Important update: City of Reno now saying non-essential businesses should "begin the process of winding down operations starting tomorrow, with the goal of closing by Friday, March 20 at 5 p.m." Casino gaming still allowed
Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber chided Miami-Dade leaders on Wednesday for a rushed vote on a two-month-old proposal by casino giant Genting to start a county bidding process for a monorail linking the resort city to downtown Miami.
Striking union members chanted, banged drums and blew whistles as part of a raucous picket line on Atlantic City's Boardwalk outside the Trump Taj Mahal casino early Friday amid a contract dispute with owner and billionaire investor Carl Icahn at the start of the busiest weekend of the year
Any other urban planners/policy folks play this game? I’m an urban planning student who has spent too many quarantine hours playing SDV and at the risk of deeply questioning how I spend my time, I’ve been thinking about it from a planning perspective. Please tell me someone else has thought about this. Pelican Town (pop. ~35) is a small, rural town within a few hours of the nearest big metropolitan area. The town appears to have had an industrial past, with all the decayed mining infrastructure. Like many rural towns that were once anchored by industry, Pelican Town has struggled to rebuild its post-industrial economy and identity. The Mayor’s strategy is to look towards tourism, culture, and recreation for the town’s future. He holds an abundance of traditional festivals to preserve the town’s cultural identity and market its quaint, rural character to visitors from neighboring areas. He hopes the farmer’s high-quality local produce and artisan products will contribute to Pelican Town’s renewal. He also thinks the arts could drive the town's revitalization (Leah's art show). The town also has an abundance of natural assets, although I'd worry about point source pollution from the sewer pipe and the quarry is totally a brownfield site. Encouraging tourism is a sound strategy in Pelican Town, but it’s not a panacea - it won’t necessarily increase the tax base to help the town’s financial problems, and the jobs created will mostly be in the service sector. The neighboring town, Calico Desert, is another post-mining economy that is looking to tourism and has opened a casino. Economy: [EDIT: I did not do the math here. The unemployment rate is higher. Still not sure if the wizard has a job.] The unemployment rate is only about 3% (this is arguable. does the Wizard have a job?), indicating that the economy is basically at capacity. The jobs are not well-paying, though (the town was chosen for a discount Jojamart, like many rural towns attract dollar stores). Without good jobs for young people and lacking educational opportunities, the town is at risk of losing the younger population to other towns/the city. There’s potential for more small businesses if tourism increases, or for more remote work (though it doesn’t seem like Pelican Town has good internet infrastructure and computer ownership is low.) Transit: The town also suffers from a lack of transportation. Vehicle ownership is low (just the Mayor and Sebastian’s motorcycle, I think), the town is looking for private investment to restart bus service (should really form a regional transit authority with Calico Desert and get government funding), and though the train with the platform hints that there may have once been commuter rail, it’s currently only used for freight. Population: Pelican Town’s population, as it stands, will decline. There are only 2 children (Vincent and Jas) but close to 20 residents who are 40+. There are 12 residents in the 20-40 age group (the bacheloettes), who need to stay in Pelican Town and start families to reverse the decline. As in many rural areas, substance abuse is a problem in Pelican Town. There are a few alcoholics and I’m not gonna get on Sebastian’s case for smoking a little weed and who knows what’s in Pierre’s stash, but there’s clearly little else to do in town besides hang out at the Saloon. Housing: If young people choose to marry and stay in Pelican Town, where will they live? The vacancy rate is 0 and most bacheloettes live with their families. New housing will need to be built to retain them, but most probably cannot afford to build a house. The town will also need to carefully choose areas for development to maintain the natural assets that draw tourists. The town seems to use a form-based code in the town center (two-story mixed-use buildings). Solutions: The town is relying on the goodwill and prosperity of a private citizen (the farmer) to revitalize the Community Center, build houses, etc. - Mayor Lewis should rely less on one-time private investments and focus on more reliable funding sources and economic growth that will increase the tax base. The town is facing a housing crisis and should consider mixed-use development/apartments in the Community Center neighborhood to prevent sprawl. The town needs to invest in transportation and communication infrastructure to improve access to jobs and education. The vacant land near the train station is a great spot for a TOD and some denser development if the Valley could start commuter rail service, but I bet Robin & Demetrius would be NIMBYs who don’t want development near their mountain home. TL;DR: Mayor Lewis is making you do the flower dance to stimulate the economy.
I love New Vegas, its my favorite game of all time. And it is for a lot of other people too. This unfortunately means that its almost impossible to say anything negative about the game on Reddit without getting massively shat on. The only point you seem to be allowed to criticize is the bugs, which gets rebutted by "but they only had 18 months to make it" or "Bethesda was in charge of QA", as if any of these things excuse it for you as a customer. So now that the game is 10 years old and most of us have played it tons of times, I thought it would be a good time to make a thread where we can actually criticize this lovely game. I'll start, now bear in mind this is of course all degrees of subjective so don't throw "uR nOT obJEvTiVE" at me just yet:
The bugs has to be meantioned first. The game ran horribly at release and still did for a long time after. Its first many years later with patches and mods that we reached something that can be called mostly stable. I'm playing it right now only with stability mods on and it still crashes about once every 1-2 hours, and its still very buggy and janky.
Caravan, this game's made up card game, is horrible. Firstly its very buggy somehow. I am surprised they couldn't even bug fix a solitaire-like card game, but here we are. Secondly even when it works its not very fun. It takes minimum 3 cards to make a caravan and only one king or jack to ruin it. It means it heavily favors just fucking up your opponent and hope you win the war of card attrition. The game used to be stupidly easy but was then patched so now the AI will spam kings and jacks constantly. After I got the 30 games achievement I dropped it. Lastly the game doesn't do anything with Caravan. There is no quest to become the Mojave champion or such. I get this isn't needed but it would have helped make it interesting. The only other games in the game are casino games which all depends on your luck stat. I would love being able to play high stakes Caravan.
Cut content. Roleplaying is best when you actually have good reason to join both sides. In Fallout New Vegas the NCR gets the majority of the content. If you side with the Legion you can finish all the faction quests in a few hours, meanwhile the NCR has so many quests I always have to check the wiki to remember them all. Its such a shame. It doesn't help that for 3 of the endings you can work with the NCR but only 1 for the Legion. I don't get this when in 2 of those endings you end up double crossing the NCR anyways, why not allow the player to double cross the Legion? The difference being that the NCR will stand down and the Legion will then try to fight you and your army.
Caesar's Legion is weird. I love most of the faction. I love the ideological conflict between a faction trying to redo democracy but running into the same problems with corruption vs a brutal but safe dictatorship. I like talking to everyone and its cool to see how different peoples' options are of the factions. Some just hate the Legion outright because of their massacre. Some see the value of having a safe society, Cass mentions how she considered running her caravan in the Legion instead of the NCR because its safer. Its cool. However I can't get over the fact that this faction is a big ancient Rome LARP. They run around in football gear. Why not just make them look normal, or similar to Romans but not literally Romans. Its such a well crafted faction that gets ruined by this pretty silly design.
Independent is basically the House route but with you instead. You don't get to choose what your plans are other than your interactions with the small factions, which also doesn't feel special. You don't ever get to use your securitrons. It would have been extremely cool to be able to send your army with you to wipe out or subjugate factions instead of just doing the same quest you do if you side with House. Again, you are also forced into a choice between an uneasy alliance with the NCR where you double cross them, or killing both major factions. You can't make it clear to them beforehand that you don't want to be annexed.
The economy is poorly balanced. In Fallout 3 you barely made any money and vendors were just as poor, so it took a long time to accumulate wealth. Most players would just use gear they found instead of paying for it at a store. In Fallout New Vegas you can easily have 5000 caps by the time you reach The Strip. I had twice that when I reached it 2 days ago. Stores have tons of money and are more than willing to buy all your junk. The economy just breaks when vendors are willing to buy all the crap you pick up at such high prices as NV has. I think you can get them to buy for 90% of their value, that's fucking insane. I try to not level up barter too quickly as it just makes the game too easy but I also hate crippling myself like this. The game's vendors need to be selective about what they buy and how much they pay for it. You need 2000 caps to inter the strip, that's pretty much nothing. The game even gives you tons of ways around the credit check so clearly they meant for it to be a hurdle.
The map. I'm not saying its bad, but going from Fallout 3 to NV makes you miss the feeling of being able to go in any direction and always find something. New Vegas is very railroaded. It has a ton of mountains and invisible walls to make the player go specific places (Edit: a lot of people are citing this one setence and using it to rebut me, guys read the whole damn thing). I can still let myself get lost in Fallout 3, in NV I always know exactly which way I'm supposed to go. The game has no counterpart to F3's Andale or Oasis. There are no small outskirts places for you to discover in some random spot. All the towns are along the main roads, with a handful of cool places that are off the beaten path. I love following the road through Primm->Nipton->Novac->Boulder City->Vegas, its an excellent experience for following the main story and finding a ton of side content, and I love they gave returning players the option to head straight north and try their luck. But when I just want to do some side content I always feel like I have to follow a track. I AM NOT SAYING THE MAP IS BAD. Just that it follows a certain design that some don't like. I like it when I just want to do the main story, its a really nice experience that way. But if you want to just go in any direction like in a Bethesda RPG you will get disappointed. There are tons of invisible walls and mountains in the way. Imagine if you started in Freeside instead and just had to get the cash to get into the strip (more than 2k). Then you can choose to follow the I-88, go towards Jacobstown, Bitter Springs, do stuff in Freeside or the other communities around Vegas. Would be a great alternative start for returning players.
Edit: some extra
Combat is ass to say it bluntly. For some reason people always excuse the poor combat in RPG's because its not the games' focus or because its almost tradition at this point. I don't see why I as a player and paying customer should make excuses for a product I paid for. Its embarrasing how poor the AI is in the game, how poorly combat works and how unbalanced the game is. I can go through a ton of the game with my Couriers Stash 10mm and Vault armor and just blast entire legion or NCR camps, and then suddenly difficulty can turn on a dime and an enemy can kill me in 3-4 hits. Difficulty in RPGs is such an important thing as it directly influences your decisions. In Fallout 1 and 2 I did my best to not bite off more than I could chew. In NV can do pretty much anything other than go to Sloan at the start, which is a part that most have noticed too.
The selection of guns is fine, but not armors. Without ultimate edition you don't get any good early game armor in the game. The only option is leather armor. Mid game you fight to get either power armor or combat armor mk2, and late game is all about Riot Gear from Lonesome Road. They could have made armor interesting by giving it stronger buffs and debuffs. PA and metal armor has a -1 to agility but often +1 to strength. Why not give such traits to all armors and maybe even make it stronger? Too much of the armor is also faction armor which you don't want to be wearing unless you are infiltrating somewhere.
Speech is too much like Fallout 3 and not enough like 1 and 2. In 3 and NV dialogue either ends in a skill check (too often speech) or you having to do a task if you can't pass the check. What's being said is largely unimportant unless it leads to a different outcome. In Fallout 1 and 2 dialogue was much more about reading each option and thinking about how the character you were talking too would react. You often couldn't just [speech] 50 do what I want. NV has a few moments where you actually does have to argue and its some of its strongest parts.
Crafting could have been more. This is more of a "what could have been" argument, but personally I don't see why you shouldn't be able to craft a lot more guns or armors. I don't want Fallout 4's style of somehow being able to craft tons of pre war objects you clearly don't have the tools to make, but just having a good selection of makeshift guns and armors would have made crafting and also survival much better.
These are my thoughts. Please feel free to share yours!
[WP] You are lost in this city you just arrived in for business. You approach some guy to ask the way back to the motel. Before you can say anything, he grabs you by the hand, he knows your name, he brings you in front of some kind of casino and tells you "This is where we start"
Stokes's Bristol Nightclub incident in detail (From: The Comeback Summer by Geoff Lemon)
IF YOU’RE LOOKING for a place where misadventure could begin, you can’t go past Mbargo. The nightclub’s streetfront is painted a purple so bright you’ll see it in your dreams. Strings of giant sequins shimmer in the breeze. Its phonically inventive name is spelt in silver letters that climb its three-storey terrace facade. Inside are strips of burning neon, a few booths, floorboards so marinated in drink that they have an ingredients list. Bristol is a student city on England’s south coast crowded with music and nightlife and street art. This is Banksy’s home town, and the tourism board suggests in rather strong terms that ‘you would be a fool not to see his amazing work firsthand’. The same organisation describes Mbargo as ‘intimate’, which is fair for a place where you can catch an STI standing up. Students cram into its modest dimensions while people with names like DJ Klaud battle for billing with £1.50 drink deals over seven sloppy nights a week. To get a sense of the story about to come, consider that it’s the kind of place open until two o’clock on a Monday morning, and that at two o’clock on a Monday morning, Ben Stokes still thought it had closed too early. The Ashes of 2017–18 had disciplinary bookends. It was after that series that Australia’s two leaders went off the rails in South Africa. It was a few weeks before that Ashes tour that England’s biggest star windmilled his way into his own disaster. In the early hours of 25 September 2017, Stokes and teammate Alex Hales were barred from re-entering Mbargo after a night out on the piss. A Sunday thrashing of an abject West Indies in an ignored series at the fag-end of the season apparently required ample celebration. After arguing with the bouncer and hanging about at the door for a while, they wandered off to find a casino in the hope of more drinking. They’d barely made it around the corner before getting in the middle of a conflict between four locals. As is said on the internet, it escalated quickly. The 26 September reporting was bloodless. Withholding names, police stated that a man ‘was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm’ while another went to hospital with facial injuries. England’s director of cricket Andrew Strauss separately confirmed that Stokes was the arrestee, adding that he had been released without charge and that Hales had gamely offered to ‘help police with their enquiries’. Administrators had a good chance of hiding behind that investigation, and the next day Stokes was named in the upcoming Ashes squad as expected. But that night the video emerged. Bristol student Max Wilson had shot it on his phone, then offered it to The Sun. What he thought was playing hardball was actually lowball: his opening price of £3000 was snapped up by a tabloid that would have paid ten times that. The Sun went on to make a mint by syndicating the rights worldwide. From a window above the fray, the vision showed six men on the street below performing the muddled choreography of a melee. One was right at the centre of it. One was waving a bottle, one dipped in and out, one tried to calm it. Two others floated around the edges. The central figure was unmistakable: red hair burning even in the streetlight as he launched into a series of blows against two of the men, falling to grapple with them on the ground, then following both across the street, swinging punches the whole way. Hales trailed behind, repeatedly and impotently shouting ‘Stokes! Stop! Stokes! Enough!’ The ECB could fudge issues that existed only in thickets of legalese, but not those captured in moving colour. Stokes was stood down from the next West Indies match, then suspended indefinitely. It emerged that he had broken his hand during the fight, something he’d done twice before while punching objects in dressing rooms. The response in Australia was fierce: Stokes was a thug, a lowlife, a selection that would disgrace England. It was not entirely coincidental that a ban for England’s best player would be handy for the Aussie team, but there was also a cultural split. In England, plenty of people still minimise pub fights as lads letting off steam. In Australia, heavy media coverage as a succession of young men were killed had inverted that tolerance. The discourse now saw any punch as potentially deadly and accordingly reckless. This was more poignant in a cricket context given that David Hookes, the dashing Test batsman and state coach, was killed in 2004 by a pub bouncer’s fist. The PR situation was bad for Stokes as details emerged of the injuries to the men he’d hit, and that one was a young war veteran and father. Stokes wasn’t officially removed from the Ashes squad through October but stayed behind when his teammates left, hoping for police to dismiss the matter in time for a late dash to Australia. His annual contract was renewed on the due date in case that came to pass. Then 29 October brought a twist in the tale. ‘Ben Stokes praised by gay couple after defending them from homophobic thugs,’ ran the headline. Kai Barry and Billy O’Connell had emerged. Not entirely out of nowhere: while Stokes had made no public comment, this story in his defence had initially been leaked to TV host Piers Morgan after the fight, as soon as the video appeared. Police body-camera footage played in court would later show that Stokes had given the same story to the arresting officer on the night. But no-one knew the identities of the fifth and sixth men in the video, and police appeals had turned up nothing. It was The Sun again with the breakthrough. Kai and Billy were perfect for a readership not keen on nuance. ‘We couldn’t believe it when we found out they were famous cricketers. I just thought Ben and Alex were quite hot, fit guys,’ said Kai, who was memorably described as a ‘former House of Fraser sales assistant’. The paper had the pair do a full photo shoot: layering the fake tan, showing off chest waxes, mixing Ralph Lauren and Louis Vuitton into a range of outfits. Their best shot had them standing back to back, heads turned to the camera, in a mirror-image Zoolander moment. Suddenly The Sun was the England team’s best friend. ‘Their claims could lead to the all-rounder being cleared over the punch-up and freed to play in the First Test in Australia next month,’ it gushed, then gave a tasting platter of quotes: ‘We were so grateful to Ben for stepping in to help. He was a real hero.’ ‘If Ben hadn’t intervened it could have been a lot worse for us.’ ‘We could’ve been in real trouble. Ben was a real gentleman.’ Would it be known forever as Kai and Billy’s Ashes? No. While the Bristol boys provided spin for Stokes’ reputation they didn’t influence the police. With charges still pending there was little choice – not given Strauss had previously sacked Kevin Pietersen for being annoying. Stokes remained suspended through the Ashes and a one-day series in Australia, and lost the vice-captaincy. It was January 2018 before the Crown Prosecution Service laid a charge. That charge surprisingly came in as affray, a crime that can carry prison time but is classified as ‘a breach of the peace as a result of disorderly conduct’. The men he had punched, Ryan Ali and Ryan Hale, faced the same count, charged as equal participants in a fight rather than Stokes being charged with assaulting them. Alex Hales was not charged, despite being seen in the video to aim several kicks when Ryan Ali was lying on the ground. Given the underwhelming standing of the offence, Stokes was cleared by the ECB to tour New Zealand, and kept playing until his trial in August 2018, which he missed a Test to attend. None of the three defendants would be convicted. The reasoning behind the charges was never released and was attributed vaguely to ‘CPS lawyers’. The service gave the case to Alison Morgan, a prosecutor of a class known as Treasury Counsel who usually handle serious criminal matters. Morgan had a scheduling clash and never ended up court for the case, but in 2018 and 2019 she would go on to win damages and admissions of libel from The Daily Mail, The Times and The Daily Telegraph variously for incorrectly reporting that she had been responsible for the inadequate and inconsistent charging decisions. Morgan’s successor on the case was Nicholas Corsellis QC, who on the first day of trial was permitted by the CPS to request two assault charges be added against Stokes. ‘Upon further review,’ claimed a CPS statement, ‘we considered that additional assault charges would also be appropriate.’ This was patent nonsense from the service that eight months earlier had chosen the lesser charge. Any lawyer knows that no judge will allow new charges once a trial has begun, because the defence hasn’t had time to prepare. But such a request could deflect criticism of the prosecution service by technically making the judge the one who disallows the charge. Working through the story from the trial and the tape is complicated. You had a Ryan and a Ryan, a Hale and a Hales, a Billy and a Barry and a Ben. You had several versions of events as to who knew whom, who was drinking with whom, who had insulted whom and who had merely engaged in ‘banter’, a word that in modern Britain has to do an unconscionable amount of lifting. The reporting had constantly mixed up the Ryans as to who had which injury, who was in hospital, who had played which part in the fight, and whose mum had which stern words to say about it. Let’s agree that from now Ryan Ali is Ryan One, the firefighter who ended up with a fractured eye socket and a cracked tooth. Ryan Two can be Ryan Hale, the soldier who scored concussion and facial lacerations. Mr Barry and Mr O’Connell are best known per The Sun as Kai and Billy. In scorecard parlance we’ll leave the cricketers as Stokes and Hales. Amid the confusion, Stokes and his lawyers built his case in a straightforward way. The UK legal definition of affray is ‘if a person threatens or uses unlawful violence or force towards another person, which causes another person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for their safety’. That means it doesn’t account for violence that harms a target, but violence that might frighten a theoretical bystander. The wiggle room for Stokes was with ‘unlawful’, because the charge excuses violence in defending oneself or others. This interpretation hinged on the beginning of the video, where Ryan One waves a beer bottle about and takes a swing at Kai. The version from Stokes was that he was minding his own business walking down the street when he heard homophobic abuse. He intervened verbally and was threatened verbally by Ryan One – something that Ryan One denied but that couldn’t be proved or disproved. In fear for his safety Stokes had to nullify that threat by bashing Ryan One before it went the other way. He registered Ryan Two in his peripheral vision as another possible threat, and again had only one recourse. Stokes also had to convince the jury to disregard testimony from Mbargo’s bouncer that he had been looking for a fight. A solid lump of a man, Andrew Cunningham had not enjoyed his patron’s attempts to get back into the club after the bouncer declined an offer of a bribe. ‘He got a bit verbally abusive towards myself. He mentioned my gold teeth and he said I looked like a cunt and I replied, “Thank you very much.” He just looked at me and told me my tattoos were shit and to look at my job.’ Cunningham described these words as coming in ‘a spiteful tone, quite an angry tone’, and said that Stokes still seemed angry as he walked away. These were details the doorman had nothing to gain by inventing, but each of them Stokes denied. By his own accounting he had drunk a beer at the game and three pints at his hotel, then ‘potentially had some Jägerbombs’ along with half a dozen vodkas at the club. He insisted that after all of this he was not drunk. If I may take a moment here to call upon the wisdom of experience – a person who cannot definitively say whether they have had any Jägerbombs has definitely had some Jägerbombs. A Jägerbomb is an experience that does not pass one by. Further to that, a person who says they have ‘potentially’ done something has definitely done that thing and doesn’t want to admit it. A person who has had between 15 and 24 standard drinks in one evening is shitfaced. A person who tries to bribe a bouncer £300 – three hundred quid! – to get into Mbargo – Mbargo! – is beyond shitfaced. If Stokes admitted that he was drunk then the prosecution could say he was out of control. He claimed clear recall of assessing a threat, feeling fear and deciding to protect himself with force. He confidently denied details from the bouncer’s testimony, like using the word ‘cunt’ or mentioning gold teeth. Yet on other details he claimed a ‘significant memory blackout’. He didn’t remember the punch that saw Ryan One taken away by ambulance. He didn’t remember what the Ryans had said to Kai and Billy, only that those words were homophobic. With no head injury, as one of the few people who hadn’t been hit, he had supposedly suffered this memory loss despite being sober. The version from Kai and Billy was compatible but vague: they had been walking along, they ‘heard … shouts’ of abuse from an unspecified source, then Stokes ‘stepped in’ and thus they avoided possible harm. They claimed to have been bought a drink by Stokes at Mbargo, although CCTV showed them meeting outside. The overall implication from both accounts was that the cricketers had been pals with Kai and Billy, while the Ryans as per The Sun’s headline were a roving band of thugs. The reality though is that the Ryans were the ones hanging out with Kai and Billy at Mbargo. Police discussed CCTV from inside the club in questioning and at trial. On that footage the four Bristolians bought drinks for one another, danced together, and Kai was noted to have variously touched Ryan Two’s crotch and Ryan One’s buttock. Ryan One told police that all of this was taken lightheartedly and wasn’t a problem. Indeed, when the Ryans called it a night the other two left with them. This much is clear from footage out the front of Mbargo, which shows Kai and Billy exit the club and start talking with a subdued Hales and a demonstrative Stokes, who are stuck outside. The vision was played in court to determine whether Stokes was antagonistic towards Kai and Billy, as he appears to impersonate them and to throw a lit cigarette their way. More interesting is that after a few minutes the Ryans emerge, and all six actors in the fight video briefly form a prequel in the one frame. Ryan Two pats Billy on the chest in friendly fashion with his right hand before clapping him on the back with his left. He moves past and does the same to Kai before leaving the shot. Ryan One stops to speak to Kai. They lean in for a moment, talking, then Kai turns and they walk out of frame together. Billy hangs around for a few seconds at the door and then looks after them and races to catch up. Stokes and Hales remain outside the club to remonstrate further with the bouncers. Whatever discord develops around the corner is between four men who left amicably together minutes earlier. There’s no way to know what caused that friction. If Ryan One did use homophobic slurs, he might have been drunkenly obnoxious for no reason. He might have had an insecure macho response to some extra flirtation. He might have thought unkindness was funny – ‘banter’ once again. Or he might have said something that was misunderstood, as both Ryans insisted in court that they had not used nor had the impulse to use any abusive language. What clearly didn’t happen was an attack by bigots on random passers-by. This kind of crime is regular enough that an audience understands the horror of it, and this is what was evoked by the public accounts of Stokes, Billy and Kai. All we know is that there was some verbal dispute among the Bristol locals, and that Stokes came along behind them and put himself in the middle of it. Ryan One responded to the interference aggressively and away they went. There are plenty of reasons to look sideways at the idea that Stokes was a saviour. Foremost, neither Kai nor Billy was called upon as witnesses in court. You’d think it would be ideal to have Stokes’ story backed up by those who benefited from his selflessness. But his defence team had developed the impression that the pair had shown a changeable recall of events amid a hard-partying lifestyle, and would be dismantled by the prosecution on the stand. That raises the question of whether The Sun coached their quotes for the 2017 interview. Despite missing court, Kai and Billy clearly enjoyed the attention. In 2018 after the trial they did a follow-up spread in the same paper about how poor Ben had been mistreated. They got a television spot on Good Morning Britain and glowed about his heroism. In 2019 The Sun wheeled them out once more to say that Stokes should get a knighthood. In 2017 they had ‘never watched cricket’ but by 2019 were supposedly volunteering sentences like, ‘He saved us, now he’s saved the Ashes.’ Whether they were paid for these appearances is not known, but the chance to be famous for a day can be lure enough. If you find this cynical, consider that on the night in question, the Bristol boys were so deeply moved and thankful for Ben’s intervention that they left him to be arrested and never attempted to find out who he was. Seconds after the video ended, an off-duty policeman reached the scene. You might think that someone grateful to a saviour would speak on his behalf. Instead, said Kai, ‘it all got a bit scary so we walked off. It was too much for me and we went to Quigley’s takeaway for chicken burgers and cheesy chips.’ They didn’t give their hero a thought for over a month while police issued multiple appeals for witnesses. As for Stokes, he told his arresting officer that ‘his friends’ had been attacked. After three minutes of chat outside a nightclub, these friends were so dear to him that he has never contacted them again: not after the newspaper piece, not after the verdict. He didn’t want to see how they were or thank them for their support. He didn’t mention them by name in his solicitor’s statement after the trial. The Stokes defence rested on Ryan One’s bottle, which he had carried out of Mbargo to finish a beer, not to use in a Sharks versus Jets amateur production. But once he turned it over to hold it by the neck it became a weapon. Intent and interpretation can change the material nature of things. Part of Stokes’ justification in court was that the bottle implied that the two Ryans might have ‘other weapons’ hidden away. You can understand how a jury could decide that created doubt. Not being convicted, though, doesn’t give the contents of the video a big green tick. It does not, as his lawyer claimed, vindicate Stokes. Looking in detail, Ryan One is belligerent but his movements telegraph a bluff. Hales is the person he’s gesturing at, but they’re several metres apart when Ryan One cocks his arm ostentatiously, showing off the bottle rather than bracing to swing. He skips forward but Hales skips back and Ryan One doesn’t follow. Kai stretches out an arm to impede Ryan One, who has a drunken stumble, nearly eats pavement, then staggers towards Kai and hits him in the back. That hand is still holding the bottle, but his strike is a side-arm cuff on a soft part of the body. It’s all pretty tame. This is where Stokes gets involved. Having moved across to protect Hales, he now takes three large steps to run around Kai and booms his first punch at Ryan One. They fall to the ground and the bottle clinks away. Stokes gets to his feet to punch down at the fallen man, while Hales arrives to kick him ineffectively then runs off across the street for some unknown reason. Ice-cream van? Stokes is soon back in the grapple having his shirt pulled up to show off his Durham tan. Ryan Two steps in for the first time to pull Stokes away, prompting a couple more random punches at this new target, then Stokes trips backwards over Ryan One and sprawls in the street. Hales chooses this moment to return and aim some solid kicks at the head of the man on the ground. Nothing so far is a triumph of moral philosophy or the pugilistic arts. But if it all stopped here, perhaps you could say it was somewhere approaching fair. Ryan One has behaved like a turnip and it’s not an entirely unjust world that would give him a whack across the chops. The antagonists have disentangled, Stokes has some distance, it’s time to dust off and go home. Ryan Two steps forward for this purpose with his palm raised in conciliatory style and says, ‘Settle down, stop.’ So Stokes punches him. It’s roughly his fifth punch overall, and he really winds up into this one. He misses so hard that he stumbles away into the shadows of the shop awnings along the road. Hales starts shouting for him to stop. Ryan Two backs into the street, still holding his palm up. Stokes closes on him from about five metres away, six large steps, to where Ryan Two is standing on his own. Stokes pushes him a couple of times, as Ryan Two keeps trying to placate him and saying ‘Stop.’ Stokes throws his sixth punch, largely missing as his target ducks. Ryan Two keeps pulling away and reversing, into the middle of the street now. Stokes follows him, grabbing his sleeve to drag him back. By this point Ryan One has found his feet and walked around behind his friend. Both of them are in the same line of sight for Stokes, and both are backing away. Stokes aims his seventh and his eighth punches, which Ryan Two tries to deflect, as Hales walks up behind Stokes to grab him. Stokes yanks away from his friend and switches to Ryan One instead, taking seven paces to grab him before throwing his ninth punch of the night. He grabs again; Ryan One blocks that arm and pushes himself back away from Stokes. Ryan Two again intercedes, putting himself between the two with his palms up and his arm extended. Stokes throws his tenth punch, a right-hander at the face of Ryan Two, then shoves him backwards. Ryan Two backs away once more, four paces. Stokes follows, steadies, lines up, then launches his strongest punch yet, his eleventh, a proper right hook from a solid base, one that cracks across the man’s head and gives him concussion. Ryan Two ends up flat on his back in the middle of the street, his hands still outstretched for a moment in useless protest until they twitch and drop to the blacktop. Stokes isn’t done. He once more shoves away the restraining Hales and follows Ryan One, who keeps backing away saying, ‘Alright, alright, alright.’ Five more paces from Stokes before another blow at the man’s head. Kai and Billy are now standing over the poleaxed Ryan Two. The video ends, but seconds later Stokes will punch Ryan One hard enough to knock him out too, before off-duty cop Andrew Spure arrives on the scene to bring down the curtain. When the body-camera footage kicks in some minutes later, Stokes is in handcuffs but Ryan One is still laid out in the street. Ryan Two has regained consciousness, folded his shirt under his friend’s head and is asking police for an ambulance. ‘At this point, I felt vulnerable and frightened. I was concerned for myself and others.’ This was how Stokes described that sequence to the court. An elite athlete with years of gym work and training to snap a bat through the line of a ball with astounding power and precision, swinging fists as hard as he can at men with none of those advantages. Punching so hard that he breaks his hand, and repeatedly shoving away a friend so he can punch some more. Frightened and threatened by two targets shouting ‘Get back!’ and ‘Stop!’ The off-duty officer testified that Stokes ‘seemed to be the main aggressor or was progressing forward trying to get to’ Ryan One, who was ‘trying to back away or get away from the situation’. The student who filmed the video can be heard on the tape at one stage exclaiming ‘Fuck!’ and testified that it was because ‘I felt a little bit sorry about the lad that had been punched and it looked like he had his hands up’. That tallied with the prosecutor’s depiction of ‘a sustained episode of significant violence that left onlookers shocked at what was taking place’. The defendant stuck to his strategy. ‘No, my sole focus was to protect myself.’ All up, in the 33 seconds of footage after he falls over, Stokes takes 35 steps forward to keep hitting two men who keep trying to get away. Not once is he hit back. After the verdict, Stokes’ solicitor positioned him as the victim. It had been ‘an eleven-month ordeal for Ben … The jury’s decision fairly reflects the truth of what happened that night … He was minding his own business … It was only when others came under threat that Ben became physically engaged. The steps that he took were solely aimed at ensuring the safety of himself and the others present …’ The statement was impossibly self-righteous and self-absorbed. If there was anyone to feel sorry for it was Ryan Hale, the second of our two Ryans. He’s the one who emerged from the club with a friendly arm around the shoulder for Kai and Billy. He’s the one who interposed himself to end the fight, then kept putting himself back in the firing line, trying to calm an intimidating stranger while dodging blows. For his show of restraint he got laid out regardless, concussed in the street, then was issued a criminal charge equal to that of the man who hit him, and described in national media as a violent bigot in an untested story to support that man’s defence. Lawyers for Ryan Two made a more convincing post-trial statement, noting that Kai and Billy, ‘neither of whom were relied upon by the prosecution or the defence team for Mr Stokes, have taken the opportunity to speak with various media outlets about the alleged homophobic abuse that they received in the early hours of September 25. Mr Hale has passionately denied this allegation throughout the course of this case,’ it continued. ‘It is upsetting to Mr Hale that although he was acquitted, the accusation that he was the author of such abuse remains. Both Mr Hale and Mr Ali were knocked unconscious by Mr Stokes, and although Mr Stokes has been acquitted of an affray, Mr Hale struggles with the reasons why the Crown Prosecution Service did not treat him as a victim of an unlawful assault.’Good question. Avon and Somerset police were the investigating force, and they were frustrated by the decision. Ryan Two was filmed clearly not hurting anyone, but police were instructed by the CPS to proceed with a charge. Hales (the cricketer) was filmed fighting but ‘a decision was made at a senior level of the CPS’ not to proceed. Police expected Stokes to be charged with assault but the CPS declined. It doesn’t take a wild cynic to think that placing the same lukewarm charge on three men for vastly divergent behaviour might ensure that none would be convicted, even as the trial would maintain the pretence that a defendant of influential standing had not been given a free pass. A couple of years down the line, the original interview with Kai and Billy has disappeared. All traces have been scrubbed from The Sun website, its social media history, and even from the Wayback Machine internet archive. Given its headline of ‘homophobic thugs’ and text that names Ryan Two but not Ryan One, the libel liability isn’t hard to spot. Later interviews with Kai and Billy take the passive voice – they ‘suffered homophobic slurs outside a Bristol nightclub’. The article that was once claimed to exonerate brave Ben Stokes now links only to a missing content page, with a picture of a dropped ice-cream cone and the phrase ‘legal removal’ inserted into the web URL. In terms of consequences, Stokes missed one tour. When he resumed his career in January 2018, the Australians hadn’t yet ruined theirs. Their year-long bans looked much more stringent. But the Stokes case dragged on in other ways. With no criminal liability, the Australians confessed promptly enough for the sporting world to give them the full length of the lash. Their situation was ugly but there was closure. Stokes got stuck in legal stasis, unable to be fully backed or condemned. Instead his issue was always present, a browser full of open tabs that the ECB swore they would read any day now. Through 2018 Stokes was back but he wasn’t back, in the sunglasses and finger-guns sense. In his return one-day series he nearly cost England a match with 39 from 73 balls in Wellington. His first Test hit was a duck as England got rolled in Auckland for 58. At Trent Bridge while Stokes was injured, England posted a world record 481 against Australia. With Stokes three weeks later at the same ground they made 268. He crawled to 50 from 103, the second-slowest any Englishman had reached that milestone in 20 years. That span covered Alastair Cook’s whole career. It was apologetic batting, acting out responsibility via the scorecard. Stokes was creeping back into the team like he’d been kicked out in a blazing row and was hoping to tip-toe to the sofa. It was December 2018 before the ECB disciplinary committee ruled on him and Hales. In a ‘remarkable coincidence’, wrote Simon Heffer in The Telegraph, ‘the punishment both players faced in terms of bans from playing at international level was covered by the amount of games they had already missed when dropped by England’s selectors, in the furore that followed the incident’. The verdict compounded the omissions around the case by not addressing the violence at its heart. Nor did Stokes, apologising only ‘to my team-mates, coaches and support staff’, and then ‘to England supporters and to the public for bringing the game into disrepute’. The implicit next step was to rebuild that reputation. It might have been easier had his court defence not meant that he wasn’t game to admit any fault at all. It might have been easier if he or his advisers had been willing to change tack once the trial was done. Imagine a world where Stokes had stood outside court and apologised for overreacting, for the injuries he’d caused, and for the time and energy he had sucked out of other people’s lives. That would have been a show of responsibility beyond a scorecard. When the time came around to assess forgiveness, it might have meant forgiveness was deserved.
Alberta Government Dec, 8th Announcement MEGATHREAD
Going to start this up a bit sooner so people will have a chance to discuss everything beforehand as well. It appears Calgary Herald and CBC are reporting on a leaked document showing what the restrictions will be. There is a thread about that Here Ideally we would like to encourage discussion of what is happening but please keep in mind that until it is officially announced by Hinshaw/Kenney/Shandro, everything being said up until then is not official information and should be taken with a grain of salt. I will be starting a live discussion thread at 3:50pm as well. All sitewide rules and subreddit rules will be actively enforced in this thread. Edit:I would also like to add, according to Neshi If he doesn't think that the province is doing things properly he may meet with city council to enact their own measures strictly for the city. It's still a possibility that our restrictions for the City of Calgary may be more strict than those put in place by the province.
Albeit a week late, I want to share my 2021 portfolio for documentation purposes and for whoever is interested. I aimed to balance risk in this portfolio with some growth names and legacy plays. Down to brass tacks, I am putting my money in the highest quality companies (in my view) across a diverse set of industries I find attractive. Some of these names are overvalued in the short term. However, I have realized I am not in the business of beating Wall Street’s pricing, but would rather hold high-quality companies that I believe will grow faster that the market in the long term. In other words, I am totally fine paying a short-term premium for growth and quality. Below is a summary of the portfolio and big picture reasoning behind each investment. I'm definitely open to any feedback.
ARK Genomic Revolution ETF
Evolution Gaming Group
ARK Genomic Revolution ETF (BATS: ARKG) - Invests in companies advancing genomics. The companies held in ARKG may develop, produce or enable: CRISPR, Targeted Therapeutics, Bioinformatics, Molecular Diagnostics, Stem Cells, Agricultural Biology.
Innovative industry. Since 2003 the cost to sequence a human genome has dropped from nearly $3bn to less than $1,000. ARK believes that as costs continue to drop, genomic sequencing will become a standard of care in oncology. It will introduce more science into healthcare decision making, enable personalized medicine, and accelerate drug discovery. ARK estimates that genomic sequencing revenues will grow 43% at an annual rate, from $3.5bn last year to $21bn in 2024.
Cathie Wood. She’s a beast stock picker. Out of all the ETFs she runs, her closest competitor trailed by 60%. Her worst ETF still doubled investors' money. Her strategy is to make investments into companies that she considers incredibly transformational and she has seen success doing it.
CrowdStrike (NASDAQ: CRWD) - Cybersecurity technology company that provides endpoint security, threat intelligence, and cyber attack response services.
Best in class technology. Remember about a week ago a bunch of Russian hackers breached SolarWinds? The same hackers also tried to hack CrowdSrike at the same time but were unsuccessful. I’ve wandered on to a bunch of cybersecurity forums, and the general consensus is CrowdStrike has developed the best cybersecurity solution by miles. CRWD is the undisputed leader in cybersecurity.
“Pick-and-shovel” investment into the world’s increasing digitization. Even in the absence of COVID, cybersecurity remains a key component of the world’s increasing digitization as cyberthreats have been an ongoing issue from the onset of the internet. In the last decade we have seen a bunch of hacks where companies have exposed sensitive customer information. It seems companies are just starting to realize the importance of cybersecurity.
Disney (NYSE: DIS) - Worldwide entertainment company that you all are probably familiar with.
Reopening trade. In 2019, parks generated 45% of total operating income for DIS. Full reopening and attendance in parks will be slow, but certainly benefit DIS when it happens. The company has been executing on several other segments in the meantime (i.e. streaming). It has proved competitive, increasing the margin of safety if parks take longer to reopen.
Fast-growing streaming division. DIS has proved agile as it successfully launched a streaming service, Disney+, that has already gained 86mn+ subscribers which was the company’s original 5 year target. This is promising as it shows management can adapt to rapidly changing technology trends.
Enphase Energy (NASDAQ: ENPH) - Designs and manufactures software-driven home energy solutions that span solar generation, home energy storage and web-based monitoring and control.
Shift to clean energy; ENPH emerging as market leader. Going into 2021, sentiments towards solar have been at an all time high. This trend is expected to continue, especially after the Georgia run-off results. Solar firms are expected to benefit from extended tax incentives on both the consumer and producer ends.
Technological advantage. ENPH has developed the industry leading solution and is rapidly taking market share from its primary competitor, SolarEdge. Pricing reflects this, but it's expected to continue. Among key competitors, Enphase has been one of the lowest cost producers. Its low-cost structure is a major contributing factor to its improving margins.
Evolution Gaming Group (OTC: EVVTY) - Swedish company that develops, produces, markets and licenses integrated B2B live casino solutions for gaming operators.
Early mover advantage. Evolution’s lack of competition enables it to rapidly grow in new markets and create a loyal customer base, with high switching costs. The company has effectively grown EBITA margins from 41.6% in 1Q18 to 64.8% in 3Q20. Margin expansion is expected to continue.
Massive untapped markets. Europe is estimated to be around $2.5bn (EVVTY has 50% market share), Asian market is ~15x the size of Europe (150% YoY growth for EVVTY in Asia). North America’s market is ~$210mn, a 42% increase YoY, with NJ and PA the only states currently operating (NY looks promising). Management thinks the US will be the largest in the long-term.
Undetected from Wall Street. Evolution has almost no analyst coverage in the US and very minimal coverage in Europe, presenting opportunity for additional growth as institutional money managers recognize this opportunity and draw attention to the stock. Additionally, Evolution has a founder-led management team that is highly aligned with shareholders (mgmt owns over 30% of the stock).
Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) - Enables people to connect through devices. It’s products include Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp and Oculus.
Zuck. It’s not a question of who is the next Jobs/Bezos/Gates/Zuck, because Zuck is super young. He has a history of being able to execute: IG acquisition / transition from desktop to mobile / denying multiple acquisition opportunities in his twenties.
Undervalued. FB is the cheapest among the FAANG stocks, yet has some of the highest growth rates. This is mainly because of its continuous political scandals. With Trump out of office, I think FB has a chance to stay out of trouble and start to realize higher multiples. The antitrust lawsuit is not a threat imo, it is actually an opportunity. If the govt forces FB to break up, we would get shares in the spin-offs, which would be valued at a higher multiple than FB. For example, if Instagram spun off from FB and traded at the same multiple as SNAP, Instagram’s market cap would be larger than FB’s.
Digitization of Real Estate (i.e. “iBuying”). Technology in RE is moving from being informational to transactional. Redfin’s iBuying service is dubbed “RedfinNow.” The service basically buys homes from sellers looking for a quick and convenient sale (close deals within 10-30 days). This segment isn’t profitable yet as it is just getting started, but promising as the management adapts to technology trends.
Inter-US Migration and housing outlook. People are moving out of the cities because of COVID / trying to avoid taxes / etc. which increases demand for Redfin’s services. With interest rates extremely low (and no expectation for them to increase), homebuying demand should continue to grow.
RDFN most attractively valued compared to Z and OPEN, with the most upside potential given its market cap ~$7bn. Some are predicting RDFN might start offering rental services as well. RDFN has the best LT margin potential.
Teladoc Health (NYSE: TDOC) - Provides virtual healthcare services on a B2B basis to its clients and provides services to consumers directly and through channel partners.
Competitive positioning in industry ripe for disruption. Healthcare is a huge market yet to be significantly disrupted. COVID has accelerated this disruption. Providers who were once opposed to telemedicine now realize its benefits and several regulatory changes are promising for telemedicines growth potential. Medicare and other government-sponsored coverage is expected to include telemedicine benefits, increasing TDOC’s TAM.
Livongo acquisition. From the consumer POV, this will increase access to healthcare at a lower cost. Teladoc will have access to a larger amount of data it can interpret to refine its services and monetization strategies.
Sea Ltd (NYSE: SE) - Digital entertainment, electronic commerce, and digital financial services. The Company operates three business segments: Garena, Shopee, and SeaMonkey. The Company’s digital entertainment business, Garena, is a global game developer and publisher with a presence in Southeast Asia, Taiwan, and Latin America. Garena provides access to mobile and personal computer online games. Shopee provides users with a shopping environment that is supported by integrated payment, logistics, fulfillment, and other value-added services. SeaMonkey business is a digital financial services provider. SeaMonkey offers e-wallet services, payment processing, credit related digital financial offerings, and other financial products.
Diversified consumer internet company with market-leading position. Sea caters to Southeast Asia and Taiwan, providing its online gaming, e-commerce, and payment platforms. Shopee has overtaken competitors, it is widening its market share lead. ESports is a rapidly growing market (15.7% YoY to $1.1bn in 2020) and Sea is outpacing market growth.
Pay for quality. The best companies keep going up for years in a row, and I think Sea is in the early stages of being classified as such a company. It’s worth $100bn but has effectively proved its ability to identify opportunities and expand business lines.
Still early stages of developing its consumer banking business, so we get the security of a bigger, established company with upside for an additional, lucrative business line such as fintech.
Waste Connections Inc. (NYSE: WCN) - Waste services company that provides non-hazardous waste collection, transfer, disposal and recycling services.
Recession resilient; re-opening trade. The waste management industry is recession resilient, it will always be around.
Non-hazardous waste collection. With a progressive government likely to push climate initiatives, recycling and non-hazardous waste collection are likely to benefit on the back end.
WCN has a large moat; there isn’t much of a competitive threat the way the industry operates. Management’s strategy is to generally only spend what FCF is available. This enables the company to make acquisitions while handling its debt load. Great for stable growth.
P.S. I have two other accounts - one with about 40 growth stocks and another with about 10 big names / ETFs. However, this portfolio has the largest allocation for 2021. My first time trying a more concentrated approach.
@NBCNews: What happens in Vegas might not stay in Vegas. Instead, it could have a ripple effect across the country if 50,000 casino-hotel workers employed at more than 30 of the city's world-famous resorts go on strike at any time starting next week. https://t.co/nrqUC3UACR
(37M) Just finalized divorce yesterday, and it feels great AMA
I wish I had found this sub years ago. Reading through these posts is really eye-opening and I see so many similarities to my own marriage. Long post ahead. I married at 18 for all the wrong reasons. She was 21. We were high school sweethearts. We were in love, but, in retrospect, neither of us were ready to get married. I kind of knew it at the time, but I went against my gut and did it anyway. We were married for 19 years. No kids. There were so many red flags over the years, but, in my eyes, none of them were worth ending the marriage. I never cheated. To my knowledge, neither did she. It just became a never-ending cycle of her treating me like a man-child which got progressively worse over the years. I even have a text message thread from several months ago where she claimed I wanted her to be "my mommy" (this couldn't be further from what I wanted) and that's why she treated me like this. She pushed me (not in a good way, but I'm glad she did) to advance my professional career. Any job I had was never good enough for her, and I never made enough money for her. Red flag. However, this caused me to rapidly climb the corporate ladder in my 20s. At 29 I was able to quit my FT 6-figure job and start my own business, doubling, then tripling, then quadrupling my income over the next couple of years. Certainly no regrets here. We have also been able to buy several houses, become landlords for 6 years, and pretty much live where we wanted. But she resented me for it. I was required to be at the office *a lot* and she hated that I wasn't home until 9 pm on any given weekday. Our last house was a solid 2-3 hour drive (depending on traffic) from the city center. So I often had to leave the house by 6:30 am and wasn't back until late in the evening. Yeah, she was lonely. She wanted me to watch TV with her every night (I became very disinterested in TV anyway) which just wasn't possible. I could have kept a somewhat cushy corporate job that wasn't demanding in terms of hours, making much less money, but that wasn't good enough for her. Rewind back to 2001. I put her through college and sacrificed my own college education for her. I worked 2 jobs, 7 days a week, for years to support us when I was 18-21. We were living in a crappy apartment and barely making ends meet. But she was going to make something of herself, then I was going to go to college and do the same. Like you are supposed to do. I tried to go to college while working 2 jobs for 60-70 hours per week, but it was way too much. My grades made it unable for me to advance, so I dropped out. She graduated in 2004... then never really tried to get a decent job. The 'best' job she ever had was a retail store manager for a small store (making like $15/hr) and she hated it. She was perfectly capable of making 6-figures at a corporate job, but she never even made an attempt. She hopped between entry-level and minimum wage jobs, never spending more than a couple of months at any of them. Don't take this to mean I ever really cared about how much money she made. What I cared about was the effort she put into being a responsible adult. We were still having trouble making ends meet. In 2006 (married for 5 years) I got my first big pay jump when I switched companies. I increased my income by 70% overnight and I was starting to see light at the end of the work-till-you-die tunnel. It was finally going to be good with my new income and hers, right? Wrong. A couple of months into my new job she brought up the idea of her quitting her job to be a 'full-time homemaker'. Remember, we didn't have kids and didn't want any, and she is the one with the degree and the college debt we would be paying down for the next 15 years. It started as an idea, then over a couple of weeks, it turned into her begging me to let her quit her job for good. I resisted, explaining to her that it made no financial sense. Besides, how was she going to keep herself occupied throughout the day? Laundry only needed to be done once a week, dishes only take a few minutes a day. So, against my wishes, she quit working for good and never looked back. She did take to cooking more, but she basically sat at home and watched TV. This went on for years. She knew I was against it. Without her income, we were in a worse financial situation than before I got my new job. But, (her words) because I was the man, "I was supposed to support the family" She was bored all the time. The free time gave her much more time to find things to get upset about and dwell on. For example, she would start a big fight if I left a single bowl in the sink for *me* to wash later. Or if I used the stove or microwave and she found a single spec of splattered food. Or if I turned a perfectly functional knob on the washing machine to wash my own laundry. She would absolutely blow up -- "I did [insert thing here] on purpose so I could get out of doing [the thing] in the future." Thank god we had our own bathrooms. She resented me for these things and I had no chance for retribution. She did do most of the housework for a few years, but I always did 100% of the yardwork. And almost 5 years ago we bought and lived on a farm -- got several dozen animals from horses to sheep to donkeys to ducks and geese. Just like in her professional 'career', she helped take care of them for a little while. Until she decided it was too much work. Then I was the one left by myself rounding up the animals, fixing broken fence, thawing out frozen water pipes, etc at 2 am on a weeknight when I had an 8 am meeting the next morning. As you would expect, the sex decreased significantly over the years. It was good when we were in our teens and early 20s. But she became less and less interested over the years. It went from several times per week, to several times per month, to every few months, to... almost never. She wanted sex to be very mundane. She didn't like it when I went down on her. She absolutely refused to go down on me, and never did. She didn't like it when I tried to use my hand to please her. She didn't like foreplay. She never wanted to do anything other than missionary. We talked about how to spice up our sex life for years. I brought all sorts of ideas from the table from roleplaying to toys to things on the kinkier side, but she never actually wanted to do anything about it. I had also been struggling with PE throughout my later 20s which made the situation worse. And the PE was "my fault" and "I needed to do something about it". I did see a urologist who diagnosed me as perfectly normal and sent me on my way. He suggested both of us see a sex therapist together, which she was not ok with -- because this was "my problem". Until we separated and I put myself out there, I hadn't had sex in about 4 years. Fast forward to 2018. I was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer -- like fewer than 100 cases per year in the entire country. The physician knew very little about it -- the hospital hadn't seen a case of it in over 5 years -- and referred me to a specialist in a city a few hours away. It was a few months before I knew anything definitive or could get it treated. When I told my ex about the diagnosis, she preceded to inform me how I don't "have cancer" (but I did) and made it clear it was my own problem. I had an all-day surgery with the specialist to remove it -- I told her it was going to be an all-day surgery in advance. A couple-hour drive each way. Did she offer to drive me there or support me in any way? Nope. I got to drive myself there and back. Did she help me clean the huge surgical wound (it was like 10 inches in diameter) I had for the next 3 months? I even asked for her help cleaning and dressing it. She refused. So I had to figure out how to do it by myself. Did she express the slightest interest in talking to the specialist about it to get her own answers and put her mind at ease? Nope. She already knew better. This when it became painfully obvious she didn't care about me at all. And I still financially supported her 100%. At this point, she hadn't had a job for over 10 years and spent most of any given day watching TV. In 2017 she started an Etsy sewing shop -- which didn't take much of her time, but it gave her something to do. We were vendors at lots of local festivals together when those were still a thing. We were doing this almost every weekend from April through December. She didn't have more than 200 orders per year until 2020. When the lockdowns and mask shortages started in March she started sewing cloth masks. She did really well for a couple of months, doing 50-100 orders per day. I told her I was proud of her. I also tried to help her when she was having trouble keeping up. I spent a whole day helping her get caught up on orders. I can't sew, so I was helping her pack envelopes, print shipping labels, and iron decals onto the masks. She showed me how to do the iron-on transfers. It's so easy a 10-year-old could do it. I did a couple hundred of them that afternoon. She came to inspect them before they got shipped out. And she blew-the-fuck-up. I did it *exactly* how she showed me and they looked great. But she could still see a crease in the fabric where it was folded. It was "my fault" and, as usual, I had done it "on purpose" so I could get out of helping in the future. Sound familiar? I immediately stopped helping and left. I was done with her acting like a child. She is 40 years old and still acts like she is 12. Did she ever thank me for helping? No. Did she still ship the orders? Yep, so they weren't bad were they? Did she apologize for blowing up again? Nope. And I forgot to mention -- we have been basically separated for the better part of 4 years. Sleeping in different rooms in the house. I've been living in an 'apartment' in the basement of my own house. She kicked me out of the bedroom when she was throwing a fit about a short business trip I was going on. I needed to "tell them I wasn't going". She threw all of my stuff down the stairs and that was the end of that. I wasn't allowed to use the stove that I paid for. If I had food in the microwave and she wanted to use it, she would throw away whatever I had in there. She would throw away my dishes if I wasn't watching; I found them in the trash all the time. I spent the next several months thinking about all of this and much more. One thing I came to realize: in the 19 years we had been married I couldn't think of a single instance where she apologized for blowing up about something meaningless or admitted she was wrong. Not a single one. I even challenged her about it. Could she think of a single time she did either one of those? She couldn't come up with one concrete example. BTW, I apologized thousands of times. I never once blew up about anything in our entire relationship -- that's not the kind of person I am -- but I have apologized for things I said that made her feel bad and admitted I was wrong many, many times. At her insistence, I even admitted to doing lots of meaningless things that I didn't actually do just to put a fight to bed and keep the relationship in-tact. There is no point in fighting over BS. 2020 also brought on a lot of financial stress. At the beginning of the year, I had signed contracts that would make this the biggest year since I started the business. Clients were in sports, restaurants, casinos, and live entertainment. I lost all of them, and most of them are unlikely to survive 2021 without a bankruptcy. I laid off my entire staff. Our income took a nosedive. We burnt through most of our savings because she couldn't control her spending habits, and she had zero interest in financially contributing to the household. This was the straw that broke the camel's back. She made it abundantly clear she didn't care about me, and, at the same time, she expected me to financially support her do-whatever-she-wants consequences-be-damned lifestyle. I prepared the divorce papers and presented them to her on a whim when she was blowing up about dishes in the sink or something like that. I just couldn't deal with it anymore. I don't know why she acted surprised. She had told me she wanted a divorce plenty of times in recent years, and a couple of times in 2020. But she never had the balls to do it. This was something I had been thinking about for a few years, but I was likely to be on the hook for $10k/month in alimony for the rest of my life if it weren't for COVID. We live in a midwest state with divorce case-law which strongly favors women, and I have lots of male friends/colleagues who got screwed royally in a divorce -- even if their spouse cheated. So it was kind of the perfect storm. Depleted savings and drastically reduced income meant there was nothing for the court to grant. All we really had left was retirement savings and home equity. The house sale is closing in 10 days and we already liquidated the 401k, which she used to buy her own house. That was everything. Sorry for the long post, but I needed to rant to some strangers on the internet. There is obviously much more to tell over 19 years of marriage, but I'll leave it here for the sake of brevity. This post may sound very one-sided, but I really tried to keep it together. I tried to be a good husband. To give my wife what she wanted. To be there for her when she needed me. To make her happy, at the expense of my own happiness. Happy wife, happy life, right? As I put in the title, the court granted dissolution yesterday. It was very easy. No attorneys, we didn't fight about any remaining property. We each own our own vehicles free and clear and had no interest in the other's. She stole a few thousand more dollars from our joint account and sold some valuable things without my permission, but it wasn't worth fighting over. I just let it go. I'm finally free and I feel better than I have in years. Ask me anything.
Greater London in Coronavirus Tier 3 (Very high alert) from Weds 16th Dec 00:01
Due to a sharp rise in Coronavirus cases, Greater London (32 boroughs + the City of London) will move in to Tier 3 (Very high alert) on Wednesday Dec 16th at 00:01. Most surrounding counties including all of Kent, most of Surrey, and parts of Beds, Bucks, and Essex are (or will be - as of Saturday) in Tier 3 as well.
The Usual Stuff
Stay 2m (6ft) away from people that you don't live with where practical, and at least 1m (3ft) away at all times. Do your very best to maintain hygiene, washing your hands and shared surfaces at every opportunity. And of course, you should only do what you're comfortable with. If you have any symptoms of COVID-19, even mild, stay home for at least 10 days until you no-longer have a temperature. Get a test through the gov.uk testing website or calling 119. Others in your household must stay home for 14 dayssource. Most coronavirus cases are mild, but if you're very ill, call 111, or in an emergency, call 999 - DO NOT go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital with COVID-19. Continue to keep NHS appointments for other purposes unless your clinician tells you otherwise or the government changes the advice.
What are the restrictions?
Under Tier 3:
In general, you cannot mix with other households indoors or outdoors, in private or public
There are a few exceptions. You can meet with a group of six (maintaining social distance) in public parks, beaches (good luck in London), open countryside, public gardens (e.g. Kew), allotments, sports grounds, playgrounds, or in the grounds of a heritage site
Pubs, cafes and restaurants will move to takeaway only
Cinemas (other than drive in), theatres, casinos, bowling alleys, and indoor play areas all close
Attractions with indoor parts like zoos or botanical gardens have to close the indoor parts
You should work from home if you can but go to work if you can't and try to minimise journeys
You cannot stay away from home overnight apart from for work, medical, care, or other exceptional reasons
Single adult households can still form a (permanent) mutual support bubble with one other household. There are various other exceptions for things like weddings (up to 15 people), funerals (30 people) and in a few other areas. You can read the full Tier 3 restrictions here. You can leave your home to escape injury or harm. If you break these rules you may be fined from £1000 or more, depending on the offence.
Making a Christmas Bubble
Between 23rd and 27th December the rules are being loosened so we can see close family and friends over the festive period. For these four days you can form an exclusive ‘Christmas bubble’ composed of people from no more than three households Note that:
You can only be in one Christmas bubble and you cannot change your Christmas bubble
You can only meet your Christmas bubble in private homes or in your garden, places of worship, or public outdoor spaces
You can travel between tiers and UK nations for the purposes of meeting your Christmas bubble
if you form a Christmas bubble, you should not meet socially with friends and family that you do not live with in your home or garden unless they are part of your Christmas bubble
Can I visit London now?
Theoretically yes. Many of the typical tourist attractions will be closed during Tier 3 so make sure you check anything you want to do in advance and book the limited space available. Many incoming foreign travellers from higher risk countries are subject to a mandatory two week quarantine. Check if your country is on the list.
Test to Release scheme
Starting on Dec 15th, you can reduce your time in isolation after arrival to 5 days (instead of 10 days) by paying for a coronavirus test. This must be from a test provider participating in the government scheme and you have to opt in on your passenger locator form when you arrive in England from abroad. There are currently very few providers and the tests are quite expensive (£180) but this list will likely be expanded in the coming weeks. You will need to pre-book (there's considerable lead time). The full guidance is here
Can I go somewhere else?
The government advises that you should not leave a Tier 3 area unless for work, education, or some other good reason, and if you normally live in a Tier 3 area you should not stay away from home overnight.
Face coverings are compulsory on all forms of public transport and in all shops, takeaways, hospitals and care homes. This is a law and you can be fined if you do not comply. You don't need to buy a fancy respirator, instead think about buying or making your own from fabric, or use a scarf or bandana. As long as you wash them at a decent heat between uses this is much more environmentally friendly than disposable surgical masks.
The NHS App
The NHS COVID-19 app is now available. It uses Apple & Google's co-developed bluetooth protocol which does not transmit any of your personal details to anyone, including the government. It's been used as the basis for apps in privacy-conscious countries like Germany and Ireland, and is generally considered safe and secure. The app is particularly effectively in dense urban areas, and NHS England's also includes features to help you check in to venues and get a test. Download it!
Get help or give help
With the short days, the cold weather, and the lockdown restrictions, this is going to be a hard time for everyone.
If you're feeling the strain or just feeling lonely and want to talk to someone the /MentalHealthUK master post is a great place to start.
What is the latest news in the stock market? Aphria is merging with Tilray while the stimulus may be agreed on today after the latest developments. Also, the FED starts its 2-day meeting, let’s talk about this and everything happening in the stock market ~Very Long Post~ Hello everyone and Good Morning! So, let’s start with the recap of yesterday as we see a great day for the stock market, the best in December actually, as a one-two punch of stimulus and vaccine data helped the rally, with the broad market SP500 finishing up 1.29%, the Nasdaq Composite 1.25% and the Dow Industrial 1.13%. We also saw the VIX dropping more than 7% from the recent highs, as it was nearing the 25 levels which would imply more volatility ahead for the stock market. We saw ¾ of the companies gaining yesterday on decent volume, with 145 new highs, as all 11 sectors finished in the green, with Utilities and Energy leading the way up almost 2%, while just 2 sectors gained less than 1% for the day, the Communications sector and the consumer staples. This rally was pushed by almost every type of company, especially small and mid-caps, as large-caps lagged a bit and were pretty much flat for the day, with the exception of Apple as you can see in this HEAT MAP, as I said in a previous post, I believe that Apple is ready for takeoff after more and more reports of great numbers in the new iPhone 12 lineup sales, and with the Fitness+ service launching this Monday this keeps increasing the number of services that Apple offers. I believe that the Apple One bundle will be a great revenue stream for them alongside the move to the 5G in the next years. So here is the economic calendar for today as we start off early in the morning with MBA mortgage applications, followed but retail sales, PMI, inventories and finish up with the last meeting and decisions from the FED in 2020. We also received news that as soon as the FDA & CDC give approval, which could and probably will happen as soon as this weekend, Moderna will be able to ship over 6M doses right away, more than double what Pfizer delivered in the initial shipment. This is happening while the stimulus appears closer than ever, but it should be noted that it does appear it will not include any stimulus checks for citizens. As the Congress seems to be targeting a $750B relief package. This is very needed as the savings, especially for low-income households, has been substantially on the declin since May, just like always, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. This measures from the Government have been unexpectedly just been called upon from Warren Buffett also, as he emphasized that small businesses have become collateral damage, though he previously said he wouldn’t speak in public about this until May, the degrading situation probably made him change his mind. We will also have the FED starting its meetings today, and follow up tomorrow, with most analysts expecting the FED to lay out the plans for additional asset purchases to provide additional support for the economy. And even if this is a temporary measure, it would be great for the economy if they keep this program going until the vaccine is more widely available and the reopening can come back in full force. Yesterday we also got numbers on the Industrial Production, which beat the consensus with a .4% increase M/M while capacity utilization also increased with the manufacturing output way better than expected. This was led especially by motor vehicle and parts sales which were up 5.3%. So, with some good news in the last period, a recent survey showed that fewer respondents believe that stocks are overpriced or overvalued right now. I think this is a fair opinion, as we have gone through a period of consolidation since the beginning of November, stocks have become more stable, some have lost ground, some have gained. This is very healthy for the broad stock market and may eventually start a new bull run very soon. On some other stock market news, we saw the whole green energy sector getting a big boost yesterday, as the US Congress seems to have agreed to a package of tax incentives and extensions for both wind and solar projects. Some of the biggest gainers yesterday were SunPower, Enphase, SolarEdge, with most of the companies from the INVESCO Solar ETF trading way higher. As we also saw PENN national gaining yesterday after giving great news again to investors, as they have acquired a new casino in Maryland as they keep expanding their nationwide footprint. Meanwhile, we will get Lennar Q4 earnings today after the close, and I expect them to have a great quarter, but this hasn’t helped many companies this quarter, as even great earnings results haven’t pushed most companies to have big gains, I think Lennar will post a terrific quarter as a result of the continuing strong housing market as more and more people flee big cities attracted by better tax implications while they also run from the growing poverty in states like California. Some good news also came from the Eurozone this morning, as the PMI popped up to 49.8 which is still a contraction for the economy, but that is an improving view of the economy overseas, up from 45.3 in November. We also have to keep an eye on what ABNB and Doordash will do, as investors are starting to get the chance to short this highly valued IPOs. So, this might hit the stocks even more after they have suffered in the last days as I expected. And one last bit of news, Aphria is merging with Tilray, they will become an almost $4B market cap cannabis player, as they seek to also move to the US and grow its market share in the country, as the full legalizing of cannabis in the US seems to be approaching. This will help both companies to be able to have low-cost, state of the art cultivations alongside improved processing and manufacturing facilities. This will also position them for a better footprint in the EU, with Aphria having a footprint in Germany, while Tilray has a low-cost production facility in Portugal. I think the pot and clean energy sectors alongside the EVs are the ones to watch in the next years. Let’s hope for another great day in the market as the FUTURES seem to be pointing at a good open, hopefully some green action continues after that. Thank you everyone for reading! Hope you enjoyed the content! Be sure to leave a comment down below with your opinion on the stock market! Have a great day and see you next time!
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