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D100 Conversations Overheard in a Seedy Tavern

This has probably been done, but I'm sure we can have fun with this.
Just the tail end of some conversations the party can over hear as they plumb the dark underbelly of the town for intel.
Edit: List OH SO MUCH MORE THAN COMPLETE! Thank you all! This is hardly a comprehensive list of your answers, but I need to cry for mercy. All of your submissions are balls to the wall amazing. But I just can't keep up.
  1. "So I said to him, 'You can't do that with a pickle'. * Pause for a drink * Sad to say, he proved me wrong".
  2. "He said to me, 'I am the great pirate captain Jaques', so I said to him, 'I AM THE GREAT SOLDIER JUAN',and then I shot him". "How delightful! Did he live"? "He survived the shot, but then they hung him for piracy".
  3. "So then I said, 'That's no dairy cow! That's my wife'! Still, 50 gold is 50 gold. And the milk is quite good.
  4. Is that blood in your moustache? Blondie! Come look at all the blood in this guy's moustache! My gods, sir, that's a lot of blood"!
  5. "Think non sexy thoughts! Think non sexy thoughts! Think non sexy thoughts"...
  6. "Don't ask where I'm getting the eggs. Just do yourself a favor: never piss off a witch".
  7. describing a party member "And remember, 100 gold. With an additional 500 if it results in pregnancy".
  8. "And that's why the library now has a two drink minimum".
  9. "If you ask me, she over reacted a little. But the guy in the alley replaced it with a tentacle, so now I can pick up my beer with it". * Proceeds to fasten their belt *
  10. "Only a hippopotamus will do".
  11. "Honestly, I never became an alchemist to be rich or famous. I just wanted to be able to make a hair-growth formula so I don't need to wear a wig anymore." u/Moon_Dew
  12. “They don’t like being walled up, and who’s to blame them? Wild things belong in the wild, not in a castle.” u/BernardoCamPt
  13. “Now you stop that there.” “Ooo-ooo-oooooo. Ooo-ooo-ooooooooooooooooo.” u/BernardoCamPt
  14. “Swearing don’t make it true, Hod. You keep swearing you’ll pay what you owe me, and I’ve yet to see a copper.” u/BernardoCamPt
  15. “I heard how this hellbitch walked into a village one day . . . a market day, people everywhere, and she walks in bold as you please and tears a baby from his mother’s arms. When the tale reached the Lord, him and his sons swore they’d put an end to her. They tracked her to her lair with a pack of wolfhounds, and barely escaped with their skins. Not one of those dogs came back, not one.” u/BernardoCamPt
  16. “The same things I’d have of all of them, lad. Men, horses, swords, armor, grain, cheese, wine, wool, nails . . . we are not proud, we take what is offered.” u/BernardoCamPt
  17. 1- “So I had that nightmare again” 2- “The one where your mum’s a horse?” 1- “Oi watch your tongue when you talk about me mum. ...but yeah, that one” u/Slick_Dennis
  18. “So I finally learned what ‘pious’ means. Not sure becoming a cleric is gonna work out after all” u/Slick_Dennis
  19. “I got no way of provin it but I swear that guy was wearing MY boots. The ones that burnt up last year” uSlick_Dennis
  20. “...fuckin druids though amirite?” u/Slick_Dennis
  21. “Saw a guy drink a dozen of those like nothing. ‘Fore ya know it he drops to the ground out cold. 20 seconds later he’s dead” u/Slick_Dennis
  22. “Remember Soren from town? Shit you not got turned into a tree” u/Slick_Dennis
  23. “...so he gives me this rock, says it’s magic. Afraid to touch the thing honestly” u/Slick_Dennis
  24. “Aagh come on she’ll never marry ya if ya can’t even talk to her. Come on go get her, ask her about the local gossip or something” u/Slick_Dennis
  25. “5 copper says I can balance my sword on my nose” — “10 let’s see it” u/Slick_Dennis
  26. “is there a god of having a busted face cause it looks like that one over there’s been prayin” u/Slick_Dennis
  27. “supposedly it’s magic, lights up all blue when someone’s listening in on your conversation” “but it’s blue now” “yeah... it’s almost always blue” u/Slick_Dennis
  28. You know he's crazy, right? But they keep asking about where he went like they expect him to act normally… u/majorgs15
  29. "Did you hear the one about the dog?" "Yes." "Dang it." u/serious_tabaxi
  30. ....."- covered in piss" u/trouser_mouse
  31. "I love you like a son. It's a good thing for you that you're not my son, however, because after that stunt you pulled I was this close to DROPKICKING YOUR SORRY ASS FROM HERE TO BALDUR'S GATE!!!" u/Moon_Dew
  32. "Oh gods, you forgot to move the zero, the whole spell is going to go critical if you don't fix this right now!" u/g3rmb0y
  33. We strike tonight! They'll never see it coming. u/MaxSizeIs
  34. But what about the family? They'll never accept it. u/MaxSizeIs
  35. It's the fault of these damn Adventurers, always mucking everything up and causing problems! u/MaxSizeIs
  36. "Well, that complicates things. Even so, you promised. Magic tomatoes in 3 weeks or your daughter get's it." u/FullAuto4thewin
  37. and then the wizard cursed me with a lady's triangle for a beard. u/Slainlion
  38. who would have thought that Kolvin would have slain that bugbear with a broken scabbard. u/Slainlion
  39. Remember that time when Bennek used his boots of levitation to see lady Pemberton in her room only to find his dad was there first? Good times u/Slainlion
  40. I bet that dragon is still trying to pass ol' Ironbeard. What a fat dwarf he was. u/Slainlion
  41. so then I buried that artifact under the dragon spine tree in... I think someone is listening... Nevermind u/Slainlion
  42. So's I pull in the line, an' whaddya know? That fish burst inna flames, too! u/hamlet_d
  43. The building is deserted by 2nd watch. We will need to be careful of the drunken priest, though. u/hamlet_d
  44. There's cultists about, I seen them with me own eyes, skulking up into the swamp. u/hamlet_d
  45. The river is flooded and the barley crops are lost. This year will be tough. u/hamlet_d
  46. ...an then I says * hic * you won't find a stouter woman than my Margie… u/hamlet_d
  47. The whole herd was slaughtered, told Grimsby to stay 'way from them caves. u/hamlet_d
  48. "That's why you never use gnomish fishing rods. Nine-times-out-of-ten they do something weird." u/Moon_Dew
  49. "Rumors from the north say that princess is kidnapping dragons again...." u/cumberdong
  50. "Those poor beasties. Still, I can think of worse ways to die than 'sex'ed to death by a nymphomaniacal princess'." u/Moon_Dew
  51. Two NPCs drinking silently together until… "Goblins..?" Slow nod. "Goblins" Both drink. u/Pobbes
  52. "...and I said, 'You think you're scared, I have to walk back alone!'" u/whynaut4
  53. “Y’seen Taergrod around lately? Irvin said he hasn’t seen him at the mill in over a week.” “Yeah... well... ah, Nevermind.” “What? Seen ‘im or not?” “Well...Thought I saw him two-no... three nights ago. Got piss drunk here and began walkin’ home in the pitch black hours of the night. I heard a noise and thought it was a rat but... it was too big to be a rat... it was chewing on a... a corpse. This thing... it had Taergrod’s face.” “Hmph... musta been some strong drink.” u/Kyberdude
  54. "Oh my gods, did you hear that Rogash the Brave was eaten by a dire chicken?" u/OwenMcCauley
  55. "D'ya hear that Ollod's girl has another wee one on the way? No wonder he is always hustlin. Half the damn block o'er there will be Graves." Tankard slams down empty (Seperate voice) "A damn shame. You know he sold me a tooth the other day? Solid silver. Said he picked it from two blokes scrapping down courtside." u/primeathos
  56. "...no, I said no. If he's/she's alone I will do it, but not if they are more than 3. It's my lucky number, at 4, it's a no-go...find someone else..." u/RogueGW
  57. And did she? Oh let me tell you she did! She shined my sword. (Laughter and whistles). And then she shined my platemail and shield too! u/Slainlion
  58. Raise your tankards and let's salute poor old Dunk. Only bloke I know to be kicked in the head by a hippogriff. u/Slainlion
  59. "...in the old oak, thats where i hid it!" u/Lethan64
  60. "...Really, you expect me t'believe you escaped from a dragon? C'mon, you haven't lived till you've run away from a beholder with your head on fire!" "I really shouldn't drink with you any more, Joe, you're always shitting on my adventures!" u/always_gamer_hair
  61. "I like this!" Smashes mug on floor. "Another!" u/always_gamer_hair
  62. "So whether you're with the Alliance or the Horde, probably should...(drifts off into incoherent mumbling) LEEEROYYYY JENNNNNNKINNNNS!" "Goddammit Leeroy..." u/always_gamer_hair
  63. "Hard to believe it, but she's set up well for herself in the capitol, and she intends to be the highest paid whore in the land!" "Um, I'm not one to talk, Ben, but maybe don't call your daughter a whore..." "What about an escort?" u/Moon_Dew
  64. Old wizard on magic Telestone, "Oh how awful, did he at least die painlessly?...To shreds you say...And how's his wife holding up?...To shreds you say?" u/LilyWineAuntofDemons
  65. Drunkenly, "Wha-Wha'dif wur all jus'...little bits, made o' even smaller bits? An'-An' those bits, soooooo tiny you cud-cudn' even see 'em, not even with a man-man-mangifying grass...BUT those lil, itty, bitty, teensy, tiny bi's...if ya broke one....then...urp, then ever'thing 'sploded fer-fer like...fif'y miles!" "Albert, you're so fucking drunk, go home." u/LilyWineAuntofDemons
  66. Distressed looking Goliath, "Wait! Don't go! What was I supposed to tell you? 'Oh hi, I'm a goliath right now, but actually for most of my life I used to be a tree until one day I woke up and I wasn't! If I'd told you that you'd have thought I was crazy!" "I still think you're crazy!" u/LilyWineAuntofDemons
  67. "At first I thought it was foxes takin' meh chickens, maybe a feral blink dog, since a few of 'em dis'peared in front of me eye when I blinked! But no, turns out it was sprites! Fer chicken jousting! I found out when I managed to follow one! Now I'm head Councilor of the Betting Tables!" u/LilyWineAuntofDemons
  68. "[Splash of water, followed by angry sputtering] Curse you for breathin' ya slack-jawed idiot!" u/Moon_Dew
  69. [Most likely in a drunken slur] Did everyone see that? Because I will not be doing it again. u/Nomad9931
  70. "And remember what they always say, dead men tell no tales." "... Yes they do." "No, they don't." "No no they do, I saw it last week, some holy man from the church up the road was talking to some dead guy then all the guards rushed off." "[sounding a bit annoyed] Fine, dead men tell no tales unless aided but some holy man from the church up the road, better?" "[excitedly] Yes." u/Nomad9931
  71. [A druid complaining about their meal] Man, I really don't want to eat boar, but they said they didn't have anything else. I've spent time as a boar this just seems really wrong. u/Nomad9931
  72. "I used to be an adventurer, then I took an arrow in the knee." u/TanhaAel
  73. "The cake is lie!" starts slashing it with his knife. u/TanhaAel
  74. It won’t explode he said! u/Anie17
  75. "Once you get past the smell, and the fact that you'll usually end up with claw and bite marks, sex with a gnoll is great." "... there is something fundamentally wrong with you, psychological speaking." u/Moon_Dew
  76. "That's what she-" "MAXWELL, I SWEAR TO THE GODS!!! FINISH THAT SENTENCE AND I'M SHOVING YOU HEADFIRST INTO THE DIRTIEST CHAMBERPOT I CAN FIND!!!" u/Moon_Dew
  77. "I use to be an adventurer like you-" "Unless you want an arrow to the eye, don't finish that joke!" u/Moon_Dew
  78. "Elora, on a scale of 1-10, how drunk are you?" "Avocado. [drunken giggles]" u/Moon_Dew
  79. Holy shit that is where i'd heard the name before, thank you for clearing something up that's been confusing me for months u/MurkyGlover
  80. So I asked him, “Is that an African or European swallow?” And he just went, “I don’t know that.” Then he flew thirty feet up in the air and fell into the gorge with a scream, like this, “Aaaaargh.” u/MyEvilTwin47
  81. The principal at the art school said I was the worst painter he’d ever seen and didn’t stand a chance to get in. So now I’m following my only other option, and am well on my way to become a mad genocidal despot and conquer the world. u/MyEvilTwin47
  82. Shortly before a tavern brawl breaks out I bet you a hundred gold pieces that you don’t dare steal that goblin’s ale. u/MyEvilTwin47
  83. So I said to Mabel, I don't care how big it is, you can't leave it there! u/DogmaSychroniser
  84. If it were not for my horse, I wouldn't have spent that year in bardic college! u/ravi95035
  85. A blonde elf walks into a tavern with a poodle under one arm and a two foot salami under the other. The barkeep says I suppose you won’t be needing a drink... Then a brawl erupts, roll for initiative! u/ravi95035
  86. ...and that is when I realized it was two halflings under a cloak! u/ravi95035
  87. I do not know why I trusted that Dark Elf... now I need to find someone to take my place in the party that is exploring the haunted castle! u/ravi95035
  88. And that is why my sister married a Tortle u/ravi95035
  89. I always make poor decisions when drinking fermented cactus u/ravi95035
  90. "Gonna be honest, I don't understand the hype behind 'em. Too many teeth that could mangle the goods." u/Alex_Nidas
  91. "I mean I'm not saying I would, but 5 gold is 5 gold..." u/Alex_Nidas
  92. "To make a long story short, it's very hard to unfasten boots 20 feet under water." u/Alex_Nidas
  93. "I get why they're in the forward hold, because no one else has the access code, but why the cryo-case ?" "I think they hatch if the temperature is above minus thirty degrees." "Wait! Hatch!?” u/Heygul
  94. "It's nice enough, and he's trained it really well if I do say so myself, it's just...I-I can't trust anything in my house anymore. I second guess picking up everything because it might be that gods damned mimic!!" u/LilyWineAuntofDemons
  95. "Bullshit." "No, it's true! He was 3 gnomes in a cloak!" "No way, you're lying." "I'm not! They had a hat that cast illusion magic so they looked like one guy!" "Wow, that...sucks. I know you really liked him-them?" "Yeah...You know if I'm honest...I still-" "You have got to be kidding me." "But they're so nice! And they were really go-" "You. Did. Not." u/LilyWineAuntofDemons
  96. "You know, ever since that magic mishap turned me into a [insert gender here], I've felt much happier." "That's great! I was really worried about you...you were really down for a while. So uh...you wanna ditch this place and go hang out at my place?" u/LilyWineAuntofDemons
  97. "And then, I kid you not, he turns himself into a pickle! And you know what he says? He says: "I'm pickle Richard, baby!" funniest shit i've ever seen!" u/Spexceptional
  98. "Terrible plague in [insert placename]. Just terrible! Dying like flies they were. Lucky I got out in time." coughs u/IshtarJack
  99. "and then I got him to ink this one on my back. What do you think? It's the very image of her, everyone says." embarrassed silence u/IshtarJack
  100. “And that’s why I’ve sworn off dating Illithids. Not worth it. No matter what you’re thinking, Gary. And I know what you’re thinking. It’s just too much drama. It’s like having 30 boyfriends at once, every hive member gets to weigh in on your relationship.” u/Lil_Crusty
  101. “I slit their throat right there! I even watched them bleed out onto the floor, but before I could collect the desecrated blood, the fucking cleric shows up and resurrects the guy!”
  102. “... the fucking cleric shows up and resurrects the guy!” “Bloody healers' always stealing my kills!” u/Moon_Dew
  103. "20 gold? Rubbish, It'll take most of that to cover the damages" u/yoggenfogger
  104. "Turns out, the fella couldn't read! He was just using the books for a midnight snack" u/yoggenfogger
  105. "Yeah, a little homunculus. Just picked up my drink and walked away" u/yoggenfogger
  106. "46, 47, 48! Wow, you really do have that many teeth!" u/yoggenfogger
  107. "and THIS quill I use for lawyer documents, and THIS quill I use for writing my book, which is coming along greatly of course, and THIS quill..." u/yoggenfogger
  108. "and the kindling all went FWOOOM and then I was like WHOOAAA and then my dad was like AHHHHHHHH"
  109. I'm telling you the horse was the size of an elephant! u/PoliticalOtters
  110. “And that’s how I lost my medical license” u/ThatsNotAFact
  111. "and all because of three initiate priestesses, an apple and a piece of string." u/IshtarJack
  112. "those scaly bastards pay well, especially for halfling veal" u/Punsofdeath
  113. “They say duergar have a low libido but I sure proved ‘em wrong.” u/grimoireofstrangers
  114. “-the final sacrifice is tonight. Don’t forget your mask.” u/grimoireofstrangers
  115. “-and that’s the last time I’ll go to a spring festival with a gnome. You wouldn’t believe the amount of alcohol those fellas can consume.” u/grimoireofstrangers
  116. “One thousand for all the hatchlings. Take it or leave it.”
  117. "If it wasn't for that horse, I never would have taken that year of study at the Mage's College." u/kayura77
submitted by Jakethegooze to d100 [link] [comments]

[OC] Annual Reddit NBA Celebrity Game Preview - 2020

Welcome back to the annual event where one Redditor who clearly needs his boss to assign him more work write over 3,000 words on the most meaningless game of basketball that will be nationally televised this year. Once again, this game will highlight low quality basketball, large stretches of time where the camera focusing on things not happening on the court and a surprise celebrity entrant or two. The commentators will talk about the actual game for less then 30% of the time that they are on air. This year will also introduce the Ruffles Celebrity Game Lounge “an exclusive new courtside area that will host celebrities and influencers, who can lounge on couches for an up-close view of the game or get in on the action themselves with activities like pop-a-shot or cornhole.” (NBA.com). This is another way of saying that the TV broadcast will waste large amounts of time interviewing Instagram influencers who are less famous than the celebrities playing in the game, instead of showing the actual game. Unfortunately, the 4-point line was not mentioned and may not be back for this year’s game. I was hoping that they would go in the opposite direction and add a 5-point line. We are back to using “home” and “away” for team names and the hometown heroes have been eliminated from this game. I guess NBA marketing didn’t want to spend 5-minutes thinking of ways to tie the game into Chicago. Notably, the celebrities this year are slightly more famous than last year’s list – only two don’t have Wikipedia pages! There are 2 less player listed for this game than last year, meaning that the NBA/ESPN will have surprise entrants that will make my predictions completely worthless.
If you want to check my credentials, lasts year’s breakdown located here. I feel comfortable declaring myself to be the world’s foremost expert on the shit post of All-Star Weekend. Once again, not able to find data/footage of many of the celebrities that will be playing in this year’s game. I ended up having to make judgements on player’s skills without as much evidence to base it on.
*Game Info:* Friday, February 14, 2020, 7:00PM, ESPN, Wintrust Arena.
\Betting Odds:** Away Team -8
\Over Under:** 155
Break downs of the rosters for each team are below.
**Home Team*\*
This is a very bad team. Whoever set these rosters should have put more effort into watching YouTube clips to keep the teams balanced. The team is old and lacks size, talent and athleticism. I have a hard time seeing how they can keep up with the Away Team. This team is called the Home Team, yet the Away Team has more Chicago based celebrities. I wish the NBA cared about this game as much as I do. Quentin Richardson and Chelsea Gray are going to need to put some effort in for this team to win.
The roster has eight guards and three forwards – not very much height. The starting line-up should be Richardson, Green, Famous Los, Jidenna and Common. I am not expecting huge efforts from Richardson and Green, but Los and Jidenna should provide some athleticism and scoring for the first unit. Common is interchangeable with the rest of the roster. The bench provides nothing and there is no second unit, hopefully the starters are still in shape. This game may not end up being competitive.
**Jose Andres*\* (Celebrity Chef)
Age: 50 Height: 6’0” Weight: 240 lbs.
High school: None
College: None
This will be Andres’ first appearance in the Celebrity Game. Andres has no known history of playing basketball and I cannot find a record of him appearing in any other celebrity games. A google search tells me that he spends most of his free time fighting with the Trump family. He has OK size, but 50-year olds don’t see a lot of minutes in this game. I will be surprised if he scores any points.
**Jon Batiste*\* (Musician)
Age: 33 Height: Unknown Weight: Unknown
High school: St. Augustine High School
College: Juilliard
This will be the first NBA celebrity game appearance for Batiste – though it is a bit of a stretch to call him a celebrity. All I know about Batiste’s basketball history is that he played as a kid and that him and Colbert challenged Obama and Biden to a game of 2v2 that was never accepted. Batiste is on the younger side for players in this game and looks athletic. He might be able to help on D an score single digit points.
**Kane Brown*\* (Recording Artist)
Age: 26 Height: 6’2” Weight: 174 lbs.
High school: Three different ones somehow (played varisty)
College: None
Kane will be making his NBA Celebrity debut in 2020. Kane shoots a weird face level, push jumper that hits well in an empty gym, but I can’t see it translating into a game, although there won’t be a lot of defense in this game. I also watched him shoot 5/11 from the free-throw line and did not feel inspired. He has good height, youth and looks fit, so I think he will see upwards of 15 minutes. He has the potential to score 6 points.
**Famous Los*\* (Influencer)
Age: 30 Height: 5’11” Weight: 165 lbs.
High school: Riverside-Durham (Played Varsity)
College: Union (Played Varsity)
This will be Famous Los’ second consecutive appearance in the Celebrity Game. Los has the pedigree of having averaged 37 points per game in High School and Playing in the NCAA Division II. He had a hard time getting on the court in college, but that background makes him one of the best players in this game. He is a quick, scoring guard, who struggles defensively, but there won’t be many players in this game who are difficult to guard. I can see him being a star for this team and an MVP candidate. In 2019 Los started and played 20 minutes scoring 22 points on 10/16 shooting along with 2 rebound, 3 assists and a steal while winning the game MVP. He is one of the three best players on this team and likely will lead the team in scoring.
**Hannibal Buress*\* (Comedian)
Age: 37 Height: 5’ 10” Weight: 190 lbs.
High school: Steinmetz College Prep
College: Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Buress has never played in the NBA Celebrity game before. I also was unable to unearth any footage of his game on the YouTube scouting service. He isn’t very tall or young, I don’t expect too much from him.
**Chelsea Gray*\* (WNBA Player)
Age: 27 Height: 5’11” Weight: 170 lbs.
High school: St. Mary’s (Played Varsity)
College: Duke (Played Varsity)
Chelsea Gray is a 3-time WNBA All Start and 1-time WNBA Champion. She has averaged 11.4 points, 4.1 assists and 2.9 rebounds per game over her career. She is a good ball distributer and 3-point shooter. WNBA and NBA players usually don’t try very hard in this game, but the Home team is going to need output from its professionals if this game is going to be competitive.
**Jidenna*\* (Recording Artist)
Age: 34 Height: 6’ 1” Weight: 175 lbs.
High school: Milton Academy
College: Stanford
Am I supposed to know who Jidenna is? This will be his first celebrity game appearance. I watched a 30 second clip of him playing pick-up and I think he might be able to ball. He has a nice-looking jumper and good handles. He should start for this team and may be able to put up double-digit points.
**Alex Moffat*\* (ActoComedian)
Age: 37 Height: 5’8” Weight: Unknown
High school: North Shore Country Day
College: Denison University
Moffat is another rookie to the Celebrity Game. Moffat’s basketball pedigree includes being a member of the Chicago Bulls acrobatic dunk team. At 5’ 8” it is pretty unlikely that he can dunk without a trampoline. Being short, white and kinda old, I would be surprised if he scored more than 2 points.
**Common*\* (RappeActor)
Age: 47 Height: 6’0” Weight: 185 lbs
High school: Luther High School
College: Florida A&M University
This will be Common’s eighth appearance in the Celebrity Game. He really has nothing to show for his vast playing experience in this game. He was on the roster in 2018 but did not appear in the game. Common’s father was an ABA player and he has an athletic build, so I supposed the potential is there. Common is an above average ball handler and defender but is only an OK shooter by Celebrity Game standards. I think he will function as a back-up wing for this team.
**Bad Bunny*\* (Singer)
Age: 25 Height: 6’0” Weight: 175lbs
High school: Unknown
College: Puerto Rico at Arecibo
This will be Bad Bunny’s second consecutive NBA Celebrity Game appearance. I had low expectations for him last year and he largely delivered on them failing to score in 12 minutes while pulling down 2 rebounds. He is probably in better shape than some of the players in this game, allowing him to put up some hustle points. I would expect low minutes and low production.
**Quentin Richardson*\* (NBA Legend)
Age: 39 Height: 6’6” Weight: 228 lbs
High school: Whitney Young (Played Varsity)
College: DePaul (Conference Player of the Year)
Using the term “NBA Legend” to describe Quentin Richardson is really a stretch. Quavo might actually be a better player than him at this point. In his NBA career, Richardson averaged 10.3 points and 4.7 rebounds in 26.5 minutes per game. He led the league in 3-point shots attempted in 2004-2005, real bummer for him that the 4-point line may not be part of this year’s game. As with all former NBA players in this game, he could be effort in and be one the best players on the floor, or he might just mail it in.
**Coach:*\*
Michael Wilbon (Pardon the Interruption)
ESPN went back to using their own personalities to coach the game, instead of actual coaches. Wilbon will be sure to let you know that he has talked to Red Auerbach, Phil Jackson and Coach K about how to coach this game. Coaches really don’t matter, but I don’t see Wilbon adding anything more than some name drops or humblebrags.
Player Skill Ranking:
  1. Quentin Richardson
  2. Chelsea Gray
  3. Famous Los
  4. Jidenna
  5. Common
  6. Jean Batiste
  7. Bad Bunny
  8. Kane Brown
  9. Hannibal Buress
  10. Alex Moffat
  11. Jose Andres
**Away Team*\*
The Away Team is comprised of four veterans and seven rookies to the celebrity game. The roster has five guards and six forwards. This is a large line-up for a Celebrity game (if you don’t count Ohashi in the average) and will lead to dominating the glass. This team also has a good mix of skills on the team including ball handlers, shooters and post players and has a go-to scorer. The starting line-up is more talented than the Home Team, although the bench doesn’t really have any talent either. I think Quavo will likely dominate the game again. I would start Quavo, Wilson, 2K, Miles and Hawkins. I think that the Away Team has a better roster and should win this game by 6 to 10 points.
**A’ja Wilson*\* (WNBA Player)
Age: 23 Height: 6’4” Weight: 195 lbs.
High school: Heathwood Hall Episcopal (2014 High School Player of the Year)
College: South Carolina (2018 National Player of the Year)
Wilson will be making her seconds appearance in the NBA Celebrity Game. Wilson has everything that the rest of this game doesn’t: height, skills, youth and athleticism. The only thing she can’t do is well shoot from range. She has averaged 18 points and 7 rebounds per game in the WNBA. Wilson will be the best player on this team, but the WNBA players have a long history of putting no effort into this game. In 2019 she scored 11 points in 20 minutes to go along with 2 rebounds and assist, a steal and a block – which is a great stat line for a WNBA player in this game. She will be a big part of this team.
**Ronnie 2K*\* (marketing)
Age: 37 Height: 6’5” Weight: Unknown
High school: Redwood
College: California – San Diego
Ronnie 2K had an extremely disappointing Celebrity game debut last year. He scored 4 points in 15 minutes with a plus/minus of -12. He also grabbed 6 boards, had an assist and blocked 2 shots. He is basically going to be a garbage man for this team and do the little things that most people don’t care about in a celebrity game.
**Anthony “Spice” Adams*\* (former NFL player, TV Host)
Age: 39 Height: 6’0” Weight: 310 lbs.
High school: Martin Luther King
College: Penn State
Anthony Adams aka Spice aka Cream E. Biggums will be making his first NBA Celebrity appearance. From an entertainment perspective, he is going to be a massive hit. His uniform will struggle to contain the quadriceps meat and he has the best rec specs in the business. Spice is a SIZABLE man and could push people all over the post. However, he prefers to shoot from distance despite shooting approximately 5% in an empty gym. He shoots free throws granny style for an added bonus. Biggums will play minutes to entertain the people and will probably shoot 1/13 from the field with 3 fouls. Adams will not have the best cardio in this game.
**Taylor Bennet*\* (Rapper)
Age: 24 Height: Unknown Weight: Unknown
High school: Urban Prep
College: None
I was not aware that Chance the Rapper had a brother, apparently, he has one who will be making his first and likely only appearance in the Celebrity Game. There is not footage of his game available online, so I will assume that based on his age, he can at least hustle. I don’t foresee Bennet getting big minutes.
**Chance the Rapper*\* (Rapper)
Age: 26 Height: 5’10” Weight: 182 lbs.
High school: Jones College Prep
College: None
Chance is the more famous of The Rapper brothers and is likely the most famous person in this game, as well as a Chicago icon. For that reason he will get to play as much as he wants to. Chance has AWFUL form on his jumper (watch him miss 11-straight in an empty gym). I think that the internet has been scrubbed of all other Chance hoops footage because it is offensive to life. I am excited to see him chuck multiple airballs.
**Mark Lasry*\* (Milwaukee Bucks owner)
Age: 59 Height: Unknown Weight: Unknown
High school: Unknown
College: Clark
Lasry has played in the past four Celebrity Games. His most impressive achievement was putting up a game low -20 in plus/minus in 2016, while putting up 8 points and 6 rebounds in 18 minutes. He played less in 2017 and was mainly used to guard fellow owner Mark Cuban. In 2018, he was on the court for 9 minutes and scored 3 points while grabbing 2 rebounds. In 2019 he managed to not score a single point in 16 minutes but did manage a steal and 2 rebounds. Lasry is old, slow and short, but has sneaky old man game. He is good at back door cuts, being in good spots on the floor and has a good mid-range jumper. He is a liability on the defensive end, being an old man and everything. Lasry is once again the oldest player in the game. It would be a mistake for him to play more than 5 minutes.
**LaRoyce Hawkins*\* (Actor)
Age: 31 Height: 6’3” Weight: 176 lbs.
High school: Thornton
College: Illinois State
Hawkins is yet another Celebrity Game rookie. He has a record of playing some level of youth basketball, but that was all that I was able to determine of his pedigree. 6’ 3” is decent height for this game, maybe he can post up.
**Quavo*\* (Rapper)
Age: 28 Height: 5’10” Weight: 163lbs
High school: Berkmar
College: None
Quavo previously appeared as a surprise entrant in in the 2018 game, posting 19 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists while shooting 7 of 10 from the floor and playing a game high 36-minutes. He was voted as the game’s MVP. He returned last year to put up 27 points and 9 rebounds in 26 minutes and should have been the MVP again even though his team lost. Quavo is quick, can shoot and can handle the ball and most importantly, puts effort into this game. He is going to lead this team and scoring and could repeat as MVP. He might be a better player than the NBA legends at this point in time.
**Lil Rey Howery*\* (Actor / Comedian)
Age: 40 Height: 5’6” Weight: 164 lbs.
High school: Crane Highschool (Played Varsity)
College: None
Lil Rey has never appeared in this game before. He did appear in Uncle Drew and played high school ball, which means he has an outstanding resume for this game. I have no idea if he is good or not, but he is one of the shortest players to appear in this game.
**Darius Miles*\* (NBA Legend)
Age: 39 Height: 6’9” Weight: 235 lbs.
High school: East St. Louis (All American)
College: None
I guess they just call all former players “Legends” in 2020. Miles had an 8-year NBA career averaging 10.1 points and 4.9 rebounds in 26 minutes – a Hall of Famer if you ask me. Miles shot 16% from three and 59% from the free throw line in the NBA, thus he will fit in well in this game. At 6’ 9” (nice) there is no one in this game that could guard him down low. The level of effort that former players (sorry legends) will put in is always unknown.
**Katelyn Ohashi*\* (Gymnast)
Age: 22 Height: 5’1” Weight: 105 lbs.
High school: Plano Senior Highschool
College: UCLA
Gymnasts are great athletes, but they don’t make good basketball players – see the height and weight issues. I don’t think Ohashi can dribble, shoot or make a layup. Short people getting stuffed always makes the people happy.
Coach:
Stephen A. Smith (ESPN Personality)
The combination of Stephen A. with his assistant coach Guy Fieri is one of the best ideas that ESPN has had in a while. I think it is a disgrace that Guy Fieri is not playing in the game instead of coaching. Stephen A. seems like someone who has the ability to destroy locker room chemistry, if he can keep his mouth shut and just keep Quavo on the floor, this team should win.
Player Skill Ranking:
  1. Quavo
  2. Darius Miles
  3. A’ja Wilson
  4. LaRoyce Hawkins
  5. Ronnie 2K
  6. Lil Rey Howery
  7. Mark Lasry
  8. Spice Adams
  9. Taylor Bennet
  10. Chance the Rapper
  11. Katelyn Ohashi
**MVP ODDS*\*
Quavo 3:2
Famous Los 5:1
Spice Adams 8:1
Jidenna 10:1
LaRoyce Hawkins 10:1
WNBA 20:1
NBA Legend 20:1
Field 20:1
submitted by pimprowdy to nba [link] [comments]

Tennis In Rap: A Ranking of Rap Songs with Tennis Bars

It may come as a shock to many, but tennis doesn't generally have huge representation in rap. I came across this article and while reading through it, realized it was missing quite a few of my favorite tennis bars. I went through and collected the ones I could find, and ranked them on a tier list, considering not just how good of a tennis line it is, but how good the song is as a whole. I've outlined my thoughts on each song and laid out the final list at the end of this post. NOTE: I omitted Mac Dre's Da US Open, mainly because I never listened to it, but also because a whole album named after a tennis tournament automatically sits at the top of the tier list regardless of quality.
Kendrick Lamar - DNA
“I just win again, then win again like Wimbledon, I serve”
It’s my favorite song off a great album, but the tennis reference is pretty surface level and just a throwaway line. I want something a little more exotic and varied, especially from someone like Kendrick.

Danny Brown - Really Doe
“Used to tote that calico and serve like John McEnroe”
One of the best posse cuts of the modern era, Danny uses a pretty overdone tennis reference to set up a nice section of the rhyme scheme, plus everything just sounds better with his goofy-ass voice. However, with the same reference already cemented on Jump Around, and with Earl coming in so hard at the end, the line is pretty forgettable in this context.

Frank Ocean - U-N-I-T-Y
“Nothing but nothing but net, is you Roger or Novak?”
A shoutout to both Federer and Nole shows more tennis knowledge than most of the other songs on this list, so by that reasoning alone this makes the top tier of the list. Unfortunately the song is on Endless, often dismissed as a contractual obligation and ignored in favor of Blonde. Even so, the song is fantastic, and it uses a more original tennis bar, so this song stands out among the rest.

Royce da 5’9 - Summer on Lock
“Racketeer in charge, tennis match in the charge
Y'all can finish that whack shit, then it's back to the gods”
A layered tennis bar on a fucking amazing song? Fantastic. The wordplay is great, Royce references tennis in a completely atypical way compared to his contemporaries and the other verses bang without overshadowing Royce; this is one of the strongest songs on this list. Still, points off for Pusha T not having a verse.

Freddie Gibbs - The Blow
“About to take a trip, I got coke and dope on my grocery list
Oxycontin pack, I be switchin' rackets like Djokovic”
Although it’s the weaker of the two Alchemist beats on this list, Gibbs throws out Djokovic so flawlessly it’s gotta be considered in the top half of this collection. The flow is smooth as hell, although it plays the same racketeering angle Royce does without doing it quite so well. The rest of the songs is somewhat uneventful, bordering on boring (sorry Gibbs/Alchemists/Curren$y fans, just not my type of beat), so it can’t be placed all that high.

24hrs - Have It
“I put like 50 on tennis chains
I beat a bitch in the tennis game”
24hrs has a divisive style that doesn’t always quite work, in my opinion. That being said, the production on this song fits 24hrs well, and it’s a pretty enjoyable song off of his collab with DJ Drama. I love the imagery of this dude playing and beating some poor girl in a match, so this song gets place probably higher than it deserves.

The Game - Murder
“Open the book and turn that page,
It reads Arthur Ashe died from AIDS,
No, that’s murder nigga”
Crazy collection of talent flowing on some conscious lyrical shit. The Game referencing Arthur Ashe here serves as an illustration for the government’s culpability in ignoring the AIDS crisis, and some of the lyrics in this song get unfairly labelled as more conspiratorial than they are metaphorical. It’s a dope song by an awesome lineup, and only loses points because of that one picture The Game photoshopped of him chilling with Tupac.

Pusha T - Pies
“Couple diamonds keep ya bitch loyal
Roger Federer Rolex, my wrist royal”
Holy shit this beat goes fucking hard. The sample shouldn’t work but somehow Push makes it absolutely lethal. The Roger shoutout not only incorporates Fed’s sponsor (so you know Roger gets a little bit extra in that next check), it gets followed up with the classic YUGHCK. Top tier for the adlib follow up alone.

Lil Wayne - Sportscenter
I'm servin' this track like, Steffi Graf, yeah
Roger Federer; there's no competitors”
Also counting for Jay-Z’s The Game Is Mine, this song makes the top tier list just for actually sampling tennis. Wayne’s reference here is alright, not great, relying too much on the overdone serve metaphor. Plus, he shouts out Steffi Graf instead of Elena Dementieva who the song samples, so points off for that.

Big Sean ft. J-Cole - 24k of Gold
“Splurging all crazy, switching lanes in the range swerving all crazy
Style on Nadal, I've been serving ya'll lately
Cheddar on Federer
Ball 'till I fall, et cetera, et cetera”
I am not, by any measure, a Big Sean fan. I mean, Marvin and Chardonnay still goes and so does Beware, but generally I’m not a fan. That being said, this song surprised me by being one of the really enjoyable Big Sean works, with great production and a catchy chorus. Cole’s verse at the end is a nice capstone to the song, which ends with the tennis reference to both Nadal and Fed. Points off for using the serve analogy (I’m noticing a pattern), but a shoutout for making the line “Cheddar on Federer” not come out sounding corny.

CL ft. Riff Raff - Doctor Pepper
“Drivin' backwards through Rome in a Range Rover
You skatin' on thin ice, Anna Kournikova”
The man who could’ve played for the Mavericks but they found crack in his jacket comes through on an aggressive banger with a line that makes me smile everytime. It’s Riff Raff, so he’s known to just throw out whatever to make rhyme schemes work, but some part of me really hopes he thinks Anna Kournikova was an ice skater and would be shocked to find out differently. I still can’t decide if I want to give points or take them away for not having the right sport for the athlete.

Action Bronson - The Symbol
“Serve like Ivan Lendl up in the rental”
Holy shit this beat. The Alchemist comes through with absolute magic and AB rides it like a wave, spitting classic Bronson rhyme schemes and fitting in the only Lendl reference I could find. The line kicks off a stupid strong section of verse that just accentuates everything great about AB and The Alchemist’s chemistry on a song. Bonus points awarded for using an under-referenced player.

Lil Wayne - Banned from T.V
“I go hard like Rafael Nadal
And if the bitches were a habit, I bet we have them all”
It always makes me chuckle, hearing a guy as humble as Rafa get shouted out in this fashion by a guy who channels more confidence and charisma on a track than almost anyone else. The song is solid, and is straight from an all-time mixtape, but Wayne’s mispronunciation (maybe intentional?) and the forgettable nature of the song in the scope of the rest of Wayne’s catalog makes this midtier at best.

Asher Roth - Maybe I Don’t Wanna
“Yo Andy Roddick, your girlfriend is a hottie
I hope you don't mind, I wanna give her that Roth dick
Don't take it wrong shit, I know you got a fast serve
But if it doesn't work, tell her "Holler Asher"”
Hey, did you know Asher just released new music? No? I don’t really blame you, although he did find a niche there for a second and made some pretty solid songs. This track is not, however, one of those solid songs. It’s an alright beat, a little abrasive but not in a bad way, but Asher basically just does his best Das Racist impression without a fraction of the charisma. Extra points for apparently trying to incite Andy Roddick into some sort of a confrontation, points off for doing it so fucking corny.

PRhyme (Royce da 5’9) - To Me, To You
“You ain't turnin' up, you're bein' backhanded like Pete Sampras”
Premier and Royce’s collaborative group led to some great work, and a feature from Jay Electronica makes this song a collection of talent on par with anything else on this list. Unfortunately, the talent really doesn’t lead to anything too memorable, and the tennis reference here is passable, but shows a clear lack of understanding for calling out Pete Sampras as the example of a great backhand. (Which makes me think, why the fuck hasn’t anyone use “backhanded like Nalbandian”? Not only would that be accurate, but somebody talented could totally use that in some sort of dope flow structure).

Cyhi The Prynce ft Gotye - Occupy Your Mind
“I grabbed her ass and kissed her areola
Her love make me wanna marry her, Sharapova
I'm talking foreplay in Norway, gourmet and sorbet, sex in the doorway”
I can honestly say I didn’t expect to find a Cyhi-Gotye collab, but it kinda works. It’s not crazy great or anything, and Cyhi has had better stuff for sure (all of No Dope on Sunday still is fucking great) but it’s a pretty enjoyable song. The tennis reference on this is the most sexually explicit on this list, and I gotta award bonus points for making me laugh by rhyming areola with Sharapova.

Hoodie Allen - Words of Wisdom
“Venus and Serena how we floating these lobs”
I’ve made plenty of jokes at Hoodie Allen’s expense in my life, but hey, I was bumping No Interruption freshman year just as much as anybody. This early career Hoodie isn’t great, though, and missing a lot of the catchy white-girl sound he’d become known for. The tennis reference is pretty surface level, but no one has said lobs yet, so I guess bonus points for that. The Williamses aren’t known for lobs though; in fact, I can really only think of Murray as a guy with standout lobs, so points off for not mentioning Sir Andy. Solid sample on the hook though.

Pusha T - Don’t Fuck With Me
“We walked in, seats courtside
Dap Diddy, Will Ferrell on my walk by
At the US Open, there’s much more to Queens
Versace blu-blockers, row behind Oracene”
One of a long line of Pusha T venom directed at Drake, Wayne, and all of Cash Money, Push rapping over the Jai Paul sample is just a beautiful experience. Jai Paul can do no wrong as far as I’m concerned, and the BTSTU sample wasn’t done justice by whoever flipped it for the beat (probably 40). The tennis bars are actually knowledgeable, referencing Will Ferrel’s involvement with the US Open (does he still do that?), but the song loses points for being way more forgettable than a song with Push and Jai deserves to be.

J-Cole ft. Drake - The Morning
“I mean you kinda like that girl that's in the US Open”
A song probably best remembered for causing raised eyebrows at Drake maybe saying he wanted to fuck either his aunt, or a horse, or something, the tennis reference is pretty vague. I mean, there’s 128 women in the tournament. Who’s he talking about? (spoiler: it’s Pliskova) The song is pretty basic, and outside of the Drake memes, it pretty much just came and went.

Kanye West - Gold Digger
“My psychic told me she’d have an ass like Serena”
One of Kanye’s biggest singles ever, Jaime Foxx’s chorus hits just right over great 808 work. It’s insanely catchy, everyone has heard it, and it’s impossible to not rap along. The reference doesn’t rely on tennis knowledge at all, but it’s delivered so damn catchy it almost doesn’t matter. Points off for the psychic being wrong, as Kim K’s ass is far bigger than Serena’s (but was Amber Rose’s?)

Snoop Dogg - Signs
“You'll have Sunday's with chiquitas
You'll see Venus and Serena, in the Wimbledon Arena”
Man oh man, I had high hopes for a Snoop-Charlie Wilson-JT collab, and man, was I disappointed. If not for the swearing, I’d figure this was a scrapped Trolls 2 song, although Charlie Wilson does come in pretty strong. The tennis line is overdone at this point, but shout out to the Williams sisters for being the most referenced tennis players, and Wimbledon for being the most referenced tournament.

Gudda Gudda ft. Lil Wayne - Small Thing to a Giant
“I'm serving niggas like my name was Pete Sampras”
Remember when Gudda Gudda was a thing? Sure you do, he’s the ‘grocery bag’ dude. Anyways, this song is hot trash, forgettable beat with Gudda shuffling across it devoid of any charisma or personality. Wayne’s verse is subpar for what he can do, and the tennis reference is just as bland as Gudda’s delivery of it. This song resides comfortably at the bottom of this list.

Jay-Z - Can’t Knock the Hustle
“Straight bananas; can a nigga see me
Got the US Open, advantage Jigga
Serve like Sampras, play fake rappers like a campus”
I am conflicted. One on hand, the tennis bar is incredibly basic and forgettable. On the other hand, the song is absolutely beautiful, and Mary J. Blige really elevates the track to something special. On a third hand, he also references the classic Tom Cruise movie The Firm, which is always a big plus to me. As a song, it’s amazing, but the tennis reference being so bland keeps this from placing higher.

Riff Raff - Rookie of the Year 2013
“When tennis balls hit the fence I serve 8 balls like Andre Agassi”
One third of Three Loco returns to this list, really channeling the 80’s aesthetic Agassi had. Although the song isn’t near the top of Riff Raff’s discography for me, him referencing someone he looks so similar to bumps the song higher up on this list. Points will be deducted, unfortunately, for Riff misunderstanding the rules of tennis and believing you get eight serves instead of just the two. (Plus, a missed opportunity going for the coke reference instead of meth. I mean, cmon, did he even read Open?)

Lil B - Obama BasedGod
“Serving all Bitches, U.S open
Pete Sampras with the backhand bitch”
Involving the overdone serve metaphor and doubling up on Royce’s Sampras line, Lil B misses the mark with these bars more than he usually does. As for the song… I mean, it’s Lil B. His influence is too big to ignore, so points for that and just generally being fucking hilarious. Points off for maybe knowingly soliciting feet pics from minors.

Drake - Uptown
“They just loose to love, those are tennis games lady”
Goddamn I love this song. It’s the perfect summer beat, and everyone on it just fits together perfectly. Drake’s tennis bar is so on the nose it hurts, but the delivery being so slowed and laid back, in addition to how great the production is, the line comes off kind of endearing. This makes the upper echelon for how good of a song it is, but is kept from the very top by Drake not deeping further into tennis rules and scoring systems.

The Jet Age of Tomorrow ft. Mac Miller - Juney Jones
“Long hair like Agassi in 89'
Pastels in Wimbledon the summer is mine (French Open, Bonjour)”
Off top, RIP Mac. That being said, this song really vibes smoothly, super easy listening with a hook that hits the ears just right. Speak (can’t say I’ve heard of him before) hits with tennis bars that included the first French Open reference I’ve heard. Points awarded for giving clay courts some recognition, and even more awarded for knowing what season the French Open used to be held. (Now somebody throw the Australian Open some love)
Top Tier:
U-N-I-T-Y
Summer on Lock
Pies
24k of Gold
The Symbol
Juney Jones
SportsCenter

Mid Tier:
DNA
Really Doe
The Blow
Have It
Murder
Doctor Pepper
Occupy Your Mind
Don’t Fuck With Me
Gold Digger
Can’t Knock the Hustle
Rookie of the Year 2013
Uptown
Obama BasedGod
Banned from T.V
To Me, To You

Low Tier:
Maybe I Don’t Wanna
Words of Wisdom
The Morning
Signs
Small Thing to a Giant
submitted by BrogdonFerrer to tennis [link] [comments]

To KD

Today, something that’s bothered me for years got brought to the light. I didn’t have to do it - the perpetrator had done so many other people wrong that I didn’t have to do anything. There are hundreds of people who know what he did so I can sit back in relief, knowing that a pedophile ... a sexual predator .... an abuser .... a demon .... will get his just due.
And it made me think about you.
It made me think about how you were there for me after I finally got away from my abusive ex, from my rapist, from my tormentor. You were there for me when I wasn’t able to keep myself from shuddering under the touch of a man. You were there to feed me weed and alcohol and good conversation. You were there to kiss my wounds and rebuild me in your image.
You also stood by, grasping at my innocent words and acts of friendship and transforming them into your perception of what you wanted to be my undying love for you. And I almost believed you. But I couldn’t.
So I went about my life, semi proud that I had a local politician-real estate investor-accomplished entrepreneur on my line. Semi embarrassed because you told me you loved me and I just couldn’t ever truly match your feelings.
I couldn’t respond how you wanted me to, when you talked about me having your child. I couldn’t respond how you wanted me to when you talked about us building a life together. I felt nothing but guilt and so I remained your friend because it was all that I could offer you.
Even after you married that sweet girl and somehow convinced her to accept me into the marriage. Even after I had sex with you because I felt sorry for you. Even after I told you that I didn’t feel comfortable with the situation and you STILL continued to vie for my affections.
Even after you tried to have sex with me when your wife was upstairs and I lay, nearly motionless because I was going through such a rough time. Even after you did your best to take advantage of my low points in life with your abundance of money and connections. Even after you proceeded to charge me rent after I wouldn’t have sex with you (I bet you didn’t think that I’d figure that connection out, did you?).
Even after you gave me a fake ass sob story about you almost killing yourself and TRIED to make me feel bad enough to stay around you (it worked, but only for a little while).
Even after you pleaded with me, telling me that you’d leave your wife for me.
Even after you doubled back, after I finally told you that we were sexually incompatible (because your penis was so small and your érectile dysfunction so debilitating that I couldn’t even feel it), and tried to call me your mistress.
(I can’t be a mistress if I don’t sleep with you. Or take your money (which I’ve never done and you can NEVER tell a lie about that fact). Or want to be with you. Or even loved you romantically.)
Even after you tried to make a way for me to return to you and your wife. Even after you made it clear that you slept with other women .... other than your wife.
I tried to be your friend.
I tried.
Because I am a good person. I am a good woman. I am a noble and loyal woman. I am wife material. And, more importantly, I’m a great friend.
And I thought you were my friend. But you’d tried to groom me to be your mistress and I failed. I failed so beautifully that even the best harlequin romance novelist couldn’t write it better herself.
And you tried to convince me that I was into women just so you could watch because you knew you were sexually inept.
And you tried to make me think that I needed you because you were truly lonely and you know that the people around you use you for money and free courtside basketball tickets.
And me? I don’t. I never wanted anything but your time and conversation and truth and honesty. Things that you couldn’t get because of the lies that you tell and the dreams that you sell.
So it made me think of you. And how I left you. It took a long time, but I left you.
And, sometimes, I want to fake my way into an amazing life just to throw it in your face.... but then, after a minute, I accept that I don’t even want to talk to you. I don’t really want to hear your voice. I don’t even want to know if you’re happy. And I don’t want you to know how I am or what I’m doing or if I’m happy. I don’t want you to know anything about me.
And, if ever I kiss another woman, I’ll be okay with knowing that you’ll never be there to see it. And, if I get married to the man of my dreams - that I’ve worked hard with to sustain a healthy, monogamous relationship with - that you’ll never see any of our photos.
And I’ll be happy if just for that.
If just for that.
And, maybe, one day when I’m feeling down, I’ll remember to go through my reddit posts and read this and remind myself how I got away from a demon and was able to make something more of myself - how I’m nothing of what you’ve said I am and will never be what you tried to make me into.
And I can smile and continue about my day.
submitted by noneofyafriendsbiz to offmychest [link] [comments]

There's Something Moving In The Storm Clouds

The hot air blew up north from the Gulf, and the cold wind swept in south from Canada, and when the two fronts collided over the States their battle spilled over into a monstrous, rolling stormcloud not a few miles north of my lot in the woods. For the better part of an hour as things there unfolded, the buzz of the weather alert was all I could hear on the TV and on the radio. They’re saying this could be a big one, folks. Stay indoors and be prepared to run to the cellar if this supercell does indeed produce a funnel cloud. We’ll keep you updated as more information becomes available. And all at once I could see the black underside of the beast as it moved, and then the trees started to list and sway, and then the wind rolled up through the grass until it blew dust onto my trousers and into my hair. I whistled.
“C’mon, Shiloh! Inside, boy, let’s go!”
The dog bounded up the stairs and I shut the door behind the two of us. And then it began to rain, nothing but a drizzle at first but then a pounding, howling downpour that fell in sheets and torrents. It turned the dirt to mud, and it poured from the gutters, and it swept up against the windows like ocean surf. Shiloh, never one for thunderstorms if he could help it, laid down on the rug and covered his snout with a paw and begin to whine.
“Hang in there, boy. It'll be over soon.”
I sat down on the recliner and turned on the T.V. and pet him absentmindedly with my free hand.
”...of the storm.”
”Well do you think it’ll produce a twister?”
”Its - its hard to say, right now, Debbie. The conditions, we think, are there, especially here, near Fairfield, and over here in the uh, in the Manchester area. You can see on the radar how that’s playing out. So that’s certainly a cause for concern that we’re keeping a close watch on.”
”Thanks, Kevin. And I’m getting word now that there is indeed a tornado watch now, in Fort Hutchins and in Charles counties, and of course you can get a more comprehensive list of affected areas on our website and at the bottom of the screen. To anyone in the path of this storm, especially in those areas, it is imperative that you are either prepared to move to a storm shelter on short notice or find a low place to hide, without windows if at all possible. Place mattresses up against any exposed windows if you can, and do not attempt to drive away from the storm until the Watch is expired.”
I looked out the window. It was hard to see much of anything through the wind and the rain. But it was dark out there, for sure. I stood up and walked over to the window to get a better view, but it was so worked over in fog and rainwater that I could hardly see a thing.
“Stay put, Shiloh. I’m just gonna take a quick peek out the door.”
I cracked it open a bit, and the sound of the storm utterly exploded into the house. I could barely hear the dog bark over the sound of the wind and rain and the claps of thunder. Then a spear of lightning bolted across the sky.
“Whoo! Its a big one, boy!” I shouted. “Might have to rev up that generator in a bit!”
I eased the door open a bit more and leaned out. Within seconds I was nearly as soaked as the porch, and then I had to squint and shield my eyes and wipe my hair off my forehead when the rain plastered it there with weight. In the distance and through the trees I could still see the sunset, but the red and orange and yellow there had hit a hard, fast wall of blackened stormclouds a few miles off, and that cloud only got darker and more violent the closer it got to where I stood. The grass in my fields was nearly flattened with wind, too, and the trees were heaving sideways and billowing their tops to the windfall as the storm threw its back to their beating. I craned my neck upward. The clouds were moving fast above the house. I could tell that even through the rain; they swirled and bulged and they chased their tails, and wisps of them scouted the ground and dipped deep and low. I felt Shiloh brush up against my leg.
“Back inside, boy.” I gently nudged him the heel of my boot. “Things are gettin’ worse out here.” I shut the door and muffled the sound by doing so, and Shiloh went back to his spot on the rug and picked up his whining where he’d left it off. I knelt down and scratched behind his ear.
“Almost over, boy. Storms this bad can’t last too long.”
But the storm didn’t let up. It carried on through the afternoon and into the evening and only strengthened as it did. I kept tuned into the T.V. as I made a casserole.
”...down near Fairview.”
”And luckily the worst of the storm is holding to the northwest of Wilbur Heights, which, of course, is minimizing the damage there.”
”Uh, yeah. That’s right, Deb. But the roads there are just clogged to death and back with people getting out of the storm’s way, and that kind of uh, that kind of congestion could prove to be very dangerous if things do indeed decide to move in that direction.
”Well we certainly hope everyone there gets themselves to safety before that happens.”
Shiloh had his nose pressed up against the window as the talking heads conversed. He was almost perfectly still; his tail was tucked, his paws were set wide and he had one of his ears standing on end.
“Anything interesting out there, boy?”
He paid me no heed, so I got up and joined him at the window. The storm had reached a hurricane-level of fury - the rain was flying in sideways, now, and bursts of lightning illuminated a number of downed trees at the edge of the yard. The rest of them continued to bend their spines to the wind.
“Its a wonder the power’s still on, ain’t it?” I scratched the back of his head. He continued ignoring me, but when I got up to check on dinner, he barked. “Shhhh. Hey. No need for that, Shiloh. C’mon now.”
He barked again.
“Shiloh!”
He barked a third time, and a fourth. Then his ears flattened up against his head and he backed up a little from the window and growled under his breath.
“You see somethin,’ boy?”
He barked again. I went back over to the window and did my damnedest to peer out of it, but all I could see and hear was darkness and wind.
“C’mon. No more barkin’ inside, boy.”
”So where’s this all coming from, Kevin? Its been churning non-stop for twelve hours now. Emergency crews can’t even get out there to do their jobs properly.”
”Its, uh - its definitely lasting longer than anyone predicted, I’ll give you that. But its not unheard of for particularly powerful front-collisions to result in longer lasting supercell systems like this. We’ll just have to see how it plays out.”
”And has the center of the storm moved at all?”
”Bizarrely, it hasn’t, Deb. Its remained relatively stationary outside Wilbur Heights and Bellsouth and its actually uh, its actually gaining strength in certain areas, too.
And of course we’re now getting some reports of widespread power outages and property damage in the Riverside area. Here’s a video of the 7-11 at the intersection of Turner and Route 40. This was turned into us by an anonymous source. You can clearly see some severe, uh, severe structural damage to those gas pumps, and a lot of debris floating around the parking lot. Its not the best angle but if you look right here you can see part of the gas station’s roof is kind of uh, kind of hanging off, there. Fortunately we have yet to hear of any injuries or fatalities, but you know. There’s only so much of lot of the older buildings out there can take.
”Unfortunately that’s right, Deb. A lot of the houses in the Riverside and Port Harbor areas were built decades ago, and in some of the lower end neighborhoods out there the uhm, the architecture is particularly vulnerable to high speed, prolonged winds like what we’re seeing here tonight.”
”Any advice for people who might be trapped in those areas for the duration?”
”Well, you covered the bases pretty well earlier, I think. But its worth repeating. Board up your windows or put up mattresses in case the glass shatters. And at all times, have a place in mind to run to if things get particularly bad. Make sure it has no windows. Make sure its low to the ground. Bathrooms and basements are good choices to run to in a pinch, and as a last resort, find a ditch or some other low ground to lie down in.”
”And I believe that tornado watch has been extended, is that right, Kevin?”
”It has, yes. And that’s why knowing these safety tips is essential right about now. The watch has been extended to midnight in the Manchester and Fairfield county areas, and its even been widened in scope to include Courtside Hills.”
Shiloh remained vigilant by the window, and I was staying up in the recliner, watching the news with coffee but dozing off here and there. The storm continued to rage outside. Every once in awhile I’d open the door to take a peek, but I stopped that once the wind became so violent I struggled to shut the door against it. There was also the f-
KA-BOOOOM!!
Shiloh yelped, and my heartbeat slammed.
“Fuck!”
The dog leapt back into his defensive stance by the window, ears flattened to his head, hair up on end, teeth bared up to the gums. He barked again and then growled.
“Loudest clap of thunder I think I’ve ever heard. What about you, boy?” I scratched him behind the ears, but he was focused on something outside. I followed his gaze to the top of the trees, and just as I did there was a spectacular flash of red lightning that spilled its glow across the forest. Shiloh let out a little squeal of confusion. My mouth hung open a bit.
“The hell-?”
The lightning flashed again. A deep, almost purplish red thrown out by giant spears of electric power that shot to and fro, and through a small gap in the mist I saw nearly to the top of the big storm cloud when it did. It was a colossal monstrosity obscured by the darkness of its own underside; a billowing, rolling titan of a stormcloud lit from within by lightning and that must’ve stretched for miles in every direction. God only knew how high up into the atmosphere it went.
“God almighty. Ain’t never seen anything like that in my life.” I rubbed Shilo’s back. “Startin’ to think this isn’t any normal storm, ol’ buddy.”
The flashes of red lightning kept up throughout the night, and every once in awhile they’d be joined by lancing snaps of blue and purple. It was a spectacular and breathtaking display, wondrous and otherworldly to behold, but I’d be dishonest if I didn’t admit it was the most terrifying experience of my life. Meanwhile, the rain kept falling in sheets, and the wind had remained at steady, low-hurricane speeds for some hours now. The front yard was littered with debris and branches and hail stones the size of a fist.
The power flickered in and out, too. I wasn’t sure how it’d stayed on as long as it had, but it wouldn’t hold much longer. It couldn’t. I had the T.V. on while Shiloh and I watched the storm from the window, and I’d glance at it from time to time. The picture flickered and static filled up the screen in between shots of the news desk.
”...R-r-rpports of red…. -ightning are confounding r… over in Riverview, where….”
”...Deb, this is unlike…. I’ve ever seen… this is not an ordinary storm… that cloud above… -lonimnbus.”
”...‘cumulonimbus hyper-cell? Is... new classification?”
”Well, its… yes, and I…who...”
The feed turned to static, and then, with an audible snap, the power went out for a final time. I whistled and sighed.
“Just us in here now, boy.” I hugged him tight and felt how violently he was shaking. I think I was shaking, too, so for both our sakes I kissed his head and said, “Glad you’re here with me, buddy. That’s gotta count for something.”
And we turned back to the window to watch the storm.
”Shlioh? Where are you, boy?”
I listened for him - a whine or a bark - but heard nothing. My heartbeat quickened in pace until it was slamming.
“SHILOH!”
I started digging through the rubble of my home, tossing bricks and shards of glass and chunks of drywall to the side. They started forming a pile behind me.
”C’mon, boy. Don’t you do this to me. Don’t you do this.”
I dug and dug and dug until my nails had fallen off, until the skin of my fingertips peeled back to the bone, and then I dug some more. He was nowhere to be found. My dog. My best friend in the whole world, crushed under the weight of his own home. I couldn’t begin to imagine.
”Shiloh, please. Come here, boy. C’mon. I need you, Shiloh. I-”
I heard a bark behind me. But it wasn’t Shiloh’s; it was deep and loud and it echoed and rattled my ear drums. Then I heard it again. Louder. I turned around and peered right into the darkness behind me. It was thick and it was black and nigh-impenetrable, but it was far from empty - I could feel the wind getting stronger until my hair was flying and my skin began to peel away. I couldn’t breathe. Then there was a flash of that red lightning, and for the split second before it hit in that light I saw a tornado of incomprehensible vastness bearing down on me, to destroy what it hadn’t destroyed the first time.
”SHI-
-LOH!” I bolted upright and gasped and grabbed at my chest.
I was still at home. Covered in sweat but alive and awake, in the darkness. I could still hear the howl of the storm outside. I breathed a sigh of relief, and then Shiloh plodded up and started licking my face.
“Ha-hey, hey there, boy. Sorry about that, buddy.” I scratched behind his ears. “Just a bad dream.”
I looked at my phone - five in the morning. I’d managed to get nearly a full night’s sleep in spite of everything.
“You hungry, boy?” I got up and used a flashlight to find the dog food bag, and then Shiloh inhaled his breakfast while I looked out the back window. “Can’t believe its lasting this long.”
It truly was incredible; the rain had abated a bit, I could see - not a lot, but a bit - but the wind still howled, and the sky remained nearly pitch black dark. Not a drop or note of sunlight made it through the canopy of cloud cover, but frequent pulses of that red lightning afforded me enough visibility to appreciate the wreckage of my yard. It looked like the Somme. Trees were leafless and downed, branches carpeted the grass, and I could even see split roof shingles lying soaked in puddles at the foot of the yard. I’ll bet the insurance company’s about to have a hell of a day.
“Hey, boy. I’m gonna run outside and see if I can’t turn on that generator.” He ate the last bite of food and turned to me. “You stay put, okay?”
He wagged his tail, but when he saw I was moving for the door, he stood up and barked.
“I’ll be back in a minute, boy, okay?” I threw on my coat. “Generator’s just outside. Calm down.”
He barked again, and again, but I just rolled my eyes and stepped outside. As expected, it took less than a second to get completely and utterly soaked in the downpour. I could feel the moisture through the coat, soaking into my tee shirt, and even my boots struggled to keep my feet dry. But I slogged through the mess and the mud and the debris all the same and slowly advanced up to the generator. I threw back the tarp and-
CLACK.
I turned around. Shiloh had thrown himself up against the inside of the window and had descended into madness; he was barking and chewing at the glass and frantically, desperately trying to grab my attention. I’d never seen him in such a fit, but from what I could tell he wasn’t seeking help for himself. He was trying to save me.
As soon as I realized this, I heard something in the distance that constituted the single loudest and most bizarre sound I’d ever heard. It wasn’t thunder. It wasn’t an explosion. In fact it wasn’t especially dissimilar from a whale call or the horn of a ship docking at a harbor. It was a deafening, animalistic sonic blast that lasted for several seconds and carried hard and steady over the thunder. I felt my bloodbeat wash to a stop, and then I turned.
I couldn’t see much. But I saw enough - there was something in the cloud; a formless mass moving east and still well behind the mist. Then I heard the sound again - BAAAAAAUUUUUUMMMM - and then a flash of red lightning shed its glow on what I could now confirm was a still-clouded over form of something moving there; something alive that was titanic and otherworldly to a degree I can’t adequately put into words.
I forgot all about the generator. I dropped the cord. I forgot all about Shiloh, too, who was still barking himself into a fit from inside the house, and for the briefest of moments I even forgot about the storm, although I was still being pelted with rain. I was simply basking there in unspeakable, existential awe.
Not a normal storm indeed.
Not by a long shot. I stood and watched the Beast - whatever it was - move slowly but with grace behind the storm. Then I heard a low, rumbling thud they may have been its footstep - the ground shook when it hit - and then the giant shadow of the figure faded into the upper clouds, and the storm resumed as before with a spectacular clap of thunder that shocked me back to reality.
I looked over at Shiloh. He’d calmed down a bit and was now looking at me through the glass as if to say, what the hell are we still doing here?
He was right. We couldn’t stay here. Of course we couldn’t stay here. I didn’t know what this storm was - or if it was even a storm to begin with, in the strictest sense of the word - but I had no indication it was letting up anytime soon. And I didn’t know what that thing was.
“Alright boy.” I said it under my breath, more to myself than to him. “Alright. Let’s get the hell out of here.”
It took me mere minutes to throw a bag together - clothes, electronics, toiletries, other necessities within the grasp of convenience - and to get that and Shiloh situated in the truck. I’d thrown it all in haphazardly, and in my haste I was positive I forgot something. But I didn’t care. I just wanted to leave; to get as far away from this place as I could before things got worse. I didn’t know what was waiting for us out there, either. I didn’t know how far the destruction went, or how wide-reaching the storm was, or if this was all indeed some kind of apocalyptic level event. But if that was the case, and if we got caught out in the middle of it, then at least we’d know for sure before we died. It wasn’t exactly a comforting thought, I had to admit. But the possibility of escape was, certainly.
I locked up the house - not like it particularly mattered - and then, after throwing up the hood of my jacket and zipping it to my chin, I grabbed the handle of the garage door and threw it up, letting the wind and rain and hail blast its way inside and soak everything. So violent was the storm that it looked like we were staring out into a blizzard;the wind-whipped rain was flying in just about every direction, not just down, and in the fray, too, were rocks of hail and leaves and sometimes whole branches.
“Alright, boy!” I shouted as I climbed into the truck. “You ready?”
He looked at me and he didn’t whine or bark or make any sound or movement whatsoever.
“My thoughts exactly, bud.” I rubbed his head and turned the key. The truck - which luckily had nearly a full tank in its gut - revved into life. Then I eased my foot onto the gas and off we went, hi-beams on, windshield wipers on full blast.
The driveway was rough with debris, so the truck bounced and jostled as we made our way towards the wooded path that led out onto the main road. God, let that road be clear. I knew the odds were against us. But I didn't have it in me to think about that right now; I just kept going - five, ten, fifteen miles per hour - through the surf and the storm and hail.
The trees offered some manner of shelter, at least, and spectacularly the road was clear enough to drive through; none of the felled trunks had barricaded the path forward. But I didn't want to wait around for that to happen - it looked like it could at any second - so I hit the gas harder and we fell into gear and shook and rolled all the way down to the Hill Farms boulevard.
“Can't believe we got this far, huh, boy?” Shiloh was whimpering in the seat next to me. “Hang in there, champ. We'll be out of this mess before you know it.”
I said the words. But I'm not sure if I believed them.
We drove north for hours. Occasionally we'd see a tree in the road, or a pile of debris, or an abandoned car with its blinkers still flashing through the fog, and we'd navigate accordingly. But by and large the roads were clear, and I wanted to exploit that fact to its end before the whole damn town and all of nature’s wrath came down on top of us at once. I tried the radio on multiple occasions, too, but there was nothing to be heard there but static. I gave up after the third attempt.
A burst of red lightning streaked across the whole sky at once. Shiloh didn't respond, but when the thunder clap hit he jumped almost entirely off the seat.
Ka-BOOOOM!!!
I tensed up my grip on the wheel until my knuckles were white. Things seemed to be getting worse. I didn’t want to admit it to myself, even in my head, but it was true. Are we going the wrong way? The wipers were overwhelmed with the onslaught of precipitation. So intense was the downpour, in fact, that I was getting dripped on despite having the car sealed up tight. To boot there was the almost complete lack of visibility; I could see maybe fifty yards ahead when the rain parted in the wind, but not an inch more. At its worst I could see nothing but mist and cloud. I’d reduced my cruising speed to ten miles per hour to accommodate this. The gas tank sat a quarter.
It carried on this way for over an hour before Shiloh sat up straight and started whimpering and pawing at the window. I looked out the glass on my side. We were downtown, I saw. Its a small, isolated place, so ‘downtown’ is about three intersections wide in any direction. But in the shroud of fog and rain it looked expansive and mysterious. Light poles - sans the light, of course - loomed out of the clouds and hung gloomily over the road. I could see storefronts, too. Windows and doors were boarded up on most, but in a few - Carl’s Pharmacy and the Subway among them - the doors were thrown in and the interiors gutted. Debris and rubble littered the sidewalk, and as had been the case in my yard, the road became rough and uneven as a result.
“Looks like hell out here, doesn’t it, boy?”
Shiloh kept pawing at the glass. But then he stopped, all of a sudden, and he perked up his ear. I listened, too.
“...What in the hell-?”
For the first time in nearly twenty six hours, we began to hear silence. The rain slowed from a torrential downpour to a steady rhythm, then to a drizzle, and then it stopped altogether, and the wind, which had brought up an incessant howling since yesterday morning, abated too. All the way down to a hint of a whisper. Even the clouds began to part and spread and thin out, and before long the road ahead became clear enough to see without straining and guesswork, although fog still covered nearly everything to a certain degree. I laughed aloud and aggressively rubbed the back of Shiloh’s head between the ears.
“Shit, boy, we made it! Safe at l-”
BAAAAUUUUMMMM!!
My heartbeat slammed into rhythm, and Shiloh yelped and whined and yelped some more. That sound - that horn-blast from earlier - had exploded through the air and vibrated the windows. It was orders of magnitude louder than it was when I'd first heard it, and that meant it was close. Too close.
BAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUMMMMM!!!
“Fuck!”
I'd by now slammed on the brakes and was using both hands to cover up my ears. It was a fruitless endeavor; I could feel my eardrums rattle in my head even after the blast ceased. Shiloh was going berserk next to me.
“C’mon, calm down, boy.” I could hardly hear my own voice over the ringing in my ears. “You're not helpin’ anything by-”
BOOM.
I felt that more than I heard it, and I heard it just fine. I slowly craned my hands over to the left.
BOOM.
The whole car shook and rattled. I could see pebbles on the ground leaping up in unison at the impact.
BOOM.
And there it was. A leg. A leg that more closely resembled a California redwood in complexion and size, although it dwarfed even that.
BOOM.
The Beast was walking across the road and making a spectacle of it; I could only see the mammoth lower half of its legs as it moved - the rest was still shrouded by mist and fog and cloud - but even that was an awesome and terrible sight to behold.
BOOM.
It took a full minute for the Titan to cross the road and carry on its way to the east. Slowly I eased my foot to the pedal and we began to roll forward again, but I never slowed up the rate of my heartbeat.
Baaaaaauuuuuummmmm.
The horn-blast sound drifted away on the wind, and soon the center of town was behind us and fading deep away into the mist in the rear view mirror. The road remained rough for another mile or so. But the storm continued to clear up, and visibility improved at a slow but steady rate until the view obstruction was negligible.
“Hang in there, Shiloh.” The poor dog was so exhausted he almost lacked the energy to care. “We’re almost out of here, boy. We're almost free.”
But then the last of the clouds parted ways, and we saw it; a scene of awesome and spectacular devastation. The whole of Forston County - what had been a sparsely populated region of wooded wilderness stretching from Wilbur Heights on its southern neck to Philips creek to the northeast - had nearly ceased to exist. In its place now sat a desolate, gray pit of impossible scope; miles across and miles deep, reaching down into the earth like an excavation site or an industrial mine dug up to unearth something of utterly mammoth size. There were no living trees or grass or running water or any signs of wildlife here, just endless gray rock and stone, spiraling down deep and then back up and then stretching off into the distance until it ran up against another wall of fog and storm clouds ten or twelve miles down.
“God almighty, boy,” I said, and I leaned down to view the scene from his side of the glass as we scrolled by. Doing so brought the sky into view. “Will you look at that?”
Above the pit, spilling its ruby-scarlet light out over the landscape below it, sat the swirling red center of the storm. The relative calmness of the air beneath it hinted its purpose was not particularly unlike a hurricane's eye, and yet it was so thoroughly covered up with clouds it blotted out the sky entirely. Red lightning cracked and snapped in increasing frequency and intensity the closer up to the center things got, and at that center sat a swirling, blood-red vortex from which everything appeared to emanate and spread. Beneath it were multitudes of Titans, too, flying up out of the pit and into that vortex and disappearing forever. Shiloh whimpered and whined.
“I don't know, boy. Maybe they've been down there all along, and that thing there's their way back home.”
The scene was finally obscured again by wisps of light fog, and before we knew it we were back again in the thick of the storm the Portal’s presence had kicked up; our atmosphere’s white-blood cell reaction to something mammoth and alien in its midst. We drove again for hours, through wind and hail and sheets of rain and past other Titans moving home - BAAAAAAAAUUUUUUMMMM - but we made it through in good order. The storm finally stopped somewhere north of the Tawnee River and the town there of the same name, where we filled up our tank and got a room for the night.
The storm raged for three more days there, non-stop and at full fury for the duration. And then, in the blink of an eye, it was over.
”The June storm that devastated a previously unknown town in the center of the state is finally beginning to clear, according to authorities from the weather services, and emergency crews are finally freed to move into the already lightly populated region in force to look for survivors and restore power. But their job won't be easy.”
”Yeah, ain't never seen nothin’ like this. Look here, y’see that?”
”It looks a bit like a giant footprint.”
”Yeah, we're thinkin’ the storm ripped up trees an’ threw ‘em every which way and then blew dirt back into the holes, leavin’ nothin’ but a dip like that behind. We've seen tons o’ these, usually in lines for miles. Maybe a tornado did it. Runnin’ theory, anyway.”
”Bizarre scenes like this are indeed everywhere in the affected areas, no doubt a humbling and mysterious testament to the sheer fury Mother Nature can deliver. Coming up after the break, we'll -”
I switched the radio off.
“Bunch of idiots, huh, boy?” Shiloh didn't respond. He was asleep, still, but I confirmed it under my breath. ”Bunch of idiots.”
We pulled up to the driveway about an hour later, and then we started the long, brutal process of recovering and rebuilding, which, as of this writing, is still not complete (I still need to get the roof replaced). But none of that matters, in the end. I’ve got a bed to sleep in, and I’ve got Shiloh with me, too. I think the two of us will be just fine. The worst part, after all, isn’t the devastation.
Its what amounts to a cover-up.
Now I’m not sure what this storm was, and I couldn’t tell you if it was the first of its kind or just the latest in a long-chain of poorly reported incidents of similar quality and magnitude. But I do know enough to dismiss the ‘official explanation’ - that the 'Wilbur-Forston Hypercell,' as its now known, was just a freak weather phenomenon that can be easily enough dismissed as a strange little footnote of interest to few outside the relevant fields of study. Luckily for the powers-that-be, too, the affected area is among the least known, most sparsely populated regions in the United States, and what other witnesses there might’ve been have likely been displaced or killed.
But between myself and Shiloh? There are at least two sets of eyes here who’ve seen the reality of things. So I’m getting the word out.
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Milwaukee Bucks 2018-19 season highlights from the future

Preseason

The Bucks go undefeated in the preseason, during which D.J. Wilson averages 16 points per game and 22 minutes per game with a .648 EFG%.

Regular season

Oct. 24 Bucks vs. 76ers: The Bucks snap their season-opening, three-game losing streak—during which D.J. Wilson averaged 1.33 points per game and 11 minutes per game with a .152 EFG%—with a 96-92 win over the 76ers that featured Antetokounmpo putting up a 40-point, 21-rebound, 14-assist triple-double and a dunk in which he leapt over Joel Embiid, who afterward left the game due to injury, as Giannis’ member had struck Embiid in the face during the aforementioned dunk (note: Embiid was called for a shooting foul on that play), knocking Embiid unconscious for a period of about 1 minute and 7 seconds. The MkeBucks game thread comments section gets locked and bans reach an all-time high. After the game, Giannis sends his best wishes to Embiid through a social media post. Due to the impressive way in which the Bucks win this game, Adam Silver retroactively gives the Bucks wins in their first three regular-season games.
Oct. 25: 76ers announce that Joel Embiid is out for the rest of the regular season with concussion-like symptoms.
Oct. 29 Bucks @ Hawks: Bud really wasn’t against the Hawks tanking and helps their cause by guiding the Bucks to a 135-88 victory.
Nov. 1 Bucks @ Celtics: Celtics 99-100 Khris Middleton.
Nov. 8 Bucks @ Warriors: Warriors’ first loss of the regular season.
Nov. 16 Bucks vs. Bulls: Jabari Parker leads the Bulls with 24 points as the Bulls blowout the Bucks in the fourth quarter, scoring 38 points to the Bucks 14 in the period. The Bucks win 123-82.
Dec. 1 Bucks @ Knicks: Madison Square Garden secret weapon, Bucks’ guard Brandon Jennings, playing in his first game after signing a 10-day contract, leads the Bucks to victory with 28 points, 15 assists, 12 rebounds, 3 blocks and 4 steals.
Dec. 2: Bucks waive Brandon Jennings.
Dec. 8 Bucks vs. Warriors: Warriors’ second loss of the regular season.
Dec. 25 Bucks @ Knicks: Madison Square Garden secret weapon, Bucks’ guard Brandon Jennings, playing in his first game after signing a 10-day contract, leads the Bucks to a nationally-televised victory with 56 points, 30 assists, 24 rebounds, 6 blocks and 8 steals.
Dec. 26: After making an ill-advised, ill-fated bet in the Dec. 25 Bucks @ Knicks MkeBucks game thread regarding the likelihood of Brandon Jennings simultaneously recording a triple double and a 5X5, u/GreekAlphabetSoup gets a portrait of Brandon Jennings’ face tattooed on his chest.
Dec. 27 Bucks vs. Knicks: Antetokounmpo and Middleton combine for 80 points, Thon puts up a rebounds and blocks double-double and Brandon Jennings records 3 points, 0 assists, 0 rebounds, 0 steals, 0 blocks, 14 turnovers and 4 personal fouls (one technical) in 8 minutes of playing time on 1/17 FGs (1/17 from three) and 0/4 FTs shooting. The Bucks win 112-87.
Dec. 28: Bucks waive Brandon Jennings.
Dec. 29: u/GreekAlphabetSoup goes to his first tattoo-removal appointment.
Jan. 27 Bucks @ Thunder: Westbrook has a 20-point, 20-rebound, 20-assist triple double. The Bucks win 116-107.
Jan. 31 Bucks @ Raptors: Leonard doesn’t play because he’s excused to miss the game because of a personal/family issue (uncle). Bucks win 99-94.
Feb. 17 NBA All-Star Game: The NBA goes back to the east vs. west all-star game format. The east wins 205-162 (Antetokounmpo wins the game’s MVP award). D.J. Wilson was spotted cheering on the east’s team during the game. Wilson sat directly behind the east’s bench about 50 rows back in the upper bowl of the arena. Of note is that this was the first time in NBA history when a complete NBA all-star team (the eastern conference’s team, in this situation)—five starters (Antetokounmpo, Middleton, Brook Lopez, Bledsoe and Brogdon), all 11 reserve players (Snell, Ilyasova, Maker, Sterling Brown, Connaughton, Dellavedova, DiVincenzo, Henson, Tyler Zeller, Munford and Muhammad (the last two players were selected because of their spectacular play during short stretches with the Bucks throughout the season))—and the head coach (Budenholzer) came from the same team (the Bucks).
Feb. 21 Bucks vs. Celtics: Celtics forfeit the game since they’d otherwise have to play Middleton on his home court. By rule [disclaimer: I don’t actually know this rule], the Bucks win 1-0.
Feb. 27 Bucks @ Kings: With the Kings ahead by 5 points with 1.4 seconds to play in the fourth quarter with Kings guard Iman Shumpert having just made the first of two free throws, interim head coach Jason Kidd, worried about the Bucks possibly converting a 5-point-play, instructs Shumpert to miss his second free throw attempt. Shumpert, though quite puzzled, does as Kidd told him to do and misses his second free throw attempt. The rebound goes to Middleton, who then makes a buzzer-beating, nearly full-court shot and is fouled during the shot. While Middleton is at the line getting ready to shoot the free throw that if made would leave the Bucks down by 1 point and end the game, Kidd, with the Kings with no timeouts remaining, is assessed a technical foul for calling a timeout (we all know that rule from stat chasing in NBA2K) he had wanted to call to ice Middleton out of spite. Middleton makes the first free throw and gets ready to shoot the second free throw that would tie the game. Kidd, who still wants to attempt to ice Middleton, is seen and heard saying “hit me” to Kings’ assistant coaches Jason Terry and Sean Sweeney. Terry pretends to have not heard Kidd, but Sweeney knocks into Kidd, who tries to use that to make it look like an accident as he stumbles onto the court, takes off his pants and Superman briefs and defecates on the playing surface to force a stoppage of play. The referees see through Kidd’s antics and assess him a second technical foul, resulting in another free throw attempt for Middleton and Kidd being ejected from the game. Middleton makes his second free throw. As Kidd waddles off the court while using a dry-erase marker to cover up his member, Middleton makes his third free throw to successfully convert the six-point play and end the game. The Bucks win 97-96.
Feb 28: The Kings remove the interim tag from Jason Kidd after Kidd signs five-year head coaching contract with the franchise. Reports indicate the Kings wanted to change their playing style to be one that works better in the modern NBA and they believe Kidd, a young head coach with experience as a player, can succeed in doing that. Reports also indicate that the contract was agreed to by both parties and finalized after Kidd agreed to have assistant coaches Jason Terry and Sean Sweeney be in charge of calling timeouts and also vowed to run his secret 7-point play prevention defense end-of-game-scenario drill (that Kidd developed and supposedly can stop 6-point plays as well) with the team during every practice.
Feb. 29: “#FireKidd” billboards are spotted throughout Sacramento and surrounding areas.
Mar. 4 Bucks @ Suns: Suns assistant coach Joe Prunty goes missing inside his suit at some point during the third quarter. The Bucks win 101-93.
Mar. 5: Suns assistant coach Joe Prunty is found thanks to a tip called in by someone who saw one of the missing person posters for Prunty that u/traphag put up all over Phoenix the previous evening.
Mar. 17 Bucks vs. 76ers: Fultz, playing in his first game of the season after being cleared by doctors to play before the preseason started, scores 2 points in 19 minutes of playing time. The Bucks win, 76-67.
Mar. 19 Bucks vs. Lakers: LeBron puts up a triple-double in the first half, but leaves the game before the start of the third quarter after learning of the hiring of LaVar Ball as the Lakers new GM. The Bucks win 109-97.
Apr. 10 Bucks vs. Thunder: Though none of the Bucks starters play (so they can rest up for the playoffs) and the Thunder are still jostling for playoff seeding in the western conference, the Bucks bench, led by 26 points, 7 assists and 6 steals from TheBigRagu in 35 minutes of playing time and 4 points from DJWILSONSHAIR in 32 minutes of playing time, made a huge second-half comeback to defeat the Thunder 110-105.
The Bucks finish the regular season with a record of 82-0, narrowly beating the Warriors (80-2) for the best record in the league. Antetokounmpo wins MVP, Snell wins MIP, Ilyasova wins the sixth man of the year award, Budenholzer wins coach of the year and Horst wins executive of the year.
Regular season note: The #MkeBucksIRL2 game meet-up was a huge success and since he traveled all the way from Australia for the event, u/JethroBarnes got a special treat from Maker, who dunked Jethro through a basketball hoop before the game started. u/JethroBarnes then enjoyed watching the game on the TV in his hospital room before eventually making a complete recovery from injuries he willingly sustained at the #MkeBucksIRL2 game meet-up. 10 randomly-selected people from the MkeBucks group got to watch the fantastic halftime entertainment (and then a portion of halftime player warm-ups) courtside from the Bucks bench. Halftime entertainment was provided by u/justinsuperstar, who was flown in by the Bucks from across the country to perform his five-minute, dancing-while-wearing-a-deer-head-mask-and-a-Plumlee-face-T-shirt act. u/GeauxBucks34 joined the MkeBucks pregame gathering but watched the game from the Chick-fil-A located inside the Fiserv Forum, where halftime entertainment was provided by u/cookster123, who was allowed by the Bucks to purchase a ticket to the game to perform his 33-second, curse-filled and music-less dancing act. u/Ruvio00 also made a long trip—all the way from the U.K.—to attend the event, which he had a lot of fun at but doesn’t remember any of after consuming a large quantity of alcohol during the pregame gathering. After the game (that the Bucks won) we all went down onto the court to be present for the wonderful marriage between u/traphag and u/MrsRodgers. One of u/traphag’s husbands served as the ceremony’s officiant and her other husband, Joe Prunty, who wore one of his suits that u/traphag picked out for him, was both the ring bearer and flower man. Dirk Nowitzki was u/traphag’s man of honor and D.J. Wilson was u/MrsRodgers’ maid of honohype.

Postseason

The Bucks sweep the 76ers, Celtics and Raptors to make it to the NBA finals vs. the Warriors. Of note from the Bucks series against the 76ers is that Joel Embiid made his return to the court after a lengthy absence due to injury. During the first quarter of game 1, Antetokounmpo had an extremely impressive dunk during which he leapt over Joel Embiid, who afterward left the game due to injury, as Giannis’ member had struck Embiid in the face during the aforementioned dunk (note: Embiid was called for a shooting foul on that play), knocking Embiid unconscious for a period of about 1 minute and 7 seconds. Giannis sent his best wishes to Embiid through a social media post after the game, but shortly after that the 76ers announced that Joel Embiid is out with concussion-like symptoms until at least the beginning of the 2020-21 season.
In the NBA finals, the Bucks take a 3-0 series lead against Warriors and then throw games 4 and 5 to get a longer look at D.J. Wilson (he averages 48 minutes per game in games 4 and 5 of the series, which are the only games of the series he plays in) before the NBA Summer League starts. The Bucks win game six to win their franchise’s second NBA championship. Antetokounmpo wins the finals’ MVP award and in game 6 of the series he recorded a quadruple-double and a 5X5, while also the NBA’s single-game scoring record (previously held by Antetokounmpo as well) by scoring 134 points.
—————
Everyone is shocked by the Bucks’ season except for people in the MkeBucks community.
We are the best team in the NBA.
Go Bucks.
Edit: A typo and formatting.
submitted by GreekAlphabetSoup to MkeBucks [link] [comments]

Weekly Newsletter - 1st April

Apple introduces its own credit card, the Apple Card
Today, Apple announced… a credit card. The Apple Card is designed for the iPhone and will work with the Wallet app. You sign up from your iPhone and you can use it with Apple Pay in just a few minutes.
Before introducing the card, Apple CEO Tim Cook shared a few numbers about Apple Pay. This year, Apple Pay will reach 10 billion transactions. By the end of this year, Apple Pay will be available in more than 40 countries.
Retail acceptance of Apple Pay is always growing. In the U.S., 70 percent of businesses accept Apple Pay. But it’s higher in some countries — Australia is at 99 percent acceptance, for instance.
READ MORE
How Apple Card works
One of the most buzzy announcements on Apple’s stage this week was Apple Card, its in-house credit card powered by Goldman Sachs and Mastercard. Consumers, tech press, financial press and Wall Street were all intrigued for various reasons.
But there are still a ton of questions around the way it works mechanically, the terms involved for consumers and its overall benefits. Though I’m not a financial reporter, I did used to cover payments and I’m a huge points hound. Some of the benefits (and caveats) of Apple Card are worth examining a bit more.
READ MORE
Brandwatch turns its war chest on acquiring market research startup Qriously
In the past few years it’s become increasingly evident that while social media was a fantastic new way to get into the minds of people and understand what they thought in order to sell them things, you couldn’t just rely on the blathering of millions of people. You also had to literally ask them questions. At the darker end of the spectrum, this was used by the likes of Cambridge Analytica to first poll questions, then use the data to target audiences for dark political purposes. At the lighter end, it’s a method used every day by legitimate brands and ad agencies. But until now, most social listening agencies and most polling companies plowed different sectors of the tech industry. The news that a major social intelligence company is acquiring a research platform is an indication that these two worlds are about to come together.
Brandwatch, a leading social intelligence company, has acquired London-based SaaS research platform Qriously. Although terms have not been disclosed, the notion is clear: to fuse modern market research methods with social media listening and analytics. Qriously had previously raised $6.2 million while Brandwatch has raised $65 million from European VCs Nauta Capital, Highland Europe and Partech.
READ MORE
Telegram adds ‘delete everywhere’ nuclear option to private chats — killing chat history
Telegram has added a feature that lets a user delete messages in one-to-one private chats, after the fact, and not only from their own inbox.
The new ‘nuclear option’ delete feature allows a user to selectively delete their own messages and/or messages sent by the other person in the chat. They don’t even have to have composed the original message or begun the thread to do so. They can just decide it’s time.
Let that sink in.
All it now takes is a few taps to wipe all trace of a historical one-to-one communication — from both your own inbox and the inbox of whoever else you were chatting with (assuming they’re also running the latest version of Telegram’s app).
READ MORE
Drake invests in esports betting startup Players’ Lounge
Drake’s latest collaboration isn’t with Kanye or Kendrick, it’s with Marissa Mayer.
The rap superstar has joined a bevy of Silicon Valley investors, including Strauss Zelnick, Comcast, Macro Ventures, Canaan, RRE, Courtside and Marissa Mayer, to fund Players’ Lounge, an esports startup looking to pit gamers against each other in their favorite titles with some friendly wagers on the line.
The startup has just announced that it closed $3 million in funding.
The company, which has been around for five years, got its start as an esports startup looking to organize real-life matches at bars in New York City to play FIFA. That’s obviously not the most scalable business of all time, but last year after joining Y Combinator, the company really dove into a new model that looked to create an online hub for gamers to battle each other in titles of their choosing, with money on the line.
READ MORE
submitted by GeorgeYDesign to techcrunch [link] [comments]

Vince Carter's Legendary 2000 Dunk Contest told with Gifs [OC]

Dunks are cool.
Dunks are really cool.
Dunking is probably one of the coolest damn things that you can do on any given day given that you’re not like a fire-breather or something. And even then if you could dunk while breathing fire it would become infinitely more cool.
There are 1,001 ways to score a basketball. But only with one can you suspend yourself in the air and shove your sweaty testicles into the face of the moron who just got in your way. It’s the ultimate combination of efficiency and electricity. Common sense would dictate the shortest distance between the ball and the middle of the hoop would create the highest likelihood to put points on the board.
Yeah not when you’re taking off from ten feet away with a gigantic latvian with perfect verticality is standing there performing a spot on imitation of telephone pole. Yet there’s something beautiful about that.
You succeed in basketball by having the most points at the final buzzer, but that’s not exactly how you win. Basketball is about so much more than just outscoring your opponent. It’s about pride and ego, legacies and history. Any fan of sports has probably seen thousands of baskets made in their lifetime, but there are some at which you can look back and they might as well have been worth a thousand.
For every heartstopping moment of the playoffs, there are an infinite amount of plays in the regular season that might not even get you out of bed. But there are some players with talents so outstanding that even the casual fan balks at the notion of flipping the channel during a regular season sleeper. There are just some guys who you can feel in your bones just might do something you’ve never seen before. Maravich, Dr. J, Iverson. They may not have been the men who ruled the league out of sheer dominance, but each had something that no one else did.
Then there was Vince Carter.
VC took the dunk and made it his weapon.
No, not weapon like, “Yeah Kobe’s turnaround is such a nice weapon”. Like, you may physically be harmed by this man if he doesn’t just jump the fuck over you. Paul Pierce, who was once stabbed with a literal weapon in the face many times, called Vince one of his top 5 least favorite players to guard, simply because he had to worry about being on the wrong end of a Sportscenter highlight all game. For God’s sake, Carter has a YouTube highlight reel of his TOP ONE-HUNDRED dunks, and every last one of them would would make the SC Top 10. This is the one-hundredth best dunk Vince Carter has done that we know about. Think back to the hundredth shot you've made with a paper towel into the trash can. Vince Carter is less excited about his hundredth best dunk than you are when you bank a ball of Bounty in off some drywall.
The NBA Dunk Contest was made for Vince. Nowadays, the contest is a place for young up and coming athletes in the league to make a name for themselves while the stars sit courtside texting in clothes that would tear out a synesthete's ear drums. But not back then. Players these days worry more and more about their brand, and a series of weird format changes coupled with the damage associated with a potential loss has alienated the true stars from the competition. Being a dunk contest champion used to mean something. Sure, there was shame in losing, there always is, but the contest used to be an opportunity to tack on something immortal to your legacy. On February 12th, 2000, during the NBA Dunk Contest, Vince Carter became immortal.
A member of the Toronto Raptors, "Air Canada" was an immediate favorite to take home the trophy. A poll showed 82% of those asked felt VC was going to emerge victorious out of a field that contained Tracy McGrady, Steve Francis, Ricky Davis, Jerry Stackhouse, and Larry Hughes.
Draped in Sixer’s blue, Larry Hughes would kick off the competition solidly clanking a reverse off the back iron. He would soon after go on to attribute the error to his having jumped “too high”. Ever the poet, Kenny Smith would note that Hughes would have received a higher score, had he completed the dunk.
At only 20 years of age, Carter's teammate Tracy McGrady would kick off the festivities. He stayed within reason, throwing down a clutch reverse jam off the lob to himself. Perfect ten scorecards fluttered in the crowd early, but the jam also received a smattering of nines from spectators. Nines are the dunk contest equivalent of a participation ribbon.
Third to center court came 6'3'' Rockets' point guard Steve Francis. From the midline Francis lofted a high arching bouncer, raced behind it, and skied 40'', barely getting ahold of the ball before flushing the gravity defying dunk. McGrady had been matched at least, but up next was the man who had the ability to change everything the moment his feet left the ground.
Carter walked into a bounding jog with swagger and confidence from centercourt. Cameras flashed from the crowd, anticipating the spectacular. It was clear moments later that Vince Carter was playing a different game than anyone else on the planet.
Off of two feet VC planted, and exploded in a rotation the opposite direction from which he came. The "wrong way" 360. For something done "wrong", Vince Carter made it look about as right as anything could be. His 360 degree spin launched Carter's outstretched arm into a windmill so devastating it nearly caused Shaq to drop a camcorder that was big enough to look big being held by freaking Shaq. Air Canada's legs seemed to have a recoil kick. Carter looked about as intimidating as a man could while pogoing.
"Let's go home. Call it a night. Let's see who's going for second place."
A perfect overall score of 50 seemed like a good start.
Jerry Stackhouse would then put down a good looking 360 two-handed backscratcher, which literally no one cared about. Which might actually have been good for Stackhouse, because he slammed the ball into his own face.
To Jerry's credit, he handled the post dunk interview well. If someone had asked me "How tough was that act to follow?", my response would be considerably less tasteful than "Well, did you see it?".
The young soon-to-be-star McGrady tried to make waves of his own in the wake of his third-cousin Vince's swells. He nearly hit his head on the rim in a second round two handed windmill that featured spectacular hang-time. But this is a lesson on why you should always hang around your uglier friends at the bar. Even the commentary couldn't avoid immediate comparison to Vince Carter's aerials. Having VC as the set up man for the pass leading into the dunk didn't help.
Steve Francis honored his lifelong commitment to getting incredibly high, getting up for another lob off the bounce, catching the ball well behind his launch point, cocking it, and finishing the play off, though not quite with the power the two Raptors had displayed previously.
Larry Hughes then bounced the ball between his legs three times in an attempt to catch it off the backboard, and he didn't even come fucking close. Once he missed the backboard entirely, and then just walked off like a noodle.
Iverson laughed at him.
Again it was Vince Carter's turn. The crowd was in a hushed excitement as VC took his place behind the glass near the photographers. Three steps, 180 degrees and a rotational arm speed that would make the guy from SportsScience lose his mind, Carter had completed his second dunk. Less mind bending than the first, Carter's move to "play it safe" yielded perfect scores regardless from everyone but Kenny Smith and this hard to please little bastard.
Carter, McGrady and Francis had pulled ahead, all three virtually assured a trip to the final round. For absolutely no reason at all other than to solidify that somewhere way back in the bloodlines of the McGrady-Carter's, someone was part space alien, TMac put down an incredible 360, with a clutch that went well below his waist. Tim Duncan's awkward attempt at applause says it all.
The frenzied arena was alive simply waiting to see Vince Carter destroy the crowd's conceptions of physics.
Then it happened.
It could have been released as a documentary entitled "The Year 2000". A giddy Jason Kidd, draped in his finest paper bag for the occasion, appeared almost childlike with anticipation. Number 15 in Raptors' black awaited a bounce pass from the man who'd turned out to be right on his heels in the scorecard, his teammate, his cousin.
McGrady casually bounced the ball a few feet in front of the basket as Carter came charging in. With an unmistakable grace and fluidity, VC took off, swung the ball between his legs and stuffed it over the rim.
Every person on Earth watching that contest rose to their feet. A thousand lips moved in unison, the same phrase escaped them all.
It's over.
Judges lept over the table, grabbing a hold of Vince as if to be sure he was real. Some of the greatest freak athletes on the planet were reduced to human puddles in response to what they'd just witnessed. The calmest man in the room was the one walking away from the basket- Mr. Carter.
The final round gave each Francis, McGrady and Carter two dunks a piece. Francis, clearly physically outmatched by the dueling Raptors, scored a 43 on his first attempt- a comparatively pedestrian two handed windmill variation.
McGrady, not lacking the physical capability to put up a 50 by any means, found himself rather, limited by his creativity. A two handed windmill, yet again off the bounce, gave the judges little to work with aside from McGrady's well documented vertical leaping ability. His score of 45 would normally serve as a reason for concern to the single competitor remaining.
But that single remaining competitor had a trick hidden just about where his sleeve would have been.
The typical fanfare following a Carter dunk had been replaced by stunned silence as the Raptor swung there, the cradle of his elbow locked around the rim. It looked like the first time you heard a student call a teacher mom.
"Did... he really just do that?"
Another perfect score. Another dunk to add to an already legendary night.
Tracy McGrady's night was finished after failing to complete his second dunk of the round. He knew from the start he was playing second fiddle to Air Canada that night.
Pesky Steve Francis wouldn't give up, a bigtime clutch reverse put a score of 48 on the board, meaning Vince Carter would need a 42 or higher to capture the crown. If you know VC like you should by now, you know even his greatest Larry Hughes impersonation would leave Carter in the winners circle.
He cruised effortlessly down the court, taking off a bit inside the free throw line and finishing a two handed flush with plenty of room to spare. A generous 48 from the judges, and just like that, Carter's prediction from the end of round one had become reality. It was over.
The NBA has changed to an enormous degree over the past 15 years. A grizzled Vince Carter remains, though the player who changed the game that February day in 2000 is immortalized only on the walls of aging millennials and in countless online tributes. The NBA Dunk Contest is a far cry from what it once was, and despite all the positive change the league has seen over the past decade and a half, the contest often receives criticism.
There is just too much on the line these days. But each and every All-Star Break, no matter the format, no matter the competition, we tune in all the same to watch freak athletes try their best to create their own legend, the way Vince Carter did in 2000. And I'll bet we keep watching until the day the contest dies. Why? The same reason you read this.
Dunks are cool.
submitted by ank1613 to nba [link] [comments]

Writer Kent Babb went on a Twitter spree of Iverson facts and stories.

Apparently Showtime aired an Iverson documentary tonight. (Trailer here)
Washington Post writer Kent Babb has an Iverson biography coming out in a couple weeks and, although I don't think he was involved in this documentary, live-tweeted the whole thing with his own anecdotes. You can see them all on his Twitter here, but here they are. Keep in mind that he was tweeting along with the documentary, so some of it might not make sense if you weren't watching Showtime while reading.
submitted by bobbybrown_ to nba [link] [comments]

Summary of ch.451

Ch.451 opens with the Davis Cup world group first round in February. In the Team Japan locker room, the Japanese team is in a huddle. Monma says Argentina is higher ranked, but it's an opponent that they have to defeat now to get to the next level. He declares they'll definitely win, and everyone else shouts agreement. Ei-chan looks impressed at seeing this, thinking that the atmosphere is different from the usual. Even though everyone in the waiting room is a rival, there's such a sense of unity as fellow tennis players... Addressing Ei-chan and company, Asano calls them future national team candidates and saying they understand the meaning of their being here today. He tells them he wants them to burn into their memories these 3 days.
Scene switch to courtside with Ide, Ei-chan, Araya, and Kanda sitting in the bleachers.
The Davis Cup begins with two singles matches on the first day, pitting the teams' singles 2 vs the opposing teams' singles 1. The second day has the doubles match. And the final day has two singles matches with the respective singles 1 going up against each other, and then the respective singles 2 doing the same. The outcome is decided by the 5 matches during the 3 days.
During these 3 days, the 4 registered players can participate once a day. For example, Ike has the right to participate in 3 matches, but a match is a tough 5-set match. Three consecutive days of participation is nearly impossible for players on the world tour, so a strategy for winning 3 of the 5 matches becomes necessary.
Monma arrives on court, accompanied by Coach Maeda.
The first match of the first day pits Japan's S2, Monma (world rank: 55), against Argentina's S1, Ramon Redondo (world rank: 26). It's the match of Monma who has declared that the Davis Cup is everything.
Ei-chan wants to watch this match and absorb the whole of Monma.
The match was fierce. It began at top gear from the start of the match, it was improbable from Monma's style, which hinges on endurance. Without any change, Monma had steadily dragged his higher-ranked opponent into his own ground with a fierce attack that didn't drop the pace. However, it's said that there's yet another major barrier in the 30s level internationally. That barrier seemed like it would crumble after one more go. But it was a defeat that gave the impression that "one more go" was a big one. (The art shows Monma hitting a cord ball and the ball bounces out.)
Then Ei-chan realized that the substance of the match itself influences even the players who will compete next. (The art shows a determined Ike.)
Ike (world rank: 30) goes up against Nicolas Perez (world rank: 40). Can the young ace save Japan whose mainstay had broken and fallen into trouble? It was a high-profile match broadcast throughout the country. Ike doesn't let this sort of moment get away. With enough impact to launch a tennis craze in Japan, he boosted the spirit of Japan, which was at a disadvantage, by winning overwhelmingly.
Ei-chan goggles at the result, marveling that Ike is a player who's the same age as himself.
And then the second day, which arrived with 1 win and 1 loss, is the doubles. Japan's Yoshimichi and Watanabe were clearly lower ranked than their opponents who are the No.5 pair in the world. Moreover, since his match with Ei-chan, Yoshimichi had also taken a break, so Ei-chan expected a hard fight. However, Yoshimichi is also a man who dedicates his all to the Davis Cup. Everyone watching could tell he'd finished up in perfect condition for today.
Watanabe didn't just inject fighting spirit. His power and movements had leveled up considerably. Ei-chan believes Watanabe himself has also matured, but Ei-chan thinks Yoshimichi has a big influence on Watanabe. The two definitely produced more power than the sum of their actual ability. Yoshimichi supported Watanabe psychologically, while Watanabe covered Yoshimichi's defensive range. Yoshimichi sets up the contest, while Watanabe decides it. (The art shows Watanabe putting away the ball down the line.) With this, they contended with the world's No.5 on equal ground. Ei-chan thought once again that the Davis Cup is a special battle where you compete by matching strengths. This match went a full set, but they couldn't seize victory.
And the last day of the competition with Argentina—the order was published and the venue was in an uproar for an instant. The plan was actually for Monma to appear, but because he was uneasy about his right wrist (and Monma is right-handed), the order was hurriedly amended. Everyone understood that Monma wanted to appear more than anyone else, but it seems (in other words, Ei-chan's going by secondhand info) Monma considered everything comprehensively—the fans, Japan's future, sponsors, officials, etc.—and he appealed to the coach.
Monma tells the team he's done everything he could up to now for Japan. That's why he wanted to speak with the coach and make the correct decision without wavering. Maeda instructs Ike to win. And he announces he's relying on Watanabe for the last, to Yoshimichi, Asano, and Nabae's surprise.
First is the showdown between the aces. The adversity of a last-ditch fight against a higher-ranked opponent lit a fire in Ike. Moreover, his opponent was the same player who'd faced Monma two days ago, and had expended a lot of stamina at that time. Ike dominated the match with a fierce attack from the start, and won with a set count of 3-1. Watching the match, Ei-chan notes that Ike is completely dominated an opponent who's ranked 26th in the world, and Ei-chan wonders if this is also team play (probably in the sense of Monma having worn out the Argentinian ace).
With this the competition score is 2-2. The outcome was left to the final match: Watanabe's singles. Watanabe is met on court with cheers of "Watanabe" and "Japan." Ei-chan marvels at the amazing pressure under which Watanabe will play. Right then, Yoshimichi shouts encouragement, reminding Watanabe they (the team) are with him. Watanabe sees Team Japan and seems to calm down.
For Ei-chan, it was unbelievable that Watanabe had played against him. Today's Watanabe was so powerful and careful he was like different person from that time (when he played against Ei-chan). Against a Watanabe who was powerful without overdoing things, the 40th in the world committed continuous errors. (The art shows a shot going out.) Ei-chan could clearly tell that if Watanabe is mentally prepared, he's one of the few players in Japan who has the physical ability to be able to compete internationally. Since he doesn't commit errors at important points, the balls he carefully hits are surprisingly powerful. The match proceeds with Watanabe having the upper hand. The set count is 2-1... Ei-chan thinks Watanabe might be the one closest to world level (in Team Japan?), excluding Ike and Monma. He could understand why the national team betted on Watanabe in the end.
Then, 2 sets up, Watanabe headed to the 4th set. If he lost this and went into the final set, there was a chance the home advantage would turn into pressure. At tiebreak, Watanabe kept attacking—and took it back! (The art shows Watanabe hitting a winner crosscourt.) The national team broke through the 1st round: "Japan advances to the 2nd round, the Best 8!!" The national team rushes on court to congratulate Watanabe, as an elated Ei-chan looks on. End of chapter.
The teaser blurb says "Experiencing the national team from up close..." The title of the next chapter is "In Georgia."
submitted by Vampirecat1 to BabySteps [link] [comments]

There's Something Moving in the Stormclouds

The hot air blew up north from the Gulf, and the cold wind swept in south from Canada, and when the two fronts collided over the States their battle spilled over into a monstrous, rolling stormcloud not a few miles north of my lot in the woods. For the better part of an hour as things there unfolded, the buzz of the weather alert was all I could hear on the TV and on the radio. They’re saying this could be a big one, folks. Stay indoors and be prepared to run to the cellar if this supercell does indeed produce a funnel cloud. We’ll keep you updated as more information becomes available. And all at once I could see the black underside of the beast as it moved, and then the trees started to list and sway, and then the wind rolled up through the grass until it blew dust onto my trousers and into my hair. I whistled.
“C’mon, Shiloh! Inside, boy, let’s go!”
The dog bounded up the stairs and I shut the door behind the two of us. And then it began to rain, nothing but a drizzle at first but then a pounding, howling downpour that fell in sheets and torrents. It turned the dirt to mud, and it poured from the gutters, and it swept up against the windows like ocean surf. Shiloh, never one for thunderstorms if he could help it, laid down on the rug and covered his snout with a paw and begin to whine.
“Hang in there, boy. It'll be over soon.”
I sat down on the recliner and turned on the T.V. and pet him absentmindedly with my free hand.
”...of the storm.”
”Well do you think it’ll produce a twister?”
”Its - its hard to say, right now, Debbie. The conditions, we think, are there, especially here, near Fairfield, and over here in the uh, in the Manchester area. You can see on the radar how that’s playing out. So that’s certainly a cause for concern that we’re keeping a close watch on.”
”Thanks, Kevin. And I’m getting word now that there is indeed a tornado watch now, in Fort Hutchins and in Charles counties, and of course you can get a more comprehensive list of affected areas on our website and at the bottom of the screen. To anyone in the path of this storm, especially in those areas, it is imperative that you are either prepared to move to a storm shelter on short notice or find a low place to hide, without windows if at all possible. Place mattresses up against any exposed windows if you can, and do not attempt to drive away from the storm until the Watch is expired.”
I looked out the window. It was hard to see much of anything through the wind and the rain. But it was dark out there, for sure. I stood up and walked over to the window to get a better view, but it was so worked over in fog and rainwater that I could hardly see a thing.
“Stay put, Shiloh. I’m just gonna take a quick peek out the door.”
I cracked it open a bit, and the sound of the storm utterly exploded into the house. I could barely hear the dog bark over the sound of the wind and rain and the claps of thunder. Then a spear of lightning bolted across the sky.
“Whoo! Its a big one, boy!” I shouted. “Might have to rev up that generator in a bit!”
I eased the door open a bit more and leaned out. Within seconds I was nearly as soaked as the porch, and then I had to squint and shield my eyes and wipe my hair off my forehead when the rain plastered it there with weight. In the distance and through the trees I could still see the sunset, but the red and orange and yellow there had hit a hard, fast wall of blackened stormclouds a few miles off, and that cloud only got darker and more violent the closer it got to where I stood. The grass in my fields was nearly flattened with wind, too, and the trees were heaving sideways and billowing their tops to the windfall as the storm threw its back to their beating. I craned my neck upward. The clouds were moving fast above the house. I could tell that even through the rain; they swirled and bulged and they chased their tails, and wisps of them scouted the ground and dipped deep and low. I felt Shiloh brush up against my leg.
“Back inside, boy.” I gently nudged him the heel of my boot. “Things are gettin’ worse out here.” I shut the door and muffled the sound by doing so, and Shiloh went back to his spot on the rug and picked up his whining where he’d left it off. I knelt down and scratched behind his ear.
“Almost over, boy. Storms this bad can’t last too long.”
But the storm didn’t let up. It carried on through the afternoon and into the evening and only strengthened as it did. I kept tuned into the T.V. as I made a casserole.
”...down near Fairview.”
”And luckily the worst of the storm is holding to the northwest of Wilbur Heights, which, of course, is minimizing the damage there.”
”Uh, yeah. That’s right, Deb. But the roads there are just clogged to death and back with people getting out of the storm’s way, and that kind of uh, that kind of congestion could prove to be very dangerous if things do indeed decide to move in that direction.
”Well we certainly hope everyone there gets themselves to safety before that happens.”
Shiloh had his nose pressed up against the window as the talking heads conversed. He was almost perfectly still; his tail was tucked, his paws were set wide and he had one of his ears standing on end.
“Anything interesting out there, boy?”
He paid me no heed, so I got up and joined him at the window. The storm had reached a hurricane-level of fury - the rain was flying in sideways, now, and bursts of lightning illuminated a number of downed trees at the edge of the yard. The rest of them continued to bend their spines to the wind.
“Its a wonder the power’s still on, ain’t it?” I scratched the back of his head. He continued ignoring me, but when I got up to check on dinner, he barked. “Shhhh. Hey. No need for that, Shiloh. C’mon now.”
He barked again.
“Shiloh!”
He barked a third time, and a fourth. Then his ears flattened up against his head and he backed up a little from the window and growled under his breath.
“You see somethin,’ boy?”
He barked again. I went back over to the window and did my damnedest to peer out of it, but all I could see and hear was darkness and wind.
“C’mon. No more barkin’ inside, boy.”
”So where’s this all coming from, Kevin? Its been churning non-stop for twelve hours now. Emergency crews can’t even get out there to do their jobs properly.”
”Its, uh - its definitely lasting longer than anyone predicted, I’ll give you that. But its not unheard of for particularly powerful front-collisions to result in longer lasting supercell systems like this. We’ll just have to see how it plays out.”
”And has the center of the storm moved at all?”
”Bizarrely, it hasn’t, Deb. Its remained relatively stationary outside Wilbur Heights and Bellsouth and its actually uh, its actually gaining strength in certain areas, too.
And of course we’re now getting some reports of widespread power outages and property damage in the Riverside area. Here’s a video of the 7-11 at the intersection of Turner and Route 40. This was turned into us by an anonymous source. You can clearly see some severe, uh, severe structural damage to those gas pumps, and a lot of debris floating around the parking lot. Its not the best angle but if you look right here you can see part of the gas station’s roof is kind of uh, kind of hanging off, there. Fortunately we have yet to hear of any injuries or fatalities, but you know. There’s only so much of lot of the older buildings out there can take.
”Unfortunately that’s right, Deb. A lot of the houses in the Riverside and Port Harbor areas were built decades ago, and in some of the lower end neighborhoods out there the uhm, the architecture is particularly vulnerable to high speed, prolonged winds like what we’re seeing here tonight.”
”Any advice for people who might be trapped in those areas for the duration?”
”Well, you covered the bases pretty well earlier, I think. But its worth repeating. Board up your windows or put up mattresses in case the glass shatters. And at all times, have a place in mind to run to if things get particularly bad. Make sure it has no windows. Make sure its low to the ground. Bathrooms and basements are good choices to run to in a pinch, and as a last resort, find a ditch or some other low ground to lie down in.”
”And I believe that tornado watch has been extended, is that right, Kevin?”
”It has, yes. And that’s why knowing these safety tips is essential right about now. The watch has been extended to midnight in the Manchester and Fairfield county areas, and its even been widened in scope to include Courtside Hills.”
Shiloh remained vigilant by the window, and I was staying up in the recliner, watching the news with coffee but dozing off here and there. The storm continued to rage outside. Every once in awhile I’d open the door to take a peek, but I stopped that once the wind became so violent I struggled to shut the door against it. There was also the f-
KA-BOOOOM!!
Shiloh yelped, and my heartbeat slammed.
“Fuck!”
The dog leapt back into his defensive stance by the window, ears flattened to his head, hair up on end, teeth bared up to the gums. He barked again and then growled.
“Loudest clap of thunder I think I’ve ever heard. What about you, boy?” I scratched him behind the ears, but he was focused on something outside. I followed his gaze to the top of the trees, and just as I did there was a spectacular flash of red lightning that spilled its glow across the forest. Shiloh let out a little squeal of confusion. My mouth hung open a bit.
“The hell-?”
The lightning flashed again. A deep, almost purplish red thrown out by giant spears of electric power that shot to and fro, and through a small gap in the mist I saw nearly to the top of the big storm cloud when it did. It was a colossal monstrosity obscured by the darkness of its own underside; a billowing, rolling titan of a stormcloud lit from within by lightning and that must’ve stretched for miles in every direction. God only knew how high up into the atmosphere it went.
“God almighty. Ain’t never seen anything like that in my life.” I rubbed Shilo’s back. “Startin’ to think this isn’t any normal storm, ol’ buddy.”
The flashes of red lightning kept up throughout the night, and every once in awhile they’d be joined by lancing snaps of blue and purple. It was a spectacular and breathtaking display, wondrous and otherworldly to behold, but I’d be dishonest if I didn’t admit it was the most terrifying experience of my life. Meanwhile, the rain kept falling in sheets, and the wind had remained at steady, low-hurricane speeds for some hours now. The front yard was littered with debris and branches and hail stones the size of a fist.
The power flickered in and out, too. I wasn’t sure how it’d stayed on as long as it had, but it wouldn’t hold much longer. It couldn’t. I had the T.V. on while Shiloh and I watched the storm from the window, and I’d glance at it from time to time. The picture flickered and static filled up the screen in between shots of the news desk.
”...R-r-rpports of red…. -ightning are confounding r… over in Riverview, where….”
”...Deb, this is unlike…. I’ve ever seen… this is not an ordinary storm… that cloud above… -lonimnbus.”
”...‘cumulonimbus hyper-cell? Is... new classification?”
”Well, its… yes, and I…who...”
The feed turned to static, and then, with an audible snap, the power went out for a final time. I whistled and sighed.
“Just us in here now, boy.” I hugged him tight and felt how violently he was shaking. I think I was shaking, too, so for both our sakes I kissed his head and said, “Glad you’re here with me, buddy. That’s gotta count for something.”
And we turned back to the window to watch the storm.
”Shlioh? Where are you, boy?”
I listened for him - a whine or a bark - but heard nothing. My heartbeat quickened in pace until it was slamming.
“SHILOH!”
I started digging through the rubble of my home, tossing bricks and shards of glass and chunks of drywall to the side. They started forming a pile behind me.
”C’mon, boy. Don’t you do this to me. Don’t you do this.”
I dug and dug and dug until my nails had fallen off, until the skin of my fingertips peeled back to the bone, and then I dug some more. He was nowhere to be found. My dog. My best friend in the whole world, crushed under the weight of his own home. I couldn’t begin to imagine.
”Shiloh, please. Come here, boy. C’mon. I need you, Shiloh. I-”
I heard a bark behind me. But it wasn’t Shiloh’s; it was deep and loud and it echoed and rattled my ear drums. Then I heard it again. Louder. I turned around and peered right into the darkness behind me. It was thick and it was black and nigh-impenetrable, but it was far from empty - I could feel the wind getting stronger until my hair was flying and my skin began to peel away. I couldn’t breathe. Then there was a flash of that red lightning, and for the split second before it hit in that light I saw a tornado of incomprehensible vastness bearing down on me, to destroy what it hadn’t destroyed the first time.
”SHI-
-LOH!” I bolted upright and gasped and grabbed at my chest.
I was still at home. Covered in sweat but alive and awake, in the darkness. I could still hear the howl of the storm outside. I breathed a sigh of relief, and then Shiloh plodded up and started licking my face.
“Ha-hey, hey there, boy. Sorry about that, buddy.” I scratched behind his ears. “Just a bad dream.”
I looked at my phone - five in the morning. I’d managed to get nearly a full night’s sleep in spite of everything.
“You hungry, boy?” I got up and used a flashlight to find the dog food bag, and then Shiloh inhaled his breakfast while I looked out the back window. “Can’t believe its lasting this long.”
It truly was incredible; the rain had abated a bit, I could see - not a lot, but a bit - but the wind still howled, and the sky remained nearly pitch black dark. Not a drop or note of sunlight made it through the canopy of cloud cover, but frequent pulses of that red lightning afforded me enough visibility to appreciate the wreckage of my yard. It looked like the Somme. Trees were leafless and downed, branches carpeted the grass, and I could even see split roof shingles lying soaked in puddles at the foot of the yard. I’ll bet the insurance company’s about to have a hell of a day.
“Hey, boy. I’m gonna run outside and see if I can’t turn on that generator.” He ate the last bite of food and turned to me. “You stay put, okay?”
He wagged his tail, but when he saw I was moving for the door, he stood up and barked.
“I’ll be back in a minute, boy, okay?” I threw on my coat. “Generator’s just outside. Calm down.”
He barked again, and again, but I just rolled my eyes and stepped outside. As expected, it took less than a second to get completely and utterly soaked in the downpour. I could feel the moisture through the coat, soaking into my tee shirt, and even my boots struggled to keep my feet dry. But I slogged through the mess and the mud and the debris all the same and slowly advanced up to the generator. I threw back the tarp and-
CLACK.
I turned around. Shiloh had thrown himself up against the inside of the window and had descended into madness; he was barking and chewing at the glass and frantically, desperately trying to grab my attention. I’d never seen him in such a fit, but from what I could tell he wasn’t seeking help for himself. He was trying to save me.
As soon as I realized this, I heard something in the distance that constituted the single loudest and most bizarre sound I’d ever heard. It wasn’t thunder. It wasn’t an explosion. In fact it wasn’t especially dissimilar from a whale call or the horn of a ship docking at a harbor. It was a deafening, animalistic sonic blast that lasted for several seconds and carried hard and steady over the thunder. I felt my bloodbeat wash to a stop, and then I turned.
I couldn’t see much. But I saw enough - there was something in the cloud; a formless mass moving east and still well behind the mist. Then I heard the sound again - BAAAAAAUUUUUUMMMM - and then a flash of red lightning shed its glow on what I could now confirm was a still-clouded over form of something moving there; something alive that was titanic and otherworldly to a degree I can’t adequately put into words.
I forgot all about the generator. I dropped the cord. I forgot all about Shiloh, too, who was still barking himself into a fit from inside the house, and for the briefest of moments I even forgot about the storm, although I was still being pelted with rain. I was simply basking there in unspeakable, existential awe.
Not a normal storm indeed.
Not by a long shot. I stood and watched the Beast - whatever it was - move slowly but with grace behind the storm. Then I heard a low, rumbling thud they may have been its footstep - the ground shook when it hit - and then the giant shadow of the figure faded into the upper clouds, and the storm resumed as before with a spectacular clap of thunder that shocked me back to reality.
I looked over at Shiloh. He’d calmed down a bit and was now looking at me through the glass as if to say, what the hell are we still doing here?
He was right. We couldn’t stay here. Of course we couldn’t stay here. I didn’t know what this storm was - or if it was even a storm to begin with, in the strictest sense of the word - but I had no indication it was letting up anytime soon. And I didn’t know what that thing was.
“Alright boy.” I said it under my breath, more to myself than to him. “Alright. Let’s get the hell out of here.”
It took me mere minutes to throw a bag together - clothes, electronics, toiletries, other necessities within the grasp of convenience - and to get that and Shiloh situated in the truck. I’d thrown it all in haphazardly, and in my haste I was positive I forgot something. But I didn’t care. I just wanted to leave; to get as far away from this place as I could before things got worse. I didn’t know what was waiting for us out there, either. I didn’t know how far the destruction went, or how wide-reaching the storm was, or if this was all indeed some kind of apocalyptic level event. But if that was the case, and if we got caught out in the middle of it, then at least we’d know for sure before we died. It wasn’t exactly a comforting thought, I had to admit. But the possibility of escape was, certainly.
I locked up the house - not like it particularly mattered - and then, after throwing up the hood of my jacket and zipping it to my chin, I grabbed the handle of the garage door and threw it up, letting the wind and rain and hail blast its way inside and soak everything. So violent was the storm that it looked like we were staring out into a blizzard;the wind-whipped rain was flying in just about every direction, not just down, and in the fray, too, were rocks of hail and leaves and sometimes whole branches.
“Alright, boy!” I shouted as I climbed into the truck. “You ready?”
He looked at me and he didn’t whine or bark or make any sound or movement whatsoever.
“My thoughts exactly, bud.” I rubbed his head and turned the key. The truck - which luckily had nearly a full tank in its gut - revved into life. Then I eased my foot onto the gas and off we went, hi-beams on, windshield wipers on full blast.
The driveway was rough with debris, so the truck bounced and jostled as we made our way towards the wooded path that led out onto the main road. God, let that road be clear. I knew the odds were against us. But I didn't have it in me to think about that right now; I just kept going - five, ten, fifteen miles per hour - through the surf and the storm and hail.
The trees offered some manner of shelter, at least, and spectacularly the road was clear enough to drive through; none of the felled trunks had barricaded the path forward. But I didn't want to wait around for that to happen - it looked like it could at any second - so I hit the gas harder and we fell into gear and shook and rolled all the way down to the Hill Farms boulevard.
“Can't believe we got this far, huh, boy?” Shiloh was whimpering in the seat next to me. “Hang in there, champ. We'll be out of this mess before you know it.”
I said the words. But I'm not sure if I believed them.
We drove north for hours. Occasionally we'd see a tree in the road, or a pile of debris, or an abandoned car with its blinkers still flashing through the fog, and we'd navigate accordingly. But by and large the roads were clear, and I wanted to exploit that fact to its end before the whole damn town and all of nature’s wrath came down on top of us at once. I tried the radio on multiple occasions, too, but there was nothing to be heard there but static. I gave up after the third attempt.
A burst of red lightning streaked across the whole sky at once. Shiloh didn't respond, but when the thunder clap hit he jumped almost entirely off the seat.
Ka-BOOOOM!!!
I tensed up my grip on the wheel until my knuckles were white. Things seemed to be getting worse. I didn’t want to admit it to myself, even in my head, but it was true. Are we going the wrong way? The wipers were overwhelmed with the onslaught of precipitation. So intense was the downpour, in fact, that I was getting dripped on despite having the car sealed up tight. To boot there was the almost complete lack of visibility; I could see maybe fifty yards ahead when the rain parted in the wind, but not an inch more. At its worst I could see nothing but mist and cloud. I’d reduced my cruising speed to ten miles per hour to accommodate this. The gas tank sat a quarter.
It carried on this way for over an hour before Shiloh sat up straight and started whimpering and pawing at the window. I looked out the glass on my side. We were downtown, I saw. Its a small, isolated place, so ‘downtown’ is about three intersections wide in any direction. But in the shroud of fog and rain it looked expansive and mysterious. Light poles - sans the light, of course - loomed out of the clouds and hung gloomily over the road. I could see storefronts, too. Windows and doors were boarded up on most, but in a few - Carl’s Pharmacy and the Subway among them - the doors were thrown in and the interiors gutted. Debris and rubble littered the sidewalk, and as had been the case in my yard, the road became rough and uneven as a result.
“Looks like hell out here, doesn’t it, boy?”
Shiloh kept pawing at the glass. But then he stopped, all of a sudden, and he perked up his ear. I listened, too.
“...What in the hell-?”
For the first time in nearly twenty six hours, we began to hear silence. The rain slowed from a torrential downpour to a steady rhythm, then to a drizzle, and then it stopped altogether, and the wind, which had brought up an incessant howling since yesterday morning, abated too. All the way down to a hint of a whisper. Even the clouds began to part and spread and thin out, and before long the road ahead became clear enough to see without straining and guesswork, although fog still covered nearly everything to a certain degree. I laughed aloud and aggressively rubbed the back of Shiloh’s head between the ears.
“Shit, boy, we made it! Safe at l-”
BAAAAUUUUMMMM!!
My heartbeat slammed into rhythm, and Shiloh yelped and whined and yelped some more. That sound - that horn-blast from earlier - had exploded through the air and vibrated the windows. It was orders of magnitude louder than it was when I'd first heard it, and that meant it was close. Too close.
BAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUMMMMM!!!
“Fuck!”
I'd by now slammed on the brakes and was using both hands to cover up my ears. It was a fruitless endeavor; I could feel my eardrums rattle in my head even after the blast ceased. Shiloh was going berserk next to me.
“C’mon, calm down, boy.” I could hardly hear my own voice over the ringing in my ears. “You're not helpin’ anything by-”
BOOM.
I felt that more than I heard it, and I heard it just fine. I slowly craned my hands over to the left.
BOOM.
The whole car shook and rattled. I could see pebbles on the ground leaping up in unison at the impact.
BOOM.
And there it was. A leg. A leg that more closely resembled a California redwood in complexion and size, although it dwarfed even that.
BOOM.
The Beast was walking across the road and making a spectacle of it; I could only see the mammoth lower half of its legs as it moved - the rest was still shrouded by mist and fog and cloud - but even that was an awesome and terrible sight to behold.
BOOM.
It took a full minute for the Titan to cross the road and carry on its way to the east. Slowly I eased my foot to the pedal and we began to roll forward again, but I never slowed up the rate of my heartbeat.
Baaaaaauuuuuummmmm.
The horn-blast sound drifted away on the wind, and soon the center of town was behind us and fading deep away into the mist in the rear view mirror. The road remained rough for another mile or so. But the storm continued to clear up, and visibility improved at a slow but steady rate until the view obstruction was negligible.
“Hang in there, Shiloh.” The poor dog was so exhausted he almost lacked the energy to care. “We’re almost out of here, boy. We're almost free.”
But then the last of the clouds parted ways, and we saw it; a scene of awesome and spectacular devastation. The whole of Forston County - what had been a sparsely populated region of wooded wilderness stretching from Wilbur Heights on its southern neck to Philips creek to the northeast - had nearly ceased to exist. In its place now sat a desolate, gray pit of impossible scope; miles across and miles deep, reaching down into the earth like an excavation site or an industrial mine dug up to unearth something of utterly mammoth size. There were no living trees or grass or running water or any signs of wildlife here, just endless gray rock and stone, spiraling down deep and then back up and then stretching off into the distance until it ran up against another wall of fog and storm clouds ten or twelve miles down.
“God almighty, boy,” I said, and I leaned down to view the scene from his side of the glass as we scrolled by. Doing so brought the sky into view. “Will you look at that?”
Above the pit, spilling its ruby-scarlet light out over the landscape below it, sat the swirling red center of the storm. The relative calmness of the air beneath it hinted its purpose was not particularly unlike a hurricane's eye, and yet it was so thoroughly covered up with clouds it blotted out the sky entirely. Red lightning cracked and snapped in increasing frequency and intensity the closer up to the center things got, and at that center sat a swirling, blood-red vortex from which everything appeared to emanate and spread. Beneath it were multitudes of Titans, too, flying up out of the pit and into that vortex and disappearing forever. Shiloh whimpered and whined.
“I don't know, boy. Maybe they've been down there all along, and that thing there's their way back home.”
The scene was finally obscured again by wisps of light fog, and before we knew it we were back again in the thick of the storm the Portal’s presence had kicked up; our atmosphere’s white-blood cell reaction to something mammoth and alien in its midst. We drove again for hours, through wind and hail and sheets of rain and past other Titans moving home - BAAAAAAAAUUUUUUMMMM - but we made it through in good order. The storm finally stopped somewhere north of the Tawnee River and the town there of the same name, where we filled up our tank and got a room for the night.
The storm raged for three more days there, non-stop and at full fury for the duration. And then, in the blink of an eye, it was over.
”The June storm that devastated a previously unknown town in the center of the state is finally beginning to clear, according to authorities from the weather services, and emergency crews are finally freed to move into the already lightly populated region in force to look for survivors and restore power. But their job won't be easy.”
”Yeah, ain't never seen nothin’ like this. Look here, y’see that?”
”It looks a bit like a giant footprint.”
”Yeah, we're thinkin’ the storm ripped up trees an’ threw ‘em every which way and then blew dirt back into the holes, leavin’ nothin’ but a dip like that behind. We've seen tons o’ these, usually in lines for miles. Maybe a tornado did it. Runnin’ theory, anyway.”
”Bizarre scenes like this are indeed everywhere in the affected areas, no doubt a humbling and mysterious testament to the sheer fury Mother Nature can deliver. Coming up after the break, we'll -”
I switched the radio off.
“Bunch of idiots, huh, boy?” Shiloh didn't respond. He was asleep, still, but I confirmed it under my breath. ”Bunch of idiots.”
We pulled up to the driveway about an hour later, and then we started the long, brutal process of recovering and rebuilding, which, as of this writing, is still not complete (I still need to get the roof replaced). But none of that matters, in the end. I’ve got a bed to sleep in, and I’ve got Shiloh with me, too. I think the two of us will be just fine. The worst part, after all, isn’t the devastation.
Its what amounts to a cover-up.
Now I’m not sure what this storm was, and I couldn’t tell you if it was the first of its kind or just the latest in a long-chain of poorly reported incidents of similar quality and magnitude. But I do know enough to dismiss the ‘official explanation’ - that the 'Wilbur-Forston Hypercell,' as its now known, was just a freak weather phenomenon that can be easily enough dismissed as a strange little footnote of interest to few outside the relevant fields of study. Luckily for the powers-that-be, too, the affected area is among the least known, most sparsely populated regions in the United States, and what other witnesses there might’ve been have likely been displaced or killed.
But between myself and Shiloh? There are at least two sets of eyes here who’ve seen the reality of things. So I’m getting the word out.
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