) has been dismissed, the acting by Winslet and Ronan has been received positively. Now that so many other contenders have been dropping out of the year, they might get some room to campaign from a (social) distance.
-Another Round (trailer): Speaking of TIFF premieres, a film that had a better time at the Canadian festival was the reunion between director Thomas Vinterberg and star Mads Mikkelsen, who reunited years after making the stirring drama The Hunt (not the one with Betty Gilpin carrying a bad political satire, the one about a Danish teacher wrongly accused of sexual abuse). This time, the material is lighter, being a dramedy about four teachers who decide to test out a theory about how people can live and work a little better if they increase the level of alcohol in their blood. Critics really liked the way the movie dealt with alcoholism, and Toronto audiences made it a runner up for the People’s Choice Award of the festival. In a year without so much exposure from other festivals, this Cannes 2020 selection could make a candidate for the Best International Film category.
-Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (trailer): Surprise, new Borat film! While Sacha Baron Cohen made headlines several times this year because of stunts that people assumed were about a second season of Who is America?, the Internet was shocked when, in early September, it was confirmed that it was actually a very niiiiice return from the journalist character that made him famous, shot during quarantine. In a matter of weeks after the reveal, the sequel got sold to Amazon Prime and got a release date for October 23. Why so soon? Well, apparently the movie, which got him in trouble with Rudy Giuliani and other people, is about Borat taking his daughter on a road trip to give her as a bride to VP Mike Pence. Even if this movie doesn’t manage to achieve the feats of the 2006 movie (which got a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination, let’s remember), it will help Baron Cohen’s image a lot, because it will come a week after his big Oscar play.
-Cherry: While everybody knows them mostly because of their contributions to the MCU, directors Joe and Anthony Russo and actor Tom Holland are trying to branch out together. Now Apple has bought into their efforts, paying more than 40 million dollars to acquire their new crime drama, about the life of former Army medic Nico Walker, who started robbing banks after his days in Iraq left him with PTSD and a pill addiction. Will Holland manage this time to escape from the shadow of “oh, jeez, Mr. Stark” Spider-Man before Chaos Walking or the Uncharted movie come out? That’s a question for another day.
-Da 5 Bloods (trailer): Talk about timing. Merely days after the country was mobilized by the police brutality that continues to divide the United States, Spike Lee premiered his new war drama on Netflix. In a vibrant, disjointed but passionate portrait of four African American veterans who return to Vietnam to search for their fallen leader and some treasure, Lee struck gold yet again with his usual fans, even though the moving of the Oscar ceremony threatened to make it harder to remind Academy voters about this movie. However, with an astounding performance from Delroy Lindo (who is confirmed to be campaigned in the Best Actor category) and a supporting turn from Chadwick Boseman which got reframed with the news of his bravery in life and death, this has what it takes to fight for a spot in the Best Picture lineup.
-Everybody’s Talking About Jamie (trailer): When it became clear that quarantine wasn’t gonna be a breeze, the first movie in consideration wise enough to move a little further ahead in the calendar was this adaptation of the hit West End production about a gay British teenager who dreams of becoming a drag queen and get his family and schoolmates to accept his sexuality. With a release date on February 26, 20th Century Studios (man, it’s weird to not use Fox in that name) hopes to strike gold, with a cast that mixes young unknowns, familiar names (Sharon Horgan, Sarah Lancashire and my boy Ralph Ineson) and the previously nominated legend that is Richard E. Grant (who is playing a former drag queen named Loco Chanelle), now taking advantage of the move of other musicals like Annette, In The Heights and West Side Story. I mean, this has at the very least some Golden Globes nods in the bag.
-French Exit: Before its premiere as the closing film of the NYFF, many pundits were expecting this surreal comedy to be somewhat of a comeback for past Best Actress nominee Michelle Pfeiffer, who here plays a close to penniless widow who moves to Paris with her son (Lucas Hedges) and cat, who also happens to be her reincarnated husband (Tracy Letts). However, the first reactions for the film adaptation of the Patrick deWitt novel were all over the place, with some people feeling cold by the execution of the weirdness and others being won over. Still, everybody had good things to say about Michelle Pfeiffer’s performance, but after the mixed reception to the rest of Azazel Jacobs’ film she really would need a lot of critics support to get anywhere near the Best Actress category. With a release date on February 12, it seems that Sony Pictures Classics is skipping the critics awards, and the distributor has a couple of big competitors above this one.
-Good Joe Bell: Every year, there are movies with big stars that go to festivals full of hope for praises and awards. Some of them work and go on, others don’t and get forgotten about. Mark Wahlberg tried to remind people that he occasionally is a good actor with a true life drama where he plays a father who decides to walk across America to raise awareness about bullying after his son, tormented for being gay, commits suicide. The film by Reinaldo Marcus Green premiered at TIFF, and the reaction was… not great. Some critics defended it, but most saw it as a flawed, baity product starring a man with a history of hate. Still, it got bought by a distributor: Solstice Studios, a new player in the game which just released its first movie, Unhinged (yup, the one about Russell Crowe road raging). While they paid 20 million dollars for Good Joe Bell, it’s clear that this won’t get near the Oscar telecast.
-Hillbilly Elegy: While many movies this year have some level of anticipation, Film Twitter is bracing for this movie in the “is this gonna be the next Green Book?” way. Ron Howard’s adaptation of J.D. Vance’s memoir about his low income life in a poor rural community in Ohio has many fearing about the overuse of tropes involving what’s called white trash porn, but rarely, Netflix has kept silent about this release. Even though it has Oscar bridesmaids Glenn Close (7 nominations) and Amy Adams (6 nominations), the streamer has not even released a photo of the movie, which supposedly will come out in November. And if you want another bad omen, take a look at the lower levels of this list by a familiar voice.
-I’m Thinking of Ending Things (trailer): Speaking of Netflix, did you know that there is a new Charlie Kaufman there, right now? While his adaptation of the dark novel by Iain Reid, seemingly about a woman (Jessie Buckley) who is taken by her boyfriend (Jesse Plemons) to meet his parents (Toni Collette and David Thewlis), got the usual reception of confusion and praise that follows his movies, the release was followed for what befalls most of the Netflix original movies: a couple of days in the Top 10, and then it fell into the void. While Buckley and Plemons deliver great work in this demented, melancholic story, it’s hard to see this movie getting anything else than a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination for Charlie. And that’s a long shot.
-I’m Your Woman: Following the little seen but critically acclaimed Miss Stevens and Fast Color, Julia Hart started 2020 with a Disney+ adaptation of the YA book Stargirl, and now she follows it with a drama for Amazon that will have its world premiere as the opening film of the AFI fest on October 15. In this movie, Rachel Brosnahan hopes to translate her TV success with The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel to the big screen, playing a woman in the ‘70s that has to go on the run with her kid due to her husband’s crimes.
-Judas and the Black Messiah (trailer): Even if this doesn’t end up winning any awards, it has a real shot at being the best trailer of 2020. Formerly titled Jesus Was My Homeboy, this biographical drama by Shaka King tells the tale of two men: Fred Hampton (Kaluuya), an activist and Black Panther leader, and William O’Neal (Stanfield), the FBI agent sent to infiltrate the party and arrest him. While the trailer for this movie promised a release “only in theaters”, we shall see if Warner Bros backs down from that fight.
-Let Them All Talk: While we’re on the subject of Warner Bros, we have to mention what’s happening with HBO Max. While the start of the streaming service hasn’t been good (I mean, there are still people confused about that name) and it lead to some people assume will cause many firings, it has begun to make some buzzed titles on TV, like Close Enough, Raised by Wolves and the remains of the DC Universe failed streaming service. Now, to make a mark in the movie business, the streamer has a new Steven Soderbergh movie, a comedy that stars Meryl Streep as a celebrated author that takes her friends (Candice Bergen, Dianne Wiest) and her nephew (Lucas Hedges) in a cruise to find fun and come to terms with the past, while he flirts with a literary agent (Gemma Chan). While it doesn’t have a date yet, it’s confirmed to release in 2020, and at least we know that it can’t be worse than The Laundromat.
-Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom: While the expectations for the next film adaptation of an August Wilson acclaimed play were already high, the tragic death of Chadwick Boseman made this Netflix release one of the most anticipated movies of the season, considering this is his final movie. While past Supporting Actress winner Viola Davis takes the lead playing blues singer Ma Rainey in this tale of a heated recording session with her bandmates, her agent and her producer in 1927, Chadwick Boseman has a turn as the trumpeter Levee that was already being considered for awards, and now has even more people waiting to see. The thing is that one of the biggest competitions for Boseman this year will be Boseman himself, for his already acclaimed supporting turn on Da 5 Bloods, also released by Netflix. While the streamer will have to decide which of Chadwick’s performances will get the bigger campaign, this film by director George C. Wolfe has a cushy date set for December 18, and Viola is gunning hard for this movie to win.
-Mank (trailer): As you may have noticed by now, Netflix has a lot of plates spinning around this season, and this is the big one. After befriending the service with House of Cards and Mindhunter, David Fincher is going black and white to tackle a script by his late father Jack, about the making of the classic of classics, Citizen Kane. More specifically, the making of the script, with previous Oscar winner Gary Oldman playing the lead role of screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz, while accompanied by Amanda Seyfried, Lily Collins, Tuppence Middleton, Charles Dance and Tom Burke. After watching the first trailer of his satire of 1930’s Hollywood (that will release on streaming on December 4), it’s clear that this is gonna be catnip to old Academy voters, and it would be really hard for this to miss the Best Picture line up. Unless it’s a complete cinematic disaster, Mank is bank.
-Minari (trailer): While the last edition of Sundance took place in January, quarantine makes you feel like it took place two years ago. This year, the big winner of the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award in the US Dramatic Competition was a dramedy by Lee Isaac Chung, about a Korean family in the ‘80s who suddenly gets moved by their father (Steven Yeun) to Arkansas, to start a farm. Even though the reviews have been great, distributor A24 hasn’t really had a big, Oscar nominated hit for the last couple of years, and the COVID-19 crisis made them delay all their releases. But when we were ready to write this off, a new trailer for the movie came out, confirming that it’s in the game of this awards season. Maybe the pandemic will be of help to A24, considering that one of the reasons they haven’t had success is that they divided their attention into too many releases, and ended up getting not much. This time, they are betting all on Lee who, even if this doesn’t go anywhere, also has a new gig coming up as the director of the live action remake of Your Name.
-News of the World (sneak peek): So much of this year has felt like a game of chicken between a virus and movie studios. While many movies chose to skip this year altogether, Universal remains firm (for now) with its plans to open a wide movie on Christmas Day, with a Western that reunites Paul Greengrass and Tom Hanks in an enticing premise. In this drama based on Paulette Jiles’ novel, Hanks plays a traveling newsreader in the aftermath of the American Civil War, who is tasked with reuniting an orphaned girl with her living relatives. While the first sneak peek of the movie looks promising, the future is still in the air.
-Nomadland (trailer): While the world burns around Hollywood, Searchlight is betting big on Chloe Zhao’s new film. Using the strategy of taking the spotlight while the rest of the contenders is uncertain about how or when to be released, the indie drama began its journey at Venice, with critics raving about the story of a woman (two-time Oscar winner Frances McDormand) who, after losing everything in the Great Recession, embarks on a journey through the American West, living as a van-dwelling modern-day nomad. At the end of the fest, the movie won the coveted Golden Lion. To put that into perspective, the last three winners of the award were past Best Picture nominees The Shape of Water, Roma and Joker, with The Shape of Water (also distributed by Searchlight) also winning the big prize. After drawing critical acclaim following its virtual showing on TIFF and NYFF, Nomadland seems like the first lock in the Best Picture line up. Still, there are obstacles ahead. Will Zhao break the disappointment of the last few years, when deserving candidates for Best Director got blocked by the likes of Adam McKay and Todd Phillips? And will McDormand manage to get near a third Oscar, following a recent win for Three Billboards in Ebbing, Missouri? Time will tell.
-On the Rocks (trailer): While she hasn’t been near the Oscars for a while, Sofia Coppola is still a name that draws attention. This time, she opened the NYFF with a dramedy about a young mother (Rashida Jones) who reunites with her playboy father (Bill Murray, also reuniting with Sofia after Lost in Translation) on an adventure through New York to find out if her husband (Marlon Wayans) is cheating on her. The consensus seems to be that, while light and not near her best work, it’s still a fun and breezy movie, with a very good turn by Murray. While many would assume that this A24 production will disappear into the abyss when it releases on Apple TV+ on October 23, the dropping out of many candidates gives the movie a chance to, at least, fight for some Golden Globes.
-One Night in Miami (sneak peek): Following her recent Oscar and Emmy wins for If Beale Street Could Talk and Watchmen, Regina King is still striking hard, and this time, she’s doing it as a director. For her big screen debut as a filmmaker, she chose to adapt Kemp Powers’ play that dramatizes a real meeting on February 25, 1964, when Muhammad Ali (Eli Goree) followed an iconic win with a hangout session with Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.) and Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge). Opening at Venice, the film received glowing reviews, with many praising King (even though some said that the movie doesn’t fully translate the play to the film medium) and the actors’ performances, especially Ben-Adir and Odom Jr. (who, it should be said, also wrote an original song for the end credits of the movie, which could help his Oscar chances). Amazon Prime is hoping that this is their big contender this year, with plans of a theatrical release on Christmas and a streaming release on January 15. Judging by the praise this got at festival season, it has a chance to go a long way.
-Over the Moon (trailer): In a year with not that many contenders for Best Animated Feature, Netflix is betting on a musical adventure directed by the legendary Glen Keane, a classic Disney animator who recently won an Oscar for Best Animated Short for co-directing Dear Basketball. While our expectations were lowered by the first trailer for the movie, centered around a Chinese girl who builds a rocket ship and blasts off to the Moon in hopes of meeting a legendary Goddess, it’s still safe to assume that it has a shot at being nominated for something. Netflix also hopes that you like its big candidate for Best Original Song, which really, really sounds like a Disney ballad.
-Pieces of a Woman: While this year doesn’t have the amount of surprise contenders that a regular Oscar season usually has, we still have some movies that sneaked through festival season. The first one was the new, somber drama by Hungarian director Kornél Mundruczó, known for the doggy uprising pic White God, and the not-so-well-received sci-fi Jupiter’s Moon. This time, we follow a woman (Vanessa Kirby) whose life is torn apart after a home birth at the hands of a flustered midwife (Molly Parker) ends in tragedy, and then leads to a court battle that also makes her confront her husband (Shia LaBeouf) and her domineering mother (Ellen Burstyn). While the movie had mixed reactions, Kirby had plenty of raves in her direction, particularly concerning her performance during a 25-minute birth sequence that is said to be brutal. That brutality paid off, though, because Kirby ended up winning Best Actress at Venice, and Netflix bought the movie, which also has Martin Scorsese as an executive producer. If the Academy wants to crown a new face in the scene, Kirby is the one who will be targeted, following her acclaimed turn in The Crown and her supporting roles in blockbusters like Mission Impossible: Fallout and Hobbs & Shaw.
-Promising Young Woman (trailer): When theaters started to close because of the pandemic, Universal started the push of their movies going straight to VOD, with titles including Trolls World Tour and Never Rarely Sometimes Always. However, there was a title that was supposed to premiere in April, and then suddenly disappeared from existence. It was the directorial debut of actress Emerald Fennell, who wrote a black comedy with touches of a thriller, centered on a woman in her thirties (Carey Mulligan) whose bright future was derailed by a traumatic event, and who’s now looking for revenge. While the reaction to its premiere at Sundance wasn’t enough to consider a Best Picture run, the twisted performance by Mulligan earned her the best praise since the last time she was nominated for an Oscar, a decade ago for An Education. Now, Focus Features is planning to open the movie at Christmas, and are positioning Carey for a run at Best Actress.
-Rebecca (trailer): When the news came out saying that Ben Wheatley would adapt Daphne du Maurier’s psychological thriller novel for Netflix, many were shocked. Some people considered the chance that this was an awards play by the cult director, who is doing the same work that earned Alfred Hitchcock his only Best Picture win. But seeing the trailer for this new version, with Lily James playing the newly married young woman who finds herself battling the shadow of her husband's (Armie Hammer) dead first wife Rebecca, we have to wonder if there’s a point to the existence of this remake. We will find out if there’s any awards chances for this movie on October 21, when it releases on streaming. Let’s hope that Kristin Scott Thomas has something to play with as Mrs. Danvers.
-Respect (trailer): Every year, there’s one or two actors who announce to the world “I want an Oscar” and campaign like their lives depended on it. Last time, it was Taron Egerton (accompanied by Elton John, who actually ended up winning another Oscar). This year, it is the turn of Jennifer Hudson, who is playing Aretha Franklin in a biopic directed by first timer Liesl Tommy, and who’s hoping that this attempt at awards ends up more like Dreamgirls than like Cats. She has been doing announcement trailers (a year in advance), quarantine tributes, award show tributes, and every possible thing to get the industry to notice that she’s playing Aretha. Hey, Rami Malek and Renee Zellweger did it in the last few years, why can’t she. With a release date of January 15, Hudson wants that gold.
-Soul (trailer): Disney may be the studio that suffered the biggest hit because of the pandemic. Their parks are a loss, most of their big productions had to stop because of quarantine, and theaters in many parts of the world are closed. After the failure of Tenet for Warner Bros. and the experiment of the mouse house of charging people 30 dollars to see Mulan (which didn’t work at all), many wondered if Disney was gonna delay the new production by Pixar, written and directed by Pete Docter, who brought Oscar gold to his home with Up and Inside Out. The movie, which centers on a teacher (Jamie Foxx) who dreams of becoming a jazz musician and, just as he’s about to get his big break, ends up getting into an accident that separates his soul from his body, had a lot of promise, but the speculation of lost money was also a concern. Finally, Disney decided to release the movie on Christmas, but only on Disney Plus, causing another failure for theaters, but assuring that Disney at least can get more subscribers to its streaming service. And the movie? Well, it just premiered at the London Film Festival, and the critics are saying it’s Pixar at its best, with praises going from the look, to the script by co-director Kemp Powers (who also wrote the play of One Night in Miami, so he has many chances for a nod), to the score by Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and Jon Batiste. That means that it’s already a top contender to win Best Animated Feature, and this may not be the only category in which the movie is gonna get nominated.
-Supernova (trailer): If there’s a theme this year in terms of Oscar contenders, it might be dementia. One of the examples of this is a small road movie directed by Hairy Macqueen, which premiered to good reviews at the San Sebastian festival. This drama centers on a trip taken by Sam (Colin Firth) and Tusker (Stanley Tucci), partners for 20 years, who travel across England reuniting with friends and family, because Tusker was diagnosed with early onset dementia. While usually the big awards role is usually the one of the person who suffers the illnesses, some reviewers are calling Firth’s work as the supporting companion some of the best of his career. With Bleecker Street buying the rights for a US release, this is a little film that could still make some moves.
-Tenet (trailer): For the first five months of quarantine, the big narrative in the world of film was “Christopher Nolan is gonna save cinemas”. But after postponing the release of the mind bending actioner for months on end, creating big demands and expectations to theater owners, and finally releasing as the sacrificial lamb of Hollywood, Warner Bros ended up seeing the opposite effect. Even though Tom Cruise loved to be back at the movies, critics didn’t share enough excitement to make a spy movie that goes backwards worth the possibility of dying of coronavirus. The audiences didn’t show up as much, and those who did attend, mostly complained about the sound mixing and the plot. After all the sacrifice, it’s highly unlikely that Tenet goes beyond technical awards. Let’s start the “Travis Scott for Best Original Song” campaign now, before it’s too late.
-The Boys in the Band (trailer): The Ryan Murphy blank check for Netflix has been interesting to follow. On the one hand, we have his new TV shows, which go from not existing (The Politician), to alternate movie history that doesn’t know how alternate history works (Hollywood), to a challenge of how much TV will you stomach if Sarah Paulson and other middle aged actresses are campy in it (Ratched). And now, we are seeing his producing hand over the movie side, which starts with the new film adaptation of the cult play from 1968, which was already a movie in 1970 and recently jumped to Broadway in 2018. The cast from the recent Broadway production (which includes Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto, Matt Bomer and Andrew Rannells) stars in Joe Mantello’s movie, telling the story of a group of gay friends in pre-Stonewall New York who reunite for a birthday party and end up revealing a lot of open wounds. While this movie got good reviews from critics, it kinda disappeared without a sound after beginning to stream on Netflix at the end of September. Unless the service wants to campaign for Golden Globes, this film is lost in the algorithm.
-The Devil All the Time (trailer): Another September release on Netflix was the new psychological thriller by Antonio Campos (Simon Killer, Christine) who didn’t manage to continue his streak of intense and terrifying character dramas with his messy adaptation of the dark novel by Donald Ray Pollock. Wasting a cast that includes Tom Holland, Sebastian Stan, Robert Pattinson, Mia Wasikowska, Eliza Scanlen, Bill Skarsgard, Jason Clarke and Riley Keough, this twisted period piece managed to stay for a while in the Top 10, but the reactions from critics were mixed, and audiences were busy asking what was happening with Pattinson’s Southern accent (which with The King makes two years in a row, baby). The many prognosticators who had hopes for an awards play moved on a while ago.
-The Father (trailer): It’s safe to say at this point that Anthony Hopkins is a lock for a Best Actor nomination at the next Oscars. After its premiere in Sundance, every prognosticator pointed in his direction, and for the next few months he swept praise for his harrowing portrayal of an old man grappling with his age as he develops dementia, causing pain to his beleaguered daughter (recent winner Olivia Colman, who also got praised). Sony Pictures Classics will make Florian Zeller’s adaptation of his acclaimed play its big contender of the season, using Hopkins (who this year got a nom for The Two Popes) as a starter to also get Colman, Zeller and the movie nominated.
-The Human Voice (trailer): And speaking of Sony Pictures Classics, it’s almost safe to say that they have another Oscar in the bag this year. That’s because they just bought Pedro Almodóvar’s short film, his English-speaking debut that is an adaptation of the play by Jean Cocteau. In his version (that was acclaimed by critics after premiering in Venice), Tilda Swinton plays the woman waiting at the end of a phone, expecting to hear from his ex-lover who abandoned her. Considering how the competition for Best Live Action Short Film has become somewhat lacking in the last few years (I mean, have you seen Skin), this should be an easy award to win, especially considering how beloved Almodóvar is in the Academy, which nominated him this year for the great Pain and Glory.
-The Life Ahead: While we’re talking about legends, it’s time to talk about Sophia Loren. 16 years after her last leading role in a movie, the Italian icon returns with a drama that was bought by Netflix, who plans to campaign for her as Best Actress and for the movie in the Best International Film category. Directed by Edoardo Ponti (who is also Sophia’s son), this movie centers on a Holocaust survivor who takes in a 12-year-old boy who recently robbed her, in a contemporary adaptation of Romain Gary’s novel The Life Before Us. Netflix has set a date for November 13 to release this movie, and the campaign seems to be about the narrative of seeing Loren winning another Oscar 60 years after she won her first one for Two Women, by Vittorio De Sica.
-The Midnight Sky: Based on the novel Good Morning, Midnight, this collaboration between George Clooney and Netflix is once again making us ask one thing. Are we gonna get the director Clooney of Good Night and Good Luck, or are we gonna get the director Clooney of Leatherheads, The Ides of March, The Monuments Men and Suburbicon? Let’s hope he breaks his streak of blandness with this sci-fi story, which makes us think a little bit of Gravity: A lonely scientist in the Arctic (Clooney) races to stop a group of astronauts led by Felicity Jones from returning to a devastated Earth. With a release set for December, we have to hope that this is more than some Top 10 filler that will evaporate from existence in a week’s time.
-The Prom: In probably the biggest blank check of the Ryan Murphy deal with Netflix, this musical he’ll direct is based on the Tony-nominated show about a group of Broadway losers (Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Andrew Rannells and James “boo” Corden) who try to find a viral story to get back in the spotlight, and end up going to a town in Indiana to help a lesbian high school student who has been banned from bringing her girlfriend to the prom. While it’s clear that this December 11 release is gonna sweep the Golden Globes, the emptiness of this year compared to others could clear the way for some Oscar nominations, including Meryl and the obligatory original song added to a preexisting musical for easy clout.
-The Trial of the Chicago 7 (trailer): When it was announced that Paramount was selling Aaron Sorkin’s new movie to Netflix, some people saw it as a studio dumping a failed awards vehicle to be forgotten. However, the excuse that Sorkin wanted to release this movie before the US presidential elections seems to be true, because critics really enjoyed his old school courtroom drama, centered around the trial on counter cultural activists in the late ‘60s. Everybody praised uniformly the huge cast, that includes Sacha Baron Cohen, Eddie Redmayne, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jeremy Strong, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Frank Langella, William Hurt, Michael Keaton and Mark Rylance, which guarantees a SAG awards nomination (but makes it difficult to decide which actors will actually get nominated for Oscars). With a reaction that brings to mind the days of A Few Good Men and is the best reception he got since his Oscar winning script for The Social Network, the film faces a couple of hurdles. First of all, it got positioned as the frontrunner in the Best Picture race by some people, which instantly puts a target on its back. Then, we have to consider that the movie releases on Netflix this Friday, October 16, which makes it the first big contender this year to face the world, and which in these times of lockdown will probably make the reception to Marriage Story and The Irishman from last year look like a walk in the park. I mean, there are some people who aren’t swayed by Sorkin, and for good reason.
-The United States vs. Billie Holiday: While Paramount was quick to hand The Trial of the Chicago 7 to Netflix, there’s another movie that the studio kept to play in the upcoming awards season. This biographical drama follows the life of another famous musician, Billie Holiday (Andra Day), and we see the journey of her career in jazz as she is targeted by the Federal Department of Narcotics with an undercover sting operation led by Federal Agent Jimmy Fletcher (Trevante Rhodes), with whom she had a tumultuous affair. While the movie counts with a screenplay credit by Pulitzer winner Suzan-Lori Parks, the big question mark is the film’s director, Lee Daniels, who hit it big with Precious and then had results that were disastrous (The Paperboy) or financially successful, but not awards-wise (Lee Daniels’ The Butler). However, Paramount trusts in this movie, and with a release date on February 12, they want to make a splash.
-Wolfwalkers (trailer): While the attempts by Apple TV+ to establish themselves as a player in the TV world go from trainwrecks (See) to forgettable (The Morning Show) to eventually great (see Ted Lasso, everybody, this is not a joke), their plans to make a name in the film business have something to do with this year’s Oscars. While Cherry can come or go, they have a solid contender for the Best Feature Documentary with Boys State, but their big dog this year is the new movie by Cartoon Saloon, an Irish studio responsible for the acclaimed The Secret of Kells, The Song of the Sea, and The Breadwinner, all of which were nominated for Best Animated Feature. This time, Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart direct a story about a young apprentice hunter who journeys with her father to Ireland to help wipe out the last wolf pack. But everything changes when she befriends a free-spirited girl from a mysterious tribe rumored to transform into wolves by night. After getting critically acclaimed following its premiere at TIFF, this is a surefire contender for this year’s Best Animated Feature category, and Apple is gonna parade it before its streaming release on December 11. Also, while you watch that, you could watch a couple of episodes of Ted Lasso, too. It’s a really good show, it’s all I’m saying.
Anyways, that’s all the news from the last few months of festivals. No matter what happens next, this is gonna be a long, long, long race.
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2020.10.12 19:45 Seagull_No1_Fanboy OWL 2021 Off-Season Tracker

Player Position Old Team New Team Signing/Trade Details
Niclas "sHockWave" Jensen Flex DPS Titans ??? Reported F/A 9/7/F/A 10/21
Jason "Jaru" White Flex DPS Gladiators --- F/A 10/6/Retired 10/24
Jonas "Shaz" Suovaara Flex Support Gladiators --- F/A 10/6/Retired 10/23
Benjamin "BigG00se" Isohanni Main Support Gladiators --- Retired 10/6
Hyung-seok "Bischu" Kim Flex Tank Gladiators --- Retired 10/6
Benjamin "uNKOE" Chevasson Flex Support Fuel --- Retired 10/6
Michael "mikeyy" Konicki Main Tank Uprising ??? F/A 10/8
Kobe "Halo" Hamand Main Support Uprising ??? F/A 10/8
Isaac "Boombox" Charles Flex Support Fusion ??? F/A 10/12
Roni "LhCloudy" Tiihonen Main Tank Gladiators ??? F/A 10/12
Jun-soo "Kris" Choi Main Support Mayhem ??? F/A 10/14
San-ha "Karayan" Choi Main Tank Mayhem ??? F/A 10/14
Seong-ju "Byrem" Lee Flex Support Mayhem ??? F/A 10/14
Jung-woo "Sayaplayer" Ha Hitscan DPS Mayhem --- Retired 10/14
Austin "Muma" Wilmot Main Tank Outlaws ??? F/A 10/14
Jiri "LiNkzr" Masalin Hitscan DPS Outlaws ??? F/A 10/14
Jeffrey "blasé" Tsang Flex DPS Outlaws ??? F/A 10/14
Seung-soo "Jecse" Lee Main Support Outlaws ??? F/A 10/14
Gun-hee "Clestyn" Cho Flex Tank Spitfire ??? F/A 10/15
Hyun-wook "ALTHOUGH" Jung Flex DPS Spitfire ??? F/A 10/15
Sang-jun "Babel" Park Hitscan DPS Spitfire ??? F/A 10/15
Sung-hyeok "Highly" Lee Flex Support Spitfire ??? F/A 10/15
Dong-jae "Schwi" Lee Flex DPS Spitfire ??? F/A 10/15
Ji-hun "Jihun" Kim Main Tank Spitfire ??? F/A 10/15
Young-hoon "Krillin" Jeong Flex Support Spitfire ??? F/A 10/15
Dante "Danteh" Cruz Flex DPS Outlaws ??? F/A 10/15
Alberto "neptuNo" González Main Support Charge ??? F/A 10/15
Jung-yeon "Chara" Kim Main Support Charge ??? F/A 10/15
Shao-Hua "ATing" Chen Main Tank Hunters --- Retired 10/15
Tzu-heng "Baconjack" Lo Hitscan DPS Hunters --- Retired 10/15
Haomiao "Wya" Qi Flex Support Charge ??? F/A 10/16
Shilong "Krystal" Cai Hitscan DPS Charge ??? F/A 10/16
Tae-hong "MekO" Kim Flex Tank Outlaws ??? F/A 10/16
Min-seok "OGE" Son Main Tank Gladiators ??? F/A 10/16
Dusttin "Dogman" Bowerman Flex Support Reign ??? F/A 10/16
Stefan "Onigod" Fiskerstrand Hitscan DPS Fuel ??? F/A 10/16
William "Crimzo" Hernandez Flex Support Fuel ??? F/A 10/16
Nolan "Paintbrush" Edwards Main Support Fuel ??? F/A 10/16
Alhumaidi "KSAA" Alruwaili Flex Tank Titans ??? F/A 10/16
Carson "CarCar" First Main Support Titans ??? F/A 10/16
Samir "Tsuna" Ikram Hitscan DPS Titans ??? F/A 10/16
Lucas "NotE" Meissner Flex Tank Fuel ??? F/A 10/16
Nathan "frd" Goebel Flex Tank Reign ??? F/A 10/16
Ashley "Trill" Powell Main Tank Fuel --- Retired 10/16
Damon "Apply" Conti Flex DPS Valiant ??? F/A 10/16
Caleb "McGravy" McGarvey Flex Tank Valiant ??? F/A 10/16
Rick "GiG" Salazar Main Tank Valiant ??? F/A 10/16
Won-sik "Closer" Jung Main Support Fuel ??? F/A 10/16
Anthony "Fire" King Main Support Reign ??? F/A 10/16
Hyun-jun "Pokpo" Park Main Tank Reign ??? F/A 10/17
Dae-han "JMAC" Choi Main Tank Spitfire ??? F/A 10/17
Josh "Eqo" Corona Flex DPS Fusion ??? F/A 10/17
Charlie "nero" Zwarg Flex DPS Charge ??? F/A 10/17
Young-jin "Gamsu" Noh Main Tank Fuel --- Retired 10/17
Dylan "aKm" Bignet Hitscan DPS Fuel --- Retired 10/17
Gi-hyeon "Ado" Chon Flex DPS Spark ??? F/A 10/18
Jae-hwan "Adora" Kang Flex DPS Spark ??? F/A 10/18
Hui-chang "BeBe" Yoon Flex Support Spark ??? F/A 10/18
Sang-hyeon "SASIN" Song Flex Tank Spark ??? F/A 10/18
Seong-wook "Ria" Park Flex Tank Spark ??? F/A 10/18
Hyo-jong "Haksal" Kim Flex DPS Excelsior --- Retired 10/20
Yeon-kwan "Nenne" Jeong Hitscan DPS Excelsior ??? F/A 10/21
Seung-jun "WhoRU" Lee Flex DPS Excelsior ??? F/A 10/21
Dong-wook "BiaNcA" Kim Flex Tank Excelsior ??? F/A 10/21
Hong-joon "HOTBA" Choi Flex Tank Excelsior ??? F/A 10/21
Joon "Erster" Jeong Flex DPS Reign ??? F/A 10/21
Garrett "Saucy" Roland Hitscan DPS Reign ??? F/A 10/21
Chen "Lengsa" Jingyi Main Support Hunters ??? F/A 10/21
Sang-bum "BQB" Lee Flex DPS Mayhem ??? F/A 10/21
Beom-jun "Gargoyle" Lee Flex Tank Mayhem ??? F/A 10/21
Jung-woo "Happy" Lee Hitscan DPS Charge ??? F/A 10/21
Jin-seo "Shu" Kim Flex Support Charge ??? F/A 10/21
Haomiao "Wya" Qi Flex Support Charge ??? F/A 10/21
Jung-keun "Rapel" Kim Flex Support Outlaws ??? F/A 10/21
Daniel "Boink" Pence Main Support Outlaws ??? F/A 10/21
Da-un "NoSmite" Jeong Main Tank Eternal ??? F/A 10/21
Eoghan "Smex" O'Neill Flex Tank Eternal ??? F/A 10/21
Joon "Fielder" Kwon Flex Support Eternal ??? F/A 10/21
Philip "ChipSa" Graham Flex DPS Fusion ??? F/A 10/21
Seung-hyun "Ivy" Lee Flex DPS Fusion ??? F/A 10/21
Jun-ho "Fury" Kim Flex Tank Fusion ??? F/A 10/21
Dong-jun "Rascal" Kim Flex DPS Shock ??? F/A 10/21
Matthew "super" DeLisi Main Tank Shock ??? F/A 10/21
Grant "moth" Espe Main Support Shock ??? F/A 10/21
Minki "Viol2t" Park Flex Support Shock ??? F/A 10/21
Hyeon-woo "Toyou" Lim Flex Tank Dynasty ??? F/A 10/21
Seung-tae "Bdosin" Choi Flex Support Dynasty ??? F/A 10/21
Sung-jun "SLIME" Kim Main Support Dynasty ??? F/A 10/21
Jin-mo "tobi" Yang Main Support Dynasty ??? F/A 10/21
Jin-hyeok "DDing" Yang Flex DPS Dragons ??? F/A 10/21
Min-seong "diem" Bae Hitscan DPS Dragons ??? F/A 10/21
Weida "Diya" Lu Hitscan DPS Dragons ??? F/A 10/21
Se-yeon "Geguri" Kim Flex Tank Dragons ??? F/A 10/21
Seong-hyeon "Luffy" Yang Flex Support Dragons ??? F/A 10/21
Brady "Agilities" Girardi Flex DPS Defiant ??? F/A 10/21
Andreas "Logix" Berghmans Hitscan DPS Defiant Defiant F/A 10/21/Signed 10/23
Liam "Mangachu" Campbell Flex DPS Defiant ??? F/A 10/21
Lane "Surefour" Roberts Flex DPS Defiant ??? F/A 10/21
Thomas "zYKK" Hosono Flex DPS Defiant ??? F/A 10/21
Adam "Beast" Denton Main Tank Defiant ??? F/A 10/21
Andreas "Nevix" Karlsson Flex Tank Defiant ??? F/A 10/21
Seb "numlocked" Barton Main Tank Defiant ??? F/A 10/21
Young-seo "KariV" Park Flex Support Defiant ??? F/A 10/21
Harrison "Kruise" Pond Main Support Defiant ??? F/A 10/21
Joo-seong "RoKy" Park Main Support Defiant ??? F/A 10/21
Gui-un "Decay" Jang Flex DPS Justice Justice F/A 10/21/Signed 10/24
Chung-hee "Stitch" Lee Hitscan DPS Justice ??? F/A 10/21
Hyeon-Woo "JJANU" Choi Flex Tank Justice ??? F/A 10/21
Min-seok "AimGod" Kwon Flex Support Justice ??? F/A 10/21
Yeon-joon "ArK" Hong Main Support Justice ??? F/A 10/21
Zheng "Shy" Yangjie Hitscan DPS Bilibili Gaming Spark Signed 10/22
Chang-hoon "rOar" Gye Main Tank Justice ??? F/A 10/22
Yeong-han "SP9RK1E" Kim Flex DPS Eternal Fuel Traded 10/23
Han-been "Hanbin" Choi Flex Tank Eternal Fuel Traded 10/23
Tae-sung "Mag" Kim Main Tank Runaway Justice Signed 10/24

Coaching/Management Changes

Coach Position Old Team New Team Signing Details
David "Lilbow" Moschetto Interim HC Defiant ??? F/A 9/9
Murong "Chen" Chen HC Hunters ??? F/A 9/18
Guan "Garry" Li AC Hunters ??? F/A 9/18
Chang "Ray" Chia-Hua AC Hunters ??? F/A 9/18
Xingrui "RUI" Wang HC ??? Hunters Signed 9/18
Won-jin "Garrincha" Park AC Excelsior ??? F/A 9/19
Jake "Spackle" Connell Analyst Uprising ??? F/A 9/23
Rollon "Mini" Hamelin AC Uprising ??? F/A 9/23
Eric "Wheats" Perez AC Titans ??? F/A 9/25
Cheol-yong "Agape" Hong HC Spitfire ??? F/A 10/1
Young-bin "Twinkl" Lim AC Spitfire ??? F/A 10/1
Hyeon-sang "Pavane" Yu AC Spitfire ??? F/A 10/1
Min-gyu "Vol'Jin" Kang AC Fuel ??? F/A 10/1
Hae-joon "Wiz" Lee AC Justice ??? F/A 10/2
Hyo-jin "J1N" Cho HC Charge ??? F/A 10/5
Seung-min "Tydolla" Jung AC Charge ??? F/A 10/5
Sung-woo "Sungwoo" Hong AC Charge ??? F/A 10/5
Vytis "Mineral" Lasaitis HC Uprising Uprising Transition to manager 10/5
Seung-hyun "Lori" Kim HC WGS Phoenix Uprising Signed 10/5
Rohit "CurryShot" Nathani AC Gladiators ??? F/A 10/8
Chris "Dream" Myrick AC Outlaws ??? F/A 10/14
Jae "Junkbuck" Choi AC Shock Outlaws F/A 10/15/Signed 10/15
Ho-cheol "Hocury" Lee GM Dynasty ??? F/A 10/15
Dong-eun "Hooreg" Lee AC Outlaws ??? F/A 10/16
Ji-won "Arachne" Lee AC Shock ??? F/A 10/16
Ysabel "Noukky" Müller GM Hurricane Spitfire Promoted to GM 10/16
James "Faustus" Frye AC Gladiators ??? F/A 10/16
Matt "coolmatt" Iorio GM Outlaws Outlaws Promoted to GM 10/19
Dong-gun "KDG" Kim HC Fusion Defiant F/A 10/21/Signed 10/24
Hee-won "RUSH" Yun HC Eternal Fuel Traded 10/23
Chung-hyeok "Levi" Jeong AC Eternal --- Retired 10/23
Jae-yoon "Aid" Go AC Eternal ??? F/A 10/23
Bumhoon "NineK" Kim HC Eternal Fusion Signed 10/23
Dimitri "Silence" Couturet AC Reign --- Retired 10/24
Chung-in "Mentalist" Kim AC Reign ??? F/A 10/24
Steven "Kodak" Rosenberger AC Reign ??? F/A 10/24

Abbreviations

  • F/A = Free Agent
  • HC = Head Coach
  • AC = Assistant Coach
  • GM = General Manager
  • * = Reported

2021 Player Contract Status

OWL Key Dates

  • Oct. 10, 2020: Championship match concludes 2020 season schedule.
  • Oct. 12, 2020: Teams may begin submitting player trades for League Office review. All player trades are subject to League Office approval prior to becoming effective. Teams may also begin extending or otherwise signing their current players to standard contracts.
  • Oct. 16, 2020: Deadline by which teams must exercise any options to extend existing contracts which were initially executed in 2020.
  • Oct. 23, 2020: PSAs signed using the 2020 PSA template that are not extended terminate and such Players become free agents. Players who are signed using the 2020 PSA template whose contracts extend into the 2021 Season begin receiving Base Salary at the 2021 Season rate.
  • Oct. 24, 2020: Teams may begin signing free agents to contracts for the 2021 Season.
  • Nov. 13, 2020: Deadline by which teams must exercise any team options to extend existing contracts which were initially executed in 2019.
  • Nov. 20, 2020: Players whose contracts that are not extended become free agents. Teams and players also may mutually agree to an early release from contracts prior to this date.
  • Jan. 4, 2021: Deadline for all teams to have a minimum of seven players signed to season-long contracts for the 2021 season.
submitted by Seagull_No1_Fanboy to Competitiveoverwatch [link] [comments]


2020.10.03 22:13 OrangeForeign How I'd book: The Power Couple storyline

Hi everyone! So for anyone currently watching NXT it's pretty safe to say the Garganos have been one of the best things on the show not just now but for the entire year and their booking has really helped that but it seems like this story isn't close to being finished, but rather it's closer to reaching it's climax. So for a change I decided that, instead of revisionist history I'll do something different and book the future of this angle. Intro done let's get to it!

Johnny and Candice amazing adventure

Okay so for starters I'll get this out of the way, everything until now stays the same until now, Johnny feuds with Damian Priest and Candice with Io as to date, because I think it doesn't need a change and I will be featuring actual crowds because fuck COVID, this is an alternative reality. Now onto the future
Takeover 31: Damian Priest (c) vs Johnny Gargano For the NXT North American Championship
Same build as IRL, Johnny is still fixated on the Championship and Priest wants to prove himself as Champion. This two prove to have great chemistry because they're both good and Johnny is incapable of bad matches. Johnny comes accompanied by Candice, who keeps interfering in the match and helping Johnny take shortcuts until she's caught trying to give Johnny brass knuckles and gets thrown out. Johnny throws a goofy tantrum to the ref as he's busy trying to get Candice out. Priest sees the advantage and takes it, hitting a low blow from behind like Candice did to him before hitting the Reckoning to retain
Damian Priest def Johnny Gargano to retain the NXT North American Championship (18:30)
Takeover 31: Io Shirai (c) vs Candice LeRae for the NXT Women's Championship
Candice comes to this match alone, after her husband is shown backstage to battered to compete in a goofy way (because part of their appeal is how goofy and dorky they are now), so Candice has no one in her corner to face Io for now. They tear the house down yet again just like in Toronto, but Candice just can't put Io away. In the end Up accidentally takes out to referee, Wicked Stepsister by Candice! But there's no one to make the cover. Candice goes to hit Io with the belt while the ref is down but someone stops her. It's Shotzi Blackheart! (Now it'd be Tegan but she's hurt, get well soon Tegan) Shotzi is here to avenge her fallen friend and takes matters into her own hands as she's cool with Io too. She hits Candice with the belt, Moonsault by Io and Shirai retains
Io Shirai def Candice LeRae to retain the NXT Women's Championship (24:10)
Takeover 31 wasn't the night of the Garganos, but foolish you if you thought that was going to stop them! Johnny and Candice both stake claims on how they deserve another chance but both are denied by Regal. A gauntlet is made to decide the next challenger for Priest between Ridge Holland, Dexter Lumis, Roderick Strong, Isaiah Swerve Scott and KUSHIDA while Shotzi confronts Io saying that while she's cool with her she wants something back for saving Io's reign, the opportunity to end it
The gauntlet starts off normally but when it's time for KUSHIDA to enter as the last participant, he's shown laid out backstage as Regal looks for a replacement and "casually" Johnny happens to be around so they send him to the ring to face Swerve. Johnny ends up taking the win by a OFB DDT on the exhausted Swerve.
On the other side of things Candice gets in the middle of stuff between Io and Shotzi saying she should be champion right now if it wasn't for that "green gremlin". Shotzi takes offence to this and challenges Candice to a fight in the spot, to which the Poison Pixie accepts under one condition. If she wins she replaces Shotzi in the title match at Takeover The End. Just as the Ballsy Badass is about to accept, Regal comes out and makes a twist to it. If Candice wins she will be added to the match, making it a Triple Threat. Candice actually takes the wins as Io chases off Johnny but Candice manages to counter a Senton with a crucifix pin to get her spot in the match
Meanwhile Johnny is back at it with the Archer of Infamy, who already suspects Johnny had something to do with KUSHIDA being attacked before going out. Johnny acts like he's been insulted and denies it to death. Priest finally gives in just to shut him up and says he's sick of the Garganos kahoots. Johnny agrees with this and calls Priest a cheater for low blowing him at the last Takeover. Damian then says that in order to make sure Candice doesn't try anything funny against him, he's convinced Regal to make their match a steel cage match and promises to keep on living forever as the North American Champion
Takeover The End: Io Shirai (c) vs Candice LeRae vs Shotzi Blackheart for the NXT Women's Championship
The triple threat opens Takeover and it lives to the hype and then some. All three women fly and bump all over the place in a frenetic triple threat. It looks like Shotzi is about to do the impossible as she hits a Senton on Io! But just as she's about to pin Io Candice strikes outta nowhere! She kicks Shotzi out of the ring and gets the fall on the Genius of the Sky. We have a new Champion!
Candice LeRae def Io Shirai, Shotzi Blackheart to become the new NXT Women's Champion (27:05)
Takeover The End: Damian Priest (c) vs Johnny Gargano. Steel Cage match for the North American Championship
After seeing his wife finally succeed earlier, Johnny has all the pressure on him to win and become the Golden Power Couple of NXT. Priest hosses Johnny around for a good chunk of the match, but Gargano manages to outsmart his opponent to get his fair share of offense. In the end Candice shows up to help his husband and throws him a pair of handcuffs. Johnny goes to grab them but is stopped by Priest, who tries to hit the Reckoning but gets countered into a Gargano Escape. Johnny uses the handcuffs to choke the Champion but he makes it to the bottom rope. As the ref breaks them up Johnny lightens up and handcuffs Priest to the bottom rope before escaping through the door as the crowd boos him to become the new Champion. The Garganos have finally done it and Priest can now move to the Main Event scene
Johnny Gargano def Damian Priest to become the new NXT North American Champion (25:55)
Next week we have a dinner with the Garganos celebration special where they gloat about finally doing it and mock their opponents. During the last two NXT shows of the year Candice has a rematch with Io, which she wins after Johnny interferes, and Mr Wrestling gets shown to be behind the attack on KUSHIDA Before the gauntlet match, starting a feud with him. At the end of the year awards they're both expecting to win superstar of the year, but those awards go to Io and Finn Balor, pissing off the Garganos and causing Johnny to throw a tantrum on the spot as well, but seeds are planted for what may come next
In the first NXT of 2021 Regal announces World's Collide, Alumni edition for the night before the Rumble in New Orleans. Gargano And LeRae show up to the announcement saying no matter who they put in front of each of them they will beat them because they are NXT. In come Montez Ford and Bianca Belair from Raw to a roaring pop from the crowd in Full Sail. Regal says it'll be a Mixed Match at World's Collide. May the best couple win
World's Collide 2021: Johnny Gargano And Candice LeRae vs Montez Ford and Bianca Belair
Completely different styles clashing. The more technical and striking Garganos vs the Flashier Ford and Belair. Johnny and Montez prove to work great in the ring as they can perfectly keep up with each other, while Candice has to get creative to keep up with Bianca, who easily purposes her and throws her around, even getting a few hits on Johnny as well. In the end, Montez Is ready to go for a Frog Splash but Candice pushes him off, Bianca takes her out of the equation but Johnny has enough time to hit a OFB DDT and win it for Team Garganos
The Garganos beat Bianca Belair and Montez Ford (16:40)
Following World's Collide the Golden Power Couple are still riding high on their win and holding gold, but the gloating doesn't last long as Shotzi confronts them over being cheap champions but it is all a setup so KUSHIDA can get back at Johnny for stealing the opportunity at Takeover The End. During the following weeks the Garganos have to deal with the Daddy and the Time Traveler as both want revenge. KUSHIDA for getting his chance to face Priest stolen and Shotzi not only for getting screwed at the last Takeover of 2020, but for Tegan, who in kayfabe was put on the shelf by Candice herself and in order to avenge her one true friend she demands an Unsanctioned match at Takeover

Note: Since we don't have COVID here because fuck it, I'm going to use Takeovers at different cities from now on, just a heads up

Takeover Atlanta (2/21/21): Johnny Gargano (c) vs KUSHIDA for the NXT North American Championship**
The Time Traveler and the once heart and soul of NXT battle it out in what is, to date, one of the best matches NXT hasn't done. Everything points to KUSHIDA winning as he gets Johnny in the Hoverboard Lock! But Candice distracts the ref, making KUSHIDA release Johnny and turn his attention to Candice but it costs him as he eats a Poisonrana, Superkick and the OFB DDT from Johnny to successfully defend a title for the first time in his NXT career
Johnny Gargano Def KUSHIDA to retain the North American Championship (23:11)
Takeover Atlanta: Candice LeRae (c) vs Shotzi Blackheart for the NXT Women's Championship. Unsanctioned match
Candice and Shotzi go straight up to war here as this has more blood than about the title. If you're familiar with this two you know how much of a blood bath this would be and that's how it goes. There is every foreign object you can think of involved, Tables, Chairs, Trash Cans even the Tank, you name it. In the end Shotzi tries to go for a senton but Candice takes her down and they battle on the top turnbuckle until LeRae drives Blackheart to a chair with an avalanche Brainbuster. 1! 2! No! Shotzi kicks out on instinct, unable to fight back and this proves to cost her as Candice puts the chair around her neck and for once going for the kill works as she hits the OFB DDT on Shotzi to retain. After the match Johnny comes out and picks up Candice a la Macho Man and Elizabeth as the crowd boos
Candice LeRae def Shotzi Blackheart to retain the NXT Women's Championship (26:30)
The Garganos still run NXT, in their minds, after Atlanta and start preparing for Hollywood. During the following weeks we see a mix of the Garganos at Full Sail with home segments of them preparing to go Hollywood and, in Johnny's words, get their star in the walk of fame as the first ever grand slam Power Couple
As for their opponents Regal makes a battle royal to determine Johnny's next contender which is won by Bronson Reed after the Auszilla eliminates Santos Escobar last and Johnny starts getting into tension with the Thicc Boi. Now for Candice, Remember the mystery person who they're promoting for Takeover 31? In this Universe Ember Moon is revealed to be that person and she's on a roll to get the NXT Women's Championship and recapture the glory she once had, running through almost every other heel to get her opportunity at Candice
NXT Takeover Hollywood (3/30/21): Candice LeRae (c) vs Ember Moon for the NXT Women's Championship
The Goddess of War vs The Poison Pixie. Two of the most talented women's wrestlers on the planet competing for the top prize in the brand. Ember looks refreshed after her year away from action and brings the fight to Candice. It looks like Ember is going to do it but outta nowhere Johnny appears from under the ring and pushes Ember off as she's about to hit the Eclipse, leaving her prone to a Wicked Stepsister from Candice who covers and retains
Candice LeRae def Ember Moon to retain the NXT Women's Championship (19:56)
Takeover Hollywood: Johnny Gargano (c) vs Bronson Reed for the North American Championship
Johnny faces his biggest challenge so far, in every sense of the word, as he had to fight the Auszilla, who seems to have him scouted and is ready for everything Johnny tries. Gargano eventually gets something going after a few shortcuts. Finally he tries to hit the OFB DDT but gets countered! Reed hits a powerslam followed by the Tsunami! 1!! 2!! 3!!! We have a new Champion! After the match Johnny shakes Bronson's hand in a show of respect and hands him the belt
Bronson Reed def Johnny Gargano to become the new NXT North American Champion (24:20)
After Takeover we see Johnny leaning to more of a tweener while trying, and more often than not failing in funny ways, to be a supportive husband for Candice as she's been there for him every time before. Johnny will take a backseat for the next couple of weeks as we prepare for Takeover 35. To determine who will face Candice next a fatal 4 Way is announced with qualifiers to it as well. The participants of the #1 contender match are Kacy Catanzaro, Dakota Kai, Ember Moon and Xia Li and to everyone's surprise Kacy wins! We get a good underdog story going into Takeover about how Kacy used to look up to Candice but now is ready to strike after all this years of enduring defeats on NXT while Candice promises she'll end the fairytale just like with everyone before
Takeover 35 (6/12/21): Candice LeRae (c) vs Kacy Catanzaro for the NXT Women's Championship
Kacy goes in accompanied by Kayden Carter but Johnny tells Candice he believes she can do this alone so he'll stay on the back this time around. Candice and Kacy show the chemistry we have already seen on TV. Kayden stops Candice from cheating a few times too, forcing her to have a straight up match, showing the world how good she is, in case you forgot. In the end Kacy goes for a Springboard Swanton Bomb but Candice blocks it before locking her in the Ms Gargano Escape for the win
Candice LeRae def Kacy Catanzaro to retain the NXT Women's Championship (15:25)
After the match Candice starts attacking Kacy and Kayden when the latter tries to stand up for her friend. Candice goes to grab a Kendo stick but just when she's about to get Kacy a hoodies figure enters the ring through the crowd and stops her. The mystery person kicks Candice down and takes her hoodie off. It's Tegan Nox! Tegan is back and hits the Shiniest Wizard on Candice and raises the title as the crowd goes crazy for the surprise return!
Note: I know it's uncertain if Tegan will be back and when she'll be back, but for the sake of this story let's reintroduce her as it's been almost 9 months since she was injured and this fits in her return Timetable
During the next few weeks Candice restarts her feud with Tegan, who wants to wake Candice up of whatever has happened to her and surprisingly, Johnny isn't completely opposed to Tegan, as he tries to remain impartial and talk some sense into Candice as well.
For himself, Johnny decides it's time to strike back and big, as he sees the opportunity to get a shot at Finn Balor after winning a mini tournament to determine the next #1 contender at Takeover Boston, beating Dexter Lumis in the finals completely clean. Johnny gets the opportunity to get back at the man who broke him and to make things better, he can recapture the title he chased for so long. Balor has been a dominant Champion since winning it last September and is reaching the year mark himself, but Johnny is dead set on stopping him. This two revisit their early 2020 feud as Johnny promises revenge for what happened and Finn just limits himself to admitting Johnny is good, but the Prince is better.
NXT Takeover Boston (8/16/21): Candice LeRae (c) vs Tegan Nox for the NXT Women's Championship
The once friends turned bitter rivals go to war here, as Candice targets Tegan's knees and the Welsh has to rally from behind to get in the match but finally does it and once it happens they just go at it like there's no tomorrow. Candice hits a Wicked Stepsister! 1! 2! No! Tegan kicks out! Candice is in shock but wants to go for the kill. She puts Tegan in the top turnbuckle but when she tries to go for the Brainbuster Tegan punches her down and hits a Crossbody (not the Molly Go Round because I don't think it's good for her knees) followed by the Shiniest Wizard! ONE! TWO! THREE! Tegan has done it! After 3 ACL surgeries and looking like her career was done she's become the NXT Women's Champion
Tegan Nox def Candice LeRae to become the new NXT Women's Champion (20:49)
In the aftermath Tegan celebrates but gets turned around by Candice. They stare for a few seconds before embracing in a hug as Candice raises Tegan's arm, turning face in the process
NXT Takeover Boston: Finn Balor (c) vs Johnny Gargano For the NXT Championship
Gargano vs Balor 2 but this time Main Eventing. We know what this two can do and what a better scenario to go even crazier than here. This time around Johnny is determined not to let the opportunity slide and starts fighting out of everything Finn has, kicking out of everything and getting the crowd more and more behind him to the point Johnny Wrestling is back in full force by the end of the match. Balor tries to execute him with one last Coup de Graçe but Gargano sweeps the feet and locks Finn in the Gargano Escape. With nowhere to go Finn taps out! Johnny has done it! He's the new NXT Champion!
Johnny Gargano Def Finn Balor to become the new NXT Champion (35:50)
Johnny poses with Candice as both hold the belt and pyro goes off to close the show with the Garganos on top, not with both gold's, but with Mr at Ms Wrestling back
That's it for this booking! Please leave your feedback and suggestions for the future in the comments!
submitted by OrangeForeign to fantasybooking [link] [comments]


2020.10.01 21:45 normancrane Iris [3/5]

Back to Table of Contents

- - -

2025, Post-

Gold is precious because it’s rare. Now close your eyes and imagine that the next time you open them, everything in your world will be golden: your kitchen table, the bananas you bought on the way home from work yesterday, your bottle of shampoo, even your teeth. Now blink. You’re not alone. The market’s flooded. Gold isn’t rare anymore. It’s everywhere. Which means that it’s worth about as much as its weight in mud, because there’s nothing intrinsically good about gold. Can you write on your gold table? It scratches. Surely you can’t eat your golden fruit. Your shampoo’s not a liquid anymore, so your hair’s already starting to get greasy. And if you do find something to eat that’s not made of metal, how long will those gold teeth last before you grind them into finely polished nubs?
For two days the Earth glittered.
For two days we lived in a daze of perfection.
And then, on March 29, a researcher working with lab mice at Stanford University noticed something odd. All of his female mice were pregnant. He contacted several of his colleagues who were also working with mice, rats, and monkeys. All their female animals were pregnant, too. Some of the colleagues had wives and girlfriends. They took innocent-seeming trips to their local pharmacies and bought up all the available pregnancy tests. At home, women took test after test and all of them showed positive. By midnight, the researchers had drafted a joint letter and sent copies of it to the major newspapers in their countries. On the morning of March 30, the news hit.
When I checked my Twitter feed after breakfast, #impregtoo was already trending. Throughout the day, Reddit lit up with increasingly bizarre accounts of pregnancies that physically couldn’t be but, apparently, were. Post-menopausal women, celibate women, prepubescent girls, women who’d had their uteruses removed only to discover that their reproductive systems had spontaneously regenerated like the severed tales of lizards. Existing early stage pregnancies aborted themselves and re-fertilized, like a system rebooting. Later term pregnancies developed Matryoshka-like pregnancies nested within pregnancies. After a while, I stopped reading, choosing to spend time with my wife instead. As night fell, we reclined on the sofa, her head on my chest, Pillow curled up in our tangle of feet, the television off, and the streets of Toronto eerily quiet save for the intermittent blaring of far off sirens, as any lingering doubts about the reality of the situation melted away like the brief, late season snow that floated gently down from the sky, blackening the streets.
On March 30, the World Health Organization issued a communique confirming that based on the available data it was reasonable to assume that all female mammals were pregnant. No cause was identified. It urged any woman who was not pregnant to step forward immediately. Otherwise, the communique offered no guidance. It indicated merely that the organization was already working with governments around the world to prepare for a massive influx of human population in approximately nine months’ time. Most places, including Toronto, reacted with stunned panic. Non-essential workplaces and schools were decried closed. People were urged to stay indoors. Hospitals prepared for possible complications. A few supermarkets ran out of canned food and there were several bank runs, but nothing happened that the existing systems couldn’t handle. Populations kept their nerve. Highway and air traffic increased slightly as people rushed to be with their friends, families and gynaecologists. We spent the entire day in our apartment and let Pillow pee in the tub. Except for the conspiracy theorists, who believed that the Earth was being cosmically pollinated by aliens, most of us weren’t scared to go outside, but we were scared of the unknown, and we preferred to process that fear in the comfort of our own dens.
The New York Times ran a front page editorial arguing for an evaluation of the situation using Kurt Schwaller’s theory of everything. In conjunction with The Washington Post, The Guardian and The Wikipedia Foundation, a website was set up asking users for technical help, monetary donations and the sharing of any surplus computing power.
The project quickly ran into problems. To accurately predict anything, the theory of everything needed sufficient data, and, on April 2, cryptome.org published a series of leaked emails between the French Minister of Health and a high-ranking member of World Health Organization that proved the latter’s communique had been disingenuous at best. Externally, the World Health Organization had concluded that all female mammals were pregnant. That remained true. However, it had failed to admit an even more baffling development: the wombs of all female mammals had inexplicably become impenetrable to all rays and materials that had so far been tried against them. For all intents and purposes, there was no way to see inside the womb, or to destroy it. The only way to revert the body to its natural form, to terminate the pregnancy, was to kill the woman—an experiment that, according to the high-ranking member of the World Health Organization, the French government had helped conduct on unwilling women in Mali. Both parties issued repeated denials until a video surfaced showing the murders. I couldn’t bring myself to watch it. They spun their denials into arguments about the necessity of sacrificing lives for the greater good.
Reminded once again of the deception inherent in politics, many turned to religion, but the mainstream religions were hesitant to react. They offered few opinions and no answers. The fringe religions split into two camps. Some leaders welcomed this development, the greatest of all known miracles, while others denounced the same as a universal and unnatural punishment for our collective sins of hedonism, egoism and pride. The most successful of all was the Tribe of Akna, a vaguely mystical Maya revival cult that sprang up seemingly overnight and was led by a Guatemalan freelance programmer named Salvador Abaroa. Although it originated in Mexico City, the Tribe spread as quickly across the world as the computer viruses that Abaroa was notorious for creating. On the Tribe’s homepage, Abaroa could be seen striking an antique brass gong and saying in Spanish-tinged English, “Like energy, life is never destroyed. Every one of us plays an integral part of the cosmic ecosystem. Every man, woman and virus.” Elsewhere on the website, you could buy self-published theological textbooks, listen to scratchy recordings of speeches by Alan Watts and read about the hypothesis that Maya thought was deeply connected to Buddhism because the Mayans had crossed the Pacific Ocean and colonized Asia.
But despite the apparent international cooperation happening at the highest levels, the first week of April was an atomizing period for the so-called people on the ground. We hunkered down. Most personal communication was digital. My wife and I exchanged emails with her parents and sister, but we met no one face-to-face, not even on Skype. We neither invited our neighbours to dinner nor were invited by them, despite how easy it was to walk down the hall and knock. I read far more than I wrote, and even when I did write, responding to a blog post or news story, I found it easier to relate to strangers than to the people I knew. My wife said I had a high tolerance for solitude. “Who do you know in the city?” she asked. Although we’d been living here together for three years, she still considered Toronto mine. She was the stranger, I was the native. I said that I knew a few people from work. She told me to call one of them I’d never called before. I did, and the next day’s sky was cloudless and sunny and there were five of us in the apartment: my wife and I, my friend Bakshi and his wife Jacinda, and their daughter, Greta. Greta drank apple juice while the rest of us drank wine, and all five of us gorged ourselves on freshly baked peach cobbler, laughing at silly faces and cracking immature jokes. It hardly registered for me that the majority of the room was unstoppably pregnant, but wasn’t that the point: to forget—if only for a few hours? Instead of watching the BBC, we streamed BDRips of Hayao Miyazaki movies from The Pirate Bay. Porco Rosso ruled the skies, castles flew, a Catbus arrived at its magical stop. Then Bakshi’s phone rang, and he excused himself from the table to take the call. When he returned, his face was grey. “What’s the matter?” Jacinda asked him. He was still holding the phone to his ear. “It’s Kurt Schwaller,” he said. “They just found his body. They think he killed himself.”
Kurt Schwaller, the foremost theoretical physicist of his time and renowned discoverer of the theory of everything, committed suicide at the age forty-two in the humble bedroom of his Swiss home by swallowing sleeping pills. As far as suicides go, it was graceful and considerate. His husband found him peacefully at rest. He left behind no research, no reports and no working hard drives. He was not terminally ill. He died with his boots off but his computer on, and exactly six hours after his death the computer executed its final chronjob, posting a suicide note to his Facebook page. The note was short and cryptic, and the way in which it spoke so purposefully from beyond the grave unnerved me. It ended: “Like Edith Piaf, I regret nothing. This was not inevitable.” Whether he meant his suicide or something more remained unclear.
“Who’s Kurt Schwaller?” Greta asked.
“He was a very smart scientist,” Jacinda said.
The monitor on the wall was playing Spirited Away. Nobody in the room asked the question that was on everybody’s mind. The internet condensed into a cluster of theories, before exploding as a hysterics of trolling and contradictory evidence. Depending on who was speaking, Kurt Schwaller had either been depressed for years or was the most cheerful person in the world. He simultaneously regretted discovering the theory and considered it the best means of keeping human life sustainable. His death was suspicious, tragic, commendable, prophetic. Some said good riddance. Others said their goodbyes. Yet, as a species, we never quite shook the gnawing belief that he indeed knew something that we didn’t, and that that knowledge was what killed him. His mind may have been as hermetically sealed as the wombs of the women around us, but in his death we sensed our own foretold. I was relieved I didn’t have a daughter to explain that to.
By April 15, no opossums had given birth. By itself that’s not a troubling fact. However, the average gestation period of an opossum is 12 to 13 days. Hamsters, mice and wombats follow with gestation periods of around 20 days, then wombats, chipmunks and squirrels. No recorded births of any of these species occurred in April. Physically, their females looked pregnant but that was as detailed as it got: “The specimens display the ordinary symptoms of pregnancy, but they are displaying them in excess of their expected due dates, although they do remain healthy and function comparatively well to their male counterparts.” My wife and I developed a fascination with a particular family of opossums in Ohio that we watched daily via webcam. We gave them names, we pretended to be their voices. Our opossums had adventures, family squabbles and bouts of stress at work. The daughter, Irene, was rebellious. The son, Ziggy, was a nerd. The dad, whom we dubbed Monsieur Charles, sold insurance and the mom, Yvette, worked as stay-at-home technical support for Amazon. We realized right away that we were already preparing for the storytelling phase of parenthood, but we didn’t stop. As uncertain as the future was, the preparation for it was ours and we enjoyed doing it together. Nothing would take that away from us. When I touched my wife’s body in the shower and pressed the palm of my hand against her tummy, it felt no different than it had felt a month before. There was no hardness, no lumps. It seemed unreal that somewhere beneath her skin, for reasons unknown, her body had produced a substance that was impervious to diamond saw blades and precision lasers—a substance that, at least if you believed the rumours, the Russians were already trying to synthesize to use as tank plating.
For the rest of April it rained. Streaks of water ran crookedly down windowpanes, following the laws of physics but just barely. If you stared long enough at the wet glass you forgot there was anything behind it. Eventually, all you saw was your own distorted reflection. I liked when my wife put her arms around me from behind and pressed her chest against my back. I didn’t feel alone.
Pillow started to show her pregnancy in May. The World Health Organization also amended its initial communique, stating that based on the evidence regarding the prolonged gestations of other mammals, it was no longer able to predict an influx of human births in late December. If mice and gerbils weren’t birthing as predicted, humans might not either. However, the amendment stated, preparations were still proceeding along a nine month timeline, and they were ahead of schedule. When the BBC showed field hospitals in South Sudan, I wondered what the schedule entailed because the images were of skeletal tent-like buildings that despite their newness already had the aura of contamination. My wife said it was naive to expect the same medical standards in developing countries as in developed ones. Perhaps she was right. The BBC repeated the platitude that there wasn’t enough money for everyone, listed the foreign aid and private funds that had come in, and interviewed a tired young doctor who patiently answered questions while wiping sweat from his eyebrows. The United States Supreme Court issued an injunction against the New York Time’s theory of everything evaluation website based on a barrage of challenges from corporations that claimed the website violated their intellectual property. Another website sprang up overnight in Sweden, anonymous and hosted from compact discs. Salvador Abaroa announced a free Tribe of Akna gathering at Wrigley Field. Bakshi called. He and Jacinda had argued, and she’d taken Greta and their car and driven to the gathering in Chicago. We watched it on television. Salvador Abaroa banged his gong and advanced his theories. The world was made of squiggles, not lines, and all this time we’d only been approximating reality in the way an mp3 file approximates sound waves, or the way in which we approximate temperature, by cutting it into neat and stable increments that we mistake as absolutes. Zurich opened its arms for Kurt Schwaller’s funeral, which was interrupted by a streaker baring the logo and slogan of a diaper company. Police tackled the streaker and—for a moment—the mourners cheered. Later, an investigation of Kurt Schwaller’s Dropbox account performed in the name of international security revealed that he had deleted large amounts of files in the days leading up to his suicide. The Mossad, Bakshi told me, had been secretly monitoring Kurt Schwaller for at least the past two years because of his Palestinian sympathies and were now piecing together his computer activities by recreating his monitor displays from the detailed heat signatures they’d collected. The technology was available, Bakshi assured me. It was possible. I was more worried when Ziggy the Ohioan opossum injured his left leg. “Oh my God, what happened?” Yvette asked when she saw his bandaged limb. “You told me to be more physically active, so I tried out for the soccer team, mom,” he answered. “Did you make the team?” My wife’s breath smelled like black coffee. “No, but I sure broke my leg.” After pausing for some canned laughter, Yvette waddled obligingly toward Ziggy. “Well, you should at least have some of my homemade pasta,” she said. I made eating noises. “Do you know why they call it pasta, mom?” My wife turned from the monitor to look at me. “I don’t,” she said in her normal voice. “Because you already ate it,” I said. We laughed, concocted ever sillier plot lines and watched the webcam late into an unusually warm May night.
In June, I returned to work and Pillow joined the list of pregnant mammals now past their due dates. She ate and drank regularly, and other than waddling when she walked she was her old self. My wife started to show signs of pregnancy in June, too. It made me happy even as it reinforced the authenticity of the coming known unknown, as a former American Secretary of Defense might have called it. My wife developed the habit of posing questions in pairs: do you love me, and what do you think will happen to us? Am I the woman that as a boy you dreamed of spending your life with, and if it’s a girl do you hope she’ll be like me? Sometimes she trembled so faintly in her sleep that I wasn’t sure whether she was dreaming or in the process of waking. I pressed my body to hers and said that I wished I could share the pregnancy with her. She said that it didn’t feel like it was hers to share. She said she felt heavy. I massaged her shoulders. We kept the windows open during the day and the screen mesh out because the insects that usually invade southwestern Ontario in late May and early June hadn’t appeared. Birds and reptiles stopped laying eggs. We luxuriated in every bite of pancake that we topped with too much butter and drowned in maple syrup. We talked openly with our mouths full about the future because the world around us had let itself descend into a self-censoring limbo. The opossum webcam went dark. Bakshi dropped by the apartment one night, unannounced and in the middle of a thunderstorm. There was pain on his face. “What if what Kurt Schwaller meant was that fate was not inevitable until we made it so,” he said, sobbing. “What if our reality was a series of forking paths and by discovering the theory of everything we locked ourselves forever into one of them?” Jacinda had left him. “You’ll get her back,” I said. My wife made him a cup of tea that he drank boiling hot. He put down the cup—then picked it up and threw it against the wall. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I just wanted to see if I could do something that I didn’t really want to do.” I bent down to pick up the broken pieces of porcelain. “You’ll get her back, Bakshi,” my wife said. Rain dripped onto our table from the ends of his black hair. “I don’t think so. I think we’re locked in and Kurt Schwaller took the only way out there is.” We didn’t let him go home. We discretely took all the knives from the kitchen and hid them in our bedroom, and did the same with the medicine in our bathroom, and Bakshi slept on our sofa, snoring loudly. He was still sad in the morning but felt better. We ate scrambled eggs, knowing that unless chickens started laying them again we were having a nonrenewable resource for breakfast.
Time was nonrenewable. My wife and I tried to take advantage of each second. But for every ten things we planned, we only did one. Our ambitions exceeded our abilities. On some days we were inexcusably lazy, lying in bed together until noon, and on others we worked nonstop at jobs like painting the walls, which later seemed insignificant. We considered leaving the city when the smog got too thick and renting a cottage in the country but we didn’t want to be without the safety of the nearness of hospitals and department stores. When we were scared, we made love. We ate a lot. We read short stories to each other. Outside our apartment, the world began to resemble its normal rhythms, with the exception that everywhere you went all the women were visibly pregnant. Some tried to hide it with loosely flowing clothes. Others bared their bellies with pride. I flirted with a supermarket cashier with an Ouroboros tattoo encircling her pierced belly button. After she handed me my change I asked her if she’d had it done before or after March 27. “Before,” she said. “What does it mean?” I asked. “That people have been making up weird shit for a long time and we’re still fucking here.” In Pakistan, the United Nations uncovered a mass grave of girls killed because they were pregnant—to protect the honour of their families. When I was a kid in Catholic school, my favourite saint was Saint Joseph because I wanted to love someone as much as he must have loved Mary to believe her story about a virgin birth.
On July 1, we subduably celebrated Canada Day. On July 4, my wife shook me awake at six in the morning because she was having back spasms and her stomach hurt. She got out of bed, wavered and fell and hit her head on the edge of a shelf, opening up a nasty gash. I helped her to the bathroom sink, where we washed the wound and applied a band-aid. She tried throwing up in the toilet but couldn’t. The sounds of her empty retching made me cold. The cramps got worse. I picked her up and carried her out of the apartment—Pillow whined as I closed the door—and down to the underground garage, where I helped her into the back seat of our car. Pulling out into the street, I was surprised by the amount of traffic. It was still dark out but cars were already barrelling by. On Lake Shore, the traffic was even worse. I turned on the radio and the host was in the middle of a discussion about livestock, so I turned the radio off. Farther in the city foot traffic joined car traffic and the lights couldn’t have changed more slowly. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw women collapsing on the sidewalks, clutching their stomachs. I kept my eyes ahead. At a red light, a black woman kept banging on the passenger’s side door until I rolled down the window. She asked if she could get a ride. I asked to where. “To the hospital, where else?” she said in sing-song Jamaican. I let her in and at the green light stepped as heavily on the gas as I could. In the back seat, my wife’s eyes were barely open. The Jamaican woman was in better shape. Noticing my concern, she said, “Don’t worry yourself none. I was like that this morning, too, but I’m better now. It comes and then it goes.” I was still worried. The streets around the hospital were packed with parked cars, but I found a spot by turning the wrong way up a one way street. The wheel hit the curb. I got out. The Jamaican woman helped me with my wife, and the three of us covered the distance from the car to the hospital in minutes. Ambulance sirens wailed close by. I heard the repetitive thump of helicopter blades. I glanced at my watch. 7:24. In the hospital, the hallways and waiting room were packed. There was standing room only. I left my wife leaning against a sliver of wall and ran to the reception desk. The Jamaican woman had disappeared. When I opened my mouth to speak, the receptionist cut me off: “Just take a seat, Mister, same as everybody else. Stay alert, stay calm. If you need water you can get it down the hall. We’re trying to get as many doctors down here as we can as quickly as we can, but the roads are jammed and there’s more than one hospital. That’s all I’ve been told.” I relayed the information to my wife word for word, once I found her—the waiting room was becoming encrusted with layers of incoming people—and then they shut the hospital doors—and my wife nodded, looking at me with eyes that wanted to close. I kept her lids open with my thumbs. My watch read 7:36. I wanted to tell her I loved her but was stupidly embarrassed by the presence of so many people who might laugh. I didn’t want to be cheesy. “It comes and it goes,” I said, “so just keep your eyes open for me until it goes, please.” She smiled, and I touched my lips to hers without kissing them. Her lips were dry. Around me shouts were erupting. There was a television in the corner of the waiting room, showing scenes of crowded hospitals in Sydney and Paris, and violence in Rio de Janeiro, where families huddled together in the streets while men, young and old, flung rocks, bricks and flaming bottles at a cordon of black-clad BOPE behind which politicians and their families were running from shiny cars to state-run clinics. My wife’s weak voice brought me back to the present. “What do you think happened to Monsieur Charles?” she asked. “I don’t know, but I’d guess he’s probably just getting ready for work now,” I said. She smiled and the pressure on my thumbs increased. Her eyes started to roll back into her head. “Don’t go away,” I said. “Don’t leave me.” I felt her eyes sizzle and shake like frying spheres of bacon. I couldn’t hold them open anymore. I didn’t know what to do. The shouting in the hospital had devolved into chaos. “Do you know why they call it pasta?” I said. I didn’t expect her to answer. I didn’t expect any reaction, but, “Because I already ate it,” she said, smiling—and it was the last thing she ever said, her last smile I ever saw, because in that moment there was a horrible whine that made me press my fists against my ears and in the same instant every woman in the hospital exploded.

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2020.10.01 21:41 normancrane Iris [2/5]

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2025, Pre-

I graduated with a degree in one field, found a low paying job in another, got married, worked my way to slightly better pay, wanted to have a child, bought a Beagle named Pillow as a temporary substitute, lived in an apartment overlooking a green garbage bin that was always full of beer cans and pizza boxes, and held my wife, crying, when we found out that we couldn’t have children. Somewhere along the way my parents died and Kurt Schwaller, a physicist from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, proved a grand theory of everything that rather than being based on the vibrations of strings, was based on a property of particles called viscous time force. I never understood the details. To me they lacked imagination. The overriding point, the experts on television told us, was that given enough data and computing power we could now predict the outcome of anything. The effect was that no one wanted to study theoretical physics and everyone wanted to make breakthroughs in data collection systems and biological hardware. Hackers created a version of Linux that ran from DNA. Western Digital released the first working holographic storage drive. The NSA, FSB, BND and other agencies rushed to put their suddenly valuable mass of unprocessed raw spy data to prognostic use. A Chinese bookmaker known only by the nick ##!! wrote a piece of Python code that could predict the outcomes of hockey games. Within a month, the NHL and KHL were scrambling to come up with ways of saving their leagues by making them more unpredictable. They introduced elements of chance: power plays without penalties, a tilting ice surface, fluctuating rules that sometimes allowed for icings and offsides and sometimes not, and, finally, a pre-game lottery by which the names of the players on both teams were put into a pot and randomly drawn into two squads. Given enough variables, the strategy did thwart the code, but the inherent unfairness of the innovations alienated the players, the draft made owners question why they were paying the salaries of superstars who played against them half of the time, and the fans simply stopped paying attention to a league full of teams for which their already dwindling loyalty had bottomed out. Besides, the code was basic. ##!! had room to expand. The KHL folded first, followed by the NHL, and then the other sports leagues, preemptively. They didn’t bother to wait until their own codes were broken. I remember seeing an interview with ##!! while this was still front page news. The reporter, a perpetually smiling big-breasted blonde with blindingly white teeth, asked him if he thought that hockey could be rescued by the creation of roving blue lines that would continually alter the relative sizes of both offensive zones and the neutral zone. ##!! answered that he didn’t know what a blue line was because he’d never watched a hockey game in his life. His voice was cold, objective, and there was something terrifyingly inhuman about the idea that a person with no knowledge of a subject could nevertheless understand it so completely. Content had become a mere input of form.
By 2025, mainstream interest in the theory of everything faded, not because the theory was wrong but because it was too right and too abstract and now there weren’t any young theoretical physicists to help explain it using cute graphics on YouTube. We consumed what we understood and passively accepted the fallout while going on with our daily lives. The people who did understand made money, but for the rest of us the consequences were less than their potential, because even with enough time, memory and microprocessors the most we could know was the what and the when, not the why. For the governments and corporations pouring taxes and tax-free earnings into complex models of world domination, that didn’t matter. They weren’t interested in cause. They were in the business of exploiting certainty to gain power. As long as they could predict lightning, they were satisfied. If they could make it, all the better. Away from the cutting edge, however, like ants or ancients, what we craved to know was where the lightning came from, what it meant, and on that issue the theory was silent. As Kurt Schwaller put it in a speech to the United Nations, “All I’ve given you is a tool—a microscope to magnify the minutes, so to speak—with which to investigate in perfect detail the entirety of our interrelations. But the investigations still have to made, ladies and gentlemen. Have a hay stack, look for the needle. Know there might not be one.”
In January, my wife and I began a fertility treatment for which we’d been saving for years. It was undoubtedly the reason we became so emotionally involved in the media attention around Aiko, the lovely, black-haired and fashionable Crown Princess of Japan, who along with her husband was going through the same ordeal that we were. For a few months, it seemed as if the whole world sat on the edges of its seat, wishing for this beautiful royal couple to conceive. And we sat on two, our own and one somewhere in an exotic Japan updated by the royal Twitter feed. It strikes me now that royalty has always fascinated the proles, a feeling that historically went in tandem with hatred, respect or awe, but it was the Japanese who held our attentions the longest and the most genuinely in the twenty-first century, when equality had more or less rendered a hereditary ruling class obsolete. The British declared themselves post-Christian in 2014 and post-Royal in 2021, the European Court of Justice ruled all other European royals invalid in 2022, and the Muslim monarchs pompously degraded themselves one-by-one into their own exiles and executions. Only the Japanese line survived, adapting to the times by refusing to take itself seriously on anything but the most superficial level. They dressed nicely, acted politely and observed a social protocol that we admired without wanting to follow it ourselves. Before he died, my father had often marvelled that the Second World War began with Japan being led by an emperor god, and ended with the American occupation forcing him to renounce his divinity. The Japanese god had died because MacArthur willed it and Hirohito spoke it. Godhood was like plaque. If your mother told you to brush your teeth, off it went, provided you used the right flavour of Colgate. Kings had once ruled by divine right. By 2025, the Crown Princess of Japan ruled our hearts merely by popular approval. She was our special friend, with whom we were all on intimate and imaginary terms. Indeed, on the day she died—on the day they all died—Princess Aiko’s was the most friended account on Facebook.
That’s why March 27, 2025, was such a joyous occasion for us. In hindsight, it’s utterly sick to associate the date with happiness of any kind, but history must always be understood in context, and the context of the announcement was a wirelessly connected world whose collective hopes came suddenly true to the jingle of a breaking news story on the BBC. I was in the kitchen sauteing onions when I heard it. Cutting them had made me cry and my eyes were still red. Then the announcer’s voice broke as he was setting up his intro, and in a video clip that was subsequently rebroadcast, downloaded and parodied close to a billion times in the one hundred thirty-two days that followed, he said: “The Crown Princess of Japan is pregnant!”
I ran to the living room and hugged my wife, who’d fallen to her knees in front of the wall-mounted monitor. Pillow was doing laps on and off the sofa. The BBC cut away from the announcer’s joyful face to a live feed from Japan. As I held my wife, her body felt warm and full of life. The top of her jeans cut into her waist. Her tears wetted the top of my shirt sleeve. Both of our phones started to buzz—emails and Twitter notifications streaming in. On the monitor, Aiko and her husband, both of their angular faces larger than life in 110” 1080p, waved to the crowd in Tokyo and the billions watching around the world. They spoke in Japanese and a woman on the BBC translated, but we hardly needed to know her exact words to understand the emotions. If them, why not also us? I knew my wife was having the same thought. We, too, could have a family. Then I smelled burning oil and the pungency of onions and I remembered my sauteing. I gently removed my arms from around my wife’s shoulders and ran back to the kitchen, still listening to Aiko’s voice and its polite English echo, and my hands must have been shaking, or else my whole body was shaking, because after I had turned down the heat I reached for the handle of the frying pan, knocked the pan off the stove top instead, and burned myself while stupidly trying to catch it before it fell, clattering, to the floor. The burned onions splattered. I’d cracked one of the kitchen tiles. My hand turned pale and I felt a numbness before my skin started to overflow with the warmth of pain. Without turning off the broadcast, my wife shooed me downstairs to the garage where we kept our car and drove me to the hospital.
The Toronto streets were raucous. Horns honked. J-pop blared. In the commotion we nearly hit a pedestrian, a middle-aged white woman pushing a baby carriage, who’d cut across Lake Shore without looking both ways. She had appeared suddenly from behind a parked transport—and my wife instinctively jerked the car from the left lane to the right, scraping our side mirror against the truck but saving two lives. The woman barely noticed. She disappeared into a crowd of Asian kids on the other side of street who were dancing to electronica and waving half a dozen Japanese flags, one of which was the Rising Sun Flag, the military flag of Imperial Japan. Clutching my wrist in the hope it would dull the pain in my hand, I wondered how many of them knew about the suffering Japanese soldiers had inflicted on countless Chinese in the name of that flag. To the right, Lake Ontario shone and sparkled in the late afternoon light. A passenger jet took off from Toronto Island Airport and climbed into the sky.
In the hospital waiting room, I sat next to a woman who was reading a movie magazine with Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s face on the cover. The Cannes film festival was coming up. My wife checked me in at the reception desk. The woman beside me put down her magazine and told me that she was there with her son, as if needing to justify her presence. I affirmed by nodding. He’d hurt his leg playing soccer for a local Armenian junior boys team, she went on. I said I’d hurt myself frying onions and that I was here with my wife. She said my wife was pretty and asked if I liked movies. Without meaning to do it, I tried to guess her age—unsuccessfully—and proceeded to imagine having doggy style sex with her. She had dark eyes that barely blinked and plump thighs. When I started to feel guilty, I answered her question: sometimes I watched movies at home, but I hadn’t been to a theatre in a decade. When my wife sat down, I let the two of them talk about the woman’s son. I was having trouble concentrating. I took my phone out of my pocket and read all the new emails about the royal conception, then stared at the seconds hand going slowly around its digital clock face on my home screen, wondering why we so often emulated the limitations of analogue machines on devices that were no longer bound by them. I switched my clock type to a digital readout. Now the seconds no longer rotated but flickered away. They called my name over the crackling intercom and a nurse led me to one of the empty rooms. “How about that baby,” he said while we walked. I didn’t see his face, only the shaved back of his head. “The things they can do these days, even for infertile couples.”
I waited for over thirty minutes for a doctor. When one came in, she inspected my hand for less than ten seconds before telling me that I was fine and hinting that I shouldn’t have wasted her time by coming to the emergency room. She had high cheek bones, thin lips and bony wrists. Her tablet had a faux clipboard wallpaper. Maybe I had only misinterpreted her tone. “How about that baby,” I said.
“It’s not a baby yet,” she answered.
This time her tone was impossible to misinterpret. I was only repeating what the nurse had said, I told myself. But I didn’t say that to her. Instead, I imagined her coming home at night to an empty apartment, furnished possibly in a minimalistic Japanese or Swedish style, brewing a cup of black coffee and settling into an armchair to re-read a Simone de Beauvoir novel. I was about to imagine having sex with her when I caught hold of myself and wondered what was up with me today.
When I got back to the waiting room, my wife was no longer there—but the Armenian woman was. She pointed down the hall and told me a room number. She said that sometime after I left, my wife had gotten a cramp and started to vomit all over the floor. Someone was still mopping up. The other people in the waiting room, which was filling up, gave me tactfully dirty looks, either because I was with the vomiter or because I’d shirked my responsible by being away during the vomiting. Irrationally, I wiped my own mouth and fled down the hall.
Inside the numbered room, my wife was sitting hunched over on an observation bed, slowly kicking her feet back and forth. “Are you OK?” I asked.
“Come here,” she said.
I did, and sat beside her on the bed. I repeated my question. She still smelled a little of vomit, but she looked up at me like the world’s luckiest puppy, her eyes big and glassy, and said, “Norman, I’m pregnant.”
That’s all she could say—
That’s all either of us could say for a while.
We just sat there on the examination bed like a pair of best friends on a swing set after dark, dangling our feet and taking turns pulling each other closer. “Are you sure?” I finally asked. My voice was hoarse. I sounded like a frog.
“Yes.” She kicked the heel of my shoe with the rubber toe of hers. “We’re going to have a baby.”
It was beautiful. The most wonderful moment of my life. I remembered the day we met and our little marriage ceremony. I thought about being a father, and felt positively terrified, and about being a better husband, and felt absolutely determined, and as I kissed my wife there in the little hospital room with its sterile green walls, I imagined making love to her. I kept imagining it as we drove back to the apartment through partying Toronto streets. “Not since the Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup!” the radio announcer proclaimed—before I turned him off. I also turned off my phone and my wife’s phone. No more buzzing. In the underground parking lot, I leaned over and licked her soft neck. I pushed her through the open apartment door and straight into the living room, onto the sofa, and wished I could be the cushions beneath her thighs and the air invading her lungs. Pillow barked a greeting and wagged her tail. The monitor on the wall showed talking heads and fertility experts. I unbuttoned my wife’s blouse. She unbuckled my belt. The picture on the monitor dissolved to a close-up of Aiko’s smiling face. My wife and I took turns sliding off each other’s jeans. I kissed her bare stomach. She ran her hands through my hair. I dimmed the lights. We made love.
When we were done it was starry nighttime. My wife bandaged my hand. We turned off the television. The silence was refreshing because people on television too often talk like they’re trying to push you off a ledge. My wife excused me from the duty of making supper because of my ineptness with the frying pan, and handed me a leash instead. I hooked it up to Pillow’s collar and took her outside. While she peed, I gazed up at the sky and identified the Big Dipper. It and the Little Dipper were the only constellations I could identify without using a smartphone app. After Pillow finished, we ducked into a nook and I peed, too. The March sky was amazingly clear of smog. My urine splashed on the concrete and I felt embarrassingly primal. I breathed in, shook out the last drops and zipped up.
In the apartment, we ate grilled portabella mushrooms topped with parmesan and parsley and drank brown rice tea. My wife had changed into fresh clothes. I had changed into fresh skin. Every time she said “mom” and “dad”, the words discharged trickles of electricity up and down my peripheral nervous system. We were happy; we were going to have a baby. The whole world was happy; the Crown Princess of Japan of was going to have a baby. The sounds of drunken urban celebrations drifted in through our bedroom window all night like fog, and we barely slept.

- - -

Continue Reading
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2020.09.30 18:25 normancrane Iris [1/3]

Table of Contents

Part 1 <-- You are here.
Part 2
Part 3

- - -

Iris

The first person to ever tell me the theory was Iris. It was nighttime in 2015, and we were lying on an old mattress on the roof of a four-storey apartment building in a university town in southern Ontario. A party was going on downstairs to which we’d both been invited and from whose monotony we’d helped each other escape through an ordinary white door that said “No entrance”. It was summer. I remember the heat waves and the radiating warmth of the asphalt. Our semester was over and we had started existing until the next one started in the way all students exist when they don’t spend their months off at home or touring Europe. I could feel the bass thumping from below. I could see the infinite stars in the cloudless sky. The sound seemed so disconnected from the image. Iris and I weren’t dating, we were just friends, but she leaned toward me on the mattress that night until I could feel her breathing on my neck, and, with my eyes pointed spaceward, she began: “What if…”
Back then it was pure speculation, a wild fantasy inspired by the THC from the joint we were passing back and forth and uninhibited by the beer we’d already drunk. There was nothing scientific or even philosophical about Iris’ telling of it. The theory was a flight of imagination influenced by her name and personalized by the genetic defect of her eyes, which her doctors had said would render her blind by fifty. Even thirty-five seemed far away. It’s heartbreaking now to know that Iris never did live to experience her blindness—her own genetic fate interrupted by the genetic fate of the world—but that night, imagination, the quality Einstein called more important than knowledge, lit up both our brains in synapses of neon as we shared our joint, sucking it into glowing nothingness, Iris paranoid that she’d wake up one morning in eternal darkness despite the doctors’ assurances that her blindness would occur gradually, and me fearing that I would never find love, never share my life with anyone, but soothed at least by Iris’ words and her impossible ideas because Einstein was right, and imagination is magical enough to cure anything.

2025, Pre-

I graduated with a degree in one field, found a low paying job in another, got married, worked my way to slightly better pay, wanted to have a child, bought a Beagle named Pillow as a temporary substitute, lived in an apartment overlooking a green garbage bin that was always full of beer cans and pizza boxes, and held my wife, crying, when we found out that we couldn’t have children. Somewhere along the way my parents died and Kurt Schwaller, a physicist from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, proved a grand theory of everything that rather than being based on the vibrations of strings, was based on a property of particles called viscous time force. I never understood the details. To me they lacked imagination. The overriding point, the experts on television told us, was that given enough data and computing power we could now predict the outcome of anything. The effect was that no one wanted to study theoretical physics and everyone wanted to make breakthroughs in data collection systems and biological hardware. Hackers created a version of Linux that ran from DNA. Western Digital released the first working holographic storage drive. The NSA, FSB, BND and other agencies rushed to put their suddenly valuable mass of unprocessed raw spy data to prognostic use. A Chinese bookmaker known only by the nick ##!! wrote a piece of Python code that could predict the outcomes of hockey games. Within a month, the NHL and KHL were scrambling to come up with ways of saving their leagues by making them more unpredictable. They introduced elements of chance: power plays without penalties, a tilting ice surface, fluctuating rules that sometimes allowed for icings and offsides and sometimes not, and, finally, a pre-game lottery by which the names of the players on both teams were put into a pot and randomly drawn into two squads. Given enough variables, the strategy did thwart the code, but the inherent unfairness of the innovations alienated the players, the draft made owners question why they were paying the salaries of superstars who played against them half of the time, and the fans simply stopped paying attention to a league full of teams for which their already dwindling loyalty had bottomed out. Besides, the code was basic. ##!! had room to expand. The KHL folded first, followed by the NHL, and then the other sports leagues, preemptively. They didn’t bother to wait until their own codes were broken. I remember seeing an interview with ##!! while this was still front page news. The reporter, a perpetually smiling big-breasted blonde with blindingly white teeth, asked him if he thought that hockey could be rescued by the creation of roving blue lines that would continually alter the relative sizes of both offensive zones and the neutral zone. ##!! answered that he didn’t know what a blue line was because he’d never watched a hockey game in his life. His voice was cold, objective, and there was something terrifyingly inhuman about the idea that a person with no knowledge of a subject could nevertheless understand it so completely. Content had become a mere input of form.
By 2025, mainstream interest in the theory of everything faded, not because the theory was wrong but because it was too right and too abstract and now there weren’t any young theoretical physicists to help explain it using cute graphics on YouTube. We consumed what we understood and passively accepted the fallout while going on with our daily lives. The people who did understand made money, but for the rest of us the consequences were less than their potential, because even with enough time, memory and microprocessors the most we could know was the what and the when, not the why. For the governments and corporations pouring taxes and tax-free earnings into complex models of world domination, that didn’t matter. They weren’t interested in cause. They were in the business of exploiting certainty to gain power. As long as they could predict lightning, they were satisfied. If they could make it, all the better. Away from the cutting edge, however, like ants or ancients, what we craved to know was where the lightning came from, what it meant, and on that issue the theory was silent. As Kurt Schwaller put it in a speech to the United Nations, “All I’ve given you is a tool—a microscope to magnify the minutes, so to speak—with which to investigate in perfect detail the entirety of our interrelations. But the investigations still have to made, ladies and gentlemen. Have a hay stack, look for the needle. Know there might not be one.”
In January, my wife and I began a fertility treatment for which we’d been saving for years. It was undoubtedly the reason we became so emotionally involved in the media attention around Aiko, the lovely, black-haired and fashionable Crown Princess of Japan, who along with her husband was going through the same ordeal that we were. For a few months, it seemed as if the whole world sat on the edges of its seat, wishing for this beautiful royal couple to conceive. And we sat on two, our own and one somewhere in an exotic Japan updated by the royal Twitter feed. It strikes me now that royalty has always fascinated the proles, a feeling that historically went in tandem with hatred, respect or awe, but it was the Japanese who held our attentions the longest and the most genuinely in the twenty-first century, when equality had more or less rendered a hereditary ruling class obsolete. The British declared themselves post-Christian in 2014 and post-Royal in 2021, the European Court of Justice ruled all other European royals invalid in 2022, and the Muslim monarchs pompously degraded themselves one-by-one into their own exiles and executions. Only the Japanese line survived, adapting to the times by refusing to take itself seriously on anything but the most superficial level. They dressed nicely, acted politely and observed a social protocol that we admired without wanting to follow it ourselves. Before he died, my father had often marvelled that the Second World War began with Japan being led by an emperor god, and ended with the American occupation forcing him to renounce his divinity. The Japanese god had died because MacArthur willed it and Hirohito spoke it. Godhood was like plaque. If your mother told you to brush your teeth, off it went, provided you used the right flavour of Colgate. Kings had once ruled by divine right. By 2025, the Crown Princess of Japan ruled our hearts merely by popular approval. She was our special friend, with whom we were all on intimate and imaginary terms. Indeed, on the day she died—on the day they all died—Princess Aiko’s was the most friended account on Facebook.
That’s why March 27, 2025, was such a joyous occasion for us. In hindsight, it’s utterly sick to associate the date with happiness of any kind, but history must always be understood in context, and the context of the announcement was a wirelessly connected world whose collective hopes came suddenly true to the jingle of a breaking news story on the BBC. I was in the kitchen sauteing onions when I heard it. Cutting them had made me cry and my eyes were still red. Then the announcer’s voice broke as he was setting up his intro, and in a video clip that was subsequently rebroadcast, downloaded and parodied close to a billion times in the one hundred thirty-two days that followed, he said: “The Crown Princess of Japan is pregnant!”
I ran to the living room and hugged my wife, who’d fallen to her knees in front of the wall-mounted monitor. Pillow was doing laps on and off the sofa. The BBC cut away from the announcer’s joyful face to a live feed from Japan. As I held my wife, her body felt warm and full of life. The top of her jeans cut into her waist. Her tears wetted the top of my shirt sleeve. Both of our phones started to buzz—emails and Twitter notifications streaming in. On the monitor, Aiko and her husband, both of their angular faces larger than life in 110” 1080p, waved to the crowd in Tokyo and the billions watching around the world. They spoke in Japanese and a woman on the BBC translated, but we hardly needed to know her exact words to understand the emotions. If them, why not also us? I knew my wife was having the same thought. We, too, could have a family. Then I smelled burning oil and the pungency of onions and I remembered my sauteing. I gently removed my arms from around my wife’s shoulders and ran back to the kitchen, still listening to Aiko’s voice and its polite English echo, and my hands must have been shaking, or else my whole body was shaking, because after I had turned down the heat I reached for the handle of the frying pan, knocked the pan off the stove top instead, and burned myself while stupidly trying to catch it before it fell, clattering, to the floor. The burned onions splattered. I’d cracked one of the kitchen tiles. My hand turned pale and I felt a numbness before my skin started to overflow with the warmth of pain. Without turning off the broadcast, my wife shooed me downstairs to the garage where we kept our car and drove me to the hospital.
The Toronto streets were raucous. Horns honked. J-pop blared. In the commotion we nearly hit a pedestrian, a middle-aged white woman pushing a baby carriage, who’d cut across Lake Shore without looking both ways. She had appeared suddenly from behind a parked transport—and my wife instinctively jerked the car from the left lane to the right, scraping our side mirror against the truck but saving two lives. The woman barely noticed. She disappeared into a crowd of Asian kids on the other side of street who were dancing to electronica and waving half a dozen Japanese flags, one of which was the Rising Sun Flag, the military flag of Imperial Japan. Clutching my wrist in the hope it would dull the pain in my hand, I wondered how many of them knew about the suffering Japanese soldiers had inflicted on countless Chinese in the name of that flag. To the right, Lake Ontario shone and sparkled in the late afternoon light. A passenger jet took off from Toronto Island Airport and climbed into the sky.
In the hospital waiting room, I sat next to a woman who was reading a movie magazine with Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s face on the cover. The Cannes film festival was coming up. My wife checked me in at the reception desk. The woman beside me put down her magazine and told me that she was there with her son, as if needing to justify her presence. I affirmed by nodding. He’d hurt his leg playing soccer for a local Armenian junior boys team, she went on. I said I’d hurt myself frying onions and that I was here with my wife. She said my wife was pretty and asked if I liked movies. Without meaning to do it, I tried to guess her age—unsuccessfully—and proceeded to imagine having doggy style sex with her. She had dark eyes that barely blinked and plump thighs. When I started to feel guilty, I answered her question: sometimes I watched movies at home, but I hadn’t been to a theatre in a decade. When my wife sat down, I let the two of them talk about the woman’s son. I was having trouble concentrating. I took my phone out of my pocket and read all the new emails about the royal conception, then stared at the seconds hand going slowly around its digital clock face on my home screen, wondering why we so often emulated the limitations of analogue machines on devices that were no longer bound by them. I switched my clock type to a digital readout. Now the seconds no longer rotated but flickered away. They called my name over the crackling intercom and a nurse led me to one of the empty rooms. “How about that baby,” he said while we walked. I didn’t see his face, only the shaved back of his head. “The things they can do these days, even for infertile couples.”
I waited for over thirty minutes for a doctor. When one came in, she inspected my hand for less than ten seconds before telling me that I was fine and hinting that I shouldn’t have wasted her time by coming to the emergency room. She had high cheek bones, thin lips and bony wrists. Her tablet had a faux clipboard wallpaper. Maybe I had only misinterpreted her tone. “How about that baby,” I said.
“It’s not a baby yet,” she answered.
This time her tone was impossible to misinterpret. I was only repeating what the nurse had said, I told myself. But I didn’t say that to her. Instead, I imagined her coming home at night to an empty apartment, furnished possibly in a minimalistic Japanese or Swedish style, brewing a cup of black coffee and settling into an armchair to re-read a Simone de Beauvoir novel. I was about to imagine having sex with her when I caught hold of myself and wondered what was up with me today.
When I got back to the waiting room, my wife was no longer there—but the Armenian woman was. She pointed down the hall and told me a room number. She said that sometime after I left, my wife had gotten a cramp and started to vomit all over the floor. Someone was still mopping up. The other people in the waiting room, which was filling up, gave me tactfully dirty looks, either because I was with the vomiter or because I’d shirked my responsible by being away during the vomiting. Irrationally, I wiped my own mouth and fled down the hall.
Inside the numbered room, my wife was sitting hunched over on an observation bed, slowly kicking her feet back and forth. “Are you OK?” I asked.
“Come here,” she said.
I did, and sat beside her on the bed. I repeated my question. She still smelled a little of vomit, but she looked up at me like the world’s luckiest puppy, her eyes big and glassy, and said, “Norman, I’m pregnant.”
That’s all she could say—
That’s all either of us could say for a while.
We just sat there on the examination bed like a pair of best friends on a swing set after dark, dangling our feet and taking turns pulling each other closer. “Are you sure?” I finally asked. My voice was hoarse. I sounded like a frog.
“Yes.” She kicked the heel of my shoe with the rubber toe of hers. “We’re going to have a baby.”
It was beautiful. The most wonderful moment of my life. I remembered the day we met and our little marriage ceremony. I thought about being a father, and felt positively terrified, and about being a better husband, and felt absolutely determined, and as I kissed my wife there in the little hospital room with its sterile green walls, I imagined making love to her. I kept imagining it as we drove back to the apartment through partying Toronto streets. “Not since the Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup!” the radio announcer proclaimed—before I turned him off. I also turned off my phone and my wife’s phone. No more buzzing. In the underground parking lot, I leaned over and licked her soft neck. I pushed her through the open apartment door and straight into the living room, onto the sofa, and wished I could be the cushions beneath her thighs and the air invading her lungs. Pillow barked a greeting and wagged her tail. The monitor on the wall showed talking heads and fertility experts. I unbuttoned my wife’s blouse. She unbuckled my belt. The picture on the monitor dissolved to a close-up of Aiko’s smiling face. My wife and I took turns sliding off each other’s jeans. I kissed her bare stomach. She ran her hands through my hair. I dimmed the lights. We made love.
When we were done it was starry nighttime. My wife bandaged my hand. We turned off the television. The silence was refreshing because people on television too often talk like they’re trying to push you off a ledge. My wife excused me from the duty of making supper because of my ineptness with the frying pan, and handed me a leash instead. I hooked it up to Pillow’s collar and took her outside. While she peed, I gazed up at the sky and identified the Big Dipper. It and the Little Dipper were the only constellations I could identify without using a smartphone app. After Pillow finished, we ducked into a nook and I peed, too. The March sky was amazingly clear of smog. My urine splashed on the concrete and I felt embarrassingly primal. I breathed in, shook out the last drops and zipped up.
In the apartment, we ate grilled portabella mushrooms topped with parmesan and parsley and drank brown rice tea. My wife had changed into fresh clothes. I had changed into fresh skin. Every time she said “mom” and “dad”, the words discharged trickles of electricity up and down my peripheral nervous system. We were happy; we were going to have a baby. The whole world was happy; the Crown Princess of Japan of was going to have a baby. The sounds of drunken urban celebrations drifted in through our bedroom window all night like fog, and we barely slept.

2025, Post-

Gold is precious because it’s rare. Now close your eyes and imagine that the next time you open them, everything in your world will be golden: your kitchen table, the bananas you bought on the way home from work yesterday, your bottle of shampoo, even your teeth. Now blink. You’re not alone. The market’s flooded. Gold isn’t rare anymore. It’s everywhere. Which means that it’s worth about as much as its weight in mud, because there’s nothing intrinsically good about gold. Can you write on your gold table? It scratches. Surely you can’t eat your golden fruit. Your shampoo’s not a liquid anymore, so your hair’s already starting to get greasy. And if you do find something to eat that’s not made of metal, how long will those gold teeth last before you grind them into finely polished nubs?
For two days the Earth glittered.
For two days we lived in a daze of perfection.
And then, on March 29, a researcher working with lab mice at Stanford University noticed something odd. All of his female mice were pregnant. He contacted several of his colleagues who were also working with mice, rats, and monkeys. All their female animals were pregnant, too. Some of the colleagues had wives and girlfriends. They took innocent-seeming trips to their local pharmacies and bought up all the available pregnancy tests. At home, women took test after test and all of them showed positive. By midnight, the researchers had drafted a joint letter and sent copies of it to the major newspapers in their countries. On the morning of March 30, the news hit.
When I checked my Twitter feed after breakfast, #impregtoo was already trending. Throughout the day, Reddit lit up with increasingly bizarre accounts of pregnancies that physically couldn’t be but, apparently, were. Post-menopausal women, celibate women, prepubescent girls, women who’d had their uteruses removed only to discover that their reproductive systems had spontaneously regenerated like the severed tales of lizards. Existing early stage pregnancies aborted themselves and re-fertilized, like a system rebooting. Later term pregnancies developed Matryoshka-like pregnancies nested within pregnancies. After a while, I stopped reading, choosing to spend time with my wife instead. As night fell, we reclined on the sofa, her head on my chest, Pillow curled up in our tangle of feet, the television off, and the streets of Toronto eerily quiet save for the intermittent blaring of far off sirens, as any lingering doubts about the reality of the situation melted away like the brief, late season snow that floated gently down from the sky, blackening the streets.
On March 30, the World Health Organization issued a communique confirming that based on the available data it was reasonable to assume that all female mammals were pregnant. No cause was identified. It urged any woman who was not pregnant to step forward immediately. Otherwise, the communique offered no guidance. It indicated merely that the organization was already working with governments around the world to prepare for a massive influx of human population in approximately nine months’ time. Most places, including Toronto, reacted with stunned panic. Non-essential workplaces and schools were decried closed. People were urged to stay indoors. Hospitals prepared for possible complications. A few supermarkets ran out of canned food and there were several bank runs, but nothing happened that the existing systems couldn’t handle. Populations kept their nerve. Highway and air traffic increased slightly as people rushed to be with their friends, families and gynaecologists. We spent the entire day in our apartment and let Pillow pee in the tub. Except for the conspiracy theorists, who believed that the Earth was being cosmically pollinated by aliens, most of us weren’t scared to go outside, but we were scared of the unknown, and we preferred to process that fear in the comfort of our own dens.
The New York Times ran a front page editorial arguing for an evaluation of the situation using Kurt Schwaller’s theory of everything. In conjunction with The Washington Post, The Guardian and The Wikipedia Foundation, a website was set up asking users for technical help, monetary donations and the sharing of any surplus computing power.
The project quickly ran into problems. To accurately predict anything, the theory of everything needed sufficient data, and, on April 2, cryptome.org published a series of leaked emails between the French Minister of Health and a high-ranking member of World Health Organization that proved the latter’s communique had been disingenuous at best. Externally, the World Health Organization had concluded that all female mammals were pregnant. That remained true. However, it had failed to admit an even more baffling development: the wombs of all female mammals had inexplicably become impenetrable to all rays and materials that had so far been tried against them. For all intents and purposes, there was no way to see inside the womb, or to destroy it. The only way to revert the body to its natural form, to terminate the pregnancy, was to kill the woman—an experiment that, according to the high-ranking member of the World Health Organization, the French government had helped conduct on unwilling women in Mali. Both parties issued repeated denials until a video surfaced showing the murders. I couldn’t bring myself to watch it. They spun their denials into arguments about the necessity of sacrificing lives for the greater good.
Reminded once again of the deception inherent in politics, many turned to religion, but the mainstream religions were hesitant to react. They offered few opinions and no answers. The fringe religions split into two camps. Some leaders welcomed this development, the greatest of all known miracles, while others denounced the same as a universal and unnatural punishment for our collective sins of hedonism, egoism and pride. The most successful of all was the Tribe of Akna, a vaguely mystical Maya revival cult that sprang up seemingly overnight and was led by a Guatemalan freelance programmer named Salvador Abaroa. Although it originated in Mexico City, the Tribe spread as quickly across the world as the computer viruses that Abaroa was notorious for creating. On the Tribe’s homepage, Abaroa could be seen striking an antique brass gong and saying in Spanish-tinged English, “Like energy, life is never destroyed. Every one of us plays an integral part of the cosmic ecosystem. Every man, woman and virus.” Elsewhere on the website, you could buy self-published theological textbooks, listen to scratchy recordings of speeches by Alan Watts and read about the hypothesis that Maya thought was deeply connected to Buddhism because the Mayans had crossed the Pacific Ocean and colonized Asia.
But despite the apparent international cooperation happening at the highest levels, the first week of April was an atomizing period for the so-called people on the ground. We hunkered down. Most personal communication was digital. My wife and I exchanged emails with her parents and sister, but we met no one face-to-face, not even on Skype. We neither invited our neighbours to dinner nor were invited by them, despite how easy it was to walk down the hall and knock. I read far more than I wrote, and even when I did write, responding to a blog post or news story, I found it easier to relate to strangers than to the people I knew. My wife said I had a high tolerance for solitude. “Who do you know in the city?” she asked. Although we’d been living here together for three years, she still considered Toronto mine. She was the stranger, I was the native. I said that I knew a few people from work. She told me to call one of them I’d never called before. I did, and the next day’s sky was cloudless and sunny and there were five of us in the apartment: my wife and I, my friend Bakshi and his wife Jacinda, and their daughter, Greta. Greta drank apple juice while the rest of us drank wine, and all five of us gorged ourselves on freshly baked peach cobbler, laughing at silly faces and cracking immature jokes. It hardly registered for me that the majority of the room was unstoppably pregnant, but wasn’t that the point: to forget—if only for a few hours? Instead of watching the BBC, we streamed BDRips of Hayao Miyazaki movies from The Pirate Bay. Porco Rosso ruled the skies, castles flew, a Catbus arrived at its magical stop. Then Bakshi’s phone rang, and he excused himself from the table to take the call. When he returned, his face was grey. “What’s the matter?” Jacinda asked him. He was still holding the phone to his ear. “It’s Kurt Schwaller,” he said. “They just found his body. They think he killed himself.”
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2020.09.29 20:02 CrowgirlC Rich kid I dated ten years ago sent me a surprise email. Yikes! This is a weird story...

Some background:
Hi everyone! I'm in a weird situation. Some guy I dated ten years ago just emailed me, out of the blue. I haven't communicated with him since 2011. Honestly, I moved on with my life and completely forgot about him. I'm in a very happy relationship that's been going on for three years. So I have no interest in dating him again. And he doesn't want to date me either. We're not even friends, so this is very sudden.
Anyway, first you need some context for my situation. Here it is:
Back in 2011, I was poor and my ex-boyfriend Michael was financially supporting me. I was living with Michael, while openly dating other guys. I was 27 years old at the time. I found a 23 year old guy on Plenty of Fish named Alex, who was very cute. We went on about three dates. After our first date, it was obvious to me that Alex was rich. He worked as a carpenter, and yet he drove a Lexus and a Ferrari. By date two, I found out that he lived with his parents between two homes, one in Mississauga (Toronto) and the other in the Haliburton Highlands, a rural area in Ontario, Canada where a lot of rich people have country mansions.
On date three, I spent a weekend at the mansion of Alex's family in the Haliburton Highlands. His mom was some sort of Bay Street portfolio manager and his dad was an insurance industry executive. THAT'S how a 23 year old carpenter drives a Lexus and a Ferrari! When he lives with his multimillionaire parents and they buy everything for him!
His family had a lot of boats on their lakefront Haliburton Highlands property. No yachts, but four power boats with a seating capacity of 6-20 people each, and a sailboat. We took a couple of boat rides across the lake during that weekend. Alex's parents were watching me very closely, and apparently I looked awkward while boarding and getting off of their boats. Plus Alex made me smoke far into the bush on their property so that his parents wouldn't see that I was a cigarette smoker.
At the end of our Haliburton Highlands weekend date with his family, his mom insisted that Alex drive me back home to Toronto. Apparently his parents decided I wasn't "good enough" for their son and didn't want him to date me ever again. They made a class judgment based on my awkwardness with boating. Meanwhile, Alex couldn't follow his parents' footsteps in high finance and insurance apparently because of his dyslexia. So his parents kind of encouraged his pursuit of carpentry, but at the same time, I think a part of them was ashamed that he was doing real work for a career.
I was very hurt by the experience and I also thought Alex was pathetic if his parents were making his dating decisions at age 23. I concluded that rich people were assholes and decided to never date a rich kid ever again.
A twist!
Alex was exploring his bisexuality and he felt like being a bit rebellious behind his parents' back. We had sex a couple of times while we dated and I'm female. We secretly emailed each other a couple of times after his parents rejected me. My ex-boyfriend I was living with, Michael, is also bisexual. We all agreed to have a threesome at Michael's house.
After that threesome, I never heard from Alex ever again. Until that email I got from him yesterday!
Without revealing any specifc identities, here's the email:
"I hope you are doing well. And I hope you and anyone you know is safe from Covid . I saw your twitter account, and it looks like your doing well. I wanted to apologize for how I was . It was not a good part of my life. And I was very drunk and not happy. And I’m sorry if I hurt you. Anywho. I was also wondering if you could share contact info for Michael with me. I was hoping to talk to him about a few things as I actually have a lot in common with him these days than ever. And if you have Instagram you could see why. In any case. Wishing you the best and hope your happy."
My life after Alex:
Actually no, I don't have an Instgram account, and I have largely forgotten about Alex since 2011. Here's what happened in my life between 2011 and now! I moved out of Michael's house near the end of the year. I fell in love with a poor guy named Sean, and we were in a serious relationship from the end of 2011 to the middle of 2016. During my five years with Sean, we were homeless for a lot of that time. When we weren't homeless, we were living in the slums of Toronto, in deep poverty.
During that time, I gradually built a career researching and writing about cybersecurity. I just kept posting my cybersecurity/computer technology related writing online until it turned into a viable career. I broke up with Sean in September 2016 because I realized that living with him was going to doom me to a life of poverty and horrible luck.
I started dating an eccentric musician named Rob later that month. I moved in with Rob by October 2016. We lived together as boyfriend/girlfriend until we broke up in February 2018. By the end of 2016, my career had EXPLODED. I got my first big break. I got offers to write for a lot of tech company blogs. Between 2016 and now, I've written for these tech companies: AT&T, BlackBerry, Venafi, Sophos, Kaspersky, and many others you may not have heard of. By early 2017, I started making enough money from my writing to live pretty well!
So by the time Rob and I broke up in February 2018, I was able to fully support myself and maintain a middle class lifestyle. I eventually started renting a luxury condo on the Toronto waterfront. I'm not RICH, I'm still probably "middle class" at best. But given the years of poverty I have lived, "middle class" seems like being rich to me. I don't care about money when I go grocery shopping! I was eating in nice restaurants once or twice a week until COVID hit! I have all the clothes and shoes that I want. My writing income hasn't made me a millionaire, but it's nice to be able to live well without worrying about how I'm going to pay my bills. And for pretty much the first time in my life, I'm financially independent. I even have a book that'll be published by a major publisher this December. I'm 36 years old, and I think I can just keep writing books for the rest of my life.
I've been with my boyfriend Jason since March 2018. We don't live together, and we're both financially independent. And we're not going to ever have kids. I think the fact that we stay over at each other's apartments once per week and we don't need financial support from each other is really one of the keys to the success of our relationship. We're also very candid with each other. I tell Jason everything, and I've told him everything I've written in this post. I've also shown Jason the email Alex sent me.
I don't speak to Michael very often, but we still have each other's email addresses and we're on generally good terms.
Honestly, an evil side to me is wondering if there's some way I can exploit Alex in this situation. "I can give you Michael's email address if you send me $50,000!" Heheheheheheh. Obviously Alex wants to have sex with Michael again.
I haven't responded to Alex's email yet. I don't need any money from Alex, but I'd be as happy to receive a few thousand bucks from a desperate rich kid (well now, a desperate 32 year old rich MAN) as anyone else would be. There's also an insecure part of me that wants to show Alex that I'm a VERY RESPECTABLE WOMAN WITH A VERY RESPECTABLE CAREER NOW. lol
What should I do?
submitted by CrowgirlC to Advice [link] [comments]


2020.09.26 15:38 ZandrickEllison Offseason Blueprint: The Toronto Raptors already had their fairy tale ending, but now they'd like a sequel

The playoffs continue to rage on, but there are 26 teams sitting at home with nothing to do but twiddle their thumbs, watch the Conference Finals, and wait for next season to start.
For their sake, we wanted to look ahead with the next edition of the OFFSEASON BLUEPRINT series. In each, we'll preview some big decisions and make some recommendations for plans of attack along the way. Today, we're looking at the Toronto Raptors
step one: Wish Upon a Star...
When the Toronto Raptors and Vancouver Grizzlies came into the league (in 1995), expectations weren't terribly high. They felt like filler teams, made for Michael Jordan to break records against. Maybe they'd have a playoff appearance here and there, but there's way that they'd ever be an elite contender. There was no way that some random ass team from Canada would rise to the top of the league. Sadly, Vancouver has fallen off the map (for now), but Toronto has exploded as one of the best stories and best franchises in the association.
This fairy tale didn't happen overnight. The Raptors had some nice moments and nice young stars in the past -- Damon Stoudamire, Vince Carter, Chris Bosh -- but they won a grand total of 1 playoff series over their first 20 seasons in the NBA. Given that, their latest stretch has been remarkable. They've won 48 games for seven seasons in a row, including 50+ in each of the last five. They won with Kawhi Leonard, but they managed to survive and stay relevant without him as well. Making the playoffs has become part of their DNA. Masai Ujiri, Nick Nurse, and Kyle Lowry have earned a lot of attention and credit for that (rightfully so), but we also have to give credit to Coach Dwane Casey and DeMar DeRozan for helping to get the ball rolling in the first place.
Wisely, the Raptors locked up Nick Nurse to a contract extension this offseason. The next step should be doing the same with Ujiri. The fact that high-profile teams and big markets like the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets, L.A. Lakers, and L.A. Clippers all have power brokers in place should be seen as a positive there. There aren't many franchises that in a position to throw $10M+ his way. Still, there's no reason the team should let their magic genie Ujiri go. In a league where role players get $10-15M a year, top executives deserve to get obscenely rich as well. Losing Ujiri would sting badly -- not only for basketball reasons, but also for reputation reasons. The Raptors have had all their wishes come true so far; they can't start pinching pennies now just because it's expensive to varnish a magic lamp.
step two: convince FVV that there is nothing more than this provincial life
It's the dream of every college basketball player to earn the attention and affection of NBA scouts. At Wichita State, Fred VanVleet did his part to turn their eye. He started 100+ games, and helped lead the Shockers to a combined record of 121-24 across four seasons on campus. When he finally strolled into the NBA ballroom... he received nothing but crickets. Eyerolls. Murmurs about his unappealing body. He didn't get drafted at all.
Now, four seasons and one championship later, the league suitors are singing a different tune. It's going to be a weak free agent class, and FVV is one of the Belles of the ball. There's talk that he can generate $15M, $18M, $20M! in salary per season. Heck, I've even heard some talk like 4 years, $100M (that's $25M per year, if you're no bookworm like Belle.)
Ironically, it's some of the same qualities that made NBA scouts dismiss him that make FVV an appealing target now. He's shorter and stubbier, but that strength allows him to play and defend both PG and SG. In fact, basketball-reference charted him as playing 56% of his minutes at SG this season. VanVleet's shooting prowess (39.3% from three for his career) also fits like a glove in the modern NBA. He can be a lead guard, or he can be a complementary 3+D spacing guard... he can do a variety of things to win a team win. As such, he's a "high floor" and "high character" acquisition that can justify an inflated salary, a la Malcolm Brogdon last year (who got 4 years, $85M total from Indiana.)
VanVleet would be a valuable addition to any team, but he's especially valuable to this particular Toronto team. He's already shown that he can play alongside Kyle Lowry, but he may have an even larger role in the future. Lowry's massive contract ($30M per year) is coming off the books after next year. As good as Lowry has been, he's 34 now, and he's not going to be a viable starter forever. VanVleet can continue to play in tandem with Lowry now, and then potentially take the reins of the lead guard position for the next 5 years after. Through that lens, $20M doesn't sound unreasonable at all. I also like the idea of retaining some members of the title team as long as possible, as it adds prestige to the franchise.
No doubt, the Raps will want VanVleet back, even if he's paid $20M per season. He may be worth that. The question is: what happens if he gets offered more than he's worth? What if the Knicks get crazy and offer him $25M or more?
Toronto can't get into an unreasonable bidding war, but they can evoke VanVleet's emotional connection to the franchise and fan base. They helped give him the development and opportunity to become a star. And while Toronto isn't a traditional "big market" compared to New York City, it may be more appealing. Toronto’s a thriving city, where $20 (or $20M) goes a lot further than NYC. Moreover, VanVleet will be a beloved member of the Raptors' franchise and their legacy. If he goes off to be a hired gun somewhere else, those new fans may turn on him as soon as his shooting slumps. If Toronto is effectively "The Beast" (that you learned to love), the Knicks may be "Gaston," the showy rival that you'll only end up resenting. I truly believe that VanVleet is better off in Toronto (even at 80-90% of the price) than going to a franchise like the Knicks. Of course, it's not my decision to make.
step three: Jack and the (singular) Beanstalk
Presuming that Toronto is able to come up with a new accord with Fred VanVleet, they'll have limited coins left in the purse. They may need to make a decision regarding their bigs, with both Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka entering free agency as well. These are two decorated veterans who have gotten used to gold (this season, Gasol made $25.5M and Ibaka made $23M.)
While the Raptors' frontcourt depth helped them win a title, it doesn't make sense to double dip and OVERLOAD on the position. The modern NBA doesn't cater to centers, so you don't want to tilt your salary cap too much in that direction. Moreover, backup Chris Boucher (also a free agent) deserves some more playing time. It's very realistic for the team to pick one of their current bigs, and roll with Boucher as a backup.
Between the two bigs, I'd lean to retaining Serge Ibaka over Marc Gasol myself. As always, Gasol's raw stats -- 7.5 points and 6.3 rebounds -- don't reflect his actual value. He's a good, heady basketball player who is able to stretch the court offensively. Even at age 35, he's still a good defensive presence. In fact, ESPN's RPM metric graded him as a +3.4 impact per 100 possessions on defense, 5th best among all centers. Still, it's hard to ignore the age factor. Gasol's 35 now, and turning 36 in January. Based on either the eye test or analytics, you can see some decline in his play. Retaining him on a 1-year deal would make sense, but anything more than that would be risky.
Meanwhile, Serge Ibaka is no spring chicken himself. He's listed at 31 (and some think he may be older than that.) Still, he doesn't appear to be in as noticeable of a decline. He still has some spring to his legs, which aids him as a rim protector and also helps him convert inside on offense. He actually outpaced Gasol this year in terms of true shooting percentage 58% to 55%. Overall, Gasol vs. Ibaka is fairly even right now, but we'd have to lean in favor of the younger player as we project to the future. All things (and contracts) being equal, I'd re-sign Serge Ibaka. If Gasol wants to undercut Ibaka and come in for a cheaper deal, then that's a legitimate option as well. Center is less of a priority for all teams right now, and the Raps shouldn't overpay for competent play down low.
step four: dream of a date with Prince Charming, but settle for Prince Charming-Enough
The Toronto Raptors and their fans have their eyes on the prize: Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Greek Freak may hit free agency in 2021, at which point the Raptors could be a legitimate contender for his services.
Realistically, it's hard to imagine the team clearing enough space to sign Antetokounmpo outright. They'd have the room if they didn't re-sign Fred VanVleet or Serge Ibaka to long-term deals, but if they did that, why would Antetokounmpo want to come play for them? He's not leaving Milwaukee unless he signs up with a superior roster.
More likely, Toronto would need to work out some sign and trade centered on Pascal Siakam (and his $30M salary.) If the Raptors had the chance to grab Antetokounmpo, they wouldn't mind waving their diamond in the rough Siakam goodbye. There's some duplication to their talents and skill sets, only Antetokounmpo is a much better version of it. He's also about a year younger. With a Siakam to Antetokounmpo upgrade, the Raps would be right back in the title picture again.
While this whole entry has been about fairy tales, let's take a step back and presume that doesn't happen. What then...?
The first step would be trying to put Siakam in better situations to score. He had been incredibly efficient as a secondary option behind Kawhi Leonard, crashing in the paint and shooting 60.2% from two-point range. This past season, as the go-to scorer, he found those shots harder to come by and saw his two-point percentage plummet down to 49.9%. As a result, his true shooting numbers crashed from 62.8% to 55.4%. Some of that is injury related, but a lot of it is shot distribution and defensive attention. Simply put, Siakam had to work a lot harder to get his points. The prior season, 49% of his twos and 98% of his threes were assisted. This year, those numbers dropped to 42% and 66% respectively. He also took longer threes. In 2018-19, 68% of his three pointers came in the corner. This year, that dropped to 22%. (All numbers courtesy of basketball-reference.)
Overall, the Raptors may need to rethink their usage of Siakam and have him take a step back as a lead option. While the team was still successful overall, their offense wasn't any great shakes, ranking 14th overall. That has to improve if they want to win the East again. One way to potentially do that is to redistribute the scoring wealth. Rather than treating Siakam as a top option, treat him as an option. He's a solid scorer and ball mover -- like most of his teammates -- so let's get them all involved equally. The Raptors goal should be to have their top 6 players (Siakam, Lowry, FVV, O.G. Anunoby, Ibaka/Gasol, and Norman Powell) all average around 15 points per game. They can also get more from rising players like Chris Boucher, Terence Davis, and Matt Thomas (a better marksman than Snow White's Huntsman). With balanced scoring like that from all over the roster, they may be able to get their offense back into the top 10. Better still, they may spin a whole new fairy tale for the Canadian kids to enjoy.
previous offseason blueprints
ATL, BKN, CHA, CHI, CLE, DAL, DET, HOU, IND, GS, LAC, MIL, MIN, NYK, ORL, POR, SA, SAC, UTA
submitted by ZandrickEllison to nba [link] [comments]


2020.09.23 02:48 normancrane Iris [1/3]

Part 1 <-- You are here.
Part 2
Part 3

Iris

The first person to ever tell me the theory was Iris. It was nighttime in 2015, and we were lying on an old mattress on the roof of a four-storey apartment building in a university town in southern Ontario. A party was going on downstairs to which we’d both been invited and from whose monotony we’d helped each other escape through an ordinary white door that said “No entrance”. It was summer. I remember the heat waves and the radiating warmth of the asphalt. Our semester was over and we had started existing until the next one started in the way all students exist when they don’t spend their months off at home or touring Europe. I could feel the bass thumping from below. I could see the infinite stars in the cloudless sky. The sound seemed so disconnected from the image. Iris and I weren’t dating, we were just friends, but she leaned toward me on the mattress that night until I could feel her breathing on my neck, and, with my eyes pointed spaceward, she began: “What if…”
Back then it was pure speculation, a wild fantasy inspired by the THC from the joint we were passing back and forth and uninhibited by the beer we’d already drunk. There was nothing scientific or even philosophical about Iris’ telling of it. The theory was a flight of imagination influenced by her name and personalized by the genetic defect of her eyes, which her doctors had said would render her blind by fifty. Even thirty-five seemed far away. It’s heartbreaking now to know that Iris never did live to experience her blindness—her own genetic fate interrupted by the genetic fate of the world—but that night, imagination, the quality Einstein called more important than knowledge, lit up both our brains in synapses of neon as we shared our joint, sucking it into glowing nothingness, Iris paranoid that she’d wake up one morning in eternal darkness despite the doctors’ assurances that her blindness would occur gradually, and me fearing that I would never find love, never share my life with anyone, but soothed at least by Iris’ words and her impossible ideas because Einstein was right, and imagination is magical enough to cure anything.

2025, Pre-

I graduated with a degree in one field, found a low paying job in another, got married, worked my way to slightly better pay, wanted to have a child, bought a Beagle named Pillow as a temporary substitute, lived in an apartment overlooking a green garbage bin that was always full of beer cans and pizza boxes, and held my wife, crying, when we found out that we couldn’t have children. Somewhere along the way my parents died and Kurt Schwaller, a physicist from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, proved a grand theory of everything that rather than being based on the vibrations of strings, was based on a property of particles called viscous time force. I never understood the details. To me they lacked imagination. The overriding point, the experts on television told us, was that given enough data and computing power we could now predict the outcome of anything. The effect was that no one wanted to study theoretical physics and everyone wanted to make breakthroughs in data collection systems and biological hardware. Hackers created a version of Linux that ran from DNA. Western Digital released the first working holographic storage drive. The NSA, FSB, BND and other agencies rushed to put their suddenly valuable mass of unprocessed raw spy data to prognostic use. A Chinese bookmaker known only by the nick ##!! wrote a piece of Python code that could predict the outcomes of hockey games. Within a month, the NHL and KHL were scrambling to come up with ways of saving their leagues by making them more unpredictable. They introduced elements of chance: power plays without penalties, a tilting ice surface, fluctuating rules that sometimes allowed for icings and offsides and sometimes not, and, finally, a pre-game lottery by which the names of the players on both teams were put into a pot and randomly drawn into two squads. Given enough variables, the strategy did thwart the code, but the inherent unfairness of the innovations alienated the players, the draft made owners question why they were paying the salaries of superstars who played against them half of the time, and the fans simply stopped paying attention to a league full of teams for which their already dwindling loyalty had bottomed out. Besides, the code was basic. ##!! had room to expand. The KHL folded first, followed by the NHL, and then the other sports leagues, preemptively. They didn’t bother to wait until their own codes were broken. I remember seeing an interview with ##!! while this was still front page news. The reporter, a perpetually smiling big-breasted blonde with blindingly white teeth, asked him if he thought that hockey could be rescued by the creation of roving blue lines that would continually alter the relative sizes of both offensive zones and the neutral zone. ##!! answered that he didn’t know what a blue line was because he’d never watched a hockey game in his life. His voice was cold, objective, and there was something terrifyingly inhuman about the idea that a person with no knowledge of a subject could nevertheless understand it so completely. Content had become a mere input of form.
By 2025, mainstream interest in the theory of everything faded, not because the theory was wrong but because it was too right and too abstract and now there weren’t any young theoretical physicists to help explain it using cute graphics on YouTube. We consumed what we understood and passively accepted the fallout while going on with our daily lives. The people who did understand made money, but for the rest of us the consequences were less than their potential, because even with enough time, memory and microprocessors the most we could know was the what and the when, not the why. For the governments and corporations pouring taxes and tax-free earnings into complex models of world domination, that didn’t matter. They weren’t interested in cause. They were in the business of exploiting certainty to gain power. As long as they could predict lightning, they were satisfied. If they could make it, all the better. Away from the cutting edge, however, like ants or ancients, what we craved to know was where the lightning came from, what it meant, and on that issue the theory was silent. As Kurt Schwaller put it in a speech to the United Nations, “All I’ve given you is a tool—a microscope to magnify the minutes, so to speak—with which to investigate in perfect detail the entirety of our interrelations. But the investigations still have to made, ladies and gentlemen. Have a hay stack, look for the needle. Know there might not be one.”
In January, my wife and I began a fertility treatment for which we’d been saving for years. It was undoubtedly the reason we became so emotionally involved in the media attention around Aiko, the lovely, black-haired and fashionable Crown Princess of Japan, who along with her husband was going through the same ordeal that we were. For a few months, it seemed as if the whole world sat on the edges of its seat, wishing for this beautiful royal couple to conceive. And we sat on two, our own and one somewhere in an exotic Japan updated by the royal Twitter feed. It strikes me now that royalty has always fascinated the proles, a feeling that historically went in tandem with hatred, respect or awe, but it was the Japanese who held our attentions the longest and the most genuinely in the twenty-first century, when equality had more or less rendered a hereditary ruling class obsolete. The British declared themselves post-Christian in 2014 and post-Royal in 2021, the European Court of Justice ruled all other European royals invalid in 2022, and the Muslim monarchs pompously degraded themselves one-by-one into their own exiles and executions. Only the Japanese line survived, adapting to the times by refusing to take itself seriously on anything but the most superficial level. They dressed nicely, acted politely and observed a social protocol that we admired without wanting to follow it ourselves. Before he died, my father had often marvelled that the Second World War began with Japan being led by an emperor god, and ended with the American occupation forcing him to renounce his divinity. The Japanese god had died because MacArthur willed it and Hirohito spoke it. Godhood was like plaque. If your mother told you to brush your teeth, off it went, provided you used the right flavour of Colgate. Kings had once ruled by divine right. By 2025, the Crown Princess of Japan ruled our hearts merely by popular approval. She was our special friend, with whom we were all on intimate and imaginary terms. Indeed, on the day she died—on the day they all died—Princess Aiko’s was the most friended account on Facebook.
That’s why March 27, 2025, was such a joyous occasion for us. In hindsight, it’s utterly sick to associate the date with happiness of any kind, but history must always be understood in context, and the context of the announcement was a wirelessly connected world whose collective hopes came suddenly true to the jingle of a breaking news story on the BBC. I was in the kitchen sauteing onions when I heard it. Cutting them had made me cry and my eyes were still red. Then the announcer’s voice broke as he was setting up his intro, and in a video clip that was subsequently rebroadcast, downloaded and parodied close to a billion times in the one hundred thirty-two days that followed, he said: “The Crown Princess of Japan is pregnant!”
I ran to the living room and hugged my wife, who’d fallen to her knees in front of the wall-mounted monitor. Pillow was doing laps on and off the sofa. The BBC cut away from the announcer’s joyful face to a live feed from Japan. As I held my wife, her body felt warm and full of life. The top of her jeans cut into her waist. Her tears wetted the top of my shirt sleeve. Both of our phones started to buzz—emails and Twitter notifications streaming in. On the monitor, Aiko and her husband, both of their angular faces larger than life in 110” 1080p, waved to the crowd in Tokyo and the billions watching around the world. They spoke in Japanese and a woman on the BBC translated, but we hardly needed to know her exact words to understand the emotions. If them, why not also us? I knew my wife was having the same thought. We, too, could have a family. Then I smelled burning oil and the pungency of onions and I remembered my sauteing. I gently removed my arms from around my wife’s shoulders and ran back to the kitchen, still listening to Aiko’s voice and its polite English echo, and my hands must have been shaking, or else my whole body was shaking, because after I had turned down the heat I reached for the handle of the frying pan, knocked the pan off the stove top instead, and burned myself while stupidly trying to catch it before it fell, clattering, to the floor. The burned onions splattered. I’d cracked one of the kitchen tiles. My hand turned pale and I felt a numbness before my skin started to overflow with the warmth of pain. Without turning off the broadcast, my wife shooed me downstairs to the garage where we kept our car and drove me to the hospital.
The Toronto streets were raucous. Horns honked. J-pop blared. In the commotion we nearly hit a pedestrian, a middle-aged white woman pushing a baby carriage, who’d cut across Lake Shore without looking both ways. She had appeared suddenly from behind a parked transport—and my wife instinctively jerked the car from the left lane to the right, scraping our side mirror against the truck but saving two lives. The woman barely noticed. She disappeared into a crowd of Asian kids on the other side of street who were dancing to electronica and waving half a dozen Japanese flags, one of which was the Rising Sun Flag, the military flag of Imperial Japan. Clutching my wrist in the hope it would dull the pain in my hand, I wondered how many of them knew about the suffering Japanese soldiers had inflicted on countless Chinese in the name of that flag. To the right, Lake Ontario shone and sparkled in the late afternoon light. A passenger jet took off from Toronto Island Airport and climbed into the sky.
In the hospital waiting room, I sat next to a woman who was reading a movie magazine with Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s face on the cover. The Cannes film festival was coming up. My wife checked me in at the reception desk. The woman beside me put down her magazine and told me that she was there with her son, as if needing to justify her presence. I affirmed by nodding. He’d hurt his leg playing soccer for a local Armenian junior boys team, she went on. I said I’d hurt myself frying onions and that I was here with my wife. She said my wife was pretty and asked if I liked movies. Without meaning to do it, I tried to guess her age—unsuccessfully—and proceeded to imagine having doggy style sex with her. She had dark eyes that barely blinked and plump thighs. When I started to feel guilty, I answered her question: sometimes I watched movies at home, but I hadn’t been to a theatre in a decade. When my wife sat down, I let the two of them talk about the woman’s son. I was having trouble concentrating. I took my phone out of my pocket and read all the new emails about the royal conception, then stared at the seconds hand going slowly around its digital clock face on my home screen, wondering why we so often emulated the limitations of analogue machines on devices that were no longer bound by them. I switched my clock type to a digital readout. Now the seconds no longer rotated but flickered away. They called my name over the crackling intercom and a nurse led me to one of the empty rooms. “How about that baby,” he said while we walked. I didn’t see his face, only the shaved back of his head. “The things they can do these days, even for infertile couples.”
I waited for over thirty minutes for a doctor. When one came in, she inspected my hand for less than ten seconds before telling me that I was fine and hinting that I shouldn’t have wasted her time by coming to the emergency room. She had high cheek bones, thin lips and bony wrists. Her tablet had a faux clipboard wallpaper. Maybe I had only misinterpreted her tone. “How about that baby,” I said.
“It’s not a baby yet,” she answered.
This time her tone was impossible to misinterpret. I was only repeating what the nurse had said, I told myself. But I didn’t say that to her. Instead, I imagined her coming home at night to an empty apartment, furnished possibly in a minimalistic Japanese or Swedish style, brewing a cup of black coffee and settling into an armchair to re-read a Simone de Beauvoir novel. I was about to imagine having sex with her when I caught hold of myself and wondered what was up with me today.
When I got back to the waiting room, my wife was no longer there—but the Armenian woman was. She pointed down the hall and told me a room number. She said that sometime after I left, my wife had gotten a cramp and started to vomit all over the floor. Someone was still mopping up. The other people in the waiting room, which was filling up, gave me tactfully dirty looks, either because I was with the vomiter or because I’d shirked my responsible by being away during the vomiting. Irrationally, I wiped my own mouth and fled down the hall.
Inside the numbered room, my wife was sitting hunched over on an observation bed, slowly kicking her feet back and forth. “Are you OK?” I asked.
“Come here,” she said.
I did, and sat beside her on the bed. I repeated my question. She still smelled a little of vomit, but she looked up at me like the world’s luckiest puppy, her eyes big and glassy, and said, “Norman, I’m pregnant.”
That’s all she could say—
That’s all either of us could say for a while.
We just sat there on the examination bed like a pair of best friends on a swing set after dark, dangling our feet and taking turns pulling each other closer. “Are you sure?” I finally asked. My voice was hoarse. I sounded like a frog.
“Yes.” She kicked the heel of my shoe with the rubber toe of hers. “We’re going to have a baby.”
It was beautiful. The most wonderful moment of my life. I remembered the day we met and our little marriage ceremony. I thought about being a father, and felt positively terrified, and about being a better husband, and felt absolutely determined, and as I kissed my wife there in the little hospital room with its sterile green walls, I imagined making love to her. I kept imagining it as we drove back to the apartment through partying Toronto streets. “Not since the Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup!” the radio announcer proclaimed—before I turned him off. I also turned off my phone and my wife’s phone. No more buzzing. In the underground parking lot, I leaned over and licked her soft neck. I pushed her through the open apartment door and straight into the living room, onto the sofa, and wished I could be the cushions beneath her thighs and the air invading her lungs. Pillow barked a greeting and wagged her tail. The monitor on the wall showed talking heads and fertility experts. I unbuttoned my wife’s blouse. She unbuckled my belt. The picture on the monitor dissolved to a close-up of Aiko’s smiling face. My wife and I took turns sliding off each other’s jeans. I kissed her bare stomach. She ran her hands through my hair. I dimmed the lights. We made love.
When we were done it was starry nighttime. My wife bandaged my hand. We turned off the television. The silence was refreshing because people on television too often talk like they’re trying to push you off a ledge. My wife excused me from the duty of making supper because of my ineptness with the frying pan, and handed me a leash instead. I hooked it up to Pillow’s collar and took her outside. While she peed, I gazed up at the sky and identified the Big Dipper. It and the Little Dipper were the only constellations I could identify without using a smartphone app. After Pillow finished, we ducked into a nook and I peed, too. The March sky was amazingly clear of smog. My urine splashed on the concrete and I felt embarrassingly primal. I breathed in, shook out the last drops and zipped up.
In the apartment, we ate grilled portabella mushrooms topped with parmesan and parsley and drank brown rice tea. My wife had changed into fresh clothes. I had changed into fresh skin. Every time she said “mom” and “dad”, the words discharged trickles of electricity up and down my peripheral nervous system. We were happy; we were going to have a baby. The whole world was happy; the Crown Princess of Japan of was going to have a baby. The sounds of drunken urban celebrations drifted in through our bedroom window all night like fog, and we barely slept.

2025, Post-

Gold is precious because it’s rare. Now close your eyes and imagine that the next time you open them, everything in your world will be golden: your kitchen table, the bananas you bought on the way home from work yesterday, your bottle of shampoo, even your teeth. Now blink. You’re not alone. The market’s flooded. Gold isn’t rare anymore. It’s everywhere. Which means that it’s worth about as much as its weight in mud, because there’s nothing intrinsically good about gold. Can you write on your gold table? It scratches. Surely you can’t eat your golden fruit. Your shampoo’s not a liquid anymore, so your hair’s already starting to get greasy. And if you do find something to eat that’s not made of metal, how long will those gold teeth last before you grind them into finely polished nubs?
For two days the Earth glittered.
For two days we lived in a daze of perfection.
And then, on March 29, a researcher working with lab mice at Stanford University noticed something odd. All of his female mice were pregnant. He contacted several of his colleagues who were also working with mice, rats, and monkeys. All their female animals were pregnant, too. Some of the colleagues had wives and girlfriends. They took innocent-seeming trips to their local pharmacies and bought up all the available pregnancy tests. At home, women took test after test and all of them showed positive. By midnight, the researchers had drafted a joint letter and sent copies of it to the major newspapers in their countries. On the morning of March 30, the news hit.
When I checked my Twitter feed after breakfast, #impregtoo was already trending. Throughout the day, Reddit lit up with increasingly bizarre accounts of pregnancies that physically couldn’t be but, apparently, were. Post-menopausal women, celibate women, prepubescent girls, women who’d had their uteruses removed only to discover that their reproductive systems had spontaneously regenerated like the severed tales of lizards. Existing early stage pregnancies aborted themselves and re-fertilized, like a system rebooting. Later term pregnancies developed Matryoshka-like pregnancies nested within pregnancies. After a while, I stopped reading, choosing to spend time with my wife instead. As night fell, we reclined on the sofa, her head on my chest, Pillow curled up in our tangle of feet, the television off, and the streets of Toronto eerily quiet save for the intermittent blaring of far off sirens, as any lingering doubts about the reality of the situation melted away like the brief, late season snow that floated gently down from the sky, blackening the streets.
On March 30, the World Health Organization issued a communique confirming that based on the available data it was reasonable to assume that all female mammals were pregnant. No cause was identified. It urged any woman who was not pregnant to step forward immediately. Otherwise, the communique offered no guidance. It indicated merely that the organization was already working with governments around the world to prepare for a massive influx of human population in approximately nine months’ time. Most places, including Toronto, reacted with stunned panic. Non-essential workplaces and schools were decried closed. People were urged to stay indoors. Hospitals prepared for possible complications. A few supermarkets ran out of canned food and there were several bank runs, but nothing happened that the existing systems couldn’t handle. Populations kept their nerve. Highway and air traffic increased slightly as people rushed to be with their friends, families and gynaecologists. We spent the entire day in our apartment and let Pillow pee in the tub. Except for the conspiracy theorists, who believed that the Earth was being cosmically pollinated by aliens, most of us weren’t scared to go outside, but we were scared of the unknown, and we preferred to process that fear in the comfort of our own dens.
The New York Times ran a front page editorial arguing for an evaluation of the situation using Kurt Schwaller’s theory of everything. In conjunction with The Washington Post, The Guardian and The Wikipedia Foundation, a website was set up asking users for technical help, monetary donations and the sharing of any surplus computing power.
The project quickly ran into problems. To accurately predict anything, the theory of everything needed sufficient data, and, on April 2, cryptome.org published a series of leaked emails between the French Minister of Health and a high-ranking member of World Health Organization that proved the latter’s communique had been disingenuous at best. Externally, the World Health Organization had concluded that all female mammals were pregnant. That remained true. However, it had failed to admit an even more baffling development: the wombs of all female mammals had inexplicably become impenetrable to all rays and materials that had so far been tried against them. For all intents and purposes, there was no way to see inside the womb, or to destroy it. The only way to revert the body to its natural form, to terminate the pregnancy, was to kill the woman—an experiment that, according to the high-ranking member of the World Health Organization, the French government had helped conduct on unwilling women in Mali. Both parties issued repeated denials until a video surfaced showing the murders. I couldn’t bring myself to watch it. They spun their denials into arguments about the necessity of sacrificing lives for the greater good.
Reminded once again of the deception inherent in politics, many turned to religion, but the mainstream religions were hesitant to react. They offered few opinions and no answers. The fringe religions split into two camps. Some leaders welcomed this development, the greatest of all known miracles, while others denounced the same as a universal and unnatural punishment for our collective sins of hedonism, egoism and pride. The most successful of all was the Tribe of Akna, a vaguely mystical Maya revival cult that sprang up seemingly overnight and was led by a Guatemalan freelance programmer named Salvador Abaroa. Although it originated in Mexico City, the Tribe spread as quickly across the world as the computer viruses that Abaroa was notorious for creating. On the Tribe’s homepage, Abaroa could be seen striking an antique brass gong and saying in Spanish-tinged English, “Like energy, life is never destroyed. Every one of us plays an integral part of the cosmic ecosystem. Every man, woman and virus.” Elsewhere on the website, you could buy self-published theological textbooks, listen to scratchy recordings of speeches by Alan Watts and read about the hypothesis that Maya thought was deeply connected to Buddhism because the Mayans had crossed the Pacific Ocean and colonized Asia.
But despite the apparent international cooperation happening at the highest levels, the first week of April was an atomizing period for the so-called people on the ground. We hunkered down. Most personal communication was digital. My wife and I exchanged emails with her parents and sister, but we met no one face-to-face, not even on Skype. We neither invited our neighbours to dinner nor were invited by them, despite how easy it was to walk down the hall and knock. I read far more than I wrote, and even when I did write, responding to a blog post or news story, I found it easier to relate to strangers than to the people I knew. My wife said I had a high tolerance for solitude. “Who do you know in the city?” she asked. Although we’d been living here together for three years, she still considered Toronto mine. She was the stranger, I was the native. I said that I knew a few people from work. She told me to call one of them I’d never called before. I did, and the next day’s sky was cloudless and sunny and there were five of us in the apartment: my wife and I, my friend Bakshi and his wife Jacinda, and their daughter, Greta. Greta drank apple juice while the rest of us drank wine, and all five of us gorged ourselves on freshly baked peach cobbler, laughing at silly faces and cracking immature jokes. It hardly registered for me that the majority of the room was unstoppably pregnant, but wasn’t that the point: to forget—if only for a few hours? Instead of watching the BBC, we streamed BDRips of Hayao Miyazaki movies from The Pirate Bay. Porco Rosso ruled the skies, castles flew, a Catbus arrived at its magical stop. Then Bakshi’s phone rang, and he excused himself from the table to take the call. When he returned, his face was grey. “What’s the matter?” Jacinda asked him. He was still holding the phone to his ear. “It’s Kurt Schwaller,” he said. “They just found his body. They think he killed himself.”
Proceed to Part 2
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2020.09.14 00:23 NewYorkMetsBot POST GAME THREAD: The Mets fell to the Blue Jays by a score of 7-3 - Sun, Sep 13 @ 03:07 PM EDT

Mets @ Blue Jays - Sun, Sep 13

Game Status: Final - Score: 7-3 Blue Jays

Links & Info

Mets Batters AB R H RBI BB K LOB AVG OBP SLG
1 McNeil - 2B 2 1 1 0 0 0 0 .319 .390 .493
Guillorme - SS 2 0 0 0 1 0 1 .370 .455 .457
2 Davis, J - DH 4 1 1 0 1 1 1 .263 .376 .401
3 Conforto - RF 5 1 2 0 0 3 3 .343 .428 .566
4 Frazier, T - 3B 4 0 2 1 0 1 1 .248 .322 .403
5 Smith, Do - LF 4 0 2 2 0 0 1 .333 .396 .637
6 Alonso, P - 1B 4 0 1 0 0 1 2 .222 .325 .443
7 Rosario, A - SS 3 0 1 0 0 0 1 .250 .268 .367
a-Canó - 2B 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .320 .358 .544
8 Nimmo - CF 4 0 2 0 0 1 2 .258 .388 .450
9 Chirinos, R - C 3 0 0 0 0 1 4 .119 .197 .153
b-Gimenez - PH 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 .284 .337 .421
Totals 37 3 12 3 2 9 17
Mets
a-Grounded into a forceout for Rosario, A in the 8th. b-Struck out for Chirinos, R in the 9th.
BATTING: 2B: Nimmo (7, Ryu). TB: Alonso, P; Conforto 2; Davis, J; Frazier, T 2; McNeil; Nimmo 3; Rosario, A; Smith, Do 2. RBI: Frazier, T (9); Smith, Do 2 (38). 2-out RBI: Smith, Do. Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Conforto; Guillorme; Chirinos, R 2. GIDP: Rosario, A. Team RISP: 2-for-8. Team LOB: 9.
FIELDING: E: Rosario, A (2, throw).
Blue Jays Batters AB R H RBI BB K LOB AVG OBP SLG
1 Biggio - RF 4 0 1 0 1 0 1 .253 .372 .431
2 Bichette, B - DH 4 0 0 0 0 2 3 .333 .361 .609
3 Guerrero Jr. - 1B 3 1 0 0 1 0 3 .241 .321 .412
4 Grichuk - CF 3 2 1 0 1 0 1 .273 .316 .485
5 Gurriel Jr. - LF 3 2 1 2 1 0 0 .285 .339 .481
6 Villar - 2B 3 1 1 1 1 1 0 .248 .316 .312
7 Davis, J - RF 1 0 0 0 1 1 1 .250 .333 .750
a-Shaw, T - 3B 2 0 1 0 0 1 3 .248 .315 .403
8 Espinal, Sa - SS 4 1 1 3 0 0 3 .246 .279 .316
9 Jansen, D - C 4 0 1 1 0 1 2 .151 .292 .301
Totals 31 7 7 7 6 6 17
Blue Jays
a-Struck out for Davis, J in the 6th.
BATTING: 2B: Espinal, Sa (4, Hughes); Biggio (13, Hughes). HR: Gurriel Jr. (7, 2nd inning off Peterson, D, 1 on, 0 out). TB: Biggio 2; Espinal, Sa 2; Grichuk; Gurriel Jr. 4; Jansen, D; Shaw, T; Villar. RBI: Espinal, Sa 3 (5); Gurriel Jr. 2 (25); Jansen, D (14); Villar (13). Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Guerrero Jr. 2. Team RISP: 2-for-5. Team LOB: 6.
FIELDING: Outfield assists: Grichuk (Frazier, T at home). DP: (Villar-Espinal, Sa-Guerrero Jr.).
Mets Pitchers IP H R ER BB K HR P-S ERA
Peterson, D (L, 4-2) 5.0 3 2 2 2 2 1 81-52 4.17
Brach 0.0 0 3 3 3 0 0 16-4 3.75
Hughes 1.0 3 2 2 1 2 0 25-15 4.76
Ramírez, E 2.0 1 0 0 0 2 0 28-19 0.90
Totals 8.0 7 7 7 6 6 1
Blue Jays Pitchers IP H R ER BB K HR P-S ERA
Ryu (W, 4-1) 6.0 8 1 1 0 7 0 92-62 3.00
Hatch 1.0 4 2 2 0 0 0 29-20 2.11
Cole, A 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 9-6 2.21
Dolis 1.0 0 0 0 2 2 0 23-12 1.61
Totals 9.0 12 3 3 2 9 0
Game Info
Pitches-strikes: Peterson, D 81-52; Brach 16-4; Hughes 25-15; Ramírez, E 28-19; Ryu 92-62; Hatch 29-20; Cole, A 9-6; Dolis 23-12.
Groundouts-flyouts: Peterson, D 7-0; Brach 0-0; Hughes 1-0; Ramírez, E 1-1; Ryu 4-2; Hatch 2-1; Cole, A 2-0; Dolis 1-0.
Batters faced: Peterson, D 20; Brach 3; Hughes 7; Ramírez, E 7; Ryu 24; Hatch 7; Cole, A 3; Dolis 5.
Inherited runners-scored: Hughes 3-3; Cole, A 2-1.
Umpires: HP: Chad Fairchild. 1B: Carlos Torres. 2B: Paul Nauert. 3B: Jansen Visconti.
Weather: 71 degrees, Partly Cloudy.
Wind: 19 mph, L To R.
First pitch: 3:09 PM.
T: 3:12.
Venue: Sahlen Field.
September 13, 2020
Inning Scoring Play Score
Top 1 Dominic Smith singles on a line drive to center fielder Randal Grichuk. Jeff McNeil scores. Todd Frazier out at home on the throw, center fielder Randal Grichuk to catcher Danny Jansen to second baseman Jonathan Villar to catcher Danny Jansen to shortstop Santiago Espinal. 1-0 NYM
Bottom 2 Lourdes Gurriel Jr. homers (7) on a line drive to left field. Randal Grichuk scores. 2-1 TOR
Bottom 6 Jonathan Villar walks. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. scores. Randal Grichuk to 3rd. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. to 2nd. 3-1 TOR
Bottom 6 Santiago Espinal doubles (4) on a line drive to left fielder Dominic Smith. Randal Grichuk scores. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. scores. Jonathan Villar scores. Santiago Espinal to 3rd. Santiago Espinal advances to 3rd, on a throwing error by shortstop Amed Rosario. 6-1 TOR
Bottom 6 Danny Jansen singles on a line drive to center fielder Brandon Nimmo. Santiago Espinal scores. 7-1 TOR
Top 8 Todd Frazier singles on a sharp line drive to right fielder Cavan Biggio. J.D. Davis scores. Michael Conforto to 3rd. 7-2 TOR
Top 8 Blue Jays challenged (slide interference), call on the field was upheld: Dominic Smith grounds into a force out, first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to shortstop Santiago Espinal. Michael Conforto scores. Todd Frazier out at 2nd. Dominic Smith to 1st. 7-3 TOR
Team Highlight
TOR Lourdes Gurriel Jr.'s diving grab (00:00:34)
NYM Dominic Smith opens the scoring (00:00:34)
TOR Blue Jays execute rundown (00:00:30)
TOR Lourdes Gurriel Jr.'s two-run HR (00:00:32)
TOR Teoscar Hernández update (00:00:33)
TOR Guerrero Jr. crosses the dish (00:00:15)
TOR Espinal's bases-clearing double (00:00:37)
TOR Danny Jansen's RBI single (00:00:25)
NYM Todd Frazier's RBI single (00:00:23)
NYM Michael Conforto scores in the 8th (00:00:27)
NYM Brandon Nimmo's curious catch (00:00:34)
TOR Blue Jays score five runs in 6th (00:01:18)
TOR Santiago Espinal's nice snag (00:00:23)
TOR Rafael Dolis gets the last out (00:00:31)
NYM Jeff McNeil leaves the game (00:01:10)
TOR Jonathan Villar's awesome grab (00:00:35)
NYM Mets vs. Blue Jays Recap 9/13 (00:03:39)
NYM Todd Frazier's slide ruled legal (00:02:01)
NYM David Peterson's solid outing (00:00:45)
NYM CG: [email protected] - 9/13/20 (00:05:06)
TOR Hyun Jin Ryu's strong start (00:01:04)
TOR Charlie Montoyo on Blue Jays' win (00:01:31)
TOR Espinal, Ryu on the 7-3 win (00:01:53)
NYM Luis Rojas on Mets' 7-3 loss (00:00:42)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E LOB
Mets 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 3 12 1 9
Blue Jays 0 2 0 0 0 5 0 0 7 7 0 6

Around the Division

ATL 8 @ WSH 4 - Final
PHI 1 @ MIA 2 - Final
PHI 1 @ MIA 8 - Final

No-Hitter Alert

Final R H E
Cubs 12 10 0
Brewers 0 0 3
Next Mets Game: Tue, Sep 15, 07:05 PM EDT @ Phillies (1 day)
Last Updated: 09/13/2020 11:04:27 PM EDT
submitted by NewYorkMetsBot to NewYorkMets [link] [comments]


2020.09.13 19:07 NewYorkMetsBot GAME THREAD: Mets (21-25) @ Blue Jays (25-20) - Sun, Sep 13 @ 03:07 PM EDT

Mets @ Blue Jays - Sun, Sep 13

Game Status: Final - Score: 7-3 Blue Jays

Links & Info

Mets Batters AB R H RBI BB K LOB AVG OBP SLG
1 McNeil - 2B 2 1 1 0 0 0 0 .319 .390 .493
Guillorme - SS 2 0 0 0 1 0 1 .370 .455 .457
2 Davis, J - DH 4 1 1 0 1 1 1 .263 .376 .401
3 Conforto - RF 5 1 2 0 0 3 3 .343 .428 .566
4 Frazier, T - 3B 4 0 2 1 0 1 1 .248 .322 .403
5 Smith, Do - LF 4 0 2 2 0 0 1 .333 .396 .637
6 Alonso, P - 1B 4 0 1 0 0 1 2 .222 .325 .443
7 Rosario, A - SS 3 0 1 0 0 0 1 .250 .268 .367
a-Canó - 2B 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .320 .358 .544
8 Nimmo - CF 4 0 2 0 0 1 2 .258 .388 .450
9 Chirinos, R - C 3 0 0 0 0 1 4 .119 .197 .153
b-Gimenez - PH 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 .284 .337 .421
Totals 37 3 12 3 2 9 17
Mets
a-Grounded into a forceout for Rosario, A in the 8th. b-Struck out for Chirinos, R in the 9th.
BATTING: 2B: Nimmo (7, Ryu). TB: Alonso, P; Conforto 2; Davis, J; Frazier, T 2; McNeil; Nimmo 3; Rosario, A; Smith, Do 2. RBI: Frazier, T (9); Smith, Do 2 (38). 2-out RBI: Smith, Do. Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Conforto; Guillorme; Chirinos, R 2. GIDP: Rosario, A. Team RISP: 2-for-8. Team LOB: 9.
FIELDING: E: Rosario, A (2, throw).
Blue Jays Batters AB R H RBI BB K LOB AVG OBP SLG
1 Biggio - RF 4 0 1 0 1 0 1 .253 .372 .431
2 Bichette, B - DH 4 0 0 0 0 2 3 .333 .361 .609
3 Guerrero Jr. - 1B 3 1 0 0 1 0 3 .241 .321 .412
4 Grichuk - CF 3 2 1 0 1 0 1 .273 .316 .485
5 Gurriel Jr. - LF 3 2 1 2 1 0 0 .285 .339 .481
6 Villar - 2B 3 1 1 1 1 1 0 .248 .316 .312
7 Davis, J - RF 1 0 0 0 1 1 1 .250 .333 .750
a-Shaw, T - 3B 2 0 1 0 0 1 3 .248 .315 .403
8 Espinal, Sa - SS 4 1 1 3 0 0 3 .246 .279 .316
9 Jansen, D - C 4 0 1 1 0 1 2 .151 .292 .301
Totals 31 7 7 7 6 6 17
Blue Jays
a-Struck out for Davis, J in the 6th.
BATTING: 2B: Espinal, Sa (4, Hughes); Biggio (13, Hughes). HR: Gurriel Jr. (7, 2nd inning off Peterson, D, 1 on, 0 out). TB: Biggio 2; Espinal, Sa 2; Grichuk; Gurriel Jr. 4; Jansen, D; Shaw, T; Villar. RBI: Espinal, Sa 3 (5); Gurriel Jr. 2 (25); Jansen, D (14); Villar (13). Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Guerrero Jr. 2. Team RISP: 2-for-5. Team LOB: 6.
FIELDING: Outfield assists: Grichuk (Frazier, T at home). DP: (Villar-Espinal, Sa-Guerrero Jr.).
Mets Pitchers IP H R ER BB K HR P-S ERA
Peterson, D (L, 4-2) 5.0 3 2 2 2 2 1 81-52 4.17
Brach 0.0 0 3 3 3 0 0 16-4 3.75
Hughes 1.0 3 2 2 1 2 0 25-15 4.76
Ramírez, E 2.0 1 0 0 0 2 0 28-19 0.90
Totals 8.0 7 7 7 6 6 1
Blue Jays Pitchers IP H R ER BB K HR P-S ERA
Ryu (W, 4-1) 6.0 8 1 1 0 7 0 92-62 3.00
Hatch 1.0 4 2 2 0 0 0 29-20 2.11
Cole, A 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 9-6 2.21
Dolis 1.0 0 0 0 2 2 0 23-12 1.61
Totals 9.0 12 3 3 2 9 0
Game Info
Pitches-strikes: Peterson, D 81-52; Brach 16-4; Hughes 25-15; Ramírez, E 28-19; Ryu 92-62; Hatch 29-20; Cole, A 9-6; Dolis 23-12.
Groundouts-flyouts: Peterson, D 7-0; Brach 0-0; Hughes 1-0; Ramírez, E 1-1; Ryu 4-2; Hatch 2-1; Cole, A 2-0; Dolis 1-0.
Batters faced: Peterson, D 20; Brach 3; Hughes 7; Ramírez, E 7; Ryu 24; Hatch 7; Cole, A 3; Dolis 5.
Inherited runners-scored: Hughes 3-3; Cole, A 2-1.
Umpires: HP: Chad Fairchild. 1B: Carlos Torres. 2B: Paul Nauert. 3B: Jansen Visconti.
Weather: 71 degrees, Partly Cloudy.
Wind: 19 mph, L To R.
First pitch: 3:09 PM.
T: 3:12.
Venue: Sahlen Field.
September 13, 2020
Inning Scoring Play Score
Top 1 Dominic Smith singles on a line drive to center fielder Randal Grichuk. Jeff McNeil scores. Todd Frazier out at home on the throw, center fielder Randal Grichuk to catcher Danny Jansen to second baseman Jonathan Villar to catcher Danny Jansen to shortstop Santiago Espinal. 1-0 NYM
Bottom 2 Lourdes Gurriel Jr. homers (7) on a line drive to left field. Randal Grichuk scores. 2-1 TOR
Bottom 6 Jonathan Villar walks. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. scores. Randal Grichuk to 3rd. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. to 2nd. 3-1 TOR
Bottom 6 Santiago Espinal doubles (4) on a line drive to left fielder Dominic Smith. Randal Grichuk scores. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. scores. Jonathan Villar scores. Santiago Espinal to 3rd. Santiago Espinal advances to 3rd, on a throwing error by shortstop Amed Rosario. 6-1 TOR
Bottom 6 Danny Jansen singles on a line drive to center fielder Brandon Nimmo. Santiago Espinal scores. 7-1 TOR
Top 8 Todd Frazier singles on a sharp line drive to right fielder Cavan Biggio. J.D. Davis scores. Michael Conforto to 3rd. 7-2 TOR
Top 8 Blue Jays challenged (slide interference), call on the field was upheld: Dominic Smith grounds into a force out, first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to shortstop Santiago Espinal. Michael Conforto scores. Todd Frazier out at 2nd. Dominic Smith to 1st. 7-3 TOR
Team Highlight
TOR Lourdes Gurriel Jr.'s diving grab (00:00:34)
NYM Dominic Smith opens the scoring (00:00:34)
TOR Blue Jays execute rundown (00:00:30)
TOR Lourdes Gurriel Jr.'s two-run HR (00:00:32)
TOR Teoscar Hernández update (00:00:33)
TOR Guerrero Jr. crosses the dish (00:00:15)
TOR Espinal's bases-clearing double (00:00:37)
TOR Danny Jansen's RBI single (00:00:25)
NYM Todd Frazier's RBI single (00:00:23)
NYM Michael Conforto scores in the 8th (00:00:27)
NYM Brandon Nimmo's curious catch (00:00:34)
TOR Blue Jays score five runs in 6th (00:01:18)
TOR Santiago Espinal's nice snag (00:00:23)
TOR Rafael Dolis gets the last out (00:00:31)
NYM Jeff McNeil leaves the game (00:01:10)
TOR Jonathan Villar's awesome grab (00:00:35)
NYM Mets vs. Blue Jays Recap 9/13 (00:03:39)
NYM Todd Frazier's slide ruled legal (00:02:01)
NYM David Peterson's solid outing (00:00:45)
NYM CG: [email protected] - 9/13/20 (00:05:06)
TOR Hyun Jin Ryu's strong start (00:01:04)
TOR Charlie Montoyo on Blue Jays' win (00:01:31)
TOR Espinal, Ryu on the 7-3 win (00:01:53)
NYM Luis Rojas on Mets' 7-3 loss (00:00:42)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E LOB
Mets 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 3 12 1 9
Blue Jays 0 2 0 0 0 5 0 0 7 7 0 6

Around the Division

ATL 8 @ WSH 4 - Final
PHI 1 @ MIA 2 - Final
PHI 1 @ MIA 8 - Final

No-Hitter Alert

Final R H E
Cubs 12 10 0
Brewers 0 0 3
Last Updated: 09/13/2020 11:02:52 PM EDT
submitted by NewYorkMetsBot to NewYorkMets [link] [comments]


2020.09.09 20:45 __justsayin__ Bank of Montreal CEO fights skeptics who see business loan woes

Bank of Montreal’s top executive says it’s a “myth” that his company’s commercial lending business is taking big risks and argues the bank will come through the recession with fewer loan losses than rivals.
“I’ve got skeptics against me out there right now that there’s going to be a shoe to drop in our commercial bank because of loan impairments that will be higher in a COVID recession than they might be in other recessions,” Chief Executive Officer Darryl White told Bloomberg in an interview. “I’m happy to take them on because I predict that we will continue in this environment to have lower loan losses than our peers.”
Bank of Montreal’s emphasis on commercial lending has helped the Toronto-based firm increase earnings in recent years while expanding in the U.S., where the company owns Chicago-based BMO Harris Bank and has an investment-banking presence. About 57 per cent of its loans were to businesses and governments in the fiscal third quarter, higher than the 41 per cent average for Canada’s six biggest lenders, according to the banks’ financial disclosures.
Yet with this year’s virus-fueled recession and a poor showing in the U.S. Federal Reserve’s annual stress test, some have questioned whether the bank is too exposed to business lending. Among Canada’s six large banks, only Bank of Nova Scotia’s share price has performed worse this year.
The Fed’s stress test results released in June concluded that in a “severely adverse scenario” the capital strength of Bank of Montreal’s U.S. holding company would be the lowest of 33 banks reviewed -- a finding the bank disputes.
“There’s a little bit of myth-busting that I think we need to do to get people enlightened on what our North American commercial business is and how powerful it is -- and how completely integrated it is with our Canadian business,” White, 49, said. “This is a leadership business that will be with us for a very long time.”
Bank of Montreal’s underwriting practices haven’t changed and its bankers have been able to select business clients they think can weather the downturn, White said, adding that he sees nothing in the current environment to suggest they’re going to face outsized losses. He aims to prove the naysayers wrong at a Sept. 30 investor event.
White became CEO of Canada’s fourth-largest lender by assets in November 2017. Within his first year he set a goal to increase earnings from the U.S. to a third of overall profit, up from about 24 per cent before he took over. The U.S. share of profit reached 34 per cent in fiscal 2019 and was at 32 per cent in the first nine months of fiscal 2020, according to company disclosures.
A U.S. earnings contribution between 33 per cent and 35 per cent is “comfortable,” White said, adding that he doesn’t see a need to deviate from that range.
“Relative to what I see today in terms of economic activity in Canada and the U.S., I think it’s a great number for us as a bank,” White said. “More of the same would be fantastic, but we’ll do it with the discipline on efficiency.”
White also reiterated his interest in improving productivity at what has been Canada’s least efficient bank, though he said his goal will be harder to reach because of the business impact from COVID-19. The bank has a target of improving its efficiency ratio -- a measure of what it costs to produce a dollar of revenue -- to 58 per cent or better on an adjusted basis by the end of fiscal 2021. The measure has fallen to 60.2 per cent for the year to date, an improvement from the 61.9 per cent level at the end of his first year.
“At this point, we’re not waving the flag and we’re going to stay committed to the objective,” White said. “It’ll be harder to get to, for sure, but we’re still on it.”
https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/bank-of-montreal-ceo-fights-skeptics-who-see-business-loan-woes-1.1491310
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2020.08.30 03:59 NotTerriblyHelpful That time Egypt pulled BYU's excavation license because Kerry Muhlestein made inaccurate and exaggerated claims about his excavations.

tldr: Muhlestein, one of the Church's two big Book of Abraham apologists, provided misleading and exaggerated findings at a scholarly conference and got BYU's excavation license yanked by Egyptian authorities.
Kerry Muhlestein has been taking a lot of heat on the Mormon internet recently for making poorly sourced and exaggerated claims in support of the Book of Abraham, but the furor that has erupted over the last couple of weeks is nothing compared to when he made international headlines back in 2014.
In 2011, Muhlestein became the team leader of a big BYU dig in Egypt called Fag el-Gamous where the school excavated a small pyramid and a bunch of corpses from the 1st century to 7th century A.D. https://lifesciences.byu.edu/from-the-sands-of-egypt BYU had been working at this site to one degree or another for about 25 years. Most of Muhlestein's non-Mormon Egyptian scholarship is related to this dig (see his cv here: http://byu.academia.edu/KerryMuhlestein/CurriculumVitae ).
In 2014, Muhlestein attended the Study of Egyptian Antiquities Scholars Colloquium conference in Toronto. There, he excitedly announced to the scholars in attendance that Fag el-Gamous may hold more than a million mummies! The description of this huge find was important enough that it made mainstream international news in mid-December of 2014.
"In a square that is 5 by 5 meters across and usually just over 2 meters deep, we will typically find about 40 burials," Muhlestein explained in an email to Newsweek. "The cemetery is very large and so far seems to maintain that kind of burial density throughout. Thus the math suggests that there are over a million mummies in the cemetery, though we cannot be certain of this without further exploration and a thorough academic review process." He added that the findings are only preliminary. https://www.newsweek.com/tale-million-mummies-unravels-293615
"We are fairly certain we have over a million burials within this cemetery. It's large, and it's dense," Project Director Kerry Muhlestein, an associate professor in the Department of Ancient Scripture at Brigham Young University, said in a paper he presented at the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities Scholars Colloquium, which was held last month in Toronto. https://www.livescience.com/49147-egyptian-cemetery-million-mummies.html
The headline at the Daily Mail trumpeted "Cemetery with one MILLION mummies unearthed in Egypt." https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2877855/Cemetery-one-MILLION-mummies-unearthed-Egypt-1-500-year-old-desert-necropolis-largest-found.html. News of the announcement hit NBC, CBS, NPR, pretty much everywhere.
This was a stunning announcement and made for great headlines. Imagine, a million mummies in the Egyptian desert. Unfortunately for Muhlestein and BYU, the excitement generated by this big find, and the mainstream attention, was shortlived - and quickly turned to embarrassment. There was a problem with the announcement: it was inaccurate. Dr. Youssef Khalifa, head of the Ancient Egypt department of Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities issued harsh criticism of Muhlestein's announcement and revoked BYU's excavation permit, ending BYU's 28 years of work at Fag el-Gamous.
Dr. Youssef Khalifa, head of Ancient Egypt department, said to Luxor Times on phone “What was published in the newspaper is not true. There are no million mummies, a mummy definition to begin with means a complete mummified body and there is only one mummy found at the site of Fag El Gamous in 1980 which is at the Egyptian museum since then.” Dr. Youssef added “In the past few seasons of the mission’s work at the site, only poor skeletons were found and some thousands of bone’s remains. The mission violated the rules and regulations of the agreement with the Ministry of Antiquities concerning making press statements and that’s why the committee of the ancient Egypt department took the decision to stop their permission to work at the site after 28 years of working at the site and the last season finished last March.” http://luxortimes.com/2014/12/mummy-curse-strikes-again-msa-stops-byu-mission/
"There’s no way that cemetery has a million mummies, there are maximum a few thousand,” said Yousef Khalifa, chairman of the Egyptian antiquities sector."Even if the cemetery is huge, it would take the bodies to be buried over each other and upon each other to fit in the space,” said Khalifa. “Only one mummy was found in that cemetery in 1980, and the rest are just remains of old dead bodies." https://dailynewsegypt.com/2014/12/18/controversy-surrounds-excavation-million-mummy-tomb/
The drama between BYU and Egypt also hit the news. Newsweek reported "Tale of a Million Mummies Unravels" https://www.newsweek.com/tale-million-mummies-unravels-293615. Gizmodo reported "Archaeologists Have Dig Licenses Revoked After 'Million Mummies' Claim." https://io9.gizmodo.com/archaeologists-have-dig-licenses-revoked-after-million-1674466896 Archeology News Network reported "BYU Dig License Revoked Over 'Million Mummy' Claim." https://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.com/2014/12/byu-dig-license-revoked-after-million.html My favorite was "Mummy Curse Strikes Again: MSA Stops BYU Mission." http://luxortimes.com/2014/12/mummy-curse-strikes-again-msa-stops-byu-mission/
BYU losing its dig license was obviously a big deal. Muhlestein quickly backpedaled from his announcement. “I believe there have been some misunderstandings. I would like to work this out with the Ministry, for whom I have the greatest respect.” http://luxortimes.com/2014/12/mummy-curse-strikes-again-msa-stops-byu-mission/. BYU quickly moved to repair the damage that had been done to its relationship with Egyptian authorities. By mid-January, 2015, BYU and the Ministry had mended fences. “I am fully pleased with the spirit of cooperation and communication we have had with the Egyptian Ministry of State for Antiquities over the years and during the last few weeks,” Muhlestein said. “It has allowed miscommunications to be rectified.” https://universe.byu.edu/2015/01/26/byu-archaeologists-allowed-to-dig-in-egypt-again/. The Daily Universe reported that Muhlestein would be returning to work at Fag el-Gamous, but it is unclear whether that ever happened.
So, what can we learn about Muhlestein as a scholar from this event? I am not an Egyptologist,but it appears that Muhlestein got in trouble with Egyptian authorities for two reasons. First, he characterized the human remains he was excavating as "mummies" when they weren't. Mummies have a very specific definition in Egyptology. Old human remains found in the desert in Egypt are not necessarily mummies unless they have been mummified. The Egyptian minister noted that the remains BYU had excavated were simply old human remains. Only one mummy had been removed from the site, and that was decades before Muhlestein was there.
Second, Muhlestein predicted that the site contained a million corpses based on a very small data set. At the time, BYU had excavated about 1,700 corpses. Based on that number, Muhlestein predicted a million burials. The Egyptian minister found this prediction laughable.
It is informative to compare Muhlestein's scholarship in this regard to that of Dr. C. Wilfred Griggs, Muhlestein's immediate predecessor as head of the BYU Fag el-Gamous excavation. In 2010, near the end of his time at the BYU excavation, Dr. Griggs published a paper called "Artifacts, Icons, and Pomegranates: Brigham Young University Egypt Excavation Project" in the Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt. Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt, 46, 215-231. Retrieved August 29, 2020, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/41431581 In his paper, Dr. Griggs never refers to the human remains that were excavated at Fag el-Gamouns as mummies. He takes great care to identify the human remains as "burials." This makes sense because the corpses that were recovered are not mummies and should not be identified as such.
Second, Dr. Griggs does not expressly calculate the number of burials he believes are located at Fag el-Gamous, but it appears that his estimate is significantly lower than Muhlestein's. Beginning on page 222, the paper quotes an entry from Dr. Grigg's 1987 field book
"...more and more I wonder if this cemetery, or at least this part of it, is filled with burials of nearly the same time, suggesting an epidemic of some sort in the middle byzantine period. One further wonders where the thousands (tens of thousands) of people lived who are being uncovered here. We are some 5 miles south of Philadepphia, and I cannot tbelievehat this necropolis would have been used for that city - unless this was considered an especially holy burial region from ancient times..."
To be clear, Dr. Grigg's reference to "thousands or tens of thousands of people" in the quote was based on the data available to him in 1987. Obviously, the data available to him probably changed significantly in the 23 years prior to publication in 2010. However, if it appeared to him in 2010 that that Fag el-Gamouns contained anywhere near a million burials, it seems likely that he would have addressed the fact that his 1987 estimate was 100 to 1,000 times too low.
In any event, it is surprising that Muhlestein would repeatedly publicly assert that there were likely a million sets of remains in Fag el-Gamouns based on only 1,700 excavations. It is not surprising that the Egyptian minister found his estimate to be ludicrous based on the available data.
Unfortunately, I have not found any sources where Muhlestein addresses this fiasco. I suspect he would contend that the entire event was a miscommunication that was started by livescience.com, which appears to be the first outlet that reported the news of the "million mummy" announcement, and that he never called the human remains "mummies" in the technical sense. And to be fair to Muhlestein, it appears that he tried to clarify that he did not necessarily mean "mummies" in the sense of a corpse that had been carefully mummified and prepared for burial.
"I don't think you would term what happens to these burials as true mummification," Muhlestein said. "If we want to use the term loosely, then they were mummified." https://www.livescience.com/49147-egyptian-cemetery-million-mummies.html
Unfortunately, and unsurprisingly, it appears that Muhlestein never published the paper that he presented in at the 2014 Egyptian Antiquities Scholars Colloquium conference that started this whole mess. Thus, we cannot say for certain whether he ever referred to the human remains he excavated as mummies. However, it seems unlikely that livescience.com would run a story about a "million mummy" discovery unless Muhlestein referred to the remains as mummies. Additionally, the livescience.com story demonstrates that Muhlestein was definitely using the term "mummy," even if he was using the term "loosely" and not in the scientific sense. Finally, Muhlestein has referred to the remains at Fag el-Gamouns as mummies in several other settings. The the BYU Religious Education Review magazine, Muhlestein referenced " a tomb of mummified cats, some jewelry in the shape of the cross, some spectacularly wrapped mummies, and a beautiful golden mummy" that had been excavated. https://religion.byu.edu/event/egyptian-excavation-exhibit. He references the mummies of Fag el-Gamouns several times in his 2015 paper "Rethinking burial dates at a Graeco-Roman Cemetary: Fag el-Gamous, Fayoum, Egypt. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352409X15000188 In 2011 he published an article called "Pyramids and Mummies: the BYU Egypt Excavation Project" in the Newsletter for the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities.
The point here is that that Muhlestein's tendency to present exaggerated and unfounded scholarly conclusions is not limited to the field of Mormon studies. His failure to properly identify mummies got himself and BYU kicked out of Egypt for a while.
He practices in an arcane field, and it is difficult for most Latter-day Saints to determine whether his opinions regarding Egyptology are valid. It is hard for us to know whether he is correct when he claims that Egyptians practiced human sacrifice as opposed to state-sanctioned killings or executions. It is hard for us to know whether a random Egyptian papyrus really says "Abraham on the couch" or if its just a love spell with mumbo jumbo words. None of us know Egyptian and he expects us all to accept his opinions on faith. However, we can know that 1) all of the best Egyptologists disagree with his opinions and 2) he's been kicked out of Egypt for overstating and exaggerating his scientific findings. Frankly, he hasn't earned our faith.
submitted by NotTerriblyHelpful to exmormon [link] [comments]


2020.08.30 03:54 NotTerriblyHelpful In 2014 Egypt pulled BYU's excavation license because Kerry Muhlestein made inaccurate and exaggerated claims about his excavations.

Kerry Muhlestein has been taking a lot of heat on the Mormon internet recently for making poorly sourced and exaggerated claims in support of the Book of Abraham, but the furor that has erupted over the last couple of weeks is nothing compared to when he made international headlines back in 2014.
In 2011, Muhlestein became the team leader of a big BYU dig in Egypt called Fag el-Gamous where the school excavated a small pyramid and a bunch of corpses from the 1st century to 7th century A.D. https://lifesciences.byu.edu/from-the-sands-of-egypt BYU had been working at this site to one degree or another for about 25 years. Most of Muhlestein's non-Mormon Egyptian scholarship is related to this dig (see his cv here: http://byu.academia.edu/KerryMuhlestein/CurriculumVitae ).
In 2014, Muhlestein attended the Study of Egyptian Antiquities Scholars Colloquium conference in Toronto. There, he excitedly announced to the scholars in attendance that Fag el-Gamous may hold more than a million mummies! The description of this huge find was important enough that it made mainstream international news in mid-December of 2014.
"In a square that is 5 by 5 meters across and usually just over 2 meters deep, we will typically find about 40 burials," Muhlestein explained in an email to Newsweek. "The cemetery is very large and so far seems to maintain that kind of burial density throughout. Thus the math suggests that there are over a million mummies in the cemetery, though we cannot be certain of this without further exploration and a thorough academic review process." He added that the findings are only preliminary. https://www.newsweek.com/tale-million-mummies-unravels-293615
"We are fairly certain we have over a million burials within this cemetery. It's large, and it's dense," Project Director Kerry Muhlestein, an associate professor in the Department of Ancient Scripture at Brigham Young University, said in a paper he presented at the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities Scholars Colloquium, which was held last month in Toronto. https://www.livescience.com/49147-egyptian-cemetery-million-mummies.html
The headline at the Daily Mail trumpeted "Cemetery with one MILLION mummies unearthed in Egypt." https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2877855/Cemetery-one-MILLION-mummies-unearthed-Egypt-1-500-year-old-desert-necropolis-largest-found.html. News of the announcement hit NBC, CBS, NPR, pretty much everywhere.
This was a stunning announcement and made for great headlines. Imagine, a million mummies in the Egyptian desert. Unfortunately for Muhlestein and BYU, the excitement generated by this big find, and the mainstream attention, was shortlived - and quickly turned to embarrassment. There was a problem with the announcement: it was inaccurate. Dr. Youssef Khalifa, head of the Ancient Egypt department of Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities issued harsh criticism of Muhlestein's announcement and revoked BYU's excavation permit, ending BYU's 28 years of work at Fag el-Gamous.
Dr. Youssef Khalifa, head of Ancient Egypt department, said to Luxor Times on phone “What was published in the newspaper is not true. There are no million mummies, a mummy definition to begin with means a complete mummified body and there is only one mummy found at the site of Fag El Gamous in 1980 which is at the Egyptian museum since then.” Dr. Youssef added “In the past few seasons of the mission’s work at the site, only poor skeletons were found and some thousands of bone’s remains. The mission violated the rules and regulations of the agreement with the Ministry of Antiquities concerning making press statements and that’s why the committee of the ancient Egypt department took the decision to stop their permission to work at the site after 28 years of working at the site and the last season finished last March.” http://luxortimes.com/2014/12/mummy-curse-strikes-again-msa-stops-byu-mission/
"There’s no way that cemetery has a million mummies, there are maximum a few thousand,” said Yousef Khalifa, chairman of the Egyptian antiquities sector."Even if the cemetery is huge, it would take the bodies to be buried over each other and upon each other to fit in the space,” said Khalifa. “Only one mummy was found in that cemetery in 1980, and the rest are just remains of old dead bodies." https://dailynewsegypt.com/2014/12/18/controversy-surrounds-excavation-million-mummy-tomb/
The drama between BYU and Egypt also hit the news. Newsweek reported "Tale of a Million Mummies Unravels" https://www.newsweek.com/tale-million-mummies-unravels-293615. Gizmodo reported "Archaeologists Have Dig Licenses Revoked After 'Million Mummies' Claim." https://io9.gizmodo.com/archaeologists-have-dig-licenses-revoked-after-million-1674466896 Archeology News Network reported "BYU Dig License Revoked Over 'Million Mummy' Claim." https://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.com/2014/12/byu-dig-license-revoked-after-million.html My favorite was "Mummy Curse Strikes Again: MSA Stops BYU Mission." http://luxortimes.com/2014/12/mummy-curse-strikes-again-msa-stops-byu-mission/
BYU losing its dig license was obviously a big deal. Muhlestein quickly backpedaled from his announcement. “I believe there have been some misunderstandings. I would like to work this out with the Ministry, for whom I have the greatest respect.” http://luxortimes.com/2014/12/mummy-curse-strikes-again-msa-stops-byu-mission/. BYU quickly moved to repair the damage that had been done to its relationship with Egyptian authorities. By mid-January, 2015, BYU and the Ministry had mended fences. “I am fully pleased with the spirit of cooperation and communication we have had with the Egyptian Ministry of State for Antiquities over the years and during the last few weeks,” Muhlestein said. “It has allowed miscommunications to be rectified.” https://universe.byu.edu/2015/01/26/byu-archaeologists-allowed-to-dig-in-egypt-again/. The Daily Universe reported that Muhlestein would be returning to work at Fag el-Gamous, but it is unclear whether that ever happened.
So, what can we learn about Muhlestein as a scholar from this event? I am not an Egyptologist, but it appears that Muhlestein got in trouble with Egyptian authorities for two reasons. First, he characterized the human remains he was excavating as "mummies" when they weren't. Mummies have a very specific definition in Egyptology. Old human remains found in the desert in Egypt are not necessarily mummies unless they have been mummified. The Egyptian minister noted that the remains BYU had excavated were simply old human remains. Only one mummy had been removed from the site, and that was decades before Muhlestein was there.
Second, Muhlestein predicted that the site contained a million corpses based on a very small data set. At the time, BYU had excavated about 1,700 corpses. Based on that number, Muhlestein predicted a million burials. The Egyptian minister found this prediction laughable.
It is informative to compare Muhlestein's scholarship in this regard to that of Dr. C. Wilfred Griggs, Muhlestein's immediate predecessor as head of the BYU Fag el-Gamous excavation. In 2010, near the end of his time at the BYU excavation, Dr. Griggs published a paper called "Artifacts, Icons, and Pomegranates: Brigham Young University Egypt Excavation Project" in the Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt. Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt, 46, 215-231. Retrieved August 29, 2020, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/41431581 In his paper, Dr. Griggs never refers to the human remains that were excavated at Fag el-Gamouns as mummies. He takes great care to identify the human remains as "burials." This makes sense because the corpses that were recovered are not mummies and should not be identified as such.
Second, Dr. Griggs does not expressly calculate the number of burials he believes are located at Fag el-Gamous, but it appears that his estimate is significantly lower than Muhlestein's. Beginning on page 222, the paper quotes an entry from Dr. Grigg's 1987 field book
"...more and more I wonder if this cemetery, or at least this part of it, is filled with burials of nearly the same time, suggesting an epidemic of some sort in the middle byzantine period. One further wonders where the thousands (tens of thousands) of people lived who are being uncovered here. We are some 5 miles south of Philadepphia, and I cannot tbelievehat this necropolis would have been used for that city - unless this was considered an especially holy burial region from ancient times..."
To be clear, Dr. Grigg's reference to "thousands or tens of thousands of people" in the quote was based on the data available to him in 1987. Obviously, the data available to him probably changed significantly in the 23 years prior to publication in 2010. However, if it appeared to him in 2010 that that Fag el-Gamouns contained anywhere near a million burials, it seems likely that he would have addressed the fact that his 1987 estimate was 100 to 1,000 times too low.
In any event, it is surprising that Muhlestein would repeatedly publicly assert that there were likely a million sets of remains in Fag el-Gamouns based on only 1,700 excavations. It is not surprising that the Egyptian minister found his estimate to be ludicrous based on the available data.
Unfortunately, I have not found any sources where Muhlestein addresses this fiasco. I suspect he would contend that the entire event was a miscommunication that was started by livescience.com, which appears to be the first outlet that reported the news of the "million mummy" announcement, and that he never called the human remains "mummies" in the technical sense. And to be fair to Muhlestein, it appears that he tried to clarify that he did not necessarily mean "mummies" in the sense of a corpse that had been carefully mummified and prepared for burial.
"I don't think you would term what happens to these burials as true mummification," Muhlestein said. "If we want to use the term loosely, then they were mummified." https://www.livescience.com/49147-egyptian-cemetery-million-mummies.html
Unfortunately, and unsurprisingly, it appears that Muhlestein never published the paper that he presented in at the 2014 Egyptian Antiquities Scholars Colloquium conference that started this whole mess. Thus, we cannot say for certain whether he ever referred to the human remains he excavated as mummies. However, it seems unlikely that livescience.com would run a story about a "million mummy" discovery unless Muhlestein referred to the remains as mummies. Additionally, the livescience.com story demonstrates that Muhlestein was definitely using the term "mummy," even if he was using the term "loosely" and not in the scientific sense. Finally, Muhlestein has referred to the remains at Fag el-Gamouns as mummies in several other settings. The BYU Religious Education Review magazine, Muhlestein referenced " a tomb of mummified cats, some jewelry in the shape of the cross, some spectacularly wrapped mummies, and a beautiful golden mummy" that had been excavated. https://religion.byu.edu/event/egyptian-excavation-exhibit. He references the mummies of Fag el-Gamouns several times in his 2015 paper "Rethinking burial dates at a Graeco-Roman Cemetary: Fag el-Gamous, Fayoum, Egypt. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352409X15000188 In 2011 he published an article called "Pyramids and Mummies: the BYU Egypt Excavation Project" in the Newsletter for the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities.
The point here is that that Muhlestein's tendency to present exaggerated and unfounded scholarly conclusions is not limited to the field of Mormon studies. His failure to properly identify mummies got himself and BYU kicked out of Egypt for a while.
He practices in an arcane field, and it is difficult for most Latter-day Saints to determine whether his opinions regarding Egyptology are valid. It is hard for us to know whether he is correct when he claims that Egyptians practiced human sacrifice as opposed to state-sanctioned killings or executions. It is hard for us to know whether a random Egyptian papyrus really says "Abraham on the couch" or if its just a love spell with mumbo jumbo words. However, it is clear that his opinions and scholarship are viewed with great suspicion in his own field of expertise.
Do any of you know any more about this fiasco? I would love to know how BYU smoothed everything over with Egypt. Do we know whether Muhlestein ever returned to Fag el-Gamous? It looks like he edited and contributed to a book about it that is being published this year.
submitted by NotTerriblyHelpful to mormonscholar [link] [comments]


2020.08.30 03:26 NotTerriblyHelpful That time Egypt pulled BYU's excavation license because Kerry Muhlestein made inaccurate and exaggerated claims about his excavations.

tldr: Muhlestein, one of the Church's two big Book of Abraham apologists, provided misleading and exaggerated findings at a scholarly conference and got BYU's excavation license yanked by Egyptian authorities. He claimed he found a million mummies in the desert. The fiasco made international news.
Kerry Muhlestein has been taking a lot of heat on the Mormon internet recently for making poorly sourced and exaggerated claims in support of the Book of Abraham, but the furor that has erupted over the last couple of weeks is nothing compared to when he made international headlines back in 2014.
In 2011, Muhlestein became the team leader of a big BYU dig in Egypt called Fag el-Gamous where the school excavated a small pyramid and a bunch of corpses from the 1st century to 7th century A.D. https://lifesciences.byu.edu/from-the-sands-of-egypt BYU had been working at this site to one degree or another for about 25 years. Most of Muhlestein's non-Mormon Egyptian scholarship is related to this dig (see his cv here: http://byu.academia.edu/KerryMuhlestein/CurriculumVitae ).
In 2014, Muhlestein attended the Study of Egyptian Antiquities Scholars Colloquium conference in Toronto. There, he excitedly announced to the scholars in attendance that Fag el-Gamous may hold more than a million mummies! The description of this huge find was important enough that it made mainstream international news in mid-December of 2014.
"In a square that is 5 by 5 meters across and usually just over 2 meters deep, we will typically find about 40 burials," Muhlestein explained in an email to Newsweek. "The cemetery is very large and so far seems to maintain that kind of burial density throughout. Thus the math suggests that there are over a million mummies in the cemetery, though we cannot be certain of this without further exploration and a thorough academic review process." He added that the findings are only preliminary. https://www.newsweek.com/tale-million-mummies-unravels-293615

"We are fairly certain we have over a million burials within this cemetery. It's large, and it's dense," Project Director Kerry Muhlestein, an associate professor in the Department of Ancient Scripture at Brigham Young University, said in a paper he presented at the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities Scholars Colloquium, which was held last month in Toronto. https://www.livescience.com/49147-egyptian-cemetery-million-mummies.html
The headline at the Daily Mail trumpeted "Cemetery with one MILLION mummies unearthed in Egypt." https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2877855/Cemetery-one-MILLION-mummies-unearthed-Egypt-1-500-year-old-desert-necropolis-largest-found.html. News of the announcement hit NBC, CBS, NPR, pretty much everywhere.
This was a stunning announcement and made for great headlines. Imagine, a million mummies in the Egyptian desert! Unfortunately for Muhlestein and BYU, the excitement generated by this big find, and the mainstream attention, was shortlived - and quickly turned to embarrassment. There was a problem with the announcement: it was inaccurate. Dr. Youssef Khalifa, head of the Ancient Egypt department of Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities issued harsh criticism of Muhlestein's announcement and revoked BYU's excavation permit, ending BYU's 28 years of work at Fag el-Gamous.
Dr. Youssef Khalifa, head of Ancient Egypt department, said to Luxor Times on phone “What was published in the newspaper is not true. There are no million mummies, a mummy definition to begin with means a complete mummified body and there is only one mummy found at the site of Fag El Gamous in 1980 which is at the Egyptian museum since then.” Dr. Youssef added “In the past few seasons of the mission’s work at the site, only poor skeletons were found and some thousands of bone’s remains. The mission violated the rules and regulations of the agreement with the Ministry of Antiquities concerning making press statements and that’s why the committee of the ancient Egypt department took the decision to stop their permission to work at the site after 28 years of working at the site and the last season finished last March.” http://luxortimes.com/2014/12/mummy-curse-strikes-again-msa-stops-byu-mission/

"There’s no way that cemetery has a million mummies, there are maximum a few thousand,” said Yousef Khalifa, chairman of the Egyptian antiquities sector.
"Even if the cemetery is huge, it would take the bodies to be buried over each other and upon each other to fit in the space,” said Khalifa. “Only one mummy was found in that cemetery in 1980, and the rest are just remains of old dead bodies." https://dailynewsegypt.com/2014/12/18/controversy-surrounds-excavation-million-mummy-tomb/
The drama between BYU and Egypt also hit the news. Newsweek reported "Tale of a Million Mummies Unravels" https://www.newsweek.com/tale-million-mummies-unravels-293615. Gizmodo reported "Archaeologists Have Dig Licenses Revoked After 'Million Mummies' Claim." https://io9.gizmodo.com/archaeologists-have-dig-licenses-revoked-after-million-1674466896 Archeology News Network reported "BYU Dig License Revoked Over 'Million Mummy' Claim." https://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.com/2014/12/byu-dig-license-revoked-after-million.html My favorite was "Mummy Curse Strikes Again: MSA Stops BYU Mission." http://luxortimes.com/2014/12/mummy-curse-strikes-again-msa-stops-byu-mission/
BYU losing its dig license was obviously a big deal. Muhlestein quickly backpedaled from his announcement. “I believe there have been some misunderstandings. I would like to work this out with the Ministry, for whom I have the greatest respect.” http://luxortimes.com/2014/12/mummy-curse-strikes-again-msa-stops-byu-mission/. BYU quickly moved to repair the damage that had been done to its relationship with Egyptian authorities. By mid-January, 2015, BYU and the Ministry had mended fences. “I am fully pleased with the spirit of cooperation and communication we have had with the Egyptian Ministry of State for Antiquities over the years and during the last few weeks,” Muhlestein said. “It has allowed miscommunications to be rectified.” https://universe.byu.edu/2015/01/26/byu-archaeologists-allowed-to-dig-in-egypt-again/. The Daily Universe reported that Muhlestein would be returning to work at Fag el-Gamous, but it is unclear whether that ever happened.
So, what can we learn about Muhlestein as a scholar from this event? I am not an Egyptologist,but it appears that Muhlestein got in trouble with Egyptian authorities for two reasons. First, he characterized the human remains he was excavating as "mummies" when they weren't. Mummies have a very specific definition in Egyptology. Old human remains found in the desert in Egypt are not necessarily mummies unless they have been mummified. The Egyptian minister noted that the remains BYU had excavated were simply old human remains. Only one mummy had been removed from the site, and that was decades before Muhlestein was there.
Second, Muhlestein predicted that the site contained a million corpses based on a very small data set. At the time, BYU had excavated about 1,700 corpses. Based on that number, Muhlestein predicted a million burials. The Egyptian minister found this prediction laughable.
It is informative to compare Muhlestein's scholarship in this regard to that of Dr. C. Wilfred Griggs, Muhlestein's immediate predecessor as head of the BYU Fag el-Gamous excavation. In 2010, near the end of his time at the BYU excavation, Dr. Griggs published a paper called "Artifacts, Icons, and Pomegranates: Brigham Young University Egypt Excavation Project" in the Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt. Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt, 46, 215-231. Retrieved August 29, 2020, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/41431581 In his paper, Dr. Griggs never refers to the human remains that were excavated at Fag el-Gamouns as mummies. He takes great care to identify the human remains as "burials." This makes sense because the corpses that were recovered are not mummies and should not be identified as such.
Second, Dr. Griggs does not expressly calculate the number of burials he believes are located at Fag el-Gamous, but it appears that his estimate is significantly lower than Muhlestein's. Beginning on page 222, the paper quotes an entry from Dr. Grigg's 1987 field book
"...more and more I wonder if this cemetery, or at least this part of it, is filled with burials of nearly the same time, suggesting an epidemic of some sort in the middle byzantine period. One further wonders where the thousands (tens of thousands) of people lived who are being uncovered here. We are some 5 miles south of Philadepphia, and I cannot tbelievehat this necropolis would have been used for that city - unless this was considered an especially holy burial region from ancient times..."
To be clear, Dr. Grigg's reference to "thousands or tens of thousands of people" in the quote was based on the data available to him in 1987. Obviously, the data available to him probably changed significantly in the 23 years prior to publication in 2010. However, if it appeared to him in 2010 that that Fag el-Gamouns contained anywhere near a million burials, it seems likely that he would have addressed the fact that his 1987 estimate was 100 to 1,000 times too low.
In any event, it is surprising that Muhlestein would repeatedly publicly assert that there were likely a million sets of remains in Fag el-Gamouns based on only 1,700 excavations. It is not surprising that the Egyptian minister found his estimate to be ludicrous based on the available data.
Unfortunately, I have not found any sources where Muhlestein addresses this fiasco. I suspect he would contend that the entire event was a miscommunication that was started by livescience.com, which appears to be the first outlet that reported the news of the "million mummy" announcement, and that he never called the human remains "mummies" in the technical sense. And to be fair to Muhlestein, it appears that he tried to clarify that he did not necessarily mean "mummies" in the sense of a corpse that had been carefully mummified and prepared for burial.
"I don't think you would term what happens to these burials as true mummification," Muhlestein said. "If we want to use the term loosely, then they were mummified." https://www.livescience.com/49147-egyptian-cemetery-million-mummies.html
Unfortunately, and unsurprisingly, it appears that Muhlestein never published the paper that he presented in at the 2014 Egyptian Antiquities Scholars Colloquium conference that started this whole mess. Thus, we cannot say for certain whether he ever referred to the human remains he excavated as mummies. However, it seems unlikely that livescience.com would run a story about a "million mummy" discovery unless Muhlestein referred to the remains as mummies. Additionally, the livescience.com story demonstrates that Muhlestein was definitely using the term "mummy," even if he was using the term "loosely" and not in the scientific sense. Finally, Muhlestein has referred to the remains at Fag el-Gamouns as mummies in several other settings. The the BYU Religious Education Review magazine, Muhlestein referenced " a tomb of mummified cats, some jewelry in the shape of the cross, some spectacularly wrapped mummies, and a beautiful golden mummy" that had been excavated. https://religion.byu.edu/event/egyptian-excavation-exhibit. He references the mummies of Fag el-Gamouns several times in his 2015 paper "Rethinking burial dates at a Graeco-Roman Cemetary: Fag el-Gamous, Fayoum, Egypt. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352409X15000188 In 2011 he published an article called "Pyramids and Mummies: the BYU Egypt Excavation Project" in the Newsletter for the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities.
The point here is that that Muhlestein's tendency to present exaggerated and unfounded scholarly conclusions is not limited to the field of Mormon studies. His failure to properly identify mummies got himself and BYU kicked out of Egypt for a while.
He practices in an arcane field, and it is difficult for most Latter-day Saints to determine whether his opinions regarding Egyptology are valid. It is hard for us to know whether he is correct when he claims that Egyptians practiced human sacrifice as opposed to state-sanctioned killings or executions. It is hard for us to know whether a random Egyptian papyrus really says "Abraham on the couch" or if its just a love spell with mumbo jumbo words. None of us know Egyptian and he expects us all to accept his opinions on faith. However, we can know that 1) all of the best Egyptologists disagree with his opinions and 2) he's been kicked out of Egypt for overstating and exaggerating his scientific findings. Frankly, he hasn't earned our faith.
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2020.08.29 18:42 alikedating Shot in the dark: Any advanced Flutter developer who's passionate about Asian representation and in the right stage of life to join a startup?

I apologize for posting this to death in this sub. It's something I will not give up on, and one that I know many in this sub will appreciate and benefit from when it becomes available.
Alike is moving forward with the launch of our beta, albeit at a much slower pace, but we are still searching for a CTO & co-founder - one that's advanced in Flutter & Dart development.
Alike is a video dating app that celebrates the Asian identity, culture and story, and we’re looking for a new technical co-founder to continue our mission. (www.alike.dating)
We have over 950 people signed up to be beta testers, a team of 5 passionate individuals and we were just 2 weeks away from launching our beta when our CTO suddenly had to leave the project due to family circumstances.
We’re looking for a talented Flutter & mobile dev who’s passionate about Asian representation and wants to help build a platform where Asians can represent their unique story, show their personality and transcend stereotypes with the end goal of finding meaningful connections.
This app is about more than just helping Asian individuals “hook up”. It’s about healing. It’s about recognizing that the collective Asian diasporic community is on a journey to heal from the generations of ancestral trauma and internalized racism. It’s about empowering Asian individuals to tell their stories and, through that process, find self-acceptance and self-love. Our mission is to help Asians lead happier lives.
The company is based in Toronto but this is a remote position to anyone living in Canada or the U.S. We are looking for someone who can commit to joining full-time, but we’re open to the possibility of part-time.
Responsibility
The role is to oversee, manage, execute and problem-solve all things technical for the app and startup, including building the app. They will eventually have to lead and manage a team of developers. The first and most immediate responsibility, however, will be to complete the beta, which is 95% complete, and roll it out to the 950 beta testers.
Requirements
Non-Technical
Technical
Compensation
You will become an equity partner, like the founder, until the startup successfully raises funds. The amount of equity is to be negotiated and will depend on your level of experience, skills, commitment and other factors.
Other Traction
Contact
Please message me at [email protected] to discuss this position. Thank you.
submitted by alikedating to aznidentity [link] [comments]


2020.08.29 18:40 alikedating Shot in the dark: Any advanced Flutter developer who's passionate about Asian representation and in the right stage of life to join a startup?

I apologize for posting this to death in this sub. It's something I will not give up on, and one that I know many in this sub will appreciate and benefit from when it becomes available.
Alike is moving forward with the launch of our beta, albeit at a much slower pace, but we are still searching for a CTO & co-founder - one that's advanced in Flutter & Dart development.
Alike is a video dating app that celebrates the Asian identity, culture and story, and we’re looking for a new technical co-founder to continue our mission. (www.alike.dating)
We have over 950 people signed up to be beta testers, a team of 5 passionate individuals and we were just 2 weeks away from launching our beta when our CTO suddenly had to leave the project due to family circumstances.
We’re looking for a talented Flutter & mobile dev who’s passionate about Asian representation and wants to help build a platform where Asians can represent their unique story, show their personality and transcend stereotypes with the end goal of finding meaningful connections.
This app is about more than just helping Asian individuals “hook up”. It’s about healing. It’s about recognizing that the collective Asian diasporic community is on a journey to heal from the generations of ancestral trauma and internalized racism. It’s about empowering Asian individuals to tell their stories and, through that process, find self-acceptance and self-love. Our mission is to help Asians lead happier lives.
The company is based in Toronto but this is a remote position to anyone living in Canada or the U.S. We are looking for someone who can commit to joining full-time, but we’re open to the possibility of part-time.
Responsibility
The role is to oversee, manage, execute and problem-solve all things technical for the app and startup, including building the app. They will eventually have to lead and manage a team of developers. The first and most immediate responsibility, however, will be to complete the beta, which is 95% complete, and roll it out to the 950 beta testers.
Requirements
Non-Technical
Technical
Compensation
You will become an equity partner, like the founder, until the startup successfully raises funds. The amount of equity is to be negotiated and will depend on your level of experience, skills, commitment and other factors.
Other Traction
Contact
Please message me at [email protected] to discuss this position. Thank you.
submitted by alikedating to AsianMasculinity [link] [comments]


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submitted by IdolA28Augl to u/IdolA28Augl [link] [comments]