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Spurs are away to Arsenal this Saturday for the 2019/20 FA Cup Quarter-final. With it being a North London Derby & Alex Morgan's potential debut, here's a post detailing Spurs women's recent history & current season for potential new fans.

2020.09.25 23:28 SomeCruzDude Spurs are away to Arsenal this Saturday for the 2019/20 FA Cup Quarter-final. With it being a North London Derby & Alex Morgan's potential debut, here's a post detailing Spurs women's recent history & current season for potential new fans.

After two matchdays down, Spurs are playing in their most important match in recent memory, an FA Cup tie that's the furthest they've ever gone in the competition, and the match is with their North London rivals who they have yet to beat, only just arriving in the same league last season.
This match will be on BBC Two in the UK at 17:15 BST/12:15 ET on BBC 2 (UK) & streaming free on FA Player at (with an account) for those outside the UK
I'll be trying to provide a (not so) brief summary for where Spurs have been, where they are at so far this season, and where they're headed for the rest of this season.

The TL;DR section - What kind of team are the women? What do they look like headed into this FA Cup match?

Spurs women aren't yet a major player in the WSL by any standards (compared to Arsenal, Chelsea, or the Manchesters), still made up of quite a few players who only got their first taste of top flight football last season. That said, they finished 7th on PPG this past season (league was cut short due to COVID). A PL comparison could be Sheffield United, who finished midtable despite being a newly promoted side.
With each season in the last few years the team has bolstered their roster pretty steadily, nothing that would grab headlines (well, until Alex Morgan) but also substantial enough progress to see the team settle into new levels quite comfortably. Now that Spurs are finally in the top flight, it's about continuing their upward trajectory to establish themselves amongst the strong WSL midtable and hopefully start taking points off the top half of the table for the first time.

This season so far

Here's a great season preview by user4-8-15-16-23-42
Spurs haven't had a great start to their season, getting a 1-1 draw against rivals West Ham on 6th September thanks to an own goal and losing 1-0 vs another midtable rival in Everton on 13th September. So Spurs have yet to score a goal themselves, though from folks that have watched this is less on the midfield production and more on the forward's finishing. This will need to be remedied quickly by either the strikers already in the team or new addition Alex Morgan. That said they've also only given up 1 goal so their defense has not failed them much in their first two matches.

Some names to know (besides Alex Morgan)

  • Josie Green - Talented defensive midfielder who became our captain this season after the retirement of longtime player Jenna Schillaci. She is the last remaining player with the club that played for the team in the amateur 3rd tier. The Athletic had a good summary of her play, here's the exceprt
  • Rianna Dean - A u21 England international forward and our top scorer last season in WSL as well as all competitions
  • Shelina Zadorsky - Canadian international defender on loan (with option to buy) from Orlando Pride, has played in Australia, Sweden, and US before her loan to Spurs
  • Alanna Kennedy - Australian international midfieldedefender also on loan from Orlando Pride (with option to buy), has won Championships in the US and Australia

What is to be expected of the Arsenal vs Spurs match?

While I hope with every fiber of my being that Spurs will get the shocking upset win, I think we'll lose but hopefully Spurs will rise to the occasion to make it a competitive match. Arsenal's two league scorelines so far are Arsenal 6-1 Reading, and West Ham 1-9 Arsenal. So it's an uphill battle for Spurs, to say the least.
Spurs have faced off with Arsenal twice in recent memory, in March 2017 we lost 10-0 to Arsenal in the FA Cup when we still were an amateusemi-pro side in the 3rd division. Fast forward to November 2019 and we lost 2-0 to them on a couple of late goals (66' and 82') in the top flight at New White Hart Lane. Definitely progress, even if we're still looking for that first goal against and first win.
To dare is to do though, but Arsenal won't take the game lightly seeing as they have just as much motivation to keep their streak against Spurs going and to beat Alex Morgan's new team. Speaking of which...

Will Alex Morgan play vs Arsenal?

It won't be known until the teamsheet is released. For all we know Morgan could either not be in the 18 or starting, but I think both are unlikely and that she'll be on the bench and depending on her fitness she could be used as a sub. Time will tell!

The Now

What competitions are going on this season for Spurs women?

League - FA Women's Super League:

The top flight of the English women's game which currently consists of a dozen teams, the majority backed by men's Premier League or Championship sides. There's only one relegation spot in the league, so it stays relatively consistent, and this year there's been an increase in Champions League spots from 2 to 3.
There's a well established top 3 of Manchester City, Arsenal, and Chelsea, that fight over all the silverware as well as the top 3 spots in the league. No other teams have broken into their level, but with investment increasing in other women's sides (most of all with Manchester United), the top 3 may very well become a top 4 or 5 in the near future. The midtable of this league is very strong with West Ham, Everton, and Reading being some of the sides that Spurs finished around in their first season of WSL play that was cut short due to COVID.

FA Cup(s) (19/20 & 20/21)

The 19/20 FA Cup quarter-finals are this weekend postponed from March due to COVID-19 leading to the cancellation of the women's season. The 19/20 semi-finals and final will be played at the end of September and October respectively. The early stages of the 20/21 FA Cup are already underway, though Spurs won't join in until the 4th round which doesn't kick off til the end of January.

League Cup

The women's League Cup is in the vein of the men's competition and is competed between teams in the professional and semi-professional leagues, the Women's Super League and Championship respectively. The first stage is made up of regional groups where you play each opponent home or away once. Spurs had the luck of drawing Chelsea and Arsenal, last year's League Cup finalists, as well as Championship side London City Lionesses. Only the top team of each group advances, as well as the top two 2nd place finishers overall in the competition. Spurs have never advanced from the group stage of this competition in their previous 3 attempts (2 while in the Championship, 1 while in their first WSL season last year) and it'll be a tough task this year.
Spurs' League Cup schedule is as follows:
  • London City Lionesses (H) – Wednesday 7 October, kick-off 3.30pm – The Hive
  • Chelsea (A) – Wednesday 4 November, kick-off 7pm – Kingsmeadow
  • Arsenal (A) – Wednesday 18 November, kick-off 7.30pm – Meadow Park

How can I watch the league and competitions? (Inside and outside the UK)

WSL: If you're in the UK WSL matches will be broadcast on BT Sport and BBC iPlayeRed Button. The rest will be free to view with an account on the FA Player website.
Outside the UK, the answer is similar to the answer I just provided, substituting BT Sport and BBC for other TV broadcasters in select nations. Currently Australia, Canada, Central America, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Nordics, Germany, Italy, & USA have broadcast deals for varying amount of matches.
If your country/region doesn't have a TV deal, all WSL matches and will be available live for free on the FA Player!
Cups: Select FA Cup matches are broadcast on the BBC, with the semi-finals and finals airing on TV. Other select matches either streamed by cups or on the FA Player website. The League Cup is the least "visible" competition, with matches often not being streamed until later rounds of the competition. Hopefully with no stadiums allowing attendance there will be an emphasis on streaming matches for fans.

Upcoming Matches

October will not be an easy month for Spurs, with the start of the month quite congested and facing top 4 opposition, including Arsenal once again.
4 October - WSL: @ Manchester City
7 October - League Cup: vs London City Lionesses
10 October - WSL: vs Manchester United
18 October - WSL: @ Arsenal

Recent club history

Spurs as a women's team are a contrast to Manchester United. Both being promoted to the WSL the same year but under quite different circumstances, with Manchester United being established 3 years ago and easily winning the league (over Spurs) in their first ever competitive season with a roster full of top flight experience and a handful of internationals in the semi-pro Championship. Spurs have chosen to take it slow with building the women's team, whether in the investment on the player end compared to a club like Manchester United or even in keeping the team in the Championship after the first season when there was the potential for entering the top flight via shortcut (West Ham themselves jumped from the 3rd tier to the first after guaranteeing they'd invest the money required for the top flight).
After years in the lower tiers Spurs were able to get a bit more investment to add to some of their longterm players. After each subsequent season they've retooled their squad, exemplified by the fact that captain Josie Green is the only remaining player on the squad that played with the team in the amateur game. Speaking of that time, Spurs' results truly bloomed in 2016/17 when they won four trophies, including promotion to the 2nd division. They finished 7th place in 2017/18, their first semi-professional season, the highlight being securing their first ever victories over top flight sides in cup competitions. The 2018/19 seasaw them rocket up the table, finishing 2nd and in a promotion spot under the juggernauts of Manchester United. Their first WSL season followed a similar pattern to their first WSL 2 season, once again finishing 7th and they're still waiting to play in their furthest advanced round in the FA Cup, a quarter-final with Arsenal.

Where can I talk about Spurs women and the FAWSL?

Right on this sub is where you can talk about the women's team. Some other WSL teams have their own subreddits, but honestly think that discussion should stay here on /coys because we're talking about a Tottenham team, after all.
If you want to discuss the women's league with other fans, /FAWSL was revived a couple months ago and is gaining traction as a place to discuss all the relevant clubs and matches.
submitted by SomeCruzDude to coys [link] [comments]

2020.09.18 19:10 slumpadoochous Canadian Mafia War Casualties 2005-2020 (updated 9/18/20)

Summary of murdered and missing people connected to the MTL Mafia war. I separated them into two groups, Rizzuto Allies and Enemies. Bolded names are those whose allegiances I'm unsure of. If anyone can give me a hand rearranging the list, pointing out mistakes or missing names, that'd be awesome. Also couldn't find decent articles for some. Considering adding a third section for people who don't necessarily fit under the first two. EX) Paolo Gervasi was whacked by the Rizzutos over a disagreement, but I'm not sure if one could technically count this as a part of the war as it sort of seems like a "business as usual" killing. It did motivate guys like De Vito and Facchina to assist Desjardins when the war did break out, though.
added a changelog to the bottom.
Rizzuto/Allies Casualties:
Rizzuto Enemies:
Total: 59
Change Log:
Moves & Removals:
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2020.09.18 07:52 Disastrous_Horse_44 Ghosted after dating for a year and half...

THIS IS LONG BUT TRULY WEIRD! Part two is funny and I will post soon.
This is baffling to me even right now, happened early July. To give you some background, I met this guy through Bumble and we talked for like a month and a half before we met in person. He was super shy when we met (I am super not, friends describe me as awkwardly charming and chatty) but had the most beautiful smile, there was just something about him that made me want to continue to see him. I don’t think he said more than five things the entire time we were there - a Mexican restaurant for dinner but I was so nervous that I downed two Dos Equis (as did he) and filled up on chips and salsa - I also had learned from experience that it might be really, really awkward (as Bumble/Tindeetc.) app match dates can be, so I had eaten a light dinner ahead of our dinner date ha.
So we finish up and leave and he’s super sweet, wants to walk me to my car because it’s a huge parking lot and pretty dark. I had just gotten a new car (like three days prior) so I was still learning which car to look for, the car is a dark charcoal color, it’s dark outside, I was a little tipsy (I’m a cheap date) and I’m nervous/anxious because I don’t want to look like the total idiot I am starting to look like because guess who can’t find her car? I swear we walked every row around that complex (there were multiple restaurants clustered together, called Legacy for anyone in the DFW area) before I could find my car. For some reason the alarm button on my remote wouldn’t work, so I couldn’t set the car off and just easily find it. We walked that parking lot for at least 20 minutes, I was mortified. I felt so stupid!
On the way back to my apartment, I’m kind of laughing at myself and thinking about what a mess I am, and that I probably wouldn’t hear back from him but not even 20 minutes after our date ended, he texted me! He asked if I wanted to meet at a local sports bar to watch the Stars game (I’m a big hockey fan), to which I excitedly said yes.
Thus begins a cute relationship, he’s super sweet and kind of shy - the type of guy that seems like he’s been burned before by a previous relationship and a bit nervous to open up, no problem I’m patient. We went to the Dominican Republic together, Colorado (twice), Padre (twice), Austin, my family’s ranch, a few other spots that were meaningful. Our first big trip was to the Dominican, here is where I find out that he is a total dick when he drinks whiskey. In my experience, most men are total dicks when they drink whiskey. One or two drinks, cool no problem but more than that, guaranteed there will be a problem over nothing. He would get SO jealous over absolutely NOTHING. If he was drinking whiskey, it would get us in trouble. We went out to a bar with friends and there was a skee ball game, I was playing with a girlfriend while my boyfriend and his buddies were right behind us at the bar. My machine wasn’t really working, it would show a score but not the right one and then just turn off, whatever, I’m playing this game and having a good time right? Let me note it’s SUPER loud in this bar, like you had to yell at the person next to you to have a conversation - typically I hate bars like this but I was having fun and pretty tipsy and down for whatever. The manager walked over and put his hand on my back (not in a weird spot, like my shoulder) and leaned into my ear (because it was so loud) to tell me the skee ball machine I was on wasn’t working and gave me a few drink tickets as reimbursement. Boyfriend must have seen this interaction and gotten a VERY different impression. He walked up to me almost immediately after and said we should go somewhere else and I said okay, as we are walking out he says for me to go ahead with his friends that he’d be right there - he picked a fight with the manager of this very popular bar that we liked to go to all because of nothing.
I tell you this to give you some context of how exhausting the jealousy thing got. Another time, he came home from work and I was at his house (I work from home) and I had showered earlier and dried my hair and whatnot, I have really thick hair so I usually turn the shower head to the high pressure water setting to get conditioner out of my hair. Instead, boyfriend thinks this means I have had someone over to take a shower with? Because I had also done the laundry, like washed the sheets because guys never do that and it’s gross. So dumb.
Fast forward to May 2020. He goes on this annual bear hunt in Idaho with his best friend, basically they sit in below freezing temperatures eating survival packets of food waiting for a black bear that never comes. They went in 2019 for like 5 days I think? And boyfriend drove to a spot to get service every single night so he could call me and tell me they were okay and to tell me goodnight - his best friend he was hunting with didn’t even do this to check in with his wife! So I felt really blessed and thought I was really lucky to have found someone so thoughtful, yeah the jealousy thing was annoying but in time we could get past it, right? Wrong.
So this year at the bear hunt he told me he just didn’t have service and talked to me maybe three times total during their 10 day trip. They spent maybe 5 days total hunting and the rest of the trip getting wasted in local dive bars. Boyfriend is an Instagram addict and I can see he keeps logging in, it shows on the message part of Instagram when the person you messaged with was last “active.” So I call him out on it and ask what’s the deal, he says he just hasn’t had service but needs some space - again, I know he’s lying about having service but he asks for space and he’s on a guy trip so okay, I’ll respect that (but it’s just SO different from how he was last year on the same trip!). When he gets back, things are totally fine, he’s himself and sweet and we are good. Then Covid hit and he lost his job - a job frankly he hated and bitched about 24/7 so I thought it was a blessing in disguise. He was super committed to finishing the neighborhood he was working on and then was going to look for a new job, but now I figured he could find something else that he actually enjoyed and sooner! Hallelujah I don’t have to listen to him bitch about this job anymore, I was always supportive and listened but it was starting to wear on me.
Then it’s July. Boyfriends twin brother is getting married in another state. I have epilepsy and in the state of Texas, if you have a seizure you can’t drive for three months after. So my boyfriend had to do all of the driving, which was already pretty normal because 1. I’m a horrible driver and 2. He prefers to drive anyway - we go to the wedding in the other state, everything is great and we come back a couple days later. I don’t have my car so I need boyfriend to take me back to my place. But each time he was supposed to take me, something popped up or there was something going on, this went on for like a week. So we’d been together for nearly 18 days in a row at this point without a break, which was a lot for us. He also had a roommate and his best friend (the bear hunting married friend, who ended up divorced) was partially living at the house too. So I get it, it was a lot of people under one small, very old roof. I could have ubered home, but it was going to be like $100 and money it really tight right now for me. My friends were all working and I was sort of stuck.
My cousin was getting married sometime in the beginning of July (can’t remember the date) but it was like a week or so after we returned from Colorado. We for some reason are asked to go to the rehearsal dinner, we aren’t in the wedding but hey, sounds fun we will be there. Well the only thing to drink was Bud Light or the house made Margaritas (Joe T Garcia’s) because we were in like a entertaining location, not the actual restaurant. I hate Bud Light, Margs give me heartburn but fuck it I want to have fun. I think I had three of these margaritas (if you haven’t had Joe T’s, these are superrrr strong margaritas, not for the weak, like me) so I’m teetering on drunk when we leave, I’m feeling awesome-sauce! I will admit that liquor historically has allllways made me a bit feisty, especially if I’m with a boyfriend. All was well until like a block before we got to his house, he said something super racist and I can’t even remember what he said but I bit his head off over it. We are 28 years old, grow up. So now when we get to the house I’m still pissed off - I shower and go sleep in the guest room after crying for like 45 minutes (I know that was a dramatic overreaction on my part, I was drunk and I don’t drink often, still was stupid of me). The next day we both apologize to each other but boyfriend is trying to back out of going to the wedding altogether. Wtf no. He was at the dinner the night before, I asked if I could bring him because there wasn’t a “plus one” on the invitation, so it would have been really inconsiderate for him to be a no show. After going back and forth allllll day, we go to the wedding. He doesn’t even want to stay for the first dance, which I really wanted to, I love dancing at weddings, especially family weddings because I am a terrible dancer and it’s family so I don’t care! But no. We leave because “my best friend is at the house and my roommate is home and they are having so much fun and I want to be there too wah wah wah” so we leave the wedding and drive the hour back to his house. Next morning he was supposed to drive me home - instead popped up at like 9 am, zipped out the door with the guys to get breakfast and to go play golf. He doesn’t get home until like 6 pm...and he is wasted. I’m annoyed but whatever, I figure he can just take me home tomorrow, but no he wants to take me home right now - which I live 45 minutes-ish away, he’s drunk so no way am I letting him drive all that way. His friends are even telling him it’s not a big deal. Instead, he throws a temper tantrum. So I call my Dad last resort) to come get me. My boyfriend is fuming because I won’t let him drive me, I won’t let him pay for an Uber (he had already spent so much on all those trips and now he didn’t have a job) and now my Dad was on the way to pick me up. So he gets his dog, his best friend and they just get in his truck and are about to leave without saying a word to me. I walk outside and he’s about to back out of the drive way, I hold up my hands like “what the fuck are you doing??” And he came inside while the dog and the friend waited in the truck and just stared at the ground, I have never seen so much anger in someone’s eyes. And that was the last time we spoke!
He literally didn’t respond to any texts, any calls, any messages on social, NOTHING. He finally texted me and said I could get my stuff and move out on this date or this date and that was it!!!
What kind of person does this?? I was nothing but good to him. Did his laundry, cleaned his house, made dinner for him and all his buddies, I went hunting for the first time with him, tried golfing, I feel like I did everything I could have done to make him happy but clearly I didn’t. He told me that he loved me, I believed him at the time but now I feel like it was all bullshit. If you love someone, how can you totally ignore them for months? Their calls and texts telling you how much they love you and miss you and don’t know what is happening but want to fix it?
Part two I will post soon. I let my crazy show a little bit. I still didn’t get any answers but I did get some sweet satisfaction.
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2020.09.13 00:50 diacylglycerol82 The real reason they hate us

MGTOW is often lambasted as a misogynistic hate movement and even investigated by organisations such as the Southern Poverty Law Centre, the wiki page which is more of a hit piece than a balanced discussion shows what the mainstream opinion is.
They have gone from merely denouncing and shaming to an all out attack in an attempt to discredit, promote distrust and deter people from looking into MGTOW seriously.
However this is not the real reason they hate MGTOW.
Marriage and men's surplus labor in providing for their families is a multi trillion dollar industry, and most trads admit that men will only work hard if they have a family to support, so the entire economy is based upon tying male productivity to the institution of marraige.
As such any denunciation of marriage by men such as MGTOW is considered an attack on capitalism itself.
Strong independent women are however encouraged as female labor force participation is inversely correlated with marriage.
The apparent contradiction between encouraging female independence whilst ensuring that men pursue marriage is that if men should desire marriage they can be convinced to buy products to impress women that they otherwise wouldnt have hence capitalism can continue even with lower marriage rates.
Even those who may reject marraige such as aspiring PUA's in going out to bars, purchasing "dating courses" or going on bangcations to the Phillipines and the Dominican republic are tolerated as they still advance the capitalist cause and instead tie in working hard to getting laid.
However MGTOW which is a rejection of the entire system and for some also involves a rejection of conspicuous consumerism and pursuing goals like finanical independence most definitely threatens the current paradigm.
In reality MGTOW is a minority movement perhaps 0.1% of men, if it were any larger the establishment would be actively trying to shut it down
submitted by diacylglycerol82 to MgtowLifestyle [link] [comments]

2020.09.08 08:08 YojimboGuybrush NA Release Waiting Room

Spamming Paladin matches in the meantime to erase these next hours quickly. I can't wait to get my hands on some chakrams again.
edit: ...oh PS4 NA Release Waiting Room that is...
edit 1.a: I just did 146k damage with Willo. Still lost. Didn't check if it was out yet in between games. edit 1.b: it is 1:42 AM and there still is nothing in the store. edit 2: 1:57 AM Kingdom Come: Deliverance is on sale. I have bought it hoping it will somehow unlock KoA. edit 3: 1:59 AM Purchasing Kingdom Come: Deliverance did not unlock KoA for unlock in the store. I still see nothing. I almost had hope when I loaded the store up again and saw "Editors Choice" as the front page. I haven't seen that come up before so I thought the store had been updated. It has not. I may be forced to pay for every Kingdom Hearts game eventually if worse comes to worse. Pray for me. edit 3.a: I just got Timber Mill as a map in Paladins. Maybe this is good luck as I don't think this has been in the pool since I last played this game 6+ months ago. I remember hating this map. It is new though. edit 4: Mikes button up shirt in the first Black Spine Edition is ridiculous.
EDIT 5: I'm 4-1 on my last games I've played Willo. Kingdoms of Amalur Re-Reckoning is not in the Playstation Store yet. I would like to say why I love this game. It is pretty much the culmination of that time periods action adventure game. It sucked in everything that was Baldurs Gate: Dark Alliance, X-Men Legends, Fable, Oblivion, World of Warcraft, God of War. Those are the games that come to mind, but the game really feels like a swan song to those games. Even more so that there really hasn't been a game like it since. I went and took a look at every game from 2012 and that year was amazing for games. I feel KoA was a big fucking capstone on that type of game. There really hasn't been a game like this since then. It doesn't even feel like it picked pieces from other games to incorporate into itself. More it just gave them all a big hug and pulled them in and created a great fucking game. I really really love this game. I really wish this remaster takes off (IT WON'T) and developers take the hint that people like these action adventure types of games. Give us some third person Torchlight or Path of Exile. Third person Skyrim. We like Rygar. We like Ys. Give us that. We want to hit stuff, but we also like Fable and Elder Scrolls. edit 6: 3 AM still not out.
EDIT Seven?>where am I?: its almost 9am San Antonio nothing in the store. I'm about to pass out. I just got done playing Spellbreak with my Dominican Republic friend. There is no god.
submitted by YojimboGuybrush to kingdomsofamalur [link] [comments]

2020.09.06 03:18 Zithero Book 1: Chapter 27: March of the Black Queen

I glanced at the map of Africa that Dimitria had provided. I examined the countries, most recently destabilized was Mali, a military coup was underway already, a simple process to start there. Granted the entire region seemed like a house of cards.
Dimitria pointed out, “The benefits are that our warriors are used to the environment.”
“Sadly, Mali has no direct coastal access,” I remarked, “if we’re going to have sustained troop and trade movements we need port access.”
“Senegal is a soft target. We could land in Dakar and take the country, then move into Mali from there,” Dimitria advised.
“We leave with a massive force out from Fortaleza, I doubt we’d encounter too much resistance,” I grinned, “if the Americans take even half of Zepherina’s offer then that would at least table them for now.”
Dimitria gave a nod, “We’ve already gotten reports of US-supported troops being captured in Belize.”
“That’s something that needs to come to an end if we are to open into a treaty,” I glanced at Dimitria as one of the senator’s interns approached Dimitria with a phone.
The intern was an adorable little hestie girl, a young one at that. She cleared her throat nervously, holding the phone to Dimitria, “My Steward, President Daiz-Canel is on the line.”
Dimitria smiled, picking up the phone, “Buenos días señor presidente!” Dimitria began, her smile growing. “Nuestra unión empoderará a nuestros pueblos juntos. Le agradecemos por aceptar nuestra invitación para unirse a nuestra armoniosa confederación.”
From Dimitira’s face, I could tell things were going well.
“Muchas gracias, señor presidente. Estaré en contacto con respecto al despliegue de nuestra tecnología avanzada. Esta bien adios señor presidente.” Dimitria ended the call, handing the phone back to the young girl, “thank you dear.”
“That sounded well received,” I chuckled.
“The president of Cuba was happy to accept our invitation,” Dimitiria smiled smugly to me, “I am not surprised. They’re a communist nation, so our new society gels well with their current government model.”
“Except that there is no forced take-over of private industry by the state,” I rolled my eyes, “a noble pursuit, but it leads to corruption.”
“Going to change that?” Dimitiria asked.
“Cuba joined us upon invitation, I merely wish to use them to capture the Caribbean Isles in the meantime, no reason to muck about with their system if it works,” I thought for a moment, “Haiti will be another soft target and with the Dominican Republic right next door, that shouldn’t be difficult either.”
“Puerto Rico is right there for the taking…” Dimitiria snickered.
“Let’s see how the girls fair in Mexico first,” I chuckled, “we can leave it alone as part of our treaty if the United States agrees to our girls’ terms.”
Without warning a woman burst into the room, “My Empress, there’s something happening in Mexico City!”
Dimitria turned to the woman, “What?!”
“What’s going on?” I demanded.
The woman showed me her phone, which featured a video of some kind of strange energy that appeared to have destroyed a building. It was a black and violet sphere of some kind and there were emergency vehicles surrounding the area.
“Where is that?” I questioned.
Dimitria looked over the image, “...that’s… that’s the United States Embassy.”
Whatever was said after that did not matter. I rushed outside and took to the air, heading north. “Rage,” I called out, “Guide me to the US Embassy in Mexico City,” I flapped my wings hard, flying as fast as I could to the Embassy.
After almost two hours, I saw the first sign that I was close. I flew past a golden statue of an angel in a turning circle and flew down the street between a few buildings.
I did not need to go far.
Power Lines were sparking and walls had just finished crumbling around what was once the United States Embassy.
The surrounding buildings were still intact, it seemed the local police had cornered off the area.
I landed behind the police lines, causing several officers to face me.
Most backed away, but one man began to approach me.
I tapped the translation necklace around my neck in preparation for his questions.
“What is this? Was this you?” the officer asked me.
“No,” I shouted over the rushing sound of the wind generated by the anomaly. “What happened?”
The officer looked me over, eventually waving at his fellow officers, “your guards said they saw most of it.”
I turned to see a pair of Penthesilean Royal Guards allowed out of a large police vehicle. Each knelt before me, a pair with black and blond hair respectively.
“What happened?” I asked.
“Princess Zepherina and Stewardess Theodora entered. We were barred from going in, so we waited outside,” the black-haired soldier explained.
I narrowed my eyes on her, “your title is Royal Guard, that means you guard the royalty of Penthesil. Why did you remain outside?”
“Princess Zepherina told us to comply,” the blond guard said, turning from me as I turned to her.
“The princess told you to wait outside?” I narrowed my eyes.
Both guards nodded to me.
“What happened next?” I questioned.
The black-haired guard cleared her throat, “everything seemed normal, then we heard gunfire.”
“Gunfire?” I frowned.
“Yes,” the blond guard explained, “we tried to enter, but the armed guards at the doors stopped us. We fought them back but by the time we got inside there were bodies everywhere!”
“Bodies?” I grew more worried as they told me how the events unfolded.
The blond guard nodded, “Yes, all except one man. A bishop of some sort? We pulled him up to his feet and asked him if he was okay, but…”
“Then,” the black-haired guard picked up, “before we could figure out who else was hurt, the whole building was engulfed in that wind!”
“We barely escaped with our lives!” the second finished.
I stumbled as the ground shook and the crowd nearby shouted in shock and fear.
I turned to the sphere of swirling black energy. “Rage, analyze!” I ordered.
A small red hologram of Rage rose out from my shoulder armor and began to speak only to me, “Energy signature is similar to other instances I had detected and linked to surges from Zepherina. This one, however, is more intense than others, as well as more sustained.”
The pit of my stomach dropped as I examined the swirling ball of destruction before me, “What happened to you, my baby?” I thought to myself, “Rage, can you synchronize my armor’s shielding to counteract that wall of energy?”
“Processing,” Rage said before descending back into my shoulder armor. “Engaging shielding.”
I glanced down as my armor was covered in a translucent sheen of white. I approached the sphere, reaching out with my gauntlet clad hand tentatively, my hand slowly passing through. “Anything for you, my daughter Zepherina.”
I was on guard as I walked into the whirlwind of energy, unsure of what I would find.
While my armor did it’s best, I still felt the force of the wind. I did my best to shield my eyes as the wind kicked up debris and dust.
Finally, as I walked in, I saw Zepherina.
She was levitating above the ground, rings of debris swirling around her, her eyes nothing but a burning bright and intense violet light.
In Zepherina’s arms was Theodora.
The power surging off of Zepherina told me that this was not the same form she had when we fought in the Pentagon. I was certain she could take my head off with a single strike now.
I tried to determine how to approach her. I was just as concerned for Theodora, from this angle, I couldn’t see what state she was in.
“Zepherina!” I shouted.
Zepherina’s head ratcheted towards me and an intense wind blew in my direction.
I tucked my wings against my back and braced myself, “What has happened?!” I shouted out over the wind.
Zepherina shouted, fear in her voice, “I can’t… control…”
“Zepherina!” I screamed, “This power, it’s yours! It’s not something out of your control! It’s something that has been released from within you!”
“I… am… so… scared…” Zepherina gasped and with each word I heard cracking and destruction.
I looked around and found that the field I was in had grown larger. Zepherina’s power was, as she had said, completely out of control.
I took another few steps towards her, standing right behind her, my hand reaching out to her foot, “Zeph! This is your power, whatever it is! Embrace it, don’t be afraid of it!”
Zepherina shuddered and sobbed, “I… can’t…”
“Yes, you can!” I encouraged, “Zepherina, you have too!” The ground shook again, and I fell to my knees. “Zeph, don’t be afraid of yourself! If you let fear take you, people are going to die! Innocent people outside of this building!” I shouted. “I know you, I know you’re not a monster like me!”
Zepherina looked down to me, the light from her eyes blinded me as I was forced to turn away.
Zepherina began to scream, seemingly in agony, and more wind picked up.
“Zepherina!” I shouted over the cacophony of wind and shattering glass, “claim your power! Take it! Don’t fear it! Embrace it!”
In an instant, the wind died down and I watched as Zepherina slowly floated down to the ground. An arc of energy shot from her foot to the ground as she made contact.
I turned to see the police and guards approaching, I held up my hand, signaling for them to keep their distance, “Everyone, stay back! ”I shouted.
There was some confusion in the faces of the onlookers.
I got to my feet and charged towards the senior officer who had greeted me when I first arrived, “Evacuate these two buildings,” I shouted, and pointed to the buildings that had flanked the now ruined embassy. “And establish a wider perimeter!”
The officer nodded and turned, shouting instructions.
I turned to my Royal Guardswomen, “you two, get our transport here, now!”
Both saluted and rushed off.
I looked around, seeing the crowd getting pushed back. I turned to see Zepherina on her knees, hugging Theodora to her tightly, sobbing.
I walked over to her and knelt by Zepherina’s side, “Zepherina… what happened?”
Zepherina continued her sobbing, looking up to me with her eyes still full of violet fire.

I was bobbing my head in the helicopter as we flew over Mexico City, finishing up with Theodora’s playlist.
I will give you sanctuary in these hymns of Thanatos!” Theo growled out as a guitar riff kicked in.
I will give you sanctuary!” I growled out next.
The next verses Theo and I sang together, “You want to see me burn, I am living fire! You want to see me burn? I am living fire!!” we drew the last word out, headbanging with the music.
The chopper landed and Theo and I laughed as we got odd looks from the pilot.
“Welcome to Mexico City, ladies!” The royal guards laughed as we were helped out of the chopper.
I smiled as I saw a set of humvees with American flags on them waiting for us. We all piled into the trucks and I took in the sights of Mexico City as we made our way to the embassy.
“I’m so thankful for this,” Theo grinned to me, “we’re going to save so many lives together!”
I smiled wide, “yeah. Maybe I’ll see Timothy.”
“Timothy? Who’s that?” Theo asked. “You sure are meeting a lot of boys.”
I laughed, “he’s my half brother,” I smiled, “Eva had a twin brother.”
“Gross,” Theo scoffed, “sharing a womb with a boy? No wonder Eva’s cursed.”
“Ehem,” I fake coughed, “she’s still my sister.”
“Half-sister,” Theo pointed out.
I rolled my eyes, “Eva speaks to God. Timothy and Eva both do.”
Theo gave me a very incredulous look.
“It’s true!” I asserted.
“Okay,” Theo chuckled, “you see any of those creepy thousand-eyed angels who go ‘be not afraid’?”
I laughed, “Captain Sofia is pretty scary.”
Theo narrowed her eyes, “Sofia? As in Captain Sofia Vasquez?”
I frowned, “Yeah.”
“Wait, you know that monster?!” Theo gasped.
“She’s not a…” I trailed off, recalling what I had seen Captain Sofia do, “Well, okay, yeah, she’s pretty badass, sure but-”
“Badass?!” Theo shouted, “Zeph she damn near killed your momma!”
I sighed, Theo saying it like that made it sound as if it were true, but still, I didn’t fully believe her or Ragna. “She was protecting her own soldiers,” I turned my attention to the window. “Momma had killed a few of them.”
“Trying to get you,” Theo pointed out.
“I didn’t ask her to do that,” I turned to Theo, “I was never held captive. We were on a mission.”
We pulled up to the Embassy, parking in the lot behind the main building. I chuckled, noticing how small the building was between a hotel and a much larger building next to it. “How unAmerican.”
“I know right?” Theo snickered as we climbed out.
The drivers escorted us to a door where I was greeted by a man in military uniform.
“Are you Zepherina Hippolyte?” he asked as I approached.
“Yes,” I smiled, “and this is Stewardess Theodora Rigus, of Penthesil. We’re here to meet with the US Ambassador,” I looked at the military markings on his uniform, “Colonel.”
“Colonel Davis,” he saluted.
I saluted back. “Princess Zepherina.”
“Your guards will have to wait outside,” Colonel Davis ordered.
“They most certainly will not,” Theo shouted.
“Theo!” I rushed to her, “this is a peace mission… we have diplomatic immunity, there’s nothing to be afraid of,” I reminded her.
“But this is for our protection,” Theo objected.
“Yes princess, what if something were to happen to either of you?” Astrid, the blond-haired guard spoke up.
“It is our task to keep you safe,” Myrine, the black-haired guard added.
“Listen,” I grinned to Myrine and Astrid, “if anything happens, I’m there.” I flexed my bicep, “I’ve got this.”
Theo sighed, “Well, there isn’t anyone out there that can take down Zeph.”
Myrine and Astrid both saluted and stood near the doorway to the Embassy.
I smiled and turned to Colonel Davis, who escorted us inside. “I’m really happy that we could get this meeting arranged.”
Theodora nodded, “There’s no reason we cannot be civilized.”
As I walked into the building there were a number of soldiers, men in suits, and even some visitors. I even noticed an old Catholic Bishop of some sort who was visiting. He seemed out of place, to say the least.
A pair of men with “MP” on their arms approached us. I turned to Colonel Davis, “so when do we meet with the ambassador?”
Colonel Davis frowned, “Afraid you’re not meeting with the ambassador, Ms. Hippolyte.”
“What?” I frowned.
One of the MP’s placed a set of handcuffs on my wrists.
“What is the meaning of this?!” Theodora shouted, storming up to the MP who had cuffed me.
Colonel Davis sighed, “Zepherina, I’m under orders to take you in. You’ve been labeled as AWOL and as such you must face a court-martial.”
“Wait, I did no such thing!” I protested.
“Ms. Hippolyte,” Colonel Davis explained, “At first we thought you a prisoner of war, but you arriving on behalf of an enemy of the United States is, at the very least, a case of you going AWOL and at worst an act of active treason against your unit.”
“She returned to her home country!” Theodora shouted, “this is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard of!”
Colonel Davis frowned to Theodora, “Ms. Rigus-”
“No,” Theodora shouted, “Zepherina was working with your military as a favor and part of a specialized mission, as many Penthesil’s Valkyries do!” Theodora argued, “Her returning home is only natural!”
“At the end of her rotation,” Colonel Davis pointed out, “Not to mention this is before your nation became hostile to US Interests!”
“Says the man arresting a member of a diplomatic envoy!” Theodora screamed in the Colonel’s face, staring down at him.
“I am following my orders, Ms. Rigus! You are still to meet with the ambassador,” Colonel Davis growled.
I took a deep breath, “It’s okay Theo, I’ll work this out.”
The MP’s began to lead me away from Theo, but she blocked them.
“If you think you’re taking Zepherina away from me again, you have another thing coming,” Theo narrowed her eyes on the MPs.
“Ma’am,” Colonel Davis ordered, “Move.”
“Theo!” I protested, “It’s okay! I’ll talk to my commanding officer, we’ll work it out!”
Theo held out her arms on either side of her, Theo’s eyes locked on mine, “you are not going with them.”
I frowned, “Theo…”
“Break those stupid handcuffs and let's go, these negotiations have clearly fallen through,” Theo declared.
“Theo!” I shouted, turning to Colonel Davis, “Now look what you’ve done! Please, I beg of you, just let me go so we can speak to the ambassador, then I’ll stay for any kind of trial you want me to do!”
“The trial will take place state-side, Ms. Hippolyte,” Colonel Davis informed me.
“I…” I sighed, ready to give in.
“Fuck this,” Theo shouted, punching one of the MP’s in the face and pushing the other out of the way, “Come on Zeph, we’re leaving!”
The MP who was pushed out of the way shouted, “Freeze right now!”
Theodora turned around, I did as well, moving between her and the MP who now had his rifle drawn.
“We have diplomatic immunity,” Theodora shouted, “if you do any harm to us then that is a violation of the 1973 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons!”
Colonel David glared at Theodora, “Arrest them both, this one for going AWOL and that one for assaulting a soldier.”
Theodora picked up her fists, “I fuckin’ dare you.”
I took a step back, keeping my body between Theodora and the guards, “Theo, listen, we need to get out of here.”
Theo gasped and I turned to see someone had grabbed her from behind!
I rushed to him and locked my fists together, still in the handcuffs, and slammed them down on his shoulder.
Theodora rushed to the downed MP and grabbed his sidearm, “Okay, anyone does anything and we kill this motherfucker!”
I picked up the fallen MP, and sighed, “This isn’t what I was hoping for.”
Theodora looked to me, “yeah, but it’s exciting isn’t-”
Someone’s rifle went off multiple times.
Theodora blinked a few times, a look of confusion on her face as she dropped the sidearm.
“Who the fuck opened fire!” I heard Colonel Davis shout.
A trickle of blood leaked from Theodora’s mouth as she coughed, splashing me and the MP with blood.
My eyes went wide as I rushed to her, catching her in my arms, “Theo!”
I caught her as she was going limp, her eyes wide, wet and scared, “Z-Zeph… I… they got me?”
I looked to her chest and gasped, blood was soaking her robes! “Medic!” I shouted.
Theo shivered in my arms, her complexion going pale as she went into shock, coughing up more blood, “I... guess… I’ll never get that… kiss…”
I was shaking, my feathers were ruffled and I leaned down, kissing her softly on the lips.
Theodora returned the kiss, her hand weakly moving up to my cheek before it slumped to her side.
I pulled away, “Theo, you’re going to make it, don’t you dare leave me here alone!” I shouted.
Theo’s eyes were opened, a smile on her face, but she wasn’t moving.
“Theo?!” I screamed.
Theo’s eyes were glassy and vacant, looking away from me, her body limp.
“Theo, look at me!” I fearfully moved my fingers to her throat, “T-Theo?”
No pulse. No answer.
“No….” My eyes filled with tears. “No!” I shouted. She was just here! She can’t be gone! Not that fast! How?!
“On your stomach!” someone shouted.
“Theo… Theo wake up!” I screamed.
“Get on your stomach!” The MP shouted.
My hands were shaking, my wings felt stiff. My breaths were coming faster and I felt my heart hammering in my chest. I tried to speak but I couldn’t. I knew what was about to happen, I was shifting. It was faster than before and stronger.
I let out a scream of anguish that was apparently loud enough to shatter windows and I felt myself shift, “Theo!
But it wasn’t like any shift I had before. My heart stopped, my breath halted, as I got to my feet.
My body wasn’t shaking and as I turned, everything was in slow motion.
The MP’s were firing on me now.
I walked towards them or at least it felt like walking. I could see the bullets in mid-air as I walked past them.
I grabbed the rifle in my hand and gripped it tight, it shattered in my hand like glass. With nothing else in my hand, I thrust my fist forward, trying to punch the MP in the chest.
His eyes went wide as my fist plowed through his chest.
I pulled my fist out and watched the life leave his eyes as he collapsed on the ground at my feet.
I felt something strike my cheek and turned. Colonel Davis had his sidearm drawn and his eyes widened in disbelief as I turned to him.
“What the hell are you?!” he shouted.
I rushed to him, the floor tiles under my boots shattered and broke as I moved. I tried to gently grab him, the cuffs having shattered off of my wrists so easily I didn’t even register their existence.
As I grabbed the Colonel by his shirt, it ripped in my hand. I felt more little pebbles striking the back of my neck.
I turned my head to see two more soldiers shooting at me. My lip lifted in a sneer and I spread my wings, flicking a pair of my feathers at each of them.
I heard them scream briefly before they were impaled on the sharpened feathers.
I looked at my shaking hands in horror. I had killed three men effortlessly. I turned to Colonel Davis, “Where’s the Ambassador?”
Colonel Davis narrowed his eyes on me, “I knew you were a traitor!”
I screamed, “You did this!” my hands shook.
Colonel Davis’s eyes went blank and I took a step back, unsure of what had just happened.
Blood leaked from the Colonel’s eyes, nose and ears as he slumped forward, dead.
My whole body was shaking now, I looked at my hands once more. “What is happening to me?!”
I looked up to see more soldiers on the upper floors. I jumped upwards, landing in between the group of them, “where is the ambassador?!” I demanded, quietly this time.
They all took aim at me.
“Don’t…” I warned, “Or you’re going to die… I can’t…”
More annoying pebbles struck me.
My whole body shook again and I tried so hard to remain calm, but my anger surged! I spread my wings, thrusting two more hardened feathers from their tips.
I looked to my right and left. Three men each were now skewered by my feathers, pinned down to the ground by the black blades. One soldier at the back wriggled and squirmed before eventually slowing his movements, blood pooling beneath each group of men.
My face twisted into an angry grimace, my eyes welling up with tears, “I… I warned you!
I marched my way down another hallway, my fists clenched and continuing to shake. My wings shivered as I heard a tinkling like glass wind chimes brushing against each other.
I saw the door now, a door which had a nameplate on it. “William C. Lawrence. U.S. Ambassador.”
I gritted my teeth, walking to the door and tearing it off the hinges. What greeted me was a solid steel security door with multiple bolts.
I growled in anger and grabbed it, my fingers sinking into the material like it was made of playdough. With no effort, I ripped the security door off its hinges, a flurry of little pelting strikes hitting my skin.
I was shaking as I saw a man cowering behind six armed guards, all wearing body armor and riot gear, unloading their clips at me.
When they stopped, I spoke, “If you value your lives, leave. If not… you’re all going to die! And there’s nothing I can do to stop myself…”
“Eat this bitch!” one of the guards fired a grenade at me.
I felt the heat wash over me and I closed my eyes as it did. The force of the blast did nothing, though I felt the floor shift under me.
I opened my eyes. Despite the smoke, I saw them. I saw the soldiers, some cocky and brave, some fearful and worried. One man was running.
I didn’t care about him.
I walked forward and grabbed the guy who threw the grenade at me. It was now I realized my cloth robes were burned away, leaving only my armor.
I threw the man across the room. I winced as I heard his spine snap from the sheer speed I had thrown him with.
One of the soldiers pulled out a knife and tried to stab me. I blocked it with my forearm.
I turned and watched as the blade snapped against my skin.
The soldiers’ eyes went wide as he looked at the knife and I did the same.
What?” I thought to myself, “What is this?”
Another surge of power pulsed through me and I gasped as a force pulsed from my body, knocking the soldiers away and pushing the Ambassador against the wall.
I gritted my teeth and tried to clench my fists as Demond showed me, trying to pull the power under my control.
I turned to the soldiers, yet another pulse surging from my body, forcing both men through a concrete wall.
I turned away, looking at the Ambassador, taking a deep breath and trying to speak softly, “Who ordered my arrest?”
The ambassador was literally pissing himself, “I’m sorry… God forgive me… please…” he fell to his knees, “please have mercy… it wasn’t me!”
“Who…?” I hissed.
“It was the President, he demanded your arrest!” the ambassador whimpered.
I took another breath and forced it out slowly, I turned to his desk and spotted a red phone. I reached out for it and it leaped into my hand.
“What am I? What is happening?” I shivered, unsure if I was afraid of my own power or if another surge was coming. I addressed the ambassador, handing him the phone, “Put Him On!”
The ambassador took the phone and dialed a number. He swallowed hard as the call was answered.
“Did you get her?” I heard the voice on the other end of the phone perfectly.
I clenched my jaw so hard I thought my teeth were going to break, I reached out for the phone and it flew into my hands. I spoke softly, “Who is this?”
“This is the Goddamned President of the United States of America - Who the hell is this?” a pompous voice answered.
My vision blurred and I shuddered in anger, “My name is Zepherina ‘Hera’ Hippolyte, Princess of the Penthesilean Confederation.”
“Why am I talking to you? You should be in cuffs heading back stateside!” the President shouted.
My lip lifted in anger, “your men killed the Steward of Penthesil.”
There was silence, followed by a chuckle.
Is he laughing? Is he laughing at Theodora’s murder?!
The Ambassador began to scream in pain, he grabbed at the side of his head in agony, blood leaking from his nose as another surge pulsed through me, a wind surrounding me, pushing harder and harder against his body.
“The price you pay for betraying the United States and running off with the enemy, little girl,” the President taunted.
Little Girl?!
I was shaking and I heard a pop. I turned and saw the Ambassador's skull had caved in.
I hissed into the phone, “Mr. President, you’re the one who’s going to pay!
“Put Ambassador William back on,” the President said, “I’m done talking to you, girly.”
My jaw chattered in anger, “You just declared war on Penthesil.”
“Oh really?” the President laughed again, “what are you little ladies going to do to us? We’re the United States of America: We’re the only SuperPower left. We are an Empire, little girl.”
I couldn’t stop myself as I screamed, “I will tear your whole fucking empire down!”
The walls shattered around me and the floor broke beneath my feet.
A surge of power so intense coursed through my body that I couldn’t stop every one of my limbs from shaking.
I saw everything glowing purple and I turned around to see Theodora’s body laying on the ground. When did I leave her there? She shouldn’t be left there on the floor.
I walked towards her and cradled her in my arms, “I’m sorry,” I whispered. “I can only destroy. I can’t protect.” I felt myself lifting into the air as I hit a wall. A surge of power I was trying to keep from completely overwhelming me. “So… I’ll have to… destroy… to protect… everyone…”
As I struggled with the power inside of me, which threatened to pour out, the wind swirling around me gave me something to focus on. The slight crashing and smashing of debris as the wind pulverized concrete into sand, bones to dust, and wood to splinters.
I wanted to cry, but I felt no tears from my eyes. Only heat. Only rage. Only hatred.
I held Theodora tight against my chest.
It felt like I was there forever until I heard a single voice.
“Zepherina!” the voice shouted.
I turned to it.
Of all the people to come to me.
Of all the times.
Why was it her?
My accursed mother.

I leaned over Zepherina, noticing that Theodora was completely limp, blood covering her chin and neck. Further, inspection revealed several bullet holes in her chest.
Zepherina lost control of herself and killed everyone in the building, that was clear.
Something I would have done on a whim or improperly placed word.
But Zepherina wasn’t a monster, she wasn’t like me.
Yet here she was, her wings black and blade-like, her eye sockets lacking actual eyes, instead violet balls of fire floated in her empty sockets.
“Zepherina, what has happened to you?” I asked.
Zepherina was heaving sobs and embraced Theodora’s body tightly. “Why… can’t I…”
I frowned, “Protect the ones you love?”
Zepherina turned to me, despair on her face, and gave me a nod. The fire shifted to smoke in her eyes.
I knelt next to her, “because they’re not as strong as us. Things that would kill them don’t harm us. So, sadly, even if we’re right next to them…”
“She was here… and then…” Zepherina’s voice caught in her throat.
“Let’s take her home,” I offered.
Zepherina turned to Theodora’s corpse, stunned.
“She doesn’t want to be here,” I coaxed.
Zepherina gave a weak nod, “yeah. She wanted to go. So we should go.”
“On your feet, come on soldier,” I took Zepherina’s arm in my hand. It felt like I was holding steel.
Zepherina turned to me, “what did you call me?”
“Soldier,” I pulled her to her feet, “I said on your feet, soldier.”
Zepherina’s wings wrapped protectively around Theodora’s body as the transport landed.
I ran towards the transport, helping Zepherina in and climbing in myself. “Let's go!” I shouted as I shut the doors.
With that we were airborne.
I turned to Zepherina, the smokey balls had now turned to small little balls of steam in her eyes. She looked over her wings, “I normally would have turned back by now.”
I sat next to her, “you did this when you fought me. Is it difficult to turn back to normal?” I asked.
“No,” Zepherina frowned, “I… I feel stuck.”
I pursed my lips as we headed home, “We’ll get you unstuck.”
Zepherina whispered, just under her breath, “I don’t know if I want to be unstuck.”
I frowned, looking out the window. Was she going to wind up like me? No. I couldn’t let that happen.
One of me is enough for one universe. There doesn’t need to be another.
After an hour of silence, I had to ask the question: “Was she a lover?”
Zepherina was stoic as she spoke as if she had burned through her emotions for the day, “a lover and a fighter. Just not mine.”
I nodded, “so a dear friend then.”
“Like you’ve ever lost anyone,” Zepherina spat.
I looked at Zepherina, “Moria. I loved her.”
Zepherina turned to me.
“She was a genius,” I smiled wistfully, “she made the adapter that… well, made you.”
Zepherina’s eyes turned back to Theodora.
“She was killed and I could do nothing at the time,” I frowned, “I know your pain, Zepherina.”
Zepherina was silent.
“I think you went easy on them,” I added.
“What?” Zepherina turned to me.
“What did you tell them, before you killed them?” I asked.
Zepherina looked away, “that I would tear their empire down.”
I nodded, “lucky for them they didn’t have to deal with me.”
Zepherina turned to me.
“I wouldn’t just kill them or burn their bodies. I’d slaughter their families. I would tear their elders from the ground and smash their tombstones. I’d have Rage burn through the databases and erase any sign, any trace of their existence from this planet. I’d make it so history wouldn’t remember them and the present day wouldn’t be allowed to even speak their name. Their families, their friends, all obliterated,” I continued. “They wouldn’t even be a fairy tale by the end of the day. Nothing to remember them by, just a brief and insignificant fleck that made the grave mistake of crossing my path.”
Zepherina turned from me as the chopper began to descend.
I hoped that my overblown reaction gave her some modicum of closure. Closure that what Zepherina had done paled in comparison to my actions, if I was in her stead.
It was meager, but I hoped it offered her some consolation.
As we landed, I saw a number of soldiers rushing towards the transport. Generals, Royal guards, and Theodora’s mother, Dimitira.
I heaved a deep sigh, turning to Zepherina, “we’re home.”
“Home?” Zepherina said, touching her wings. “...what are they going to think of me? No one has ever… seen me like this…” she said with trepidation.
“They will think whatever we want them to think,” I proclaimed as I got out, helping Zepherina down after me.
As Zepherina stepped down, still carrying Theodora in her arms, Dimitria approached.
“Theodora?” Dimitria gasped as turned around, “Medic! My daughter is hurt!” she screamed.
Zepherina knelt before Dimitira, laying Theodora’s body before her. “She’s… dead. I’m so sorry.”
Dimitira stopped, her face going pale, “What did you say?” she whispered.
“Theo’s…” Zepherina stood, turning away from Theodora’s body.
Dimitira hit the ground with her knees, her hands reaching out to Theodora’s body, “No…” she whispered in disbelief, her eyes growing wet.
The generals around us also turned from the sight.
I did not look away. The Soldiers of Penthesil often ignored emotional distress, but that was not something I would ever do. Life is pain and death is a release from it.
“No!” Dimitria screamed, “My little girl! No!” she fell forward, screaming Theodora's name over and over, pulling her body closer to her as she wailed in anguish.
Zepherina’s face pulled down into a distraught grimace, even as she looked away. She caught me looking at Dimitiria’s breakdown.
I glanced back to Zepherina briefly, motioning my head towards Dimitira and Theodora, encouraging Zepherina to not turn from the sight before us.
Zepherina slowly turned to face Dimitira’s hysterical cries.
Dimitira now glared up at us, rage behind the tears streaming from her eyes, “Who is responsible?!”
Zepherina didn’t hesitate, whispering, “The President of the United States.”
Dimitira got to her feet, tears continued to run down her face. She shouted to me, her voice cracking as it did, “We are at war then, are we not, my Empress?”
I was about to speak before Zepherina looked Dimitira in the eye, causing her to step back in shock.
The others did as well.
Zepherina’s eyes transitioned from steam to a pair of burning spheres of violet fire, “We are at war. And the United States Government will pay for its crime against Theodora!”
“Then so be it,” I decreed, standing proudly beside Zepherina, “The Penthesilean Confederation is now at war with the United States of America.”
“We will tear their capitals down, but spare their people,” Zepherina said softly, looking up to the generals. “For Theodora,” Zepherina said with determination, a mixture of sorrow and anger behind her voice.
Dimitria clenched her fist, tears still hot on her cheeks, “For Theodora!”
“For Theodora!” all of the generals shouted in unison in their call to action.
I pitied the poor girl as I looked down at her body. It was a shame Theodora was gone and I mourned for the pain it caused Zepherina. Yet, what stuck in my mind was how well this played in my favor.
Now, I’ve got the power.
Zepherina was at my side, my soldiers emboldened to strike at our newest enemy. But still, this felt like a cursed wish, something that came at a grave cost. I narrowed my eyes and wondered if my father had something to do with it.
An epiphany struck me, a detail I had overlooked due to the chaos surrounding the situation at the time: What business does a Bishop have at a US Embassy? And how was it that the sole survivor of Zepherina's wrath was this said Bishop?
submitted by Zithero to The_Guardian_Temple [link] [comments]

2020.09.04 18:07 gerired I’m a gay male; today I went to an appointment with a Psychologist for the first time in my life and in the middle of the interview she suggested I get tested to see “if I’m actually gay”, after asking “if I was molested” when I was a child. Should I run for the hills?

After a life-long battle with not going to therapy, I decided to take the first step to get better and today went to make an appointment with a psychologist at a local clinic (in the Dominican Republic, where I’m from).
I know there’s a lot of trauma I’ve been carrying my entire life that need to be worked on so I’ve made my mind that testing is needed to get clear information of how my experiences have affected me.
I’m 32 years old. At a point she asked “why someone with that age doesn’t have a family or the desire to have one”. Besides explaining her that having offspring is not something I’ve ever wanted, I brought up the fact that I’m openly gay (you can figure out what that means in a homophobic country).
To that, she asked me if I was molested when I was a child, explaining that “that’s the first thing that comes to mind » and then suggested that on top of the testing for personality disorders (which I’m doing tomorrow regardless if I’m facing a biased « professional » towards homosexuality, because I want to know) she suggested we could figure out if my homosexuality is « actually » my sexual orientation... saying that it could be “a belief I’ve just set in me”.
I told her that since I’m aware I always felt attracted to other boys, and even when in school I got to like two girls, at the same time I felt attracted to boys... the difference was that I could never be open about it. It was in college, when I was away from home that I came to peace with the fact that I like men and since then felt free and it hasn’t been a source of shame anymore. Up to now I identify as a gay man, but I’m aware that sexual orientation could be more of a spectrum rather than a binary.
To the if I was molested question, I told her that when I was 13 an adult far cousin exposed himself to me (he played porn on the TV and started to jack off), but at that age I was very aware of my attraction to men. If anything, he saw me as a vulnerable gay kid and took advantage of it.
Having said that, I’ve felt arousal while watching girl on girl action and straight porn, but not so much as I do with gay porn. Also, I’ve never had sex with a woman, but I say that before I die I want to try it out, for the curiosity (in a three way with a guy, for starters).
I’m adding this because I have questioned “Am I bi?” before, but then I see a penis and get the feels and also remember how I felt on the underwear aisle when I was a kid...
Like, if anything I might have bisexual tendencies, but men are on the top. I don’t see myself being with women beyond a night of curiosity...
So, am I facing a biased psychologist that is projecting her beliefs on me? She seemed religious, at various moments in the interview she mentioned how “God has been by my side”... and even though I believe in God/Universe as a force, I’m not religious, but also think everyone is entitled to a belief, psychologists included.
Should I stick with her beyond the evaluation of tomorrow, or give her the benefit of the doubt and see if there’s more about my sexual orientation that I ignore?
I don’t want to seem judgmental, but she’s already an old lady... which gave me hopes because that should speak about how experienced she is in her field (am I sure about that? lol)... but now I’m wondering if she’s someone with outdated views on homosexuality and need to take the next exit available.
Any advice?
Thank you 🙏🏽
Update: Thank you for the reassurance y’all. I won’t be going tomorrow for the personality disorders test, nor to any other appointments with her. Already on the look for a more qualified professional that will be of actual help 🙌🏽
submitted by gerired to MentalHealthSupport [link] [comments]

2020.09.02 22:16 shhmandy 2020-21 FedExCup Regular Season (50 events)

September 7-13 Safeway Open Silverado Resort and Spa (North Course) Napa, California
14-20 U.S. Open Championship Winged Foot Golf Club Mamaroneck, New York
21-27 Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship Puntacana Resort & Club (Corales Golf Course) Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
October 28-4 Sanderson Farms Championship Country Club of Jackson Jackson, Mississippi
5-11 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open TPC Summerlin Las Vegas, Nevada
12-18 THE CJ CUP @ SHADOW CREEK Shadow Creek Golf Course Las Vegas, Nevada
19-25 ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP @ SHERWOOD Sherwood Country Club Thousand Oaks, California
November 26-1 Bermuda Championship Port Royal Golf Course Southampton, Bermuda
2-8 Houston Open Memorial Park Golf Course Houston, Texas
9-15 Masters Tournament Augusta National Golf Club Augusta, Georgia
16-22 The RSM Classic Sea Island Resort (*Seaside Course, Plantation Course) St. Simons Island, Georgia
23-29 OFF
December 30-6 Mayakoba Golf Classic El Camaleón Golf Club at the Mayakoba Resort Playa del Carmen, Mexico
January 4-10 Sentry Tournament of Champions Kapalua Resort (The Plantation Course) Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii
11-17 Sony Open in Hawaii Waialae Country Club Honolulu, Hawaii
18-24 The American Express PGA WEST (*Stadium Course, Nicklaus Tournament Course); La Quinta Country Club La Quinta, California
25-31 Farmers Insurance Open Torrey Pines Golf Course (*South Course, North Course) San Diego, California
February 1-7 Waste Management Phoenix Open TPC Scottsdale (Stadium Course) Scottsdale, Arizona
8-14 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am *Pebble Beach Golf Links, Spyglass Hill Golf Course, Monterey Peninsula Country Club (Shore Course) Pebble Beach, California
15-21 The Genesis Invitational The Riviera Country Club Pacific Palisades, California
22-28 World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship Club de Golf Chapultepec Mexico City, Mexico
22-28 Puerto Rico Open Grand Reserve Country Club Rio Grande, Puerto Rico
March 1-7 Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard Bay Hill Club & Lodge Orlando, Florida
8-14 THE PLAYERS Championship TPC Sawgrass (THE PLAYERS Stadium Course) Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
15-21 The Honda Classic PGA National Resort & Spa (The Champion Course) Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
22-28 World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play Austin Country Club Austin, Texas
22-28 Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship Puntacana Resort & Club (Corales Golf Course) Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
April 29-4 Valero Texas Open TPC San Antonio (AT&T Oaks Course) San Antonio, Texas
5-11 Masters Tournament Augusta National Golf Club Augusta, Georgia
12-18 RBC Heritage Harbour Town Golf Links Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
19-25 Zurich Classic of New Orleans TPC Louisiana New Orleans, Louisiana
May 26-2 Valspar Championship Innisbrook, a Salamander Resort (Copperhead Course) Palm Harbor, Florida
3-9 Wells Fargo Championship Quail Hollow Club Charlotte, North Carolina
10-16 AT&T Byron Nelson TPC Craig Ranch McKinney, Texas
17-23 PGA Championship The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort Kiawah Island, South Carolina
24-30 Charles Schwab Challenge Colonial Country Club Fort Worth, Texas
June 31-6 the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Muirfield Village Golf Club Dublin, Ohio
7-13 RBC Canadian Open St. George's Golf and Country Club Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada
14-20 U.S. Open Championship Torrey Pines Golf Course (South Course) San Diego, California
21-27 Travelers Championship TPC River Highlands Cromwell, Connecticut
July 28-4 Rocket Mortgage Classic Detroit Golf Club Detroit, Michigan
5-11 John Deere Classic TPC Deere Run Silvis, Illinois
12-18 The Open Championship Royal St. George's Golf Club Sandwich, Kent, England
12-18 Barbasol Championship Keene Trace Golf Club (Champions Trace) Nicholasville, Kentucky
19-25 3M Open TPC Twin Cities Blaine, Minnesota
August 26-1 OFF (Men's Olympic Golf) Kasumigaseki Country Club Saitama, Kantō, Japan
2-8 World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational TPC Southwind Memphis, Tennessee
2-8 Barracuda Championship Old Greenwood Golf Course Truckee, California
9-15 Wyndham Championship Sedgefield Country Club Greensboro, North Carolina
16-22 THE NORTHERN TRUST Liberty National Golf Club Jersey City, New Jersey
23-29 BMW Championship Caves Valley Golf Club Owings Mills, Maryland
September 30-5 TOUR Championship East Lake Golf Club Atlanta, Georgia
submitted by shhmandy to golf [link] [comments]

2020.09.01 16:20 SundayRed Here are the results from the r/golf 2020 Census!

A big thanks to the 2055 of you who took a moment to complete the recent golf 2020 census.
This is a tremendous response and should provide a reasonable sample size among active users of this sub. Caveat: while my IRL work has a lot to do with digital media and numbers, I am no data scientist or Excel whiz, so I'm sure this isn't quite as good as it could be, but it's all I have time to do with now!
So without further ado, here are the results (and I have made the data available here if anyone wants to take a peek or slice and dice it for themselves). You can view natively in your browser, or simply click the 'download' button in the top right.
I might edit this later with some more findings, but that's enough for now! I'll be really interested to know what you think. What results surprise you? What results were you sure of? Please post and discuss your feedback!
1. How old are you? The average age of golf is 30.01 years. It's also the most common age selected in the census with 144 of you identifying as exactly 30 years old, 135 of you identifying as 31 and 134 identifying as 28 years.
The oldest respondent is 72 (and has a handicap of 5). The youngest respondent was 13, which is the minimum age to have a reddit account, which is why I cut it off there. The two 13-year-olds identify as being off 12 and 6 handicaps.
Just 108 of the sample size are teenagers, representing a mere of 5.26% of respondents.
2. What is your gender? A whopping 98.2% of us identify as male and just 1.1% female. I knew this sub was heavily skewed to men, but that's a LOT more than I expected.
3. What is your relationship status? 41.9% of this sub is married, 29.7% are in a relationship and 27.5% are single.
The average handicap of married golfers is 17.0, single 17.5 while golfers in a relationship are 18.4, suggesting this latter category is prioriting other matters in life :)
0.8% of married golfers and 1.1% of both single and golfers in relationship are better than scratch players
4. Where do you live? 79.7% of you live in the United States Canada is second with 8.1% and the UK third with 4.4%.
The top 10 is:
Country Count
USA 1637
Canada 166
UK 90
Australia 27
Sweden 26
Ireland 23
New Zealand 11
Norway 10
Germany 8
Netherlands/Denmark/Finland 7
There are single representatives from Antigua, the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Georgia, Greece, Grenada, Iceland, Italy, Mexico, Oman, Pakistan, Poland, Romania and Thailand.
5. In which US state do you live? Here is where the Americans among us live:
State Count
California 171
Texas 108
New York 88
Illinois 69
Pennsylvania 63
Massachusetts/Ohio 62
Georgia 69
Florida/Michigan 58
Virginia 56
Minnesota 54
The states with the fewest golfers are Delaware and Montana (2 each) while Vermont and Wyoming each have 4 representatives on golf according to this census.
6. What is your current handicap? (rounded to the nearest whole number) According to this census, the average handicap or golf is slightly lower than 17.5 (slightly lower as there are 20 players who identify as better than scratch, but were counted as 0 for the purposes of this average).
7. Recently,my handicap has been... 1262 (61.35%) of you have been reducing your handicaps lately - well done! 8.81% of you need to stop the recent rise in your handicap 29.84% of you are remaining relatively unchanged/consistent
8. My status as a golfer is... The vast majority of us (96.15%) are amateur players/weekend hackers while there are at least 8 current professionals among us, 3 former pros and 68 aspiring pros
9. What would you say is your preferred brand of club? I appreciate this question didn't suit everyone, as putters are different to irons as wedges are different to drivers - you might like a brand in one club, but loathe it in another. Without wanting to make this survey too in-depth, I think the below table is a decent snapshot of golf's preferred club brands (and really sorry I forgot about the PXG crew!)
Brand # that express it as 'favorite'
TaylorMade 532
Callaway 380
Mizuno 303
Titleist 270
Ping 218
Cobra 126
Cleveland 46
Wilson 46
Nike 39
Srixon 32
Ben Hogan 20
Adams 13
Miura 9
Dunlop 6
Bridgestone 4
MacGregor 4
Bettinardi 2
Honma 2
Vulcan 2
Obviously a lot to unpack here and there a LOT of variables. Of particular interest is the love for a now defunct golf brand (Nike) ahead of leading brands such as Srixon and Miura. Also, there is a noticeable drop-off from Ping to Cobra and an even greater one from Cobra to Cleveland.
When you isolate the data to those with a 0 or better handicap, the results look like this:
TaylorMade (9) Titleist (7) Callaway (3) Mizuno (3) Ping (3) Cleveland (2) Miura (1) Nike (1)
10. Do you prefer to mix or match? 19.57% prefer to match your sets while 80.43% don't mind what's in the bag, as long as it works for you.
11. What brand of ball do you primarily play?
Brand Number who play it
Titleist 462
Whatever I find in my bag or the woods 290
Callaway 249
TaylorMade 211
Srixon 194
Bridgestone 170
Kirkland 121
Vice 119
Snell 79
Wilson 39
Nike 21
Top Flite 19
Oncore 16
Maxfli 13
Inesis 8
Volvik 8
Mizuno 7
Pinnacle 6
Noodle 3
Seed 2
Sugar 2
Slazenger 2
OtheVarious 12
12. Do you think the ball you play has a significant impact on your game? 37.59% of you think it's VERY important 19.40% of you don't think it matters at all 43.01% don't mind, as long as it's a ball by a 'leading' manufacturer
17/20 of BETTER than scratch golfers said that ball choice is critical. The only surprising thing about this is that it wasn't 20/20! The average handicap of players who suggest ball choice is very important is 14.16 (down 3+ whole points from the overall golf average) and if you include the BETTER than scratch handicappers as zero, that falls to 13.85.
13. What is your position on iron covers? 57 of you (2.77%) use iron covers 821 of you (39.97%) of you think these 57 people should be openly mocked 1176 (57.26%) of you think these 57 people should do whatever they like :)
14. Do you drink alcohol while golfing? 17.96% of you don't see any difference between a golf course and an open bar 29.60% of you drink and play some of the time 24.74% of you drink occasionally 27.70% of you never drink while golfing
Of the 29 zero or better handicappers among us, 11 never drink on the course and 5 drink most of the time!
15. What is your preferred tee time? 40.55% of you enjoy gettingup at the crack of dawn for an early morning tee time 27.46% of you like a morning slot, but without the early wake-up 14.41% of you would rather play in the afternoon 13.00% of you enjoy finishing the day with twilight golf Just 4.58% of you prefer to tee off at lunchtime
16. What is your preferred way of getting around the course? 45.13% of you prefer driving 32.18% of you are card carrying members of the push cart mafia 22.69% of you mental bastards prefer to walk and carry
17. Are you a member of a club? 71.23% of golf are nomads 23.81% of us are full year members of a club 4.96% of us are members of a club for part of the year
18. Have you ever had a hole-in-one? 10.18% of you have an ace to your name 89.82% of us are still searching for that elusive milestone!
19. Who do you prefer golfing with? 76.53% of us would rather golf with our friends 12.03% most enjoy playing with family 10.37% prefer the solitude of a solo round 1.07% of you most enjoy the company of strangers
20. Hot or cold? 67.53% of you would prefer to play in roasting hot conditions 32.47% would rather play in the freezing cold
21. What is your biggest pet peeve on the course?
Here's how you responded to the pre-defined answers:
Peeve # of you who most hate this
Slow play 1051
Lack of course care 214
People who hit up on you 204
'Put me down for bogey' guy 147
People who litter 145
Bluetooth speakers 111
Unsolicited advice 93
And here are some of the best 'write in' answers!
22. What do you consider to be the best part of your game? 34.95% of you are best with an iron in your hands 31.44% of you are magicians around the green with a wedge 16.84% of you feel most at home on the greens 16.77% of you love to step on to the tee with the big dog
23. What do you consider to be the worst part of your game? 45.62% of you aren't confident with driver in hand 20.25% of you least like putting 18.55% don't strike irons well compared to the rest of your game 15.58% of you are most uncomfortable with a wedge
24. Assuming you had not achieved either, would you rather... 68.01% of you would rather play a whole round to par or better 31.99% of you would prefer to write a "1" on your score card
25. Which shot produces the most pleasure for you? An utterly PURE mid/long iron right out of the sweet spot (40.12%) Ripping a booming drive down the middle of the fairway (30.62%) Reading the break and hitting the ideal weight on a putt (11.74%) A pin-point chip/pitch to tap-in range (9.54%) Crushing a wood off the deck (4.67%) Splashing out of the sand to a few inches from the cup (2.58%) A perfectly judged bump & run (0.73%)
So that's all of the questions with pre-defined answers, which was much easier for me to dissect than the qualitative answers to come! With upward of 2000 responses, I can't depict every answer, so have done my best to group them and provide some outlying humour and interesting responses.
26. Who are you picking to drain a 20-foot breaking putt to save your life?
By far the most popular response was "Tiger" or a variation of it (including "2000 Sunday Tiger" or "Young Tiger" or simply just an emoji and there are so many variations of TW, Eldrick, El Tigre etc. that I am not going to tally them up - just trust me on this, he is far and away the top choice!)
A lot of you would back yourself for the putt. Some because you legitimately think you will make it, others because they will feel more motivated than anyone on earth while others wouldn't consider burdening another person with that responsibility!
So here's the list I've generated with everyone who had 5 or more mentions.
  • Tiger Woods (714) - not including the aforementioned variations of his name, so I suspect that more than half of you will have chosen TW in some way, shape or form
  • Myself (139)
  • Jordan Spieth (121)
  • Jack Nicklaus (83)
  • Phil Mickelson (82)
  • Dustin Johnson (76)
  • Rickie Fowler (62)
  • Justin Thomas (58)
  • Jason Day (49)
  • Kevin Kisner (31)
  • Bryson DeChambeau (26)
  • Colin Morikawa (20)
  • Brad Faxon (18)
  • Kevin Na (17) - and two said "just so he can walk it in"
  • Steve Stricker (16)
  • Rory McIlroy (15)
  • My dad (13)
  • Dennis McCarthy (12)
  • Anyone but myself (11)
  • Happy Gilmore (11)...uh oh, Happy learned how to putt!
  • Jesus (11)
  • Ben Crenshaw (10)
  • Brandt Snedeker (9)
  • Webb Simpson (9)
  • Matt Kuchar (8)
  • Ian Poulter (8)
  • Brooks Koepka (6)
  • Arnold Palmer (6)
  • Tommy Fleetwood (6)
  • Jim Furyk (6)
  • Jon Rahm (5) - would have been a lot more after last weekend!
  • Patrick Reed (5)
A special shout out to....
  • The 6 people who would choose my mom (clearly good putting is not hereditary)
  • The 3 people who said "The Club Pro Guy"
  • The 2 people who said Michael Phelps
  • The 2 who said Batman
  • The 1 cool cat who said Carole Baskin
  • The 1 who nominated Rick Shiels because he "prefers some risk"
  • And the wise guy who said "a robot designed for putting" (see: 2000 Tiger)
27. If you could change one rule in golf, what would it be?
Another one where I made it pretty difficult to analyse and display the results! But here are a few of the top answers (in what I interpret as order of popularity), and please feel free to access the results yourself if you want to sort through them all.
  • Lost ball to become a drop at nearest point of relief for a one-shot penalty instead of reloading for three
  • All hazards/OOB to be red stakes for consistency
  • Be permitted to ground your club in a bunker
  • Relax dress codes (including allowing tour players to wear shorts)
  • "Gallery Balls" whereby amateurs receive a free drop for a 'lost' ball that is definitely in play
  • All players should receive relief from fairway divots
  • Any drop/penalty should just be one stroke (a LOT of you think all OB should be treated as a lateral hazard)
  • A certain number of mulligans per round (most said one, but some of you want up to 3 per nine!)
  • Actual enforcement of penalties for slow play and/or a shot clock
  • Be permitted to lift, clean and place on all fairways
  • Free relief for things like ree roots, fences etc.
  • Drop height... some of you want it lower (ankle) and some of you want it back to the waist!
  • Change number of clubs permitted in bag (interestingly, half of those who suggested this want fewer and the other half want more - there doesn't seem to be a universal consensus)
  • That inconsequential and accidental touches of the ball or sand should not result in a penalty
  • Allow rangefinders/slope in competitive play
  • Preferred lies within one club-length no nearer the hole on all grass and bunker sand
  • Flagsticks should remain in the cup 100% of the time
  • Overturn the ban on anchoring
  • Slightly bigger cups
  • Stymies should be permitted
While sorting through these responses, it became apparent just how difficult it is to please all golfers. On one line, someone says "Collared shirts compulsory" and on the next, someone says "Collared shirts optional!"
And finally, this one tickled me...
"If you are not on the green and can run to your ball and play another shot within 5 seconds, the first one shouldn't count!"
28. What is your hottest/most controversial golf take?
Another one that's impossible to really depict succinctly, so here are some interesting responses, copied and pasted exactly as you wrote them!
  • (most) old people ruin the game (gatekeeping & arrogance towards younger generation)
  • "Annoying fans" are necessary to grow the sport
  • 18 holes per game is too many
  • 70% of people should be playing from the red tees. Move forward
  • Alcohol should be banned on the course
  • Alignment lines on balls should be banned
  • All private clubs should have a public day
  • Amateur golfers on YouTube do more for attracting new people to the sport than pros on TV
  • Augusta as a course/club is overhyped. If it wasn't for the exclusivity and the masters itself, it would be considered an average course
  • Bad golfers should be relegated to non-ideal tee times
  • Blades make you a better golfer because you can feel where your misses are on the face
  • Breaking 80 isn’t impressive if it’s not from the tips
  • Brooks is more annoying than Bryson
  • Bryson and brooks are likable, talented guys
  • Bryson and Patrick reed are good for the game (several dozen more Bryson takes!)
  • Carts should only be used by people with mobility issues
  • Corn Ferry far superior to European tour
  • Dress codes are stupid
  • European Tour is more difficult than the PGA Tour
  • Everyone cheats, somehow or some way
  • Fairway shots are most times harder than shots out of the rough on low quality courses
  • Fedex Cup should be match play
  • Fitting is the biggest scam going. It is a sales tool and nothing more.
  • Getting married ruins the promising careers of young pga pros (see Jordan, tiger, rory, rickie, DJ)
  • Gimmes are acceptable and should be reasonable encouraged in social (non-competitive) play
  • Gimmes suck and hurt your game
  • Glove should not be removed during putting
  • Golf courses are a waste of resources and land
  • Golf decorum means something and isn't designed to be purely elitist
  • golf fans are the worst fans of any sport
  • Golf isn’t fun to watch just to play
  • Handicapping is a participation trophy for bad players
  • Hazards should not be raked, they are hazards
  • Hitting Fairway Woods off the deck is far easier than off the tee
  • Hole in one's aren't that special
  • I don't like Phil Mickelson
  • I don't really mind slow play
  • I don't think you should mark your ball on the putting green for the other golfers. Putt around other balls.
  • I love golf but hate golfers
  • I'd be on tour if I was given 1 year to train, a new fitted set of clubs, and had no obligations to anything outside of golf (this respondent is a scratch player)
  • I'd like to see a tournament with separate tees: womens/champions/PGA, all competing for the same $/trophy
  • I'd rather hit a great drive and double bogey than dink my iron a few times and par
  • If Bryson was black people would focus on the fact that he is changing the game and advancing it rather than focusing on his minor blunders he has had and blowing them out of proportion.
  • If you can’t shoot under 100, you have no business being on a regulation/championship 18 hole golf course
  • Instead of rolling back the ball, ban the use of tees
  • Iron covers aren’t terrible
  • Irons should be labeled with loft not numbers
  • Leaving the pin in to putt is better than taking it out
  • Men can learn way more from watching the LPGA than the PGA Tour
  • Mulligans are stupid and you cheat yourself out of an actual score
  • Music being played from the cart should not be distracting during a random weekend tee time. We aren’t on tour.
  • No discount should be given if the greens are aerated
  • No one should take more than one practice swing. Just get up and hit the ball.
  • Nobody wants to see pros play ridiculously tough courses where the winner is -1.
  • Older men at golf courses prove millennial aren't the entitled generation, its the 50 to 60 old dude who is
  • Pace of play is less of an issue than people make it out to be in the amateur game
  • PGA tour broadcast juices yardages for casual fans
  • Players on the tour aren’t too long, it’s cool to see what they can do with the same equipment as us
  • Playing forward by a set of tees doesn't make you less of a man
  • Playing more rounds will help you improve scores faster than range sessions. Rounds are what get scored, not repeated hits off turf.
  • Practice swings don't work and are generally pointless
  • Prime tiger wouldn’t go on that run he had today against this new talent
  • Pro Golfers should be able to play through noise and heckling
  • Pro V1s are overrated and mainly used by people for placebo
  • Pros are playing for millions of dollars they are allowed to be entitled and whine
  • Pros should carry their own bags
  • Putters over $100 are a waste of money
  • Rowdy fans are alright
  • Ryder Cup is better than any major
  • Scottys are not overpriced
  • Scrambles are a horrible way to play golf
  • Shafts don't matter for most golfers
  • Solo golfers do not have the right of way as long as the group ahead is meeting course pace of play
  • Stepping on someone's putting line makes no difference
  • Take the driver out of the bag. You’ll shoot better.
  • Tee boxes based on handicap not age/gender
  • The British Open is more prestigious than the Masters
  • The top 20 LPGA players could make bank on the men's tour if they could tee off from 100 yards ahead
  • The US Open is a better tournament than the Masters
  • There are like 5 people on the subreddit qualified to give swing advice
  • Tiger doesn't care to win again
  • Unless you are a 10 handicap or better, the ball you play does not matter
  • US Open should only be played at public golf courses
  • Waiting for the group in front of you is not hard or annoying
  • Womens golf is more entertaining to watch
  • Yelling fore does nothing. You’re on a course be aware of your surroundings.
  • You should have to have a license to play golf. Nothing crazy just take an online class that would go over basic rules and etiquette.
29. What is the best golf course you have ever played?
Have aggregated the most popular answers to the best of my ability, capped at 6+ responses.
  • Pebble Beach (17)
  • Chambers Bay (16)
  • Half-Moon Bay (15)
  • Torrey Pines (13)
  • Whistling Straits (12)
  • TPC Scottsdale (11)
  • Bethpage Black (10)
  • Arcadia Bluffs (9)
  • Wolf Creek (9)
  • Tobacco Road (8)
  • Sypglass (8)
  • Pinehurst #2 (7)
  • Pasatiempo (6)
  • TPC Sawgrass (6)
30. What is your bucket list course that you are yet to play?
Again, a lot of variations here which made it tough for me to sort the data, but have done my best to sample a Top 10. I was very surprised to see Augusta behind St Andrews and so far behind Pebble but I suppose people subconsciously don't vote for courses they have no legitimate way of ever playing. I'd be interested to see these results if I re-phrased the question to "You have a free, no questions asked tee time anywhere in the world, name your club..."
  • Pebble Beach (433)
  • St Andrews (200)
  • Augusta (193)
  • Bandon Dunes (119)
  • Pinehurst #2 (61)
  • TPC Sawgrass (49)
  • Bethpage Black (35)
  • Torrey Pines (22)
  • Whistling Straits (22)
  • Wolf Creek (21)
31. What is the ONE thing golf administrators ought to do to encourage more people (particularly young people) to play the sport?
This was a genuinely encouraging list of 2000+ results to read though. We often read about the 'doom & gloom' aspects of the future of our sport, but there is a vibrant and dedicated golf community out there thinking of ways to perpetuate interest in the sport and keep the flame lit for the next generation.
Again, here's a sampling of what I would consider to be the most popular responses.
  • Make the game less cost prohibitive (this is a big one - everything from clubs to green fees to beers)
  • Open 'masterclasses' or free clinics from pros at ranges and local clubs (another big one)
  • Shorter courses (9 or 12 hole)
  • Heavily discounted beers for 18+ players
  • More facilities like Top Golf
  • A greater focus on 9-hole game, tee times, handicap structure etc.
  • All clubs should have a dedicated youth program
  • Allow interest free payment plans for things like memberships, clubs etc.
  • Alter rules to make it less elite/proper ie. mulligans, preferred lies etc.
  • Allow kids (U15) to play free (and rent clubs free), or at heavily reduced rates
  • Alternate course routing that allows you to come off whenever you like, not necessarily play 18
  • Kids play free with a paying adult (ensuring pace of play is maintained)
  • Relax the dress code and 'traditional' golf culture ie. be far less elitist
  • Twilight 9-hole beer leagues, aimed at young professionals looking for something to do after work
  • Carving out tee time blocks for 'beginners' so they don't feel pressured
  • Similarly, these blocks might be "free for all" in terms of attire, etiquette etc. so if a 14-year-old shows up in a hoodie, carrying 18 clubs and wants to have two mulligans from every tee, it's completely fine!
  • Introduce golf to public schools through gym/PE classes
  • More tech in carts and ability to connect bluetooth (with limited volume)
  • Change the nomenclature of "women's" tees to "beginner" or "forward" tees
  • Close the course one day a month for beginners, with teaching pros on the course and range
  • Pace of play is important, but if newbies feel intimidated they will never come back
  • Encourage mini games within a round for kids ie. straightest shot, nearest to pin etc.
  • Engage with local community/government to identify talented (possibly minority) athletes who would otherwise have no access to golf and get clubs in their hand
  • Decrease the emphasis on score - make it FUN and about the process, not the end result
  • More social events BEYOND golf in local clubs to build the golfing community rapport
  • Improve the professional tour TV and online products
32. What is the best tip, or piece of advice you have ever received that's improved your game?
This one is just too crazy to aggregate, so please view all responses (in column AG) here :)
But I will list EVERY bit of advice provided by our scratch or better players.
  • Only hit shots you know you can hit
  • Just keep playing
  • Don't think, just do
  • If you chunk chips, focus on using you left (right handed) hand more than your right
  • Focus on the next shot
  • Get a lesson
  • You're not good enough to get mad
  • Slow tempo always creates a better shot
  • Tempo tempo tempo! 90% of my bad swings are rushing at the top and hands getting ahead of my body
  • Hammer the nail
  • You don't control the outcome, focus on the process
  • Bowed left wrist
  • Being mad is ok, being negative is not
  • Ask quetions of people who are better than you
  • Focus on the shot you have now, not the one you just hit
  • Swing on a plane
  • Eliminate the double cross
  • Play your game
  • Before all else, hit the center of the face
  • Aim small, miss small
  • Care less
  • Slow Down
  • Learn how to properly manage the course
  • The only shot that matters is the next
  • Rotation is the wrong word, you're not supposed to rotate
  • Relax your grip
  • Accelerate THROUGH the ball - let the ball simply get in the way of your club head’s swing path
33. If you had the attention of EVERY SINGLE PLAYER in the world for 10 whole seconds, what would you say?
Again, too much for me to break down, so you can see all responses here in column AH, but here are some of my favorites and some of the more popular ones!
  • Fix your ball mark
  • Hurry the fuck up
  • One practice swing is enough
  • Leave the flag in
  • Pick up your fucking trash
  • Have more fun on the course - it's a game after all
  • Enjoy this game while we can - it's truly a privilege
  • Accommodate the new as when you are gone, they are all that are left to carry the game
  • Grip it and rip it
  • Focus on contact before power
  • Sam Snead's win record is B.S.
  • Thank you for making me feel like I'm not the only person obsessed with this game
  • If you love golf, take new people golfing
  • Be considerate to players of all skill levels and work to grow the game not alienate newcomers
  • Keep your tempo up through the chip shot
  • Yelling "FORE" could save someone's life (including tour players)
  • Your ego doesn't exist, let it go
  • Don't be a dick, treat the game/courses right, and if you're going to suck, suck at a faster pace
  • There's always someone worse than you
  • You don't practice enough to get that mad
  • You aren’t as good as you think and that's okay
  • Go get fitted, it will pay for itself many times over in the long run
  • Be ready to hit your shot before it's your turn
  • You hit the ball 15 yards shorter than you think you do
  • At your best as a pro, you’ll never be half as good as Tiger's peak
  • Mashed potatoes
  • It's our job to grow the game.
  • Baba booey
  • Jim Nantz, please come do the color commentary for one my rounds
  • Take some damn lessons and stop buying $500 drivers
  • Stop giving yourself gimmies, put the ball in the hole
  • Smell the roses, enjoy the views
  • Golf is hard
  • All of you sandbaggers are going to hell
  • Hurry the fuck up, and stop spending a minute perfectly adjusting the line on that 15 footer for bogey
  • It's our job to grow the game
Thanks again for your input! I might edit this later with some more findings, but that's enough for now!
submitted by SundayRed to golf [link] [comments]

2020.08.30 23:45 ChillTaino Short History Lesson: El Grito De Lares

This revolt was planned by Ramón Emeterio Betances and Segundo Ruiz Belvis. It began on September 23, 1868, in Lares and spread rapidly to several revolutionary areas.
At the time, Puerto Rico and Cuba were suffering a severe economic crisis, due to increasing tariffs and taxes imposed by the Spanish central government on most import and export goods, the Spanish crown was in serious need of these funds. People were being jailed or exiled for the most inconsequential reasons too.
Betances authored several Proclamas, or statements attacking the exploitation of the Puerto Ricans by the Spanish centralist system and called for immediate insurrection. These statements soon circulated throughout the island as local dissident groups began to organize.
That same year, poet Lola Rodríguez de Tió, inspired by Ramón Emeterio Betances's quest for Puerto Rico's independence, wrote the patriotic lyrics to the existing tune of La Borinqueña, Puerto Rico's national anthem.
Betances suggested an outright, island-wide rebellion, with a proclamation of independence as soon as possible. Frustrated by the lack of political and economic freedom, by the continuing repression on the island, an armed rebellion was staged by the pro-independence movement soon after, bringing together members from all sectors of society including landowners, merchants, professionals, peasants, and slaves.
The Dominican government had supported Ramón Emeterio Betances. They allowed him to recruit a small army, and gave him a ship containing weapons.
The leaders decided to start their revolution. 600 rebels gathered on that day in the hacienda of Manuel Rojas. Led by Rojas, the poorly trained and sparsely armed rebels reached the town by horse and foot around midnight. They looted local stores and offices owned by peninsulares (Spanish mainland-born men) and took over the city hall.
The rebels then entered the town's church and placed the revolutionary flag of Lares on the High Altar. This was the sign that the revolution had begun. The Republic of Puerto Rico was proclaimed under the presidency of Francisco Ramírez Medina at the church and the revolutionaries offered freedom to all slaves who joined them. President Ramírez Medina appointed his Government officials.
Departing to take over the next towns in the next few days, The Spanish militia surprised them with strong resistance and the revolution failed.
"Lares es Tierra Santa, y como tal, debe entrarse a ella de rodillas.”
submitted by ChillTaino to IndependenciaPR [link] [comments]

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2020.08.28 14:53 HauntedSpy SKs you never might've heard of: North America

\Note: The USA has its own separate post,* click here In this post, I'll showcase a convicted or suspected SK in each* country on the North American continent from a list I've been compiling about SKs around the world, which have yet to receive a Wikipedia entry. Each section will contain some info on their crimes, and a link/source from which I got it. I hope you'll find this as interesting as I do. Let us begin. ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA: Delano Forbes (2017-2018; 4 victims) "The Vampire Killer". Killed four vagrants in Saint Paul Parish, whose blood he subsequently drained and drank. One victim was killed while he was on the run from police. Trial is ongoing. THE BAHAMAS: Cyril Darville (1980s-1990; 1-10) "The Butcher". Shot and killed 10 unlicensed taxi drivers (known as "hackers") during robberies in Nassau. Convicted of one murder. Sentenced to death, overturned and commuted to 55 years imprisonment. BARBADOS: Mark Beckles (2003; 4 victims) Over the course of four months, he raped and murdered three women and an elderly man in Bridgetown. Committed suicide in prison. BELIZE: None to my knowledge CANADA: Kenneth Ford (1940s-1952; 1-4 victims) "The Quebec Bluebeard". An American man from Vermont who drowned his wife at their Cowansville home. His three previous love interests had also died in suspicious "accidents", all of them sharing one commonality - they were pregnant. Executed at Bordeaux Prison in 1953. COSTA RICA: Jairo Díaz Aragón (2011-2016; 5-8+) "The Dota Killer". Nicaraguan laborer who massacred a family of four in Copey de Dota in March 2015, and later stabbed to death a man the following year. Suspected in the murder of a 10-year-old in Cantón de Pérez Zeledón in 2011, and killing his stepmother and granddaughter back in Nicaragua. Sentenced to 121 years imprisonment. CUBA: Simón Cepero (unknown-1944; victim count in the high double digits) A mentally-ill man who murdered various people, both in and out of prison, in the small village hamlet of San Rafael. Details on this story are a bit confusing, since it's a word-of-mouth one, but still fascinating. Murdered in 1944 by a fellow villager. DOMINICA: Patrickson Moses (2011-2017; 3+) Known by his moniker "Gravity", he sodomized and then murdered at least three homeless men on the streets of Roseau. Other homeless men have been killed in this same manner, and they're suspected of being his doing. Status unknown. DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Luis Alberto Cabrera Jiménez (2002; 3 victims) Jack the Ripper copycat. Between February and May, raped and stabbed to death prostitutes in Santo Domingo, stealing their clothes afterwards. Sentenced to 30 years imprisonment. GRENADA: None to my knowledge GUATEMALA: Silas Boston (1968-1978; 2-3+ victims) American from California who murdered an English couple on his boat, hogtied the bodies and then dropped them off near the Guatemalan coast. Suspected in the death of one of his wives in Sacramento, CA, and possibly responsible for numerous others. Died in hospital before trial. HAITI: Johnson Orélus (2011-2012; 2-4 victims) Leader of a gang of kidnappers who assaulted and killed two Haitian-Americans in Port-au-Prince. Also suspected in the deaths of two other people. Imprisoned, sentence unknown. HONDURAS: Alma Cleotilde Grand Pérez (1998; 3 victims) Murdered three men in El Porvenir, hacking their bodies with an axe and using the remains in satanic rituals. Reportedly the country's first SK. Sentenced to 70 years imprisonment. JAMAICA: Kemar Thompson (2014; 8 victims) In the span of two months, he murdered men in robberies and while trying to avoid capture in Saint Catherine Parish. Sentenced to 66 years imprisonment. MEXICO: Naum Levit Torres Márquez (2015; 3+ victims) Guatemalan immigrant and self-proclaimed MS-13 gang member who murdered three prostitutes in Guadalajara between February and March. Suspected of more murders in his native country. Sentenced to 60 years imprisonment. NICARAGUA: Oliverio Castañeda Palacíos (1933; 4+ victims) "The Dandy Poisoner". Guatemalan man who poisoned family members, and possibly others, with strychnine in León. He was the uncle of left-wing student leader Oliverio Castañeda de León, who was assassinated during Gen. Romeo Lucas Garciá's reign. Palacíos himself was executed by military forces after his trial. PANAMA: Carlos Rafael Meneses Lambis (2003-2004; 2-3 victims) Raped and stabbed two prostitutes in Bethania and Veracruz, and a suspect in the death of his wife in Vista Alegre. Never captured, and remains one of the country's Top 10 fugitives. SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS: None to my knowledge SAINT LUCIA: None to my knowledge SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES: Veron Primus (2006-2015; 2+ victims) Violent criminal and rapist currenty charged with two murders: the 2006 strangulation of a Brooklyn, NY teen and the 2015 stabbing death of a real estate agent in Arnos Vale. The long gap between his crimes leads me to believe he could possibly have more victims, either in New York or Vermont, where he was active, but I could be wrong. Awaiting murder trial in St. Vincent. TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO: None to my knowledge
submitted by HauntedSpy to serialkillers [link] [comments]

2020.08.26 06:25 JesusNipplez On my third rewatch of the show, I think I discovered a motive for Gus' actions toward Victor I haven't seen posted anywhere online

Obvious spoiler alert for Breaking Bad, I'm not quite finished with Better Call Saul (spoiler up to season 3 (although I've seen billboards advertising this character's appearance so not sure if much of a spoiler)) so I'm not sure if future scenes with Gus and Tyrus prove or disprove my theory, but their longstanding relationship is a factor in it.
There were many reasons presented to rationalize Gus killing Victor with a boxcutter such as his face being spotted at Gale's murder, Victor spoiling the batch, proving a point, testing to if Jesse and Mike could handle the more grisly aspects of his business before starting his cartel war, ect. I think there's a deeper connection that ties in with Gus' relationship with Maximino, Hector, Bolsa, and Eladio however.
Victor's murder in Season 4, Episode 1 sits between Gus' coordination of Bolsa's murder in Season 3 Episode 8, and his poisoning of Eladio and takeover of the cartel in Season 4 Episode 10. In Season 4 Episode 8, we learn that Gus' drive to seek revenge against the cartel comes from the murder Maximino (heavily hinted to be Gus' former lover). Irregardless of their relationship, Maximino and Gus experience intense homophobia and racism at the hands of Hector and Eladio (but importantly not Bolsa) .
Under the assumption that Victor is cartel-connected or at least Mexican-American, I think Gus' murder of him and replacement with the black, seemingly queer, Tyrus serves as a red hearing for the motivations for his revenge drive, as well as a power play against Eladio/the cartel. I think the timing of the box cutting and replacement with Tyrus after Gus' arrangement of Bolsa's murder is meant to highlight the risk that Gus has calculated, and accepted, by not only standing on his own against Eladio and the Salamanca family, but doing so while waving his dick in the air. I initially thought Tyrus was Haitian because of the character's military demeanor, the actor's accent, and because of the last name 'Kitt,' but on this latest view I think the scenes of him speaking Spanish are meant to show he's from a Spanish speaking country like the Dominican Republic or possible also Chile like Gus (I'm not sure if further episodes of Better Call Saul better explain his background).
My two biggest supports for this theory is that by the time Gus attempts his takeover of Eladio in Season 4 Episode 10, Mexican-Americans are almost entirely absent from Gus' operations both north and south of the border, which seems like a purposeful casting decision. My other piece of support is that scenes where Tyrus is present with Gus in the company of Hector Salamanca, Hector seemingly directs an equal amount of angry body language at Tyrus as he does towards Gus. Unless something is revealed about Tyrus' backstory in Better Call Saul, it doesn't make sense for Hector to be equally as angry with Tyrus as he does with Gus, who has almost single-highhandedly wiped out his entirely family. The only justification I can come up with for Hector displaying such hatred toward Tyrus as he does towards Gus would be that because Tyrus was visibly more black and queer-passing than Gus, Hector viewed that as equivalently as offensive as he does murdering his family (I think that Hector's flashbacks killing Maximino and nearly drowning his nephew shows that his homophobia/racism is willing to go that intense of an extent). Gus smiles when he notices Hector's uncomfortably with Tyrus, which I think is meant to show he's aware of Tyrus' effect, and in a way needs it as a reminder and justification to be so heartless towards Hector.
I would love to know other peoples thoughts on this theory! I apologize if this is in fact a common theory or is seemingly depicted obviously in the narrative, I could not find reference to this theory anywhere online. This ties in with another theory I have that the narrative of the show gradually enters a more unreliable-narrator narrative (where the viewer isn't presented the full side of a situation as it did in earlier seasons) to reflect that Walt and Jesse are out-of-their-depths and becoming more unaware of the nuances of their surroundings (and as straight white men they wouldn't pick up on the nuances on the very present racial and LGBT-discriminatory around them, much like Walt was unaware of Gale's affection for him).
submitted by JesusNipplez to breakingbad [link] [comments]

2020.08.26 04:22 JimmyMangrove Viva Italia: A Novel Coronavirus Novel Chapter 1-5

1. Lucressi for President
My name is Lucressi Vicente Palamaro, and if there’s one thing I definitely am, it’s Italian. Right now, I’m sitting on my balcony in a high-rise pretty close to the center of Milan. The sky is turning burnt orange in the dusk; it’s your standard evening sun: beautiful but groggy, with an energy akin to the cessation of day-drinking. Lazy and stupefied. On their balconies, my neighbors sip boiled tap water and munch stale garlic bread dipped in Extra-Chunky Praegu™ sauce. The scents tantalize my nostrils. But I am not tempted. I have no time for food. Sentinel duties preoccupy me completely. My binoculars are trained on the space between two nearby apartment buildings, through which I observe a craggy Italian mountain. A mostly barren mountain, spotted with patches of dark green grape vines. I notice a boy herding sheep up a rocky crag. He’s got a towel wrapped around his head as protection from the still-potent sun.
I run inside, find my telephone charging on the counter, dial 911.
“Police? Caio, Police,” I say. “There’s a boy on the loose. An ambulator. A violator of lockdown. A shitter-onner of decency. He’s walking sheep up a crag in the mountains. Yes, absolutely. Spreading coronavirus. Not even wearing a hazmat suit. My uncle, he’s 82! Highly at-risk. That prick’s gonna murder my uncle. You gotta do something, police. Which mountain is it? How am I supposed to know. Well, I live at the intersection of Sfumato Street and Leonardo Di Caprio Lane. And the mountain, from my vantage point, is visible between the two apartment buildings just north of me on Meatball Road. Does that narrow it down for you? It does? Great. You’re sending someone right now? Good, thank you.”
I return to my balcony. The boy has situated himself on the edge of an ancient stone well. He’s got a stick slung over his shoulder with a sack tied to the end. From the sack, he removes a loaf of bread and what appears to be a hunk of gorgonzola cheese. A little lamb nuzzles against his knee; he pats it on the head. No doubt, he’s just transmitted coronavirus to the lamb. And now whoever eats that lamb is gonna die. And whoever wears clothing made from its wool is gonna die. The boy is a murderer, plain and simple. He munches a bit of cheese, tears off a hunk of bread with his teeth, chews vigorously, with satisfaction. The smug satisfaction of a deranged psychopath. I watch him pull a flask from the sack and take a slug of wine before slipping off the edge of the well. He balls up his towel, lays it on the ground, reclines.
How can the boy nap peacefully, knowing full-well he’s murdering millions of people? I’m always astounded by the psychopath’s ability to maintain a clear conscience in the face of his unholy transgressions against humanity. Here I am, a man of high moral understanding and noble social concern, performing self-assigned sentinel duties for the good of the people, yet I can hardly sleep at night thinking of all the dead elderly. All the dead at-risk. And I’m not even responsible for killing them! How can this murderer slumber like a contented babe? A satisfied infant made drowsy by the rich milk of his loving mother’s teat. Murder nourishes his soul. What an ass-munch. A big stupid dummy. And a real jerk, to boot.
Rumbling. Chopping. A helicopter passes overhead. All of the good, moral folks out on their balconies: they point at the helicopter. What is its purpose? Why is it passing so low overhead? Has it located a dissenter? Why yes, it has. Thanks to me.
The helicopter slows as it approaches the mountain. The boy, conscious now of the whirly bird, rushes for cover amongst the grape vines. But his efforts prove futile. The helicopter unleashes a relentless barrage of machine gun fire. The boy rips in half. His head explodes like a balloon filled with red wine. His coronavirus-tainted blood seeps into the ground, defiling the earth. The helicopter has no choice but to fire six missiles into the vineyard, incinerating and purifying the soil. Eradicating the tainted sheep. Bringing salvation to the masses.
My compatriots, me and my scientifically aware and morally superior brethren, we erupt in cheers of gratitude and praise. Our government loves us. Our government has neutralized the threat so that someday—perhaps not this year and perhaps not next year or the next—but at least some year sometime at some point in the future, we will leave our apartments and once more roam the streets of Milan, attending fashion shows and admiring marble statues and watching soccer games and eating ravioli and, of course, drinking red wine brewed by our elderly grandfathers, who remain alive because of people like myself. Having by then cemented my reputation as a covid-eradicator, I will embark upon my political career. I will ride the coronavirus like a rocket to the moon. The moon being a metaphor for the Italian Presidency. Such is my destiny. Such is my fate.
When the cheers die down a bit, I can’t help but cry out, “I, Lucressi Vicente Palamaro, your highly scientifically aware and socially conscious brother, am responsible for the destruction of that corona-infested vermin. It is I who informed the police. It is I who saved your lives. And not just your lives, but, even more important, the lives of your at-risk, elderly loved ones. Viva Italia! Viva Milan!”
“All hail Lucressi Vicente Palamaro!” cry my neighbors. They lean over their balconies and throw imaginary food and imaginary gold and imaginary roses at me. A dark haired girl of 19, flanked on both sides by her approving parents, blows me kisses. In a year or twelve, once the curve has properly flattened, they will present their daughter to me, no doubt about it. They will make her available to me for courtship rituals. Me and the girl: we will go on rural walks and her parents and grandparents and siblings and uncles and dogs and cats will trail behind at a respectful distance. And I will pause and pluck a delicate daisy and place it behind my beloved’s ear. And her relatives, they will sigh plaintively, wishing they, for even just a single moment, could experience a love as pure as mine. Yes oh yes. I, Lucressi Vicente Palamaro, shall someday marry that girl. Unless a better option comes along in the meantime.
“You’re most welcome!” I shout. “And now, I have a special little surprise cooked up for you. Wait one moment.”
“What is it? What could the surprise be?” shout my balcony-imprisoned neighbors as I disappear into my apartment.
I return with a Spanish guitar, rest it in my lap, tilt one ear toward the guitar’s hole and one ear toward the heavens, channelling the muse of the angels. A chord, I strum. Such lush sounds. Everyone marvels at the beauty of this chord, the first chord of the traditional folk song Italians are the Best and Your Shit Country Can Eat a Dick.
A man clutching a saxophone leans over the edge of his balcony. He winks and nods at me before bringing the saxophone to his lips. How unexpected! How delightful! Me and the saxophone guy: we play as one, as a single heart; we symbolize the unity of the Italian people. Not just the unity, but the collective soul of Italians. More Italians procure their instruments. An accordion joins the fray. Yes! Then a keyboard. Housewives keep time with tambourines. Children clap rhythmically. Old men shuffle their feet, dancing. No wait. Scratch that. All the old men are dead from coronavirus. It’s actually men between the ages of 55-65 who shuffle their feet. Not young, but not particularly old either.
Every Wop within a four mile radius is on his or her balcony, playing along or listening. The coronavirus might confine our physical bodies. But it cannot confine our souls! Why? Because we are Italian! That’s why! We invented garlic bread. We invented mozzarella sticks. We invented chicken parm. We invented espresso. We invented the steam engine, the television, the printing press, modern dentistry, and iPhones! Once a peoples invents iPhones, that peoples’ soul is free forever. Not even coronavirus can crush the soul of iPhone inventors. Pepperoni Bagel Bites? That was us! Scissors? Us too! Though we did not invent running with them: no, no. That was the French. But airplanes? Hell yes, that was us. And Extra-Chunky Praegu sauce? 100% the product of Italian ingenuity.
We play through the song once, and then, on the second go-around, we begin to sing. Collectively. As one. Channelling all that we are: which is to say, Italian. It is our favorite traditional folk song, and it goes:
We are the Italians, and we’ve got gigantic dicks.
But your country? It slobs on knobs, your country is our bitch.
The French are homosexuals in scarves and lame berets.
And the Spanish are a bunch of Moors, not to mention latent gays.
Switzerland? Not even a country. It’s just parts of other ones.
And the British? They can’t cook for shit, those pompous limey bums.
America, Ashmerica. They’re faggots through-and-through.
But Italians? We’re the best, and we shit all over you.
A most heartwarming experience, all of us separate but together. Hopefully, someone is recording the proceedings and will post this evidence of our unity to various social media platforms. So the whole world understands that Italians are one heart and one mind. The adversary can cage Italians, but it cannot cage our souls. We know why the caged bird sings: because its heart is filled with eternal hope. The enemy will not overcome. And who is the enemy, the cager? Psychopathic sheep-herding boys. Middle aged women roaming alleys because they “need to stretch their legs.” Coughing toddlers intent on watching the world burn. Old men (well, actually men between 55-65) walking across grass just because their dogs need to shit. But really, these people are the mere henchmen of the true villain, which is invisible. Microscopic. Miniscule. Floating in the air. Attached to sneeze guards in restaurants. Hanging out on railings in shopping malls. Covertly hiding under table tops. Biding his time. Waiting to strike. Waiting to kill the at-risk and elderly and then…everyone else in the world. But the enemy will not succeed.
Why? Because I, Lucressi Vicente Palamaro, remain vigilant. I am the sentinel of my block. And the adjacent blocks. The sentinel of everything within binocular vision, really. And I have some powerful binoculars. 100x magnification. Or maybe 10x. The magnification factor is not printed on the binoculars themselves; I better check the manual. Yes, I will go do that now. It’s a matter of life and death. It’s a matter of the survival of the Italian people and 5,000 years of history. To think, the fate of the nation rests on the zoom capacities of my binoculars. A great responsibility weighs upon these shoulders of mine. But I am up to the task, for I am Lucressi Vicente Palamaro, and I am Italian.
2. Luigi’s Grave Error
Holy shit. They’re out there singing again.
I take a bong hit, exhale a milky stream through my nostrils.
They started with Italians are the Best and Your Shit Country Can Eat a Dick and now they’re onto I’ll Stay Inside Forever, For I Love My Fellow Man. After that, they’ll most likely do Please Government Contain Us and Save Us From Ourselves. They’re gonna be at it for hours. They always are. And I’ll bet I know who started it: that rat bastard Lucressi Vicente Palamaro. He’s one helluva royal douche, though I’ll admit he does more than his fair share in the fight against coronavirus.
But those tambourines, man! Once they get going, they never stop. If I die of coronavirus, at least I won’t have to hear tambourines anymore. Should I infect myself? Suicide by coronavirus? It’d probably be a lot easier to just jump off my balcony. I’ll do it while Lucressi’s out on his, making another speech about his own greatness. Land right on his fat head. Snap his neck. Break his back. Yes.
I’m going crazy. It’s this weed. No, it’s staying in my apartment 167.25 hours per week. For the last 6 months. With no end in sight. Only leaving my house once a month for my allotted trip to the supermarket. Draped in my (state-issued) hazmat suit. When the fuck is this curve gonna flatten?
I take another phat rip. It goes straight to my head. Feels real good.
Uh oh.
A cough coming on. Got a bit too greedy with that last hit. My lord, hacking up a lung would feel amazing right now. You know you’ve taken a good hit when your face turns red and you nearly suffocate from hacking. At least, that was a good hit 6 months ago. Now a hit like that could put me in a Rehabilitation Center.
I must, absolutely must, restrain myself. If my neighbors hear a cough, they’ll inform the police. I’ll have the fuzz beating down my door in less than two minutes.
My throat irritation grows stronger. I look like I’m laughing, my chest heaving up and down. But inside my heart is filled with panic. Water. I must have water. I lift up the container resting by my feet: it’s empty. Fuck. And I finished my last liter of cola last night. The tap water is infested with coronavirus, so it’s of no use. I should have boiled a fresh batch of tap water last night, but I was too lazy. There’s gotta be some other form of liquid that might soothe my throat.
I rush to the kitchen: I’ve got liquid dish soap, a bottle of Drainex, a bottle of Windex, and an aerosol can of Lysol. Those liquids won’t do. No no. In my pantry, between silent heaves, I find a jar of Extra-Chunky Praegu. Ole faithful. Every Italian has a jar of Extra-Chunky Praegu on standby. And now this jar is going to save my life.
Frantically, I twist the lid, but it won’t budge. My hands are too weak and tiny—the product of my mother’s prenatal crack addiction. And I’ve got tiny feet to boot. And a micro-penis. Not to mention man-boobs. Gynecomastia it’s called in medical parlance. And worst of all, if you lift up my ballsack, you will discover a half-developed vagina, its entryway leading nowhere. A vestigial vagina, one could say. Except it never had a use in the first place. It’s not the remnant of evolutionary forces, but the remnant of crack addiction. Specifically, my mother’s. Oh, why couldn’t Mamma love me enough to cease smoking crack for just 9 months? Why did she put her addiction before her unborn child? Why did she force me to live with the byproduct of her own weakness? It’s not fair! I hate you, Mamma! I hate you, Mamma! No, wait, I take that back. I love you Mamma! You are everything to me. My troubles are my own fault: I shouldn’t have rushed inside your egg before the other sperm had a chance. If I mind being born so much, I should have let another sperm live instead. You know, a sperm that actually appreciates what he’s given. A sperm that doesn’t act so entitled. Isn’t that what you always called me, Mamma? A self-entitled sperm? I should be grateful that I have hands at all. Some moms smoke so much crack, their babies are born with little nubs for arms. And two heads! And congenital heart defects. Pulmonary valve stenosis. At least I don’t have that. It could be worse. Isn’t that what you said? Oh, Mamma! Mamma! I love you, Mamma! Why didn’t you love me?
In my fit of self-loathing anger, I forget about the primary task at hand: soothing my raw throat. I lose sight of the goal completely. And as a result, I make a grave mistake. I cough. Not a big, heaping, hacking cough. Just a little soft cough. But it is enough. The music outside stops instantaneously. I feel more coughs coming on. I have to do something. If I cough again, cops in hazmat suits will put a battering ram to my door and take me away. Or just execute me on the spot.
I can’t think clearly. I must access the Extra Chunky Praegu. It’s the only way to soothe my throat. The tap water is five-parts coronavirus to one-part H20. It’s not an option. I throw the glass container against my kitchen floor. It shatters; I fall to my knees, lick Extra-Chunky Praegu off the floor.
Outside, my neighbors wail from their balconies: “A cough! Did you hear it? Someone in our very building has the coronavirus. Rabble rabble rabble! Rumble rumble rumble!”
“Silence!” shouts Lucressi Vicente Palamaro. “We won’t hear another cough over your wailing. If we want to identify the evildoer, we must listen for his cough. And yes, he WILL cough again, as one of the symptoms of coronavirus, assuming it is not asymptomatic, is a lingering dry cough that lasts for weeks, if not years. So cease your rumblings!”
The neighbors comply. Total silence reigns supreme. Thankfully, the Extra-Chunky Praegu, one of the finest inventions in the history of Italy, is doing its job. My throat is alleviated. I need not cough again.
On my hands and knees, I continue to lick away, grateful that I will live to see another day. But then, a terrible thought dawns on me. I pause mid-lick—my tongue still stuck to the floor—so that I can contemplate this terrible thought in more depth. The coronavirus lives on linoleum surfaces for up to 12 millennia. It’s a scientific fact verified by leading virologists from across the globe. And just 6 months ago, before the coronavirus pandemic really hit us, I had allowed friends and family and plumbers and prostitutes to traipse about on my linoleum floor. Without a doubt, the soles of their shoes carried infinite payloads of coronavirus. Which is now living on my floor. A floor to which, at this very moment, my tongue is attached.
Dear. Lord. I’ve just contracted coronavirus!
3. Mario the Innovator
The problem with hospitals is that they’re overwhelmed. The doctors in them: they don’t have time to develop coronavirus vaccines. They’re too busy treating the elderly and at-risk. That’s why it is up to me to develop a vaccine. Being retired, I’ve got time on my hands.
They told me a man can’t have a baby just because you unsewed his bellybutton and attached a synthetic vagina to his stomach. And then, using a turkey baster, you injected 6.5 fluid ounces of baboon sperm into his stomach. He lacks the internal organs necessary to carry a baby, they told me. And he produces no egg. And baboon sperm can’t inseminate human eggs in the first place. That’s what they, the scientific community, said. And you know what? They were right.
But this time, I will prove the scientific community wrong. They say developing a vaccine is nearly impossible since the coronavirus mutates 36 times per nano-second. By the time we have a vaccine, it will have morphed into a different variety of coronavirus, most likely the dreaded covid-20, and then our vaccine will be worthless.
Our preeminent virologists must invent a special type of vaccine, one that mutates along with the virus. But again, they’re too busy saving the at-risk and elderly. The acute crisis has diverted them from finding a long-term solution. It’s a hopeless situation, they say. A retired anesthesiologist (that’s me) does not possess the requisite knowledge to create such an advanced vaccine, they say.
They are wrong! Never underestimate anesthesiologists! And never underestimate me, the esteemed Dr. Mario Vicci. Italian born, Dominican Republic educated. Winner of the Western Milan Community Hospital Employee of the Month Award, October 1984. Seducer of 13 different nurses between the years 1974-2004. Vanquisher of pain. Bringer-onner of unconsciousness before surgery. Imagine having your arm amputated without anesthesia. You wouldn’t like it, would you? Thanks to me and my anesthesiologist brethren, you’ll never have to face such an abominable tribulation.
But my capacities are not limited to anesthesiology. I am a medical innovator in the wider sense. A breaker of new ground. Thanks to me, it has been definitively proven that baboon semen cannot impregnate human males. Yes, other scientists may have theorized that this was the case. But those were mere theories. I PROVED the incompatibility of baboon sperm and men. I am an intrepid explorer of biology. A fearless, innovative wunderkind of the medical world.
Because of my fearlessness, I have already learned something very important about coronavirus. Everyone knows not to look at coronavirus under a microscope. If you do, its radioactive emissions will interact with the lactose in your retinas, inducing terminal seizures of the most violent nature. Immediate death. Not even sunglasses block the radiation. Not even polaroid sunglasses block the radiation. Everyone who has laid eyes upon coronavirus in its magnified form is dead. But if that’s the case, how could scientists warn the public of its radioactive properties in the first place? Those who have gained said knowledge would be dead, right? See, something does not add up there. Something is off. I theorized that scientists made up the radioactive thing to discourage regular folks from handling the coronavirus. In absence of discouragement, many armchair doctors would attempt to create a vaccine themselves, would attempt to handle the virus and observe it under a microscope. And in doing so, accidentally infect themselves. Because these laymen don't know how to take proper precautions. And then these laymen: they would further infect the elderly and at-risk. Those with underlying health issues. Further inundating the already overwhelmed hospitals. Destroying the work-life balance of our virologist doctors and greatly reducing the probability of us Italians ever finding a vaccine.
So yes, the scientific establishment’s lies are backed by good intentions. Nobody wants to put the elderly and at-risk at more risk. And no one wants to force doctors to work 30 hour days when they’re already working 26 hours per day. 26 hours is enough for one day. I understand that fully. So their lies are benign in intent. “But wait!” you say. “They’re not lying. Coronavirus really is radioactive. Its properties do interact with the lactose in your retinas, inducing seizures. Their lies are not well-intentioned, for their lies are not lies in the first place. Their truths are well-intentioned!”
Wrong! You are wrong! For the thing that I have discovered is this: when viewed with the naked eye, the coronavirus does not induce seizures. It has no radioactive properties. And how do I know this? Get ready for the big reveal: I know this because I have seen coronavirus with my own eyes! Yes, that is the truth. My suspicions about its radioactivity, combined with my unconditional love for mankind and his well-being, combined with my gargantuan balls and unmatched bravery, allowed me to throw precaution to the wind and observe coronavirus under my microscope.
It was not difficult to find a sample, given that our tap water is five-parts coronavirus to every one-part H20. I dribbled water onto a slide and, body trembling (for I knew I was risking my life for the sake of saving humanity), I peered at the microscopic enemy of the world. And there they were: thousands of them flitting about in the water. They looked like little red balls with tiny mushrooms sprouting off them. 19 mushrooms sprouting from each ball—hence the name Covid-19. That’s where the 19 comes from: 19 tiny mushrooms. Each coronavirus ball/molecule/thing has a little tail, providing it freedom of movement via flagellation. They look kind of like sperm to be honest. Virus-sperm. Or perhaps, sperm are really viruses. Which would imply that we humans, along with many other life forms, are actually just complex viruses. To discover humans are viruses: that would be a world changing revelation unto itself. But I must push aside that line of inquiry. For now, I have only one task: to invent a coronavirus vaccine and save the world.
At this very moment, I’m about to dribble Extra-Chunky Praegu onto the virus. The virus lives by destroying humans. So anything that nourishes humans, I theorize, will conversely destroy the virus. And nothing is more nourishing to Italians than our beloved Extra-Chunky Praegu sauce. I, for one, cannot go a single day without ingesting this zesty—not to mention economical—delicacy.
I’ve got my dropper loaded with sauce. I’ll start by adding just a single drop to my coronavirus specimen. Gentle now…gent—
Huh? What is that? That banging!
I pull out my right earplug (I always wear earplugs when engaged in scientific experimentation [environmental noises break my concentration]).
My god, no! It’s tambourines! They’re at it again with their incessant banging and strumming and plucking and pounding and singing. How am I to concentrate when earplugs can’t even drown out the infernal racket? My neighbors are going to retard scientific progress by a century, those imbeciles. If I can’t concentrate, a cure will never be found. Never! Those tambourines will be the extinction of humanity.
I fall to me knees and cry out, “I hate tambourines! Shut up! Shut up! In the name of science, in the name of all that is good and holy, quit it with the fucking tambourines!”
Then I burst into tears. I cry for humanity. But most of all, I cry for the elderly and at-risk. Those with underlying conditions.
4. Luigi’s Resolution
Ok Luigi. It’s official now: you’ve got coronavirus.
Despondent, I return to my couch and bring the bong to my lips. A good ole rip always settles the nerves. But what if I cough again? I set the bong on the table, un-ripped.
Moments ago Lucressi announced, “I believe it was a false alarm. It wasn't a cough. Someone just banged his tambourine incorrectly. I implore you: handle your tambourines with respect and care. I have a sneaking suspicion it was you, Mamma Ravioli, on the balcony of apartment B22, who banged your tambourine erroneously, in a manner mimicking a cough. You have early onset Parkinson's, do you not Mamma Ravioli? Perhaps, due to your affliction, you should stay inside and refrain from joining us in song. The video of our playing is likely to go viral. And if our tambourines sound like coughs, the authorities will assume the infected live among us. And they will take us away to Infection Rehabilitation Centers. From which we’ll never return. And we don’t want that, do we Mamma Ravioli?
What’s that you say? Playing your tambourine is the only thing that brings you joy in this time of tribulation? It makes you feel at one with your fellow man? I personally don’t think you give a flying fuck about your fellow man. Because if you did, you wouldn’t endanger us by coughing with your tambourine. But you didn’t make a mistake, you say? You swear it wasn’t you? Liar! Selfish liar, trying to cover your tracks! You’re willing to send us all to Rehabilitation Centers just so you can have a little fun on your tambourine? You’re just as bad as the wretches who to take their dogs for walks. You’re on the same level as sheep-herding boys intent on infecting the world. What’s that? You’re sorry? You’ll go back inside and isolate yourself? Good. That’s a good girl, Mamma Ravioli. Be gone with you. Now, my brethren, let us resume playing. How about we do Shaking Hands Should Be a Capital Offense? I really love that tune. 1-2-3…”
And then they started banging away on their instruments again. That’s everything Lucressi said exactly as he said it. I have a very good memory. So for now, it seems, I am safe from suspicion. But poor Mamma Ravioli! How she loves to sing. And what a fine woman too! Before the lockdown, when I saw her around the neighborhood, she always implored me to visit her apartment for some of her world-famous cannoli. I only took her up on the offer once or twice—because I was a free man then, and I had much else to do—but boy were those cannoli delicious. Totally lived up to their reputation. I used to take those cannoli for granted, but now I’d do anything for a single bite. And honestly, it’s not the cannoli I desire. What I really want is to spend some face-to-face time with Mamma Ravioli. What a sweetheart. Reminds me of my great Aunt Helgavicci. To spend time with Mamma Ravioli—with anyone, really—to look into her eyes. To give her a kiss on the cheek. To hug her. To receive a supportive pat on the back. I’d do anything for some human contact! Anything! I haven’t touched another human in six months. Woe to me! Woe to Mamma Ravioli! Woe to Italy!
I bring the bong to my mouth, a reflexive act of consolation. But I quickly realize my error and refrain from lighting up.
I’ve got two weeks until the virus’s symptoms manifest. At that point, I won’t be able to control my coughs. And my neighbors will sniff me out. Should I just hand myself over to the authorities now? Get things over with? The Coronavirus Infection Task Force will take me away to a Rehabilitation Center…and no one comes back from those places. I’m afraid of those rehab centers. But I have a moral obligation to remove myself from this building, save my neighbors from the threat of infection. Yes, I had better hand myself in to the authorities. Admit that I licked the floor and got coronavirus. Take my fate like a man. I’m gonna die of the disease in the near future anyway. A painful, brutal death. Might as well do it in a rehab center, away from my healthy neighbors.
I recline on the couch pitifully and reflect on my existence.
I’ve lived a wonderful life these last 26 years, made innumerable good friends. Well, four friends to be exact. And two won’t speak to me anymore. But still, I’ve got friends. Not to mention a wonderful family. A father who taught me the value of corporal punishment. A mother who, despite smoking crack during her pregnancy, has many admirable qualities. She showed me how to finish a cigarette in two drags and how to make wine from fruit punch Kool-aid mixed with rotten bananas stolen from the dumpster behind the supermarket. That was quite a valuable skill…before the quarantine days. When a man still had enough freedom to steal from a dumpster. Ah, how I miss my mother. I wish I could visit her in the psych ward before I die.
And I can’t overlook my many accomplishments. 4th place in the 3rd grade spelling bee. It was ‘Botticelli’ that tripped me up, as I recall. By that’s not even a word! It’s just a last name. I still say there was a conspiracy against me. The other kids got easy words, like ‘gatta' and ‘mucca.’ It was Sig. Rossi, my language teacher and chair of the spelling bee, who plotted against me. He hated me because I preferred the Shakespearean sonnet structure over the Italian sonnet. But still I came in 4th place! I am a great man. A true success. A winner!
But what is my greatest accomplishment of all? Undoubtedly, my prolificness as a masturbator. Since the age of 12, I’d estimate I’ve beaten off 2.7 times per day. That’s roughly 13,797 ejaculations. And let’s not forget that I’ve slept with 4 different women, 7 including prostitutes. And one of those women, I banged multiple times, as we dated for a full 2 months. So that puts me closers to 13,850 ejaculations. Toss in a few wet dreams here and there, and we’re at 13,875. I wonder if I can make it to 14,000 ejaculations before I die? With hard work and determination, it can be done.
I reach into my pants, begin stroking, try to imagine a fresh, tight vagina…but images of my own demise pervade my thoughts. I see myself in a hospital bed, intubated. A ventilator breathing for me. A respirator wedged up my ass. Surrounded by impersonal doctors in masks. Who know not who I am. Who know nothing of my masturbatory virtuosity. Who have never seen my purple ribbon from the spelling bee. I will die alone. In an antiseptic rehabilitation center. Without saying goodbye to my crack-addicted, suicidal mother. Or my strop-loving father. Or my dear Aunt Helgavicci. Or my four friends, two of whom don’t speak to me but still technically count as friends.
No, I cannot allow myself to suffer that lonely fate! I will not hand myself in to the authorities. I will find a way to overcome this coronavirus. They say it can’t be done, but I will find a way. For I have much life yet to live. Many more goals to accomplish. And many more ejaculations to spurt.
5. Lucressi’s Promise
Excellent playing, my scientifically aware and morally superior brethren. That was the most beautiful rendition of 1 Billion Scientific Models Can’t Possibly Be Wrong I’ve ever heard. And what a lovely message it preaches: we no longer believe in ludicrous superstitions, worshiping some bearded old man in the clouds. The new religion is science. A religion based on 100% accurate facts. We don’t read the bible for edification. Instead, we turn to models. Generated by scientists of the highest prestige. With the most degrees. And the most smartness. With the best data. Which they input into their highly precise models, which are always correct. Did you see the latest model released by La Academia de Italiano Scientifico? It says at least 7.8 billion out of the earth’s 8 billion inhabitants will die by the end of the year. Thankfully, we are quarantining and treating the virus with due respect. So we shall be among the 200 million who live. I pity the remaining 7.8 billion heretics, who dare step outside their apartments without hazmat suits. They do not worship science. They are not wise like us. Brilliant like us. Perfect human specimens, we are. That’s how I’d describe us.”
“Yes Lucressi,” cry my neighbors in unison. “We are perfect human specimens. And you are the most perfect specimen of all!”
“Why thank you. Your compliments warm my heart. But now, the sun dips behind the smoking mountain. The night rests its dark veil upon us, and the virus comes out to play. So our musical communion is finished for this day. Everyone return inside and make preparations for bedtime. Tomorrow, we shall take up our instruments once more. And the day after that. And the day after that. And then for hundreds and thousands of days thereafter. For that is how long the quarantine shall last. Another year at the very least. But most likely decades.”
“Do you really mean it, Lucressi?” wail my neighbors.
“Yes, decades. According to the latest models. Released by La Academia of Italiano Scientifica. This is the new normal.”
“Oh joyous news! We get to spend 10 more years inside, saving our fellow man. We love saving our fellow man! And we love singing on our balconies!”
“As do I. As do I. Good night my beloveds. I will see you tomorrow. On your balconies. When the sun shines again.”
“We love you Lucressi! We love you! Thank you for keeping watch over us. Thank you for saving us from ourselves. And from Mamma Ravioli.”
“You are most welcome.”
Inside, I boil a pot of water, removing the 5-parts coronavirus. Well, that singing session went well. Once again, the rabble supports me as the #1 coronavirus eradicator and the #1 friend of the state. Their fearless protector. That bastard Marco in apartment D78: he won their favor last week by killing a dog-walking dissenter. Killed him right dead with a marble fired from a self-made slingshot. Fairly ingenious, I have to give Marco credit. I must make a slingshot myself, so I know the direct pleasure of killing dissenters. Tomorrow is my supermarket day. I’ll try to find the necessary supplies.
Yes, that prick Marco won much of their favor last week. But I won it back through devotion to my sentinel duties and the destruction of the sheep herder. And my beautiful guitar strumming—it always melts my neighbors’ hearts. And I can’t overlook the value of my innate leadership skills. Yes, thanks to my many gifts and talents, I am once again the undisputed king of this apartment block. Marco was just the flavor of the week. I am the flavor of the decade. And soon I shall have a slingshot of my own. Maybe I can kill Marco with it? Brilliant idea, Lucressi.
I take a sip of piping-hot, freshly boiled tap water. It tastes metallic. It tastes antiseptic. It tastes like the smell of a doctor’s office. And I love it. Life is good.
Except for one minor problem. Actually a major problem: the cough. Without a doubt, I heard a cough during our music session. I blamed it on Mamma Ravioli’s tambourine playing, but I know she was not the culprit. I only blamed her to put the real culprit at ease. Make him feel like the heat’s off. So that he lets his guard down. And perhaps gets careless and coughs again. At which point I will locate and eradicate him.
Among our own ranks, we harbor an untouchable. This person: he knows he must hand himself in to the police. That’s the proper protocol, the government rule. But he won’t do that. He’s not a good citizen. He does not respect the authority of the government or the health of the elderly and at-risk. He’s an evildoer: I could tell by the sound of the cough. It was the cough of the devil. Yes, the devil’s cough.
But he won’t be an issue for long. For I, Lucressi Vicente Palamaro, shall locate the menace and eradicate the threat. Stamp out the problem. Which isn’t really a problem, per se. Because, in destroying him, I shall win more of my neighbors’ respect and love. I will eternally cement my place as the leader of this apartment block. I will lay the foundation for my political career.
Cougher: your ass shall be mine. That I promise you. That I promise.
submitted by JimmyMangrove to u/JimmyMangrove [link] [comments]

2020.08.24 21:09 Nvnv_man Question: Sending money to home country

Why when the American is a woman, sending money to home country (Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Samoa) is such a fraught issue; But when the American is a man, sending money to other country is accepted (Thailand, Brazil, Ukraine?)?
Are American men more generous than American women? Or, is sending money to wives’ family part of American culture? Or, do the American women have expectations that the men they marry will be primary earners, and have never considered he’d give his money away? Or is it that the foreign husbands are being secretive about it, but foreign wives are being open about it?
submitted by Nvnv_man to 90DayFiance [link] [comments]

2020.08.19 14:14 vzqyd [Event] Civil Rights Amendments 2026

What do we want!?

Since the creation of the 2010 constitution by former President Leonel Fernandez, Civil Rights, and in particular the rights of women, and the LGBT community, have been severely restricted. The anachronisms of the 2010 constitution are not compatible with the progressive society we strive to accomplish, and as such, changes will need to be made.

Because it's 2026!

In contrast to Dominican tradition, a new constitution will not be formed. Instead, the current constitution will be amended to fix institutional civil rights violations. In the proposed amendment, all sections which are interpreted to restrict the civil rights of individuals of the LGBT community will be removed. This includes sections prohibiting, or being interpreted to prohibit the following:

Included in the amendment will be a new section detailing the rights of LGBT individuals, including:

Don't Forget the Women!

Steps will also be taken to ensure the equal treatment of women in Dominican society, although technically equal to men according to the current constitution, Dominican women are not treated as such, and so the language will be amended to ensure Women's access to rights in practice. This includes amending a constitutional ban on abortion, to ensure women retain reproductive rights. The following changes will be made:
Though not a large scale legalisation of abortion, the removal of the constitutional ban will pave the way for legalisation, and safe access for women. It can now be interpreted, according to the constitution, that abortion is hereby decriminalised.

The Politics

The proposed amendments were debated for weeks in the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. This issue seemed to completely stir congress, with many parties breaking with their coalition-mates, and many representatives breaking with their party line. This bill was the final straw in an already strained relationship between the ruling Caribbean Socialist Party(CSP), and their coalition-mates, the Modern Revolutionary Party(MRP). More progressive members of the MRP seemed to defect to hold fast to the CSP position, while more conservative members flocked to defend the opposition. Primary opposition to the bill came from the Dominican Revolutionary Party(DRP) who represent the - predominantly catholic- conservative voice. The DRP also had trouble reining in their coalition-mates, the Dominican Liberation Party(DLP), who have challenged the constitution in the past. The majority of DLP representatives supported the CSP on these amendments.

When put to a vote in the Chamber of Deputies, the amendments were accepted with a 96-94 vote. The vote was not split among party lines, rather support and opposition seemed to come at random from the representatives. The amendments were obviously accepted in the CSP dominated senate, and signed by the President. With two years to go before the next presidential election, and the loss of a significant chunk of their support from the MRP coalition, it's tough to say what is next for Dominican Politics, but we can expect a mix-up as a result of this controversial ruling.
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2020.08.04 01:46 Pain809 Wife wants to leave me because i look at people when we are out and about.

My wife is obsessed with the thought that because I am looking at women, I must want to cheat. Its not even women, she does it with men. I tend to zone out a lot. I also am a lot more handsome thanks to how well she takes care of me via her cooking and other lovely acts.
I live in the Dominican Republic right now waiting for her visa papers to come in. At first it was great, but as time went on she has gotten progressively worse with her jealousy. I don't know what to do.
We went out to a villa with my cousins and his bf or friend was there. Because i looked at him a couple times I must want to fuck the man right? Everything is sexual in this country and I really hate that. All I do is play PlayStation and Pokemon. But as soon as we go out anywhere I'm a sexual deviant.
I can't do any type of shopping with her, she will always accuse me of looking at the cashiers. Because I guess looking at the cashier when you pay for things is bad. Today i even took off my glasses to ensure I could not see anything, still accuses me of the same thing. Its to the point I get nervous when I'm paying and the cashier is female.
I almost threw out my tenants here because she accuses me of looking at their daughter (who never comes outside because of this problem.) Looking at their door is cause for problems as well. I can't be nice to them because of this problem.
I'm bipolar and this stress is causing my symptoms to flare up. I've learned to manage it for my own sake and hers.
Sometimes shes right I look at people, I have a bad habit of zoning out. She gets mad because she says its disrespectful to look at women when I'm with her. But a lot of times shes dead wrong. I want to seek therapy for us to get through this. But i fear this will be the cause of the end for this marriage.
It sucks because we make such a great couple, we are so good together, but this has been building up insanely since our wedding date when she accused me of looking at my cousin who was the bridesmaid at our wedding.
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2020.07.28 04:42 NamelessDragon30 Do you guys feel comfortable in society as a man?

This is both a vent and discussion, feel free to ignore past the next paragraph if you just want to give your perspective. Also, this is specific for those cis passing (sorry those who aren't).
I'm wondering what's been other people's experiences with this. After transitioning and being seen as a cis man by society, how has the way you socialize changed? Have you been more isolated or the opposite? Do you feel comfortable being treated/socialized with as a man? Do you wish you were perceived as female in any situations?
(Vent below this point).
For context, I'm 26, took T on and off for 4 years, after that it's been almost a year that I'm off (got tired of injections and I don't care anymore), also had top surgery over 4 years ago.
Recently, I've been thinking a lot about the turn of events after transitioning. I've become very very isolated and realized how I'm not comfortable in this society as a man. I do feel absolutely comfortable being myself as I am now (man-looking) and my personality has always clearly been masculine as well. The problem is that I despise men... and I only realized that after transitioning. I think this is more specific to where I live (I'm from Dominican Republic), where like 88% of men are trash, and I'm not saying that lightly. ALL they talk about is objectifying women, they think and talk with their genitals at least 90% of the time; and because I'm cis passing, they automatically asume I'm like that too. I HATE IT. I do not in any way want to be associated with the type of person that most men are here. (That's not the only bad thing about them, but hopefully you get the point, they're just awful people).
I'm absolutely not a woman cause I'm simply not comfortable looking like or trying to be one. But the way I socialized back when I was female passing was so much better and easier (gotta point out that even when I was female passing, everyone noticed how masculine I was because of my personality and socialized with me in a way that I was one of the guys, but with the boundaries they'd have for girls) that it's gotten to the point that I miss it and I've been thinking a lot about detransitioning because of it. I'll Always present myself as I am, masculine, but maybe I can find a way of being perceived as AFAB while still being myself (I'm agender, so I'd be ok with that, I think). Being off T hasn't helped, though, none of the changes have reversed except ones that aren't relevant (not that went off hoping for changes to reverse - I know they're permanent).
I think I really really don't want to continue being associated with men as long as I live in this awful forsaken country (yes, I absolutely hate my country and culture). I imagine myself being happy as a man in a decent country, but not here.
PS: You may think that men are like that anywhere, but TRUST ME, if you have not lived in the center of Dominican Republic, don't even think for a single second you know how society works here.
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2020.07.26 07:01 Dragon7281 Secret clearance. I was extorted 2 years ago, help?

Two years ago I was extorted. I was on a dating app and talked with a woman. Nothing sexual or anything like that. All of a sudden the woman asked if I was interested in "services". I said "no thank you" and blocked the person. The next day I got texts from the supposed "pimp" claiming that I needed to pay for the time I wasted his girl on that app. I initially ignored it but then kept getting texts and he was threatening to send men to hurt my family and mentions my sister's and mom's full name. (Later I found out that this is super easy to find out and anyone can do it). So, I freaked out. They claimed that if I sent $500 then they would leave me alone.
My biggest mistake is that I complied. I regret it till this day. It was sent to the Dominican Republic via wire transfer (they were using a fake number that used the same area code where I live in). After that, I called the police to file a report. I gave up as much evidence as possible and could not retrieve the money anymore.
I know this HAS to be explained to my investigator. Is there a portion of the SF86 form where I can explain this? How much of a problem will this make my case to get a secret clearance? After reporting to the police I reported the account and deleted the dating app, changed my phone number, and removed the old phone number to any accounts associated with it.
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