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The Player Sulks, Insults The Table And Later Tries To Commit Physical Assault
submitted by DrCreatureflix to rpghorrorstories [link] [comments]
(This is longer than I expected)
This is my first Reddit post so please be easy on me. Also, I had to rewrite part of this after I notice part of it disappeared some reason.
I will try to keep this short were I can. I used to run a high-level 5e campaign in my homebrewed for a few months last year for some friends after I go back into DnD. I will be referring to my players/friends as their characters. There was Phosfur (A Warforged gunslinger), Tulkan (A Half-Orc Moon Druid crossed into Totem Warrior Barbarian... AKA the Tankiest and Phosfur's brother IRL), Riddlen (A Human Assassin), Morgan (A Tiefling Battlesmith and roommate at the time) and the player in question, Ivral (An Aasimar Abjuration Wizard).
I met Ivral through Phosfur (She was dating him at the time), I didn't know him long, maybe just over a month before the campaign started but he was a fan of DnD and was dating a friend so I offered a seat at the table. He was a little pretentious and up himself when playing but nothing that I couldn't handle, otherwise he gelled with the other players quite well, played his character great and was able to drive so he could pick up anyone unable to travel so it meant we count play every week or so (A rare treasure in this world). I could DM from my home where I could use my projector and speaker to make the game feel more immersive. So everything was fine until they met the villain of 'Tulkan's Arc', Preilan.
For some context, if you don't me steering off course, Tulkan was a refugee from another continent that suffered an Aberration invasion (Say that 3 times fast), where he met prisoner Preilan and became allies, after a botched escape attempt, Tulkan was able to invoke his first wild shape and burst out a Mind Flayer settlement, unfortunately causing a cave in as part of it. He went on guilty thinking that was responsible for Preilan's death, little did he know Preilan and the Mind Flayer's survive and they were in need of anger management and subjecting a prisoner to numerous tests would do the trick before feeding him to the tadpoles. In so Preilan became a psionic abomination that went mad, breaking out hellbent on killing Tulkan.
Back to the campaign, Preilan had cornered the party and Tulkan had offered himself in the belief he deserved to be punished. The party was haven't any of it, insert threats to the party here, insert battle cry there, roll initiative.
Now, this the point I have to mention Preilan was based on an Eldrich Knight for base abilities with some Psionic abilities to even the playing field (I like homebrewing threats), one being an ability that, twice per day, he can steal spells from people, provided he has seen them cast before and after a failed INT save, and use them himself and gain the spell's affiliated spell slot until their next long rest. I thought it would make a rememberable encounter, it did for the wrong reason. For he used it on Ivral's Counterspell...
Now as an Abjuration Wizard, counterspell is Ivrals bread and butter, unfortunately, he rolled low on his save and lost it. Now I must of not let him know he would get the spell back because he seemed off after me doing this. He started to act rather rude to players and myself, like a young kid sulking. A nearly adult man was sulking. Over. One. Spell. I know people get invested but damn. So the session wraps up, feedback is given and the next session is the works.
The next week, Ivral doesn't show up, nor did he the next week, or the week after. Then the session following Phosfur didn't show up. It was when this session finished, Morgan had shown me the group chat they had to talk about sessions. I am not repeating one word of the tirade as its quite offensive at points but it was a lot of insults hurled at the other players and me and Ivral self-victimising. He even went on a racial rant at Riddlen after he tried to defend me. Unanimously we all agreed to kick him and block him (I didn't as I didn't have his number and forgot I gave him mine).
Tulkan checked on Phosfur, to no surprise, she had dumped him. All is well and we take a week off from the next session. But the next session is worse... much worse.
So as we are settling back into the game and after a while, I get a bunch of messages from Ivral, mostly crap about how he saw Phosfur leave to come to mine and I wanted to sleep with her and this was a scheme to look cool get with her.
- I was already in a committed relationship, don't think my GF nor myself would appreciate me trying to sleep with someone else.
- That is the stupidest way for someone to look cool
- Stalking your ex is not gonna get her back
- Once again, this started... Over. One. Damn. Spell
So I turn my phone off and think nothing of it, about an hour later, Ivral is at the front door banging and screaming. Phosfor nearly breaks down, Tulkan is ready to mash his head in and I am in shock that this is happening.
Let me reiterate for those in the back, this started...Over. One. FUCKING. Spell.
So Morgan and Riddlen take Phosfur into one the bedrooms while Tulkan and I go to the front door. Tulkan answers before I get a chance to stop him and before he even opens the door fully, Ivral swings at him, missing thankfully. Tulkan is as built as his character in real life so he had no problem pinning Ivral as I called the police. He was taken away and charged for numerous things and I have never heard of him since.
The event did lead to me refusing to DM for months. A DM's relationship with their players is based on trust and that includes stepping on players when things got heated between them. For me to let Ivral in and let him treat players like that say such horrible things, even nearly causing one to be attacked I felt like I broke their trust.
Phosfur was okay, we all looked after her following this when we could so she felt protected. She is happy now and moved into my flat with Morgan after I left to go back Uni.
Eventually after a while (And a lot of encouragement) I returned to DMing and wrapped their campaign (Probably my favourite group I had the pleasure to DM). I was rewriting the world they inhabited in prep for future campaigns and the story passed my mind so I thought I would share.
[Self Promotion] Bert's Practically Useless Items! Now including spells!
submitted by BouNcYToufU to dmsguild [link] [comments]
[$DRM] "Massive Housing Bubble in Toronto Could Spell Disaster for Affiliated Companies/REITs" [4/11/20]
submitted by colxwhale123 to WallStreetResearch [link] [comments]
Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells has the most useful and complete scifi toolkit I've seen since Stars Without Number. If you're running a space opera sandbox, it's a must-buy.
submitted by ludifex to rpg [link] [comments]
LAOP claims they were failed because of political affiliation. Their grammar and spelling mistakes imply there was another reason.
submitted by bookluvr83 to bestoflegaladvice [link] [comments]
Raidraptor players: can I get a tip or two?
I recently looked through my spare card bin, and realized that I've actually got a ton of these things laying around. And since I'm going through a deck-building phase right now anyway, I figured I'd go ahead and take a crack at it. But it turns out that they seem... a tad complex. Any and all advice you could share with me is helpful. Here are my biggest questions: submitted by dhfAnchor to yugioh [link] [comments]
1) I understand what the card effects mean, and I see their value, but I'm not sure what to prioritize. What ratios would you recommend, particularly for main deck monsters? Like, should I run 1 sharp lanius? 3?
2) which of the Rank-Up spells affiliated with the deck are most useful?
3) what's the biggest weakness of a Raidraptor deck, and how do you attempt to counter it (if you do)?
Quick note: I'm a casual, and I don't obey the ban list. If there's a great card for this deck but it's banned or limited, shout it out anyway.
New to this site. Saw the older version before and wow. Thanks to Crissie Tegan (Spelling?) OK John Legend's wife , I came back to look at something she spoke about... OK new version and it's fine with cross sectional vew, my observation that is. I know affiliation...
submitted by suziewpls to u/suziewpls [link] [comments]
06-30 19:44 - 'When Trump entered the WH tensions with NK were pretty high. I believe he called KJU “Rocket Man” and other names? / Regardless of political affiliation, this is still a pretty historical moment. / Edit - Spelling.' by /u/ghsNICK removed from /r/worldnews within 21-31min
submitted by removalbot to removalbot [link] [comments]
Vaulting content, and how it affects the development cycle in a positive way
Almost every single day, I've been seeing posts about how various pieces of content should not be sunset and just need improvements. I just wrote out some thoughts in a comment on a post, but honestly, it deserves a post of it's own and to be seen by more people. submitted by TijoWasik to DestinyTheGame [link] [comments]
Please bare in mind; I have no affiliation with Bungie, and I am just someone who's been involved in development cycles for nigh on a decade and have seen stuff like this happen before. I'm also not saying that Bungie is going to do what I say, or even pretending that I know their exact plans - I'm just simply stating that vaulting is not necessarily the BIG BAD that people are making it out to be.
With all that said, let's get to the meat of this.
The current development of Destiny, as we all know, is a little troubled. The engine is what it is, and every time a new version is released for testing, it has to recompile. From the most recent ViDoc, a quick paraphrase - it takes days to compile the new build before it can even be tested.
Now that's bad - everyone knows that. But from a developer perspective, recompiling is actually something that's far more common that you might think. It's not just a recompile once everything is done (I wish!). Usually, as a developer, you'd recompile your code several times throughout building a piece of code to make sure that it's doing what you want it to do, and you haven't made a spelling mistake or misused something in some way - it's better to catch it early, because then you know where the problem is and you can fix it before it gets lost. That's not an option with Destiny as it takes days to recompile everything.
In regards to what this means in terms of vaulting locations, the obvious benefit is this: it will take hours to recompile, not days. This means that they can work on it for a day, let it recompile overnight and find the bugs in the morning. This is huge.
However, that still begs the question that people are asking: "Why remove locations when we can just update them?"
There's a second benefit which is far more removed from the users (you and I) that's not being discussed simply because it's a dev thing.
The most recent post I read was how Titan is beautiful and it's just in need of a facelift; that people don't go there because there's nothing to do. I agree with this. But here's where I agree with the Bungie approach, and what the Vault gives that isn't being talked about.
Let's imagine September; everything that was going to be removed has been. Luke Smith gives one of his teams a task: go away and rebuild Titan from the ground up - add more activities, change up the location a bit, add some new enemies, resource nodes, whatever else. Make it a good place to play.
Now, because Titan is not in the game any more, here's what can happen: said team spins up a new virtual machine and gets the Destiny game engine running on it. They bring Titan - and only Titan - in to the engine. No other locations or modes, just Titan and it's associated activities with whatever overhead that incurs. Now, if we think about how the game is going to look in terms of load in September, and take Bungie's "recompiles in hours" as truth, we can imagine that Titan might take an hour tops to recompile each time it's needed. There's nothing else to recompile, so they can make changes and recompile it several times a day to test their changes. All of this because there's only Titan on the engine.
Now, of course, you'd be remiss not to think "But they could do that now, right?". Sort of, but not really. Right now, they're bound by the currently running version of the game; the changes they make will make it in to the build so if they break something severely, they have to fix it before the next patch because it's a part of the game. Not only this, but the engine is being updated constantly: weapon balancing, reward structuring, vendor actions/activities, economies, strikes, exotic quests, UI, everything. So every change that's made to the engine has to be considered and fixed whilst they're updating Titan live. This brings its own problems and severely slows down the dev process.
With the new way of doing things, here's what would happen instead.
The team that's building doesn't touch the engine whatsoever. They leave it on whatever version it's running when they built the engine in their new environment and don't care what the team is building out - they build out the activities and the location and so on. When it's in a good place, they review all the engine changes that have happened since - fix what they can and then do a bulk import of troubleshooting the issues with every change all at once - not one troubleshooting every week when the engine has changed and caused an issue. In addition - most of these engine issues will already be fixed in the engine, or the fix will be known as it'll have been made for the other, still existing locations, so it's a much faster process. What you get is a bulk import of a location, and one or two bulk fix passes and the location is like brand new.
Essentially, if this is how everything operates, the vaulted planets will be treated like DLC locations, and this means very good things for the locations that are going to disappear. They're not necessarily gone forever, and if and when they return, they'll be much, much better.
This got longer than I thought, so I'll can it there, but I wanted to give the other side of this.
Berenstain was the ME spelling instead of Berenstein
submitted by Kowaidesu to MandelaEffect [link] [comments]
First of all, I remember it as Berenstein.
Several months ago, I found out about the Mandela Effect, and was very interested in it. Upon reading about it, I learned of the conflicting memories of Berenstein and Berenstain. However, I remember reading that normal people remember it as the stein spelling, while the Mandela Effect people remember it as the stain spelling, opposite of how it is now. I felt disappointed that I did not have the ME memories, and figured that I had not been part of the ME.
Today, I stumbled upon this sub through the /Glitch_in_the_Matrix
sidebar. After reading a few posts, I learned that it is actually the Berenstein spelling affiliated with the ME instead of the Berenstain spelling. I was surprised because I remembered it the other way around.
It is completely possible that I misread the Berenstein/ain dilemma several months ago, but I thought I would share anyway.
Also, does anyone remember it as dilema instead of dilemma?
You don't want me to speak in a foreign language? Okay!
I am new to reddit, so the disclaimer goes as always: on mobile, English is not my first language, excuse any formatting, spelling, or grammatical mistakes! submitted by Mdame_Invincibl3 to MaliciousCompliance [link] [comments]
Now, let's begin!
A little back story! I live in India and there, each state has their own local language. My parents migrated from one state(West Bengal) to the current state (Gujarat) even before my birth, so I am fluent in my mother tongue (Bengali) as well as the local language (Gujarati) in addition to Hindi(which is kind of the national language)
Fun Fact: I said Hindi is kind of national language, coz in India 22 languages have the status of being official language! So we do not have a fixed national language!
Now onto the story! This happened a few years ago. After graduating, I started learning French in a French govt. affiliated institute, while simultaneously working the front desk. So from admin staff to teachers and even the director of the institute knew me well! I was studying in the advance class when the institute introduced a free demo session for promotional purposes. And some of the aspiring french teachers from the advance level class were selected to assist the teacher in this class to get first hand experience (including me.)
Each class just had a capacity of 5 people (reservation basis). Now, I was supposed to work my shift in the front desk and then go to the class to assist the faculty. So, between the two I had a 15 min window to stuff my face with some food. Our institute had a cafe which was managed by an ex-classmate of mine who also happens to be from my homeland! So I ordered a cup of coffee with a sandwich and sat down to chit chat with him for a minute. On our next table was five Indian version of Karens! Weirdly fitting clothes, way too much of makeup, an odd sense of entitlement and complaining about everything.
You see where this is going yet?
I was talking to my friend in Bengali and these motherforkers tsked at us to grab our attention and went on a monologue about how us "foreigners are ruining our sacred land." "it should be mandatory to speak in the local language," and "who knows what they are talking about, they may be even bullshirting and trash talking about us." The last one was however, spot on as by that point we had started sniggering about these ignorant beaches(pun intended.) This got them all agitated and the Queen Beach started getting louder saying "shame on you for speaking all this blah blah languages, you are in Gujarat, speak in Gujarati" and left after paying her bill and huffing and puffing with her side kicks.
I was so confused and irritated by this point but shocked as this hasn't happened to me before.
I simply paid for my snack and headed upstairs for the class. I met the head faculty in the hallway and recounted what just happened, laughed and went into the class! Not even 2 minutes later I see the 5 Karens entering the same room! I quickly whisper to my sr. teacher that these were the morons and she whispers something back!
We maliciously comply to their request and teach the entire hour long FRENCH class in Gujarati! How? We wrote a word on the board and go on to explaining what it means in Gujarati without even pronouncing the word! They were bored, couldn't pronounce a single word and didn't even understand most contexts. Around the end of the class my teacher said something along the lines of "if everyone spoke their local languages in their local regions then others would have never learned a new language." And then I added in a chirpy tone that "you would have had to visit France to learn French! But you are lucky to have our esteemed institute. Do consider joining us!"
The ladies slowly gathered their belongings and left the class. They didn't sign up for any program but we believe they wouldn't anyways!
P.s. Do I or my senior teacher feel bad for not teaching them properly? A bit! Do we regret doing it? Nah!
Edit: Yay 500 upvotes! Guess it's a great thing to maliciously comply! Thanks everyone, Cheers 🥂
Some character games to flesh out the people you're writing
submitted by Yuli-Ban to writing [link] [comments]
1: Modified Plinkett Test
- Describe your character, but you explicitly cannot mention their appearance (clothing, body, race, species, attractiveness, etc.), plot relevance, relationships beyond a vague level, sexuality, or abilities & disabilities. If your character actually has a character, this should be piss easy.
2: Living With Your Character
- Try imagining that your character has decided to drop by to live with you for a week. How does it go? What do they do? Do they ever try to recruit you to follow them on some crazy plot, or do they keep whatever's happening a secret? What do they do if you say no or tell them to leave? What if they don't want to leave?
3: Thanksgiving Dinner
- Put your character through some uncomfortable situations that never come up in the story, especially ones that require hard answers and positions that are inevitably controversial. Situations where simply "not getting involved" or "not having an opinion" isn't an option. Bringing up politics is probably never needed in your story, but knowing your character's stances might help you color some of their actions. If you can't think of anything, put your character in the middle of something, like, say, some extremist revolution and they're asked their political affiliations at gunpoint. Or worse: they're at your family's Thanksgiving dinner and something political comes up and your character is asked their opinion.
4: Self-Insert Mode
- Replace the protagonist or antagonist of a movie, TV show, video game, book, etc. with your character. How does it change? Does it change at all? Don't reraise them for the setting or limit/exaggerate their abilities to fit that setting; just plop them down. Hard mode: put them into a piece of media that's a hard break from your story. Have a character meant for a YA high fantasy story? Put them in The Road. Have a character designed for a slice of life literary fic? Now they're in Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Downtrodden upstart middle class artsy manic pixie dream girl? Now she's fem!Tony Montana and is in control of a rising drug empire. Something like that. Rugged space marine? Now he's the main character in a chick flick. You can even do it with just your own stories.
5: Social Media Corrupts Everything
- Your character is now on social media. Maybe Twitter, maybe Facebook, maybe Tumblr, maybe Reddit. What do they post? How often are they on? What's their username? Do they take selfies? Do they rage against social media on social media? Who do they friend and follow? Setting is no obstacle; Victorians and cavemen are now on social media; hyper-advanced alien intelligences humor our internet.
6: Birthday Shindig
- You're in charge of planning your character's birthday party. Do you know what they'd like? What sort of cake? Gathering place? Do they even want a party? Have they ever had a birthday party before? Would they be confused by the custom or weep that someone actually cares? What if you fuck it up? Who do you invite to start the party? Who do you invite to start a fight?
7: Driven Past The Edge (And You're the Driver)
- Might be triggery. What would it take to completely break your character? And I mean break— they're despondent, anhedonic, sick with rage, not themselves, changed for the worse permanently barring immediate change. What process of events would be needed to get there? Hard mode: you can't kill anyone they love or introduce them to drugs.
8: Underlings & Untermenschen
- Your character encounters someone subservient to them. If they're a slave, this person is completely nonhuman in the eyes of society. If they're considered nonhuman, this person is just antimatter. Either way, this social underling does something that's considered annoying, such as messing up an order, hogging the phone line, eating the last fruit, burning the spell book by accident, something of that nature. How does your character act and react? With respect and understanding? Utter snobbery and bigotry? Are they so desperate to be on top that they use this tiny bit of power to lord over them and bully them for this mistake? Are they sympathetic and know not to hold it against them? Do they not see social hierarchy to begin with? Is everyone equally worthless in their eyes? Bonus: Do the same, but for someone higher on the social totem. Do they suck up to them, or do they use it as evidence of their elites' inherent uselessness?
9: Cuban Missile Crisis Test
- Your character is now in the position of President Kennedy or Premier Khrushchev. The world is one bad move from nuclear war, but they aren't aware of what that move is and are just as blind as everyone else. Will they avert World War III? Will they make the worst mistakes in history? Will they break down and be overwhelmed by the pressure? Will they gleefully decide to nuke the dirty Commies/Capitalist pigdogs? Are they from a Proud Warrior Race that sees all war— even nuclear war— as valiant and honorable? Do they care so little for humans and humanity that they back away and go golfing? Is this their perfect opportunity to deindustrialize human civilization? Do they wonder what big red buttons do?
10: Antagonists and NPCs Describe Your Character
- Have an antagonist (respective to your character, not necessarily the story's antagonist) and random background characters describe your character. It shouldn't be the same as your description of them since they see this character differently. A nameless civilian would see Superman more as an emotionless force of nature whose appearance means the destruction of their home and livelihood might be imminent. Voldemort would see Harry Potter as a hopelessly naive and cowardly idiot. Moby Dick would see Captain Ahab as a sadistic unstoppable predator. Hard mode: Make it a Plinkett Test, so no appearance, plot relevance, relationships, and whatnot.
11: Embrace the Crazy
- Something surreal happens in your story that breaks any established realism or consistency. How does your character deal with it?
- Your character accomplishes all their goals. Where are they in 20 years? 50? 500, if applicable? Did things work out? What unforeseen consequences ensue?
13: Great Story, Mark! Anyway...
- Badly jam your character into a love triangle. How does it play out? Have fun with it. Or don't! Hard mode: Make it an actual love triangle. So one of the trianglees is in love with the other. Probably super gay/lesbian in which case. Note: your character doesn't have to put up with it or love anyone. They can drop out immediately, but readers still expect someone to bang.
14: Interview With A [Fictional Race Withheld]
- Seeker80 has this one: interview your character. How do they see themselves? How do they present themselves to you, their Creator God? What are they willing to share with you? Why this and not that? Deliberately ask them specific questions.
15: Thick Red Line Test
- Courtesy of radioraheem8, find the red line your character draws in terms of morality, behaviors, actions, and whatnot. Now cross it. Better yet, do it twice. Even better, make them cross it. How do they react? How do they live with themselves? Surely their core morals are shaken, but most real people justify stretching their morals to do amoral things. How does your character justify it? Or do they just breakdown altogether? Perhaps they don't even care? If they don't, why? It's a naughty decision to break character consistency just for the sake of shock, so how do you justify it? Did you at least hint at it, planting the seeds and leaving crumbs?
16: Passion of Your Christ
- If you think you have a Mary Sue and can't come up with a good character flaw, then here's a minor step forward: don't just add a random flaw from a list. Find one of their best traits and run with it. Show consequences, and make sure the other side isn't portrayed as uniformly or even generally evil. They are generous to the poor despite being a wealthy princess? Money runs out, and Sue has to choose between the people and the crown. Both choices end in bloodshed and there's no other option. He is a healer who loves all living things? Make him confront industrial pollution and want to resolve it by smashing the big fat cats, but this puts him squarely at odds with the workers who need those jobs and want those goods— and they aren't joining his side. Mr. Sue still acts despite knowing he's harming and even oppressing people. See how you go from bland Christlike to passionate radical with a minor bit of consequences? Take any trait and seriously imagine realistic consequences.
- You walk into a room and hear your character fart loud and obnoxiously, like they shat themselves. They turn and see you. What happens next?
Just some fluffy ideas on the brain that are fun but also good for defining and refining a character.
You obviously don't need to do all of these. Or any of these.
Why Speedrun.com should disassociate themselves from Guinness World Records
submitted by ersatz_cats to speedrun [link] [comments]
For many years, Guinness World Records exclusively partnered with Twin Galaxies as its authority on video gaming achievements. For all its flaws, at one time TG was the sole major scorekeeping organization. In 2017, Guinness broadened their scorekeeping affiliations, adding material from speedrunning hub Speedrun.com
to their annual "Gamer's Edition" of the Guinness World Records book. More recently, Speedrun.com started a new collaboration with Guinness
, offering official Guinness world records
to anyone who could complete specific challenges in Super Mario Odyssey, God of War, and Minecraft.
As Guinness put it, "[W]e're now taking our partnership with Speedrun.com to the next level by working directly with moderators from their community to create some totally new and unique GWR speedrun challenges."
But an issue has come up recently, one that I think deserves a good long look. Everyone heard this bit of news last week, but not everyone is aware of all the underlying ramifications, which when spelled out are actually quite appalling. I think it's worth reevaluating whether this relationship between SRC and Guinness is actually worth maintaining, either from the perspective of the speedrunning community at large, or from the perspective of Speedrun.com administration themselves. BILLY MITCHELL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2x6ZrWUkWo
I would love to say I had a long list of reasons for this post. I mean, we could throw in last month's brouhaha over Guinness falsely copyright striking several speedrunners' videos
, or we could talk about Guinness' affinity for oppressive autocratic regimes,
if it really makes a difference. But truthfully, I'm here today to talk about Guinness' recent decision to restore illegitimately claimed world records by longtime video game cheater, Billy Mitchell. But don't think for a moment this is just one minor grievance.
As you'll see, this post is about a lot more than just "Billy Mitchell is a cheater," but let's start there. For the last two years, even after the conclusion of the score dispute, I've been researching the Billy Mitchell case. I could talk all day about the mountain of evidence proving Billy Mitchell cheated. (No, no. Literally, all day.
) But for right now, if anyone wants, we'll do a short recap. https://i.imgur.com/zYXtX9C.png
In February 2018, Jeremy Young, a moderator at Donkey Kong Forum
, published the result of an investigation into three historical Billy Mitchell performances, which were claimed to be "direct feeds" from Donkey Kong arcade cabinets. It turns out, when drawing game boards to the screen, MAME produces image frames which are noticeably different from what genuine arcade produces. And guess what! Billy's tapes didn't match arcade, and were an exact match for MAME. (MAME is legal of course, but at Twin Galaxies is listed separately, with special verification to prohibit cheating.) The circumstances around Billy's scores had always been fishy (and remain so), but this MAME evidence was the smoking gun. These "MAME signatures" weren't incidental differences, but rather byproducts of the fact that MAME draws images to the screen in a fundamentally different manner.
Rigorous testing by a number of parties at Twin Galaxies and elsewhere concluded Billy's tapes could not have originated from authentic arcade hardware as claimed. To this day, neither Billy nor anyone else has been able to explain why three different tapes of Billy's, allegedly produced on three different Donkey Kong machines with different capture setups several years apart, all show dozens upon dozens of MAME signatures, and exactly zero arcade signatures, nor has anyone been able to replicate the phenomenon, nor has anyone been able to show why this phenomenon apparently happened to only Billy Mitchell and not literally anyone else ever.
For over a year after the dispute closed, Billy promised his exonerating evidence was on its way.
In September 2019, this evidence was finally delivered,
along with an explicit legal threat to Twin Galaxies and to Guinness,
threatening legal action if they did not reinstate his scores (which Twin Galaxies, under the ownership of Jace Hall, has refused to do). Billy's evidence packet was an exercise in throwing as much at the wall as possible, and while some passersby were convinced by Billy's smoke-and-mirrors approach, for those of us who followed the dispute and understood the core evidence, this evidence packet was a massive flop. "Hey look, I used to own a real Donkey Kong circuit board! I have shipping receipts for it!" Billy claimed the tapes weren't his while simultaneously going to great lengths to prove it was his legit game play on those tapes after all. Billy continued to rely on a wacky long-debunked theory
that a guy named Dwayne Richard snuck into peoples' homes, took Billy's real tapes, and either swapped them all with perfect MAME forgeries, or used some sort of magic tool to draw MAME signatures all over Billy's VHS tapes. (Dwayne would have needed a time machine to pull off this preposterous caper, and even then, there's no way he could have affected a third tape in 2010, which also showed MAME signatures, and which stayed strictly in Billy's possession as he presented it, which Billy seems to conveniently forget about.) But don't worry. Billy did have several friends of his sign witness statements testifying that he's a really good guy and that he totally did get these scores and didn't cheat. HOW GUINNESS FAILED
On Thursday, June 18, Guinness released a video (seen above) and a written statement,
announcing they had reversed their previous decision to strike Billy Mitchell from their record books. Guinness cited "compelling new evidence", including "a re-examination of the records in question and the emergence of key eyewitness and expert testimonials". Craig Glenday, in the video announcement, said this decision involved "reviewing both the existing evidence, and newly sourced eyewitness testimony, plus some new expert game play analyses and hardware verification". (I'll get more into this in a moment, but they're referring to Billy's September 2019 evidence packet - the one that had this cover sheet.
There is no "new" evidence at play, simply "newer" material than was presented during the original score dispute in 2018.) Glenday finally added, "In cases such as this, where there is debate, we would typically defer to the original, contemporaneous adjudication, and this is the case here."
The first thing one should notice is that no particular piece of evidence is presented or emphasized. What exactly was the most compelling piece of new evidence? Whose eyewitness statements were instrumental in this decision? In the Twin Galaxies dispute thread, everything was made public and transparent. We knew what the evidence was, and what was being discussed and considered. Things were openly tested and verified. If you did claim to find a way to produce MAME signatures with arcade, you had to explain how you did it, and the process had to be replicable. With Guinness, we are given only a final decision.
Speaking of witness statements, how exactly did Guinness resolve glaring discrepancies in Billy's and his friends' stories? In 2018, Billy's technician, Rob Childs, boasted of his direct feed setup, and how it would prove Billy's innocence. So confident was he that he offered to donate $5000 to charity
on behalf of anyone who could come into his shop and prove him wrong. Of course, when it came time for witness statements the following year, Mr. Childs suddenly had almost nothing to do with the direct feed setup (page 43 here),
and of course the people who did create the setup, who would have the answers to these questions, have all vanished into the ether. And then of course, there's literally Todd Rogers. How did Guinness reconcile Todd being the referee to verify Billy's scores with him also having been thoroughly discredited, with even Guinness themselves no longer recognizing his old scores? How did they reconcile new witness statements claiming the 2010 score was arranged ahead of time with Todd's account that he just happened to be in the area that day?
Guinness mentions "hardware verification". Make no mistake, this didn't involve Guinness doing actual hardware tests of their own, but rather looking at Billy's shipping receipts for a DK board and saying "Yup, those do indeed look like shipping receipts." How did Guinness resolve these receipts and witness statements with the fact that the tapes that were produced and submitted could not have originated from an authentic Donkey Kong arcade cabinet as claimed? Did they ever find any explanation for the MAME signatures, seen across three different claimed performances allegedly done on three different machines years apart? Did they make any attempt at all to resolve this?
Also, there's this whole fake equivalence thing. "Gosh, the cheater hasn't confessed. As long as there's 'debate', I guess we can't do anything until both parties agree." Billy Mitchell will take his lies to his grave. He will always have some new round of evidence and witness statements to sucker people with. Heck, Todd Rogers still maintains his innocence. Maybe Guinness should send Todd a new certificate for that 5.51 on Dragster? It was, after all, verified by a major game publisher using the "contemporaneous adjudication" standards at the time. Is that really going to be Guinness' standard?
I could go on, but I do want to make one last point about how ridiculous Guinness' decision was. This is what makes this so utterly preposterous to me. Guinness re-awarded Billy Mitchell the world record for "First gamer to score one million points on Donkey Kong"
for his bogus 1.047m score, basing their decision on the September 2019 evidence packet where, it just so happens, both Billy Mitchell and Walter Day testify (page 17 here
and page 5 here
) that the 1.047m score was for "entertainment purposes only" and was never intended as an official submission. (Yes, that score you saw in King of Kong, with Walter and Billy on the phone? Billy now says Robert Mruczek stole the tape shown at Funspot - a claim we can prove was a lie
- and entered the score against poor Billy's wishes. And somehow, Billy never found the time to object to this "entertainment purposes only" score being on the scoreboard - understandably I guess as he was too busy promoting it
as a verified world record.) Never mind, for the moment, that we have previous statements from both of them stating the exact opposite.
But no, this is what they're now claiming, in their submission to Guinness. The 1.047m didn't count.
The 1.047m tape was submitted in 2005. (Billy claims he "achieved" it in 2004, but who knows?) Billy's next one million point submission (also fake) was in 2007. Problem is, Steve Wiebe had a fully verified one million point submission in 2006. So if Billy's 2004/5 score doesn't count........... how on earth does he have the first million?
I described this perplexing proposal back in dispute thread,
mockingly playing the part of Walter Day giving his new-at-the-time testimony:
"Billy totally didn't submit the tape, and I only entered it as a stunt, but he still had the first million on DK, because I did enter it, but I didn't, because it wasn't submitted, but you should reinstate first million on DK anyway, because it was verified, and it could only be verified because he submitted it, but he didn't submit it, and I didn't enter it, even though I did, but I really didn't, but still, nobody else out there got the first million, because Billy got it first, because we verified it, even though he didn't submit it, because he only does his world records live and in person, but it really was the world record, because we did enter it, even though we also didn't, so he still should get credit, and not the other guy."
Guinness apparently didn't resolve any of this, and just looked the other way. "Sure, first one million, whatever you say."
Oh, and on top of that, Guinness got the date wrong. NO, BUT REALLY, IT GETS WORSE
This is fun and all, jumping back on the "Fuck Billy Mitchell" train for another sweet ride. But that by itself isn't worth writing this post. Here's where we get a bit serious. The implications laid out below are what deserve some frank consideration.
First, Guinness' statement was coordinated with a simultaneous statement from Billy Mitchell himself, on Twitter.
Billy proclaimed, "After its own fair and unbiased investigation, Guinness World Records has announced the reinstatement of my Pac-Man and Donkey Kong records, effective immediately."
In this announcement, what may have gone unnoticed was an additional video, posted to Billy Mitchell's own YouTube channel
(a channel which he has renamed "King of Kong"). This video, filmed in the same arcade setting as his portion of the Guinness video and featuring an opening card reading "Billy Mitchell Official Statement", lasted four minutes and 35 seconds, with the vast majority of that time featuring Billy speaking to the camera. This video was
accessible here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLqPZkzKYDA
However, realizing he may have said too much, Billy soon set the video to private. Obviously I can't reupload his proprietary video, but I have transcribed the relevant uninterrupted portion as follows:
I've waited a long time for this announcement. Today, June 18, 2020, Guinness World Records has announced the unanimous decision to reinstate all of my world record scores, from 1982 to present day. This is not a decision they came to quickly. It was a long investigation, substantial due diligence, and it's that that I'd like to talk to you about here today.
My first communication on this with Guinness World Records was September, 2019. They were very alarmed at the situation. Guinness World Records, as the most respected world record keeping authority in the world, decided it needed to take its own look into the situation, conduct its own due diligence, and reach its own conclusion.
Over the next few months, the lines of communication remained open and active. In December, 2019, we received an email with their conclusions - to reinstate all of my world records, from 1982 to present day.
There's a lot to unpack in this revelation, so let's take it piece-by-piece.
First of all, he says his first communication with Guinness was September, 2019, well over a year after the dispute conclusion. The evidence packet was sent to both Twin Galaxies and Guinness on September 9, 2019, which as said before, came with a legal threat letter
making their terms very clear:
Each corporation has a 14-day deadline to review the information and issue the retraction, or we will resort to legal recourse, our final option.
Unless we are to believe there was some prior communication between Sept. 1-8, which quickly escalated to legal threats days later, that means Billy's threat was
his first communication with Guinness. He didn't present evidence and ask that it be weighed fairly - which he could have done in the actual TG score dispute at any time. He opened with the threat. So how seriously are we to take Guinness' investigation when it's done under an explicit legal threat? And how exactly does this make them "unbiased"?
*points gun at bystander* "Tell them I didn't do it!"
"Uhhh.... I guess he didn't do it?"
"As you can see, this fair and impartial witness did their own thorough investigation, and has concluded that I am innocent of all charges."
In his Sept. 2019 evidence packet, Billy labels anyone critical of him (based on either evidence or experience) as biased or of having some kind of personal vendetta against him. So it's not really a surprise that Billy is going to alternatively tout the investigative abilities of anyone who agrees with him, even if their "investigation" consisted only of "Okay, fine, please don't sue us." Unlike Twin Galaxies and various other participants in the 2018 score dispute, Guinness' "investigation" probably didn't involve coming within a mile of an actual Donkey Kong cabinet.
But this "long investigation"? This "substantial due diligence"? Interesting thing about that: I've asked around, and I have yet to find anyone who would advocate the "Billy is guilty" position who was sought for input into this "investigation" by Guinness. I've asked Jeremy Young, moderator at Donkey Kong Forum and initial publisher of the MAME evidence (and recent lawsuit target of Billy Mitchell). Guinness did not contact him for input into their "investigation". I've asked J.C. Harrist, administrator at DKF (and another recent Billy lawsuit target). Guinness did not contact him. Tanner Fokkens, a.k.a. "expandedidea",
who rehosted the bogus tapes for examination and who contributed significantly to the body of evidence. Guinness did not contact him. For my part, while I'm not particularly important in my own right, I have written extensively on the topic, and have already addressed each element of Billy's evidence submission worth discussing. Guinness did not reach out to me for input into their investigation - even though Jace Hall and Twin Galaxies did.
It certainly doesn't seem Guinness took what I or many others have written into consideration. Given that I care about the integrity of competitive video gaming and its history, I would've been happy to answer any of Guinness' questions to the best of my ability at no charge.
This "investigation" is already lacking enough, especially for an organization which has in the past openly acknowledged the need to farm out video game adjudication to the experts. But it gets even more troubling when you take into consideration Billy's other remark:
Over the next few months, the lines of communication remained open and active.
So Guinness didn't reach out to the people who published the damning evidence, and who could elaborate on its context and address any concerns. But they did keep constant contact with Billy and his people, exclusively?
I wonder whose idea that was. NOPE, STILL WORSE
There was obviously a lot of collaboration between Guinness and Billy leading up to their announcement. They produced a video together. They had their statements prepared and ready to go. One might ask, exactly how far did this collaboration go?
Look back to Billy's quotes above. According to him, he was notified of Guinness' decision in December.
Sooooooo why are we hearing about this now? When Twin Galaxies ruled on the Dragster dispute, Todd's scores were gone by the next day. When Twin Galaxies ruled on this score dispute in April 2018, Billy's scores were gone by the next day. But this time, they wait six months? What on earth possessed them to do that?
I suppose we can't say for sure, but I'll tell you one thing: The next hearing in the Billy Mitchell v. Twin Galaxies case is July 6. The hearing is to rule on Twin Galaxies' anti-SLAPP motion. This is in reference to a law that allows defendants (such as Jace Hall) to get frivolous lawsuits which are only intended to stifle free speech (such as Billy Mitchell's meritless lawsuit against TG) dismissed before trial. But to do that, you basically have to show the suit has no merit. Right now is the home stretch for filings for that hearing, where this poor judge, whose closest experience to video games is probably watching their grandkids play Fortnite, is going to have to review the facts and decide if these video game nerds have a case against each other. Given the already superficial approach of Billy's defense to date, do you really think "Guinness did their own investigation and they reinstated my records" isn't going to factor heavily into Billy's filings against the anti-SLAPP motion? Or, for that matter, his public relations campaign?
Exactly what possessed Guinness to withhold their announcement for months, blindsiding everyone right as court proceedings are about to start?
I guess it's time to stop beating around the bush on this: Is Guinness World Records intentionally
assisting a proven cheater in his lawsuit against another video gaming recordkeeper?
If so, the implications are horrifying, and would merit some serious reconsideration of collaboration, for Speedrun.com, for Twin Galaxies, or any other competitive gaming adjudicator.
Now, I'm willing to believe, perhaps, that Guinness isn't consciously approaching this situation in that fashion (although at this point, that's not even a given). They might not be thinking "Yeah, let's fuck Twin Galaxies up! Let's do it for Billy!" I'm willing to believe, perhaps, that Guinness simply got sweet-talked by Billy, then suckered into only listening to him and his friends, then duped into thinking anyone who doesn't fall for Billy's fairy-tale evidence is some conspiracy wacko, and then finally tricked into announcing their decision whenever Billy felt it appropriate. It would be pretty derelict of them, but Billy is charismatic and forceful, so I could maybe see that.
But can we seriously rule out the alternative? Can we truly say Guinness didn't know damn well what they were doing? That maybe they decided Billy Mitchell would be their better friend?
Even if you want to give Guinness the benefit of the doubt on this one, there's still no getting around the fact that Guinness was quite well aware of this lawsuit in progress against their longtime partner, Twin Galaxies. They could have issued a quiet, boilerplate retraction, or they could have withheld announcement altogether until this current civil action is resolved. But no, instead, as another scorekeeper is being sued, they chose to make a big show out of backing the litigant. They did a video with
the guy, giving him this major platform and celebrating him with favorable "evidence" and favorable media. All over their big "investigation", which for all we know may have consisted of nothing more than Billy Mitchell handing them a wad of cash. LOL GUINNESS
Look, I don't think it's really a secret that Guinness is a joke when it comes to video gaming adjudication. First, it doesn't seem Guinness ever really understood these score disputes in the first place, simply taking Twin Galaxies' conclusions (or whatever Guinness understood the conclusions to be) as gospel. In their printed 2019 Gamer's Edition (released summer 2018), when they chose to explain what happened with the Todd and Billy score disputes, they printed the following statement, suggesting that it was Billy's Pac-Man records (rather than his multiple Donkey Kong scores) which were accused of being fraudulent: https://i.imgur.com/ygB2KGD.png
That's not all. They're now claiming the first million point game of Donkey Kong was "achieved by Billy Mitchell (USA), on 4 June 2005."
They can put whatever date they want I guess, but for the record, that's the day Billy had his tape played at Funspot (as seen in King of Kong). Even if you believed the score was real, it was obviously "achieved" earlier than that.
It doesn't end there. Remember that current collaboration between Speedrun.com and Guinness? That special ongoing Minecraft challenge they selected? Turns out that challenge is likely not even possible at all.
(But hey, maybe that one's SRC's fault?) Say, remember Rodrigo Lopes?
Rodrigo was a massive speedrun liar going back to the Speed Demos Archive days
, typically posting videos of only the final portions of his runs as proof. Last year, Twin Galaxies tossed Rodrigo on his cheating butt for taunting everyone with his spliced Zelda tapes. Well, he may not be recognized by TG anymore, but he's still recognized with a Guinness World Record!
One could certainly understand if Guinness simply threw their hands in the air and said "We don't know. We can't decide this stuff. You gamers figure it out." Guinness' representatives themselves have said many times that they don't have the expertise in competitive video gaming to authoritatively make these determinations themselves, and that they rely on experts in the field to make these sorts of findings for them. But that doesn't excuse this. It's one thing for Guinness to be sort of half-assed in this one field (a field for which they have a yearly publication exclusively dedicated to),
as long as they take seriously the recommendations of the experts in that field. But when they decide to go directly and boldly against the determinations of those experts - in this case, against both the true DK experts at Donkey Kong Forum and the open-evidence based dispute process at Twin Galaxies - then that really calls to question why these scoreboards would stamp their tacit endorsement on Guinness' decisions at all. THE RAMIFICATIONS
It would be easy to say that nothing "needs to be done" about Guinness and their foolishness. Truthfully, if they really want, Guinness can have their own laughingstock scoreboard, with Billy Mitchell, Todd Rogers, Rodrigo Lopes, Michael Damiani, Kevin Durden, Henning Blom, Rosie Ruiz, Mike Postle, Alex Bertoncini, and whoever else they feel like "honoring" for their "achievements". It's not the job of the video gaming community to prevent Guinness from embarrassing themselves. But, even assuming the best of intentions on their part, if Guinness is inclined to be swindled by some huckster in a suit with a flashy bag of tricks, if they're not willing to accept the evidence-based findings of the competitive video gaming community, or at the very least seek out that community for input into their deliberations, then frankly, why should they either expect or receive the endorsement of that community?
It's one thing for a scorekeeper to associate with Guinness when they're merely dysfunctional, when their blunders are simply a matter of correcting typos and updating them on which players have been outed as cheaters. But Guinness really screwed up this time. They didn't just let a cheater get by. They armed him. They knowingly assisted in his lawsuit against another scoreboard. They actively reinforced a culture of cheating held over from the old Twin Galaxies days, and in the process, hung a lot of people doing a lot of hard work out to dry. This can have a very chilling effect on scoreboard integrity efforts beyond Twin Galaxies or arcade high score chasing. I can already tell that, until and unless this is remedied, any time I explain the evidence against Billy Mitchell, I'll have to deal with answers of "wElL gUiNnEsS rEiNsTaTeD hIm aNd i tHiNk gUiNnEsS kNoWs mOrE aBoUt wOrLd rEcOrDs tHaN yOu dO."
Busting cheaters, while satisfying to watch and in some ways satisfying to do, can be dangerous work. You have to find clear evidence to make your case (while at the same time being careful not to inadvertently publish instruction manuals on how to get better at cheating). You have to dedicate a lot of time and headspace to the effort. (I would be playing Final Fantasy 5
right now if I wasn't writing this.) As in the case of Phantasy Star cheater Kevin Durden
last year (who accused the moderators of fabricating evidence to frame him),
you may also have to dedicate a lot of time and effort just to address the avalanche of lies and recriminations coming back your way. You may face copyright strikes for rehosting the evidence the cheater is trying to suppress. And of course, there's always the danger one of these cheaters takes the case to actual grown-up court, and tries to exact real world consequences as the price of your integrity. Yet all of this, the effort and the risk, is necessary to keep this sport clean.
I get it. No one wants to get sued. Certainly Guinness didn't want to get sued by Billy Mitchell, either for removing his scores or for their poorly reviewed printed statement about Pac-Man. But I can tell you one thing for sure: Billy Mitchell won't be the last cheater to take a scoreboard to court to try and force them to recognize his fraudulent achievements. If Billy Mitchell is able to browbeat Guinness World Records into recognizing his bogus scores, what hope is there if someone of equal access and resources decides to go after Speedrun.com in the same fashion?
On that note, what would Guinness do in that event? Would Guinness appease the cheater right in the middle of a lawsuit against SRC? Would Guinness release a statement declaring "We looked into it, and we don't think Speedrun.com got this right, but we won't tell you why"? Would Guinness do a high-five video with the cheater and root them on in their litigation?
But let's not kid ourselves. Guinness has lawyers. They certainly do have the resources to withstand petty legal action. They didn't just choose to roll over; they chose to roll over in epic fashion, right on top of the next defendant down the line. They gave a cheater his license. They revoked a world record from its rightful holder (Steve Wiebe). And they chose to make life more difficult for competitive gaming scorekeepers everywhere.
Now, we should be clear about something: Guinness World Records is a household name, far more than either Speedrun.com or Twin Galaxies. Everyone has heard of Guinness World Records. SRC certainly gains public prestige from the arrangement. And I totally get that. But Guinness does gain from the arrangement as well. They are provided scores, and the associations with dedicated scoreboards give them legitimacy. Unless they want to hire their own video game adjudication division, or unless they decide they really don't care how little credibility their annual Gamer's Edition has, then they need this relationship, too. How serious would their video game records be if every score adjudicator was known to openly disassociate from them? It's not as if world record speedruns won't still be achieved. It's not as if people will stop speedrunning altogether. And it's not as if individual players couldn't still submit directly to Guinness if for whatever reason they did want their names alongside Billy Mitchell and Rodrigo Lopes. Guinness is not a benefactor here. With these actions, they may have shown that the dangers of associating with them outweigh the rewards. CONCLUSION
In drafting up this post, I started with a more inquisitive headline: "Should Speedrun.com disassociate themselves from Guinness World Records?" I didn't feel it was my place to make such a bold directive. I'm not a speedrun competitor. I once briefly held a few WRs on an old Atari 2600 game (a few of which were on uncontested tracks), and that's it. But in laying out the facts of the case, and fully absorbing the implications, the answer to my question became obvious to me. Sure, I may be a mere enthusiast, but it still matters to me that the achievements I watch and celebrate are legitimate, and not the forgeries of some fragile narcissist consumed with jealousy. I know I'm not the only one who feels this way. From high score chasers to speedrunners, the reaction in the gaming community to last week's announcement was quite negative. I won't name names, but one well-known competitive gamer requested all their videos be taken down from Guinness' YouTube channel. Another well-known competitive gamer publicly removed "Guinness world record holder" from their bio. (I'll let them speak for themselves if they wish.)
I'm not looking to start a big angry crusade against Speedrun.com in particular, nor am I suggesting anyone else do so. I am definitely NOT saying Speedrun.com should be "cancelled" if they go about business as usual. I'm sure the good folks at SRC aren't suckered by Billy's "Gosh, I have no idea how this happened" act, and that there are probably many factors at play for them in whatever decision they make. I also get that this Billy Mitchell / Twin Galaxies stuff is not particularly even their fight, since Billy isn't a speedrunner. (Although, funny side story, Billy Mitchell did once aspire to be a speedrunner,
before losing and deciding speedrunning was stupid and that being "first" was more important
than being "fast".)
I'm not saying SRC must listen to little old me. I'm simply saying this is a thing they ought to do, that they would be smart to do - not for my sake, not necessarily for Donkey Kong Forum's or Twin Galaxies' sake, and not even necessarily for the sake of the speedrun community at large. Ultimately, the only reason they need is to do it is for their own sake. Because SRC has to deal with cheaters, too. And one day, they'll find themselves the target of a zealous litigating lunatic, who will seek to employ the power of the courts to force them to celebrate lies as facts, and to humiliate themselves and alienate all their subscribers in the process. And as they and their lawyers prepare their legal defense for court, they could turn to social media to discover a statement from Guinness, declaring "Well, we spoke at length with Mr. Cheater, and we looked at his special evidence, and we won't tell you exactly what it was, but we assure you it was very compelling, and since we definitely know what we're talking about better than these speedrun sites do, we have now chosen to award Mr. Cheater several more Guinness world records and to name him Video Game Champion of the Millennium." And on that day, the staff at Speedrun.com should be prepared to say "Guinness has no idea what they're doing with video games, which was precisely why we cut ties with them years ago." TL;DR:
ETA: The day after this post, Jace hall published a recent retraction demand they received from Billy's lawyers, as well as a trove of legal filings, both submitted and received by TG. This provides added confirmation to many points made above.
- Billy Mitchell is a cheater.
- Billy's "new" evidence from September 2019 was a bunch of hot air.
- It sure fooled Guinness, though!
- It sure as hell looks like Guinness is actively, perhaps even intentionally, assisting Billy Mitchell in his lawsuit against scorekeeper Twin Galaxies.
- Guinness' decision has pretty terrible ramifications on future attempts to combat cheating in competitive gaming.
- While SRC is not responsible for what Guinness does, continuing to affiliate with an organization which assists cheaters suing gaming adjudicators is a poor move morally, and a massive liability.
The retraction letter, which only discusses Guinness' decision and nothing else, was sent June 18, the exact date of Guinness' announcement. This signifies yet another point of collaboration (unwitting or otherwise) between Guinness and Billy in the latter's attempts to threaten and sue a competitive scoreboard. The letter, written by Billy's lawyer, also makes a point to say "Guinness World Records evaluated the exact evidence which your client deliberately ignored during its original investigation and which was set out in the initial retraction demand". In other words, Guinness based their new decision based on the September 2019 evidence packet we've all seen. We're not being asked to believe in any "secret evidence" aside from the public record.
Billy's 41-page declaration (filed on Monday, June 22) significantly features Guinness' decision as well. Out of those 41 pages, not counting URLs, it features the word "Guinness" or the acronym "GWR" 28 times. Billy also reiterates the time frame discussed above, stating that he was notified of Guinness' decision on December 12, 2019. On the same day, Billy's lawyer filed a 20-page motion against TG's anti-SLAPP motion, featuring the word "Guinness" or the acronym "GWR" a total of 16 times (not counting the table of contents).
Also, there was this:
CMV: China is the biggest threat to the U.S. militarily and socially, particularly when compared to Russia.
I have held this belief for a while and have been holding it in my back pocket through all this chaos. China is rapidly expanding it's influence globally and increasingly on pace to trounce the U.S. domestically in all metrics (other than human rights) that matter in holding power on the world's stage. Even disregarding China's own goals for power, it does not help that the U.S. economy is in the palms of their hands. submitted by sinnexdasysadmin to changemyview [link] [comments]
This isn't to disregard Russia as some kind of threat, but watching the focus of politics in the U.S. be on Russiagate and just now seeing the discussion on state-affiliated companies such as Tik Tok come into play, it increasingly makes me disparaged about our priorities in the U.S. with international policy.
Adventurer Irene Solstice, Age 17, Colourised
| || | submitted by Razor_One to WanderingInn [link] [comments]
The image speaks for itself so have a fun bit of fluff to go with it. Link in case it didn't upload right.
Manus Intelligence Report #32724
Subject: Irene Solstice
Mother: Erin Solstice (See Intelligence Report #15243)
Father: Unknown (See Intelligence Report #20229)
- Level 6 [Barmaid]
- Level 3 [Tactician]
- Level 32 [Starfire Mage]
- Level 4 [Beast Tamer] (Ashfire Bee, Phoenix Whelp)
- Level 2 [Berserker] (Suspected)
- Level ??? [Hellion] (Suspected)
Known Spells: [Grand Fireball], [Plasma Whip], [Counterfire], [Phoenix Fire], [Solar Flare], [Combustion Aura], [Eternal Flame], [Sunblast], [Starbreaker]
Known Skills: [Heat Immunity], [Rapid Casting], [Favor of the Summer Court], [Second Wind], [Mana Surge], [Through Defeat, Friendship], [Greater Agility], [Manawell], [Living Flame], [Like Fire, Memory], [Sanctuary of Stars], [Semblance of Eternity]
- The Wandering Inn, Liscor, (See Intelligence Report #15244)
- Horns of Hammerad, The, Named Adventurer Team, Current Member of, "Only ones crazy enough to keep her,"
- Griffon Hunt, Named Adventurer Team, Removed with prejudice, "Too crazy,"
- Halfseekers, The, Named Adventurer Team, Reluctantly removed, "Destroyed too many of Jelaqua Ivirith's bodies, singed Moore, dried out Seborn,"
- Silverswords, The, Gold Ranked Adventurer Team, Forbidden from joining, "For the good of everyone, NO!"
- Redfangs, The, Gold Ranked Goblin Adventurer Team, Reluctantly removed, "Good at burning things. Bad at saving loot. Too much waste. Sorry."
- Unseen Empire, The, Human nation near Invrisil, Banished, "One Conflagration was enough!"
- Archmage Eldavin, Half Elf, Level ??? [Archmage], Tutor, "A refreshing aptitude for flame spells! Now if only she could manage to control them..."
- Mrsha, Gnoll, Level 54 [Archdruid] (Suspected), Childhood friend, "[Excited but terrified Mrsha-language]!"
Reoka Rioka Ryoka Griffon, Human, Classless Courier, Adoptive Aunt, "Best. Niece. Ever."
- Bird, Antinium, Level ??? [Skyhunter], Childhood friend, "Lalala, everything is on fire, except for me, I am not, hooray, Lalala,"
- Numbtongue, Goblin, Level ??? [Bard] (Advanced class suspected), Adoptive uncle, "¯\_(ツ)_/¯"
- Lyon/Lyonette Du Marquin, Human, Level 64 [Exile Queen of Industry], Adoptive Aunt, "Friendship does not work that way!"
- Toren, Undead, Level 63 [Skeleton King],
??? Enemy Friend Friend/Enemy, "[Frustrated Skeleton Noises]"
An adept flamecaster with a greater spell capacity than her level would suggest. Do not
attempt to counter with ice mages; resulting steam explosions cause too much collateral damage. Fire mages strongly dis-recommended, subject is capable of seizing control of any
natural flame in her vicinity. If combat is expected, approach with stealth, combination of [Geomancers] and [Assassins] working in tandem have been deemed the most effective method should assassination be required.
Subject is noted to have an extremely forthright sense of justice and a volatile personality. Former opponents have been noted to habitually form friendly relationships with the subject. Do not approach without express permission.
Note scrawled in the margin: "Dead gods she inherited all her mother's crazy! There are two of them now! Two of them! And this one isn't married to her Rhir damned inn!"
Made the Silver Swords Gold-Rank as suggested. Added Redfang Goblin Adventure team entry. Added Numbtongue entry.
The Bates Family: the Other 19 Kids and Counting
submitted by EmmaofHatfield to FundieSnark [link] [comments]
Hi All. I wasn't originally planning to post this for a few days, but I was able to finish it more quickly than I anticipated due to Fundie Wiki containing most of the necessary information.
Before I say more on the Bates family, I should clarify which families I intend to write about for this series, in case others want to cover some of the families I don't know much about and will not cover. I plan to summarize the information we have about:
Duggar adjacents (one post; Sierra Dominguez, Kristen Young, the Caldwell family).
Emma Mae Jenkins
Paul and Morgan
The Plath Family
The Transformed Wife
I know there are a lot of other families that we discuss here, but I'm not familiar enough with them to write a wiki. Hopefully other users will be! Note: Unless otherwise noted, the following information comes from the main Bates family page on Fundie Wiki.
Again, disclaimer: this does not cover absolutely everything. Please feel free to add things on in the comments! The Bates Family
Many people are already familiar with the Bates because they, like the Duggars, have 19 children. Like the Duggars, the Bates have their own t.v. show and have been featured on numerous t.v. specials, including 19 Kids and Counting. The Bates sisters also run a boutique
selling modest clothing.
Also like the Duggars, the Bates are affiliated with IBLP, the Institute of Basic Life Principles, which was formerly run by Bill Gothard
. Bill Gothard resigned
from IBLP in 2014 following a number of sexual abuse allegations, primarily from then-teenage women who had worked for him at the IBLP headquarters. Gil Bates is now on the board of IBLP (see Bates family wiki). IBLP is
a conservative Christian organization that some have characterized
as a cult. Among other things, IBLP encourages its followers to homeschool
their children, eschew
birth control (see the "vasectomy reversal choir"), and not kiss
until they marry (and teaches that marriages should be brokered by fathers--see the Duggars' Counting On to see this in action).
Edited to add: The Bates, who are from Tennessee, have received scrutiny for displaying
images of Confederate leaders, including a KKK member, in their home. Note
the portrait of Stonewall Jackson. The Bates apparently refer to this display as their "Patriot" or "Patriotic Room." So far as I can tell, the Bates haven't addressed this matter, or said anything more about the Confederacy, since these images were posted around 2012. It's unclear to me if this room still exists, or if they simply choose not to show it on camera. Pickles (of Pickles & Hairspray, a Facebook page devoted to speculating about the Duggars) has suggested
that Kenneth "Nathan" Bates may have chosen his nickname as an homage to a Confederate Leader and KKK member shown in one of these portraits, which I can't verify. Make of this what you will. The Bates family consists of 21 members:
Note: unless otherwise linked, this information is taken from the fundiewiki page for each family member, or the main family fundiewiki page.
Parents Gil and Kelly Jo Bates: Gil and Kelly Jo met at Bible college and married in 1987, when Gil was 22 and Kelly Jo was 21. Their children are:
Zach Bates (age 31): Currently married to Whitney Bates following an earlier, failed courtship with Sarah Reith. They married in December 2013. Zach and Whitney have three children; Bradley, Kaci, and Khloé. Their wedding colors were notoriously unfortunate
Michael(a) Bates Keilen (30): It seems that the name on her birth certificate is Michael, but it is often spelled or stylized as Michaela. Michael is married to Brandon Keilen
, who works at IBLP. The pair married in August 2015. Michael and Brandon have been open about their struggles with infertility. Notably, the Biblical Michael was also infertile, something a few people on this subreddit have observed
. Michael recently stated that she is attending nursing school.
Erin (Bates) Paine (29): Erin married into another well-known IBLP family when she wed Charles
"Chad" Paine III in November of 2013, making her the first Bates child to marry. Erin and Chad married on Bill Gothard's birthday and had a birthday cake
for him at the ceremony. Erin plays the piano, and has been featured
playing music at several Duggar weddings. Erin attended Crown College in Tennessee, which her brother Lawson paid
for. Erin suffers from a blood clotting disorder that resulted in her experiencing several miscarriages in the early months of her marriage. She was diagnosed and received treatment, and she and her husband now share four children, Charles IV, Brooklyn, Everly, and Holland. Some users on this sub have stated
that Erin is rarely pictured with her daughter Brooklyn, and that she may favor her only son (Charles IV, aka Carson). This is a subjective judgment you'll have to make for yourself!
William "Lawson" Bates (27): Sometimes referred to as "the fundie Bachelor," (I can't find this post atm, someone please find it because it's hilarious) Lawson is 27 and unmarried, though he may
have pre-courted Jinger Duggar shortly before she met Jeremy. Why Lawson has remained single is unknown. Lawson is a pilot who also owned a lawncare business as a teenager. He paid
many of the family's bills for a time, and paid to send his sister, Erin, to college. Lawson was apparently around 19 or 20 at this point. Lawson frequently posts model-type
pictures of himself
on Instagram, and also attempted to become a country singer, leading some people to call him self-absorbed. He has been linked
to the Duggar family's 30-year-old unmarried daughter, Jana, in the past. However, there appears to be no real evidence that the two have ever courted. Much of the speculation is likely due to the fact that Jana and Lawson are both single at an unusually old age in their circles.
Kenneth "Nathan" Bates (26): Nathan is a pilot and experienced one brief, failed courtship with a woman named Ashley Slayer. Some believe that either he or Lawson is courting a girl whose picture was spotted as someone's phone screensaver recently. Both Lawson and Nathan have been associated
with the controversial Duggar nonprofit, Medicorps.
Alyssa (Bates) Webster (25): Alyssa married at 19 (in May 2014) to John, the son of a conservative politician, and now has three daughters: Allie, Lexi, and Zoey. Alyssa suffers from a heart condition that has required surgery. Alyssa is known for her cotton-candy colored bridesmaids dresses
and for dressing herself and her daughters in matching
outfits (some of which are apparently
gifted to her by an Instagram follower).
Tori (Bates) Smith (24): Tori married Bobby Smith in December 2017. She has two sons, Robert "Kade" and Kolter. She also attended Crown College of the Bible.
Trace Bates (23): Trace had a long (from approximately April 2019-December 2019 [edited]) but ultimately failed courtship
with a girl named Chaney. While less than a year may not seem very long, it is not uncommon for fundamentalist couples to become engaged after a few months. Why exactly the courtship ended is unclear, but Trace did make an angsty
Instagram post about it. Trace also attended Crown College.
Carlin (Bates) Stewart (22): Carlin is Joy-Anna Duggar's best
friend, and she took photographs
of Joy-Anna to memorialize her stillborn daughter. She also attended Crown College. Interestingly enough, some speculate
that Joe Duggar attended Crown College for a semester in the hope of getting to know Carlin better, only to ultimately pursue his current wife, Kendra. Carlin spoke
of having her heart broken prior to her May 2019 wedding to Even Stewart, potentially lending credence to these rumors. Evan and Carlin now one share one daughter Layla, who has
a heart condition. A user here once found a Spotify
account under Evan's name, with amusing results. Whether the account was genuinely Evan's is unclear.
Josie (Bates) Balka (20): Josie Bates married at 19 to Kelton Balka. They married in October 2018 and share one daughter, Willow. Kelton (who is four years older than Josie) had been interested in her since she was 14 or 15, but her parents did not allow her to be in a relationship at that age. Kelton began pursuing her again around the time she turned 17. Kelton's mother died in childbirth when he was young. Kelton now owns
and runs a plumbing company.
Katie Bates (19): Courting Travis Clark (as of September 2019).
The family also includes:
Jackson Bates (18)
Warden Bates (17)
Isaiah Bates (15)
Addallee Bates (14)
Ellie Bates (13)
Callie-Anna Bates (10)
Judson Bates (9)
Jeb Bates (8)
Is LCK Misusing Ezreal?[Translation]
submitted by winwill to leagueoflegends [link] [comments]
Translated from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgA6hyXLIL4
I am not affiliated with the channel in any means just a fan.
If you have been around my channel you would have heard that I said "Ezreal is OP" quite often. I also said in the past that after Kalista(and Varus) are banned Ezreal are better than Aphelios. However, in recent LCK series, Ezreal has the winrate like Lee sin while Aphelios have high winrate. So did I misinterpret the power level of Ezreal or are LCK misusing Ezreal? Or is it because LCK knows how to play against Ezreal?
- Manamune = unupgraded. Muramana = Upgraded/Fully Stacked
- Ezreal's power level is strongly tied to the completion of Muramana.
- Ezreal's spike at mid game after Sheen item and upgraded Muramana.
- The test to a skilled Ezreal player(Beside skillshot) is whether you can upgrade Muramana before third drake
- If you think you would lose Laning phase against a stronger laning champion it might be better to buy tear first instead of Sheen.
- It is really hard to comeback after losing three drakes so sometime you have to fight even without Muramana.
- Aphelios are stronger early game and late game. Ezreal is very strong in Mid game but weak in early game and weaker to Aphelios at late game.
1. Ezreal's Statistic
Out of the four main region two regions have negative winrate as Ezreal. LCK have 15 NB and 20% winrate and LCS have 11 NB and 36.4% winrate. However, in LEC and LPL Ezreal has a positive winrate and LPL has a 61 percent winrate with 41NB(LEC have 56.3% winrate and 16NB).
In terms of matchup, LCK just started recently so there isn't a lot of games but currently Ezreal has a 20% winrate against Aphelios(10 games). Interestingly in LEC Ezreal has a 33% winrate against Aphelios(9 games). LCS also have 33% winrate against Aphelios(6 games). However in LPL Ezreal has a 55% winrate against Aphelios(33 games).
9 Now is Ezreal just not good against Aphelios or does only LPL know how to play Ezreal in this matchup? let's go a bit deeper into the matchup.
2. Ezreal vs Aphelios
a. Ezreal struggle in early laning phase:
This is a common knowledge. Although Ezreal is tier 1 everyone knows that he struggle in lane .
b. Opponent will have a gold lead early on
This is teid to point A but because of his weak laning phase his opponent often have more gold due to tower or simply a cs lead.
Even in LPL where Ezreal has a high winrate his [email protected]
(-3), [email protected]
(-432), [email protected]
(-15) are all at the negative. If you look at the LCK games there are many times where Ezreal's team has to give dragon due his lack of early game power.
3. The Importance of Manamune transformation to Muramana
So when does Ezreal get strong does he just stay weak the whole game? When Ezreal get his Manamune and Iceborn Gauntle(6000 gold) and Aphelios would have IE and an zeal(5900 gold + 300 gold from early advantage). Mentioned before but because Ezreal has a weak laning phase Aphelios would have a gold advantage from tower and/or cs lead.
We often see Ezreal's team give first or even second drake but around the time third drake spawn it is when Ezreal are strong. I mentioned in a previous video of "Drake vs Rift Herald"(translation in process rip) early drake stack does not have a big impact on the game.
But even in terms of item Ezreal's Muramana and Iceborn are much more valuable than Aphelios' IE and zeal. We will see in the mid game where Ezreal pushes Aphelios out of the game with his item advantage than at late game after Aphelios complete his item Aphelios' power(carry) level comes back again.
This Graph shows the power leve of each adc: https://imgur.com/a/Mf1QIBG
(Red is Apehlios and Blue is Ezreal) 20 min, 25 min, 30 min as the X-axis. Power as the y-axis.
In Soloque the majority of games(47% at 10.12) often ends in 20~30min(Korea)
The probelm lays in the spawn of third drake. Third drake spawn at around 17-20 min which is around the time Ezreal slowly upgrade his Manamune. If there is a team fight happening before Ezreal completed his Muramana Aphelios would out DPS Ezreal in the fight. This is because the power level of Manamune explodes when it is upgraded to Muramana. When it is upgraded it give the passive of dealing 6% of current mana in exchange of 3% current mana. So if you have 2000 mana you would deal 120 extra damage. How fast can you upgrade this item is the core of the matchup.
Even when you are down in gold if you have Muramana you would still be strong. This is similar to Muramana Corki where even when he is down in gold Corki can still destroy games with it. Ezreal's power are strongly tied to Manamune's upgrade this is can be seen in stat and in games.
Example 1: GenG vs KT
Let's look at a pro game. Interestingly in this game Ezreal's team got the first drake but the opponent was able to get the second and third drake. Then at about 19min Ezreal upgraded his Muramana item. This is when you can feel the damage of Ezreal spiking. In fact one of the Korea caster actually commented that Ezreal will now slowly take the priority over the game. At a team fight in 20min Ezreal no longer feel inferior to Aphelios but even stronger than him.
Example 2:V5 vs VG
In this game Ezreal's team are down two drakes and at 17:50min the third drake is spawned. Although they managed to steal away the drake Aphelios was able to win the team fight.
This is the item at around 17min(https://imgur.com/a/Mf1QIBG
Although Ezreal's team is at a lead Ezreal was the weaker of the two adc.
Later on when the fourth drake spawned although Aphelios' team was able to get the drake they lost the team fight. In this fight Ezreal shows his power and takes over the priority(control) of this game.
So How Do You Win as Ezreal?
- If you can get at least one drake early on or try to upgrade your Muramana before third drake.
- If you can't do above delay drake's spawn as much as possible
- Acknowledge that you are weaker with Muramana and play around it
Even when Aphelios have tower gold and two drakes Ezreal can still fight him with Muramana(hence why he is so strong).
Why Fight at Third Drake?
Ezreal is too weak to fight at the first two drakes so you often have to give it away. However, if you give Aphelios' team third drake there will be too much pressure on the map with the threat of Baron and Soul Point. So before third Drake it is okay to give up early objective. Giving up early objective isn't always bad especially for team that have Ezreal as his mid game spike is his biggest strength. However, if you gave them third drake they would gain more win conditions(and can dragged the game till Aphelios' late game spike).
In the other side of the matchup, if you are Aphelios your goal is to get drake as fast possible, fight before Ezreal's Murmana, and get third drake before Ezreal upgrades his Manamune.
Example 3: IG vs EDG
In this game despite having a early game lead Ezreal still falter in laning phase. EDG was able to get Ezreal two kills early and he was able to get sheen and Tear at 8:30min and they were deliberately delaying dragon spawn. However despite the early game lead the bot lane is still even, even slightly losing for Ezreal(pushed to his tower) as IG was able to get the drake with bot lane pressure. And with the help of TF IG was able to get the second drake as well.
Ezreal was finally able to finish his Muramana at 21min(slightly late). However, beacause the drake is so delayed Ezreal still has two minute till the third drake. And later at the baron fight although IG was able get Baron they lost more members in the fight. And eventually Ezreal's team won the game.
IG vs EDG: Game 3
Let's also look at Game 3 of the series. IG's Aphelios was able to get 2 kills and EDG's Rek Sai was able to get 2 kills as well. Because IG's bot lane have prioity they was able to get first drake. And here Ezreal chose to get a pickaxe focusing on damage instead of a tear. Ezreal later was able to get a kill and purchased a Sheen. Finally at 11min Ezreal purchased Tear and Aphelios was able get second drake with bot lane priority.
Then at the ever-important third drake Ezreal's Rek Sai was able to steal away the drake but traded his life to Apehlios. But they managed to get third drake so it is okay right? At fourth drake Ezreal still haven't upgraded his Muramana despite being at 22min. Eventually Aphelios's team was able to snowball to their victory.
When to Buy tear
In the past people have been buying Sheen first for the laning power however recently there are also people who prioritize Tear due to the importance of Muramana. In pro scene, it is already too hard to win against Aphelios early on so it might be better to instead of buying Sheen prioritize getting Tear to upgrade to Muramana as soon as possible. Tear gives 4 stack when casting spells while Manamune gives 5 stack just by auto-attacking. Getting a early Manamune are key to reaching that third drake timing.
Why LPL are so Successful with Ezreal
Ezreal's power level seems to be very difficult to play around as it require giving up early game in exchange for a strong mid-game but also a weaker late game(compares to Aphelios). However, this isn't an issue for LPL teams as they adjust their playstyle, champion picks to play around Ezreal.
HLE's Viper(HLE vs SB game 1) completed Muramana at 22:40 min after losing three drakes. MSF Kobbe completed his Muramana at 21min also after losing three drakes(MSF vs RGE). Team have to play around Ezreal's power spike and choose to fight or not according to it. Team have to think about how the comps disrupt or compliment Ezreal's power level and need to play around it better.
Making a SteamCharts-like website for fighting games, feedback appreciated!
submitted by FGCharts to Kappa [link] [comments]
Here's the link if anyone wants to check it out: FGCharts.com
The site uses Steam API to store and display player count statistics with some extra features such as filtering the games by tags. We also have a price comparison system in place that tracks prices from various game stores and key reseller sites (the store API is updated once a day so keep in mind there might be some inaccuracies compared to real-time prices). There's a news/article segment as well which we might use for some fresh cancel news at some point.
Some clarification for the sake of transparency - we're using affiliate links for the majority of the game stores, meaning we will get a small % of the sales. Any profits will be used to take care of the recurring costs of running the website and I'm planning to invest any of the leftover money into advertising the website and getting more content for it (events, giveaways, running small tournaments etc). It would obviously be nice to make some personal profit at some point in the future but my top priority is keeping the site alive and well.
There is still placeholder stuff on the website and there might be some spelling errors, incorrect tags, wrong or missing games in the library etc so if you guys have any feedback, see something that should be corrected or would like to help in any other way, please let me know!
Btw, here's the Discord
, although it's still a WIP.
Foreign woman who committed suicide in Italy in 2007 is still unidentified
submitted by faberffm to UnresolvedMysteries [link] [comments]
I don't know why this particular Jane Doe remains with me. In 2007 I still lived in Italy, though not in the area as I was away at Uni, but I don't remember reading or hearing about this, even though it must have been in the news for a while. I just "found" her while going through the "Chi l'Ha Visto?" (an italian TV programme aimed at finding missing people and things like that) archives and found it so strange that a foreign woman would go in the hills outside of Prato to die.
Who was she? Was she Danish or Polish? Was she involved with the Danish Royal Family? Was she a doctor or a scientist?
As follows, all the information I could find.
On November 13th 2007, at 08:30, the body of an unidentified woman was found hanging from an olive tree in a field near Via di Cavagliano, in Prato, Tuscany. To this day, she hasn't been identified and she's buried in the Chiesanuova cemetery in Prato as "Ignota" ("Unknown"). Various sources that I used to sum up the little is known about her (unfortunately none of them in English): Original article
that came out when the body was found (in Italian). Chi l'Ha Visto? page
(There's an "English" version linked at the bottom, but it's not a very good translation). This page has a picture of her face. This
newspaper article (in Italian), which has pictures of the items found with the woman as well as two pictures of her. Another
article has some more info, but it really goes over the top with the melodrama (still in Italian).
The woman looked to be between 50 and 60 years old, around 160cm (about 5'2") in height ( blonde, well-groomed and well kept. According to the ME she died a not too long before she was found, likely around 7 a.m.
Note that I found her height stated as 170cm/5'7", weight as 75Kg/165lb and shoe size 41/US Men 8 in the National Registry of Unidentified Bodies, but I can't find the post mortem report online to check which one is true.
She was wearing a dark grey t-shirt, a dark jumper, dark trousers and shoes. A woolen coat was carefully folded at the base of the tree, with the shoes on top. Articles mention that both the coat and the shoes were of a "particular make" with labels leading back to Eastern Europe brands but fails to mention anything more than that. One article I found mentions that the shoes were Polish. All clothes were clean and in good conditions.
A bag was hanging from the tree, inside of which there were a leopard print hard headband, white-frame sunglasses with wide tiger-striped stems (branded "Vinetic)), a small comb, a €20 note and the following items:
- A coupon for subscription to Scientific American filled in block letters with the name Henrik Eis and PO Box address: 211 - 85547 Payson AZ USA. The option of paying by credit card is checked. Written on the back of it: Victoria Vancouver Island British Columbia Canada. (NOTE: At the time the Chi l'Ha Visto? article came out, looking for Henrik Eis on the web brings up a doctor in Malov, Denmark, who specialises in laser dermatological surgery, but in some articles the name has been misspelled as Enrick Eis, so I'm not sure if this is reliable information. Source in Italian.)
- Page with an article in the Scientific American from September 2007 with a picture of a molecule (NOTE: or an actual drawing made on said molecule, text isn't too clear, but from the picture in the article, I'd say the former). The article is about a software to aid in the development of molecules. (? Once again, the source Italian text is unclear)
- A tourist map of Vancouver Island in English.
- An article from a Danish magazine about the royals of Denmark, the article is accompanied by some colour photos: there is an underlined phrase and in the white margin of the page some sentences written in pen, mostly taken from the text of the article. No idea about this, I don't know Danish, but a Facebook post on a Polish community that deals with unsolved cases mentions that there are several spelling mistakes in the handwritten notes ("Dater" instead of "Datter", "Kong" instead of "Konge") these errors may suggest that Danish was not the native language of the deceased woman.
- Page of the Florentine Metro newspaper from 9th November 2007. November 8-10 the Laser Florence 2007 international conference took place there.
- A map of Copenhagen airport, with a map depicting sea connections between Copenhagen and the other islands of Denmark on the back.
- A Trenitalia 20Km ticket valid for regional routes, unstamped, with the annotation in pen "Time 13.15 Viareggio" (Viareggio is a seaside town, in the opposite direction of Prato from Florence). One article mentions that there was a train leaving for Viareggio at 13:15 on November 12th from Firenze Campo di Marte.
- A post-it note with scientific-related sentences in English (from what I can read in the pic: "generation of surfase [sic] plasmans[?]-density waves of electrons that propagate along the interface like the ripples that spread across the surface of a"), “I lowe Niels Bohr” written on the back. (NOTE: I'm pretty sure the "lowe" is a misspelling in the Italian article, but I can't find a picture of this post-it note to confirm this).
- Fragment of a French greeting card that appears to have been signed by "Roberta" and "Michel", with partial text in French on the back of it. The words as far as I can make out are as follows, with / marking when it's a new line:"lieu de prière/esprime très b[on?...]/matérnité ch[??]/Qu'elle vo[...]/J'admire". My French isn't great, but a tentative English translation would be: "place of prayepraying/expresses very (well?)/maternity/That she/I admire".
- Victoria Map with circles made in pen around the Conference Center and note written down: "24-27sept Conference". On that date in that Center, there was at least one event: the annual Free and Open Source Software for Geospatial (FOSS4G) Conference.
- A leaflet about dioxide carbon laser used in dermatological surgery with the address "Cambrige Science Park Milton Road Cambridge CB4 4FR U.K." penned on the back.
- Blank SAS baggage label.
- A potato flat bread from a Tuscan bakery brand, packaged on 12th November 2007, BFE 15th November 2007, packed in a container.
- Minute Maid soft drink, "ACE" (orange, carrot and lemon) flavour.
- Livol Multi Total Teenager by Dansk Droge AS (vitamin supplements from what I understand).
- Part of an envelope with sender Hendes Majestaiet dronning Ingrids hof Federik VIII’s palae 1257 Kobenhavn, stamped 17th December 1999. From the Polish FB post: "a fragment of letter paper and an official envelope of the Danish royal family with a stamp on December 17, 1999. This type of envelope was attributed to the Queen of Denmark, Ingrid, who abdicated by giving the crown to her daughter Margrethe five days after sending the letter and who died a few months later."
- A postcard with cut corners overlooking a seaside resort, with "Antalya" (Turkey) written on it.
Since 2007, no one has asked for the body of the deceased woman and no one has been able to identify her. No Italian hotel has reported unclaimed luggage. DNA was collected in 2008 with the intent of being compared with archive in Northern Europe as Well as Canada, but there doesn't seem any development on that front.
According to this article
, the only person who seemed to have recognized the woman was a psychologist from San Marino, Doctor Pelagalli, who is sure she saw her during a conference in Florence, at Villa Viviani. Accoding to the article, Pelagalli remembered the woman clearly, having noticed the unique sunglasses that she also had. According to the doctor, the woman had the handbag with her, as well as several scientific publications. She had been following several talks and apparently she also asked questions about computer science applied to laser technology. She spoke in Italian with a foreign accent and told her she was a medical doctor. She wore make-up and was well-groomed, but she seemed to be sweating a lot and removed her make-up at some point.
According to the article, the convention was invite-only and neither Doctor Pelagalli nor the deceased woman were among the speakers. The organisers, however, added that they could have simply been interested in the subject matter and followed the lectures.
I've seen several theories around, mostly in the Italian press or on some forums:
- The woman had worked for the Danish royal family for a time, maybe as a maid or something similar.
The official Danish Royal Family letterhead lends some credibility to this, but I don't know how she could still be unidentified to this day if this were the case.
- The woman was a scientist of some sort.
Maybe? The scientific note written in English (#8) seems to have some misspellings or words that don't make sense, but maybe she wasn't EFL or my transcribing skills aren't very good.
- The woman had some connection the the German company Vinetic.
Not sure about this one. While the glasses seemed to have been a company gadget (Vinetic produced microchips, nothing to do with sunglasses), she could have obtained these at a conference. Sometimes companies give out such gadgets, I have so many sunglasses from companies such as Lufthansa, Samsung, Red Bull and such and I'm not affiliated with any of them.
- The woman was Polish or had spent some time in Poland.
This seems plausible? According to some articles and the Polish write-up, the shoes do seem of a Polish brand that doesn't export. Could be she also went there on a conference and bought a pair of shoes?
- The woman worked for intelligence/secret services.
I mean... It could be possible? She seems to know at least three languages (English, Danish and French) and if that witness testimony is to be believed, she also spoke Italian, but other than that and the how she came to be where she was, I don't really see how she could be linked to secret services.
- The woman suffered from some mental illness and had delusions and it was possible that she was obsessed with the Danish royal family.
This seems to me more plausible than the secret services theory to be honest, but it's impossible to know.
I'm originally from a city close by and while I've never been to the particular location where the body was found, it seems pretty remote and I find it really puzzling that a person not familiar with the area would choose to end their life there. And even if this woman was specifically looking for a remote or peaceful place, how did she get there? There is no bus at that time in the morning. The distance from the train station or the city isn't much, but going on foot doesn't seem plausible. Even if she'd set off at 5 or 6, in November it's quite dark and these streets have little to no lights, not even taking into consideration the fact that she probably was unfamiliar with the roads.
If she went by taxi, how come there's seemingly no record of it? It could be that it was a unlicensed cab or something like that of course, but it's still pretty strange.
I can't find any news in English apart from a couple of posts on web sleuth forum threads and I don't really know any Danish to try and look, but maybe someone here does and can find more information? It seems most avenues of investigation have been followed, including the one relative to this Henrik Eis mentioned in #1, but seemingly without anything resulting in concrete evidence.
Other Italian language articles I used to write this up: https://ricerca.gelocal.it/iltirreno/archivio/iltirreno/2008/01/16/ZR2PO_ZR201.html?ref=search https://ricerca.gelocal.it/iltirreno/archivio/iltirreno/2008/01/16/ZR2PO_ZR202.html?ref=search https://ricerca.gelocal.it/iltirreno/archivio/iltirreno/2008/01/20/ZR1ZR_ZR106.html?ref=search https://ricerca.gelocal.it/iltirreno/archivio/iltirreno/2008/05/15/ZR1ZP_ZR103.html?ref=search
I also found a Polish Facebook post related to this woman, I can't post the link here as it seems it's against community policy, but from what I understand it's from a "Unsolved Mysteries" community and running it through google translate results in pretty much the same information that I mentioned above. It's also the same article that mentions the misspellings in Danish.
It would be great if someone with Danish knowledge could either confirm or deny the claim that the Danish written text has misspellings and maybe see if they can find any information about this in Danish language media.
The Saga of Wrong Numbers - Part 2
Ok. I get a long of "wrong number" calls but yesterday's post and today's go hand in hand and I'm VERY confused about what on earth is happening. submitted by PrickleBean to TalesFromTheFrontDesk [link] [comments]
Phone rings while I'm typing an email. ID comes up as a name, not a company. I pick up.
Me: "Good afternoon, this is Prickle, how can I connect your call?"
PL: "Yes, hi, are you [company name redacted]? (she then spells out the company name for me by each individual letter)
Me: "No, I'm sorry, you have the wrong number, we don't have any affiliation with them."
PL: (extremely snooty) "Well. I might want to ask you another question, because you aren't [company name redacted]."
PL: "Isn't your company called Arctic Articulation?" (not the first company she asked about and not the parent company for the first)
Me: "No. You have the wrong number."
WHAT IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW? I googled and there is NO company called whatever she called us and that's not even close to the right letters, sound, or...well, anything to the company she actually called (us).
Why am I getting so many weird wrong number calls?!?!
I own a boutique that offers full body transformations to customers in need of a new identity. 
submitted by hercreation to nosleep [link] [comments]
I’m humbled that you all are so interested in the comings and goings of my little boutique. This craft is my passion, but because I’ve kept almost entirely private, I was unsure of how others would receive it. I must admit that I held my breath as I released my last customer's tale
, but I am ecstatic that I did! It feels as if a weight has been lifted from my chest to be able to share such an intensely integral part of myself after keeping it hidden for so long.
I’d like to address something from the other day before I get into today’s story. Firstly, folks have asked how I would approach returning customers. You would rightly assume that I have a handful of displeased customers, those whose assigned looks do not correlate with what they had in mind upon arrival. Now, while I assign looks based on what I believe is needed
, I am also aware that people’s needs change
over time. While many of my customers accept this as so – and many of my looks are assigned in a more positive manner than in the previous tale – I do have past customers seek what I like to call a “refitting”.
When this occurs, the interview process is repeated to determine what has changed since we last met, and – more importantly – what, if anything, was learned through living in another person’s skin. I have completed refittings, and I am actually quite open to it. Because most of my looks are determined in a more positive manner, there is a sense of permanence in my choice as many customers do not ask. These encounters tend to make for less interesting tales suitable for this audience, though I do have some earmarked for future use that should fit the bill.
That being said, there is a process of reevaluation to judge whether I have been too harsh, or if the desired effect of the look has been achieved. I will share one or two of these instances with you all when the time is right.
Getting back into business – as luck would have it, I was approached by another customer yesterday for a “custom fitting”. He was a clean cut middle-aged man with a charming smile, dressed in a t-shirt and an expensive looking pair of jeans. I knew he was looking for more than just a new tie as soon as he entered the store as he wore a baseball cap and a pair of sunglasses to obscure his identity, to blend in. It was clear he didn’t want to be seen, that he needed a change to ensure he could hide in plain sight.
Even still, I waited for him to approach the counter and mutter, “I’m, uhm, I’m looking for a custom fitting” before giving myself away.
“Sure thing, sir,” I replied, closing up shop before gathering the black curtain in one hand to move the discussion into the back room.
I took a few minutes to explain the terms of the custom fitting to him as we got settled, all of which he immediately agreed to without any apparent forethought. With his informed acceptance, we progressed to the interview portion of the fitting.
Legal pad resting in my lap and pen at the ready, I asked, “so, sir… what brings you here today?”
“I’m here because my career has just taken a huge hit, one I don’t think I can recover from,” he started, reluctantly removing his sunglasses and hat to reveal a familiar face, one that evoked an immediate recognition. I stifled the response, instead directing my energy into fervently scribbling down notes. “I wouldn’t be surprised if you know me, but if you don’t, I’m a politician for this region. I’m about to finish out my first term, and I’m up for re-election. It looked like I had the win in the bag... until recently.”
I asked a question I already knew the answer to. “What happened?”
The politician fumbled nervously with his hands in his lap. “I was at a social event a few weeks ago, and I got too comfortable… I had too much to drink and let my guard down. The conversation turned to politics as it inevitably always does, and I made some… unsavory
remarks about my opponent,” he explained, hesitating for a moment.
“Some, uhm, racist
remarks,” he whispered, as if the entire city didn’t know already. “Someone recorded my stupid rant on their phone, and the footage was aired on every major news station just days later. This certainly isn’t the first time I’ve been caught in an, err… compromising position with my statements, but this is the first time that people have really seemed to take notice and care. The public even forgave me when it came out that I’d been involved in an, erm, racially motivated
attack in my youth, but trash talking was clearly one step too far…”
Having found himself off track, he cleared his throat before finding his place. “Now, listen, I know I wasn’t being, uhm, politically correct
, but you have to understand that I wasn’t in my right mind. I mean, we all say stupid stuff when we’re drunk, right?”
“I guess one could say that,” I replied noncommittally without looking up from my notepad.
He breathed an exaggerated sigh as he insisted, “I’m not here just because my career – everything I’ve tirelessly worked for – is ruined by no real fault of my own, it’s much more than that. I come from a family that demands excellence, prominence in society… from childhood, it was expected that I would take after my father and enter politics. I didn’t really want any of that, but more than that, I didn’t want to disappoint my family, so I dedicated myself to that path anyway.
“There was one problem, though – I really lacked the necessary qualities to become a successful politician. I’m a natural introvert, and I had poor communication skills. I was a remarkably average student who lacked drive or motivation or any semblance of confidence,” he admitted, shaking his head at his own perceived shortcomings. “So, when I came upon a group of people who could change
that for me… I jumped on the chance.
“They’re somewhat of a secret society, highly influential yet unknown to the general public. They made me an offer I couldn’t refuse, as they say – they’d perform a ritual to grant me the charisma I’d always lacked, a silver tongue that would carry me through the ranks to political success,” the man claimed.
Somewhat skeptical, I reminded myself to consider the possibility of such a procedure. I mean, considering the unbelievable nature of my craft, I didn’t really have room to doubt his story. “A ritual?”
The politician smiled sheepishly, as if he understood the outlandishness of his own claims. “Yes, a ritual,” he confirmed, adjusting in his seat. In the face of his impeccable posture, I was suddenly aware of my own slumped shoulders, neck craned downward over my notepad. “I was dubious at first, myself, yet a sense of desperation for success compelled me to visit their highly secured headquarters. The men were shrouded in black cloaks, and they took me to a large, unfinished basement.
“In the center of the room, one of the men laid out a goblet of water, a candle, and a scattering of small seeds… then, he used a knife to carve an intricate symbol into the dirt flooring, lit the candle, and placed the knife alongside the other items,” the man explained. “They all started chanting, and I just stood there, confused as hell, until a figure appeared in the middle of the room.
“It had the body of a man, with a book clutched in his hand. I understood that the figure could not be just a man when I saw its face – or faces
, rather,” he elaborated, cringing at his own recollection. “Its head was just an… amalgamation of faces, slapped together in such a way that they overlapped grotesquely, the bottom half of the beautiful face of a woman obscured by the snarling mouth of a beastly looking man's…”
He hesitated slightly before continuing, “The leader of this affiliation spoke to it by name – Dantalion – and requested his teachings in politics and charisma, his assistance in my ascension to power… all at once, I knew everything I would ever need to know as a successful politician. He also revealed the secret thoughts of the powerful people I would come into contact with, secrets that would come in handy as I made my way to the top.”
“Those things… they don’t usually come without a cost,” I muttered cautiously.
The politician chuckled lightly in spite of himself, as if he wished he’d given that thought more consideration before. “In return, I would answer to the secret affiliation throughout my career. And if I wavered in my loyalty, or if fell from the public’s grace, I’d be of no use to them anymore, and they’d come to settle my debts by taking my life.”
Nodding, I extrapolated, “and now that you’re sure you will lose the election…”
“They will most certainly come to collect.”
I took a moment to glance over my notes, clicking my tongue as I reviewed the key pieces of information, before declaring, “I got just the thing.”
I won’t bore you with another lengthy description of the custom fitting process – it is largely the same between each customer. I’m sure the reveal is of more interest to most folks, anyway. The politician awoke soon after the fitting had been finished, and I eagerly led him to the mirror before removing his blindfold.
“What…?” he asked groggily as he ran his hand over his now bald head, gazing slack jawed over his new appearance.
“The man I got this look from came to me years ago, tattooed from head to toe. As you’ll see, there are plenty of patterned tattoos all over your arms, your legs… plus a rather bold neck tattoo,” I explained, pointing to the large letters emblazoned across his neck spelling out FUCK OFF
. “The real highlight of this look, though, is the face tattoo,” I stated, motioning towards a tattoo that spanned the left side of his new face, one that extended upon his natural features to construct an entirely new face.
The area surrounding his eye was darkened to create a pit-like appearance, and a gruesome inked smile was drawn up from the corner of his lips. A detailed horn was marked across the left side of his forehead. “You swear up and down that you accept
all people, but your actions and words have shown the opposite. You’ve always been just as two-faced as Dantalion – now it just shows in your appearance.”
“My… my career is ruined,” he remarked, blinking. “I’ll never be able to run again.”
“I’d say that you ruined your career on your own,” I countered, taking a deep breath to add, “you were right about one thing – this isn’t the first time you’ve used your power to perpetuate harm, and I don’t believe it will be your last. You’ve spent your years in office denigrating entire groups of people, you beat a man simply for the color of his skin and got off scot-free because of your connections. But not this time – you show no remorse nor desire to change your behavior, so I find this fitting.”
The man sputtered as he attempted to find the words to fight back against my decision, gawking at his reflection in the mirror.
I cut him off preemptively. “Frustrating to think you might not be taken seriously because of an aspect of your appearance you can’t control?”
He remained silent.
“You will still get to leave this place with your life – you’re in better shape than when you came in. You might even learn a thing or two from this. And while I don’t think simply having tattoos says anything about a person’s competence, I know the current system – the one you have played and benefited from for years – will reject you upon sight. A man like you should have no place in politics
| II | III
| V X
The truth behind Puskás Akadémia FC - How Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán stole a legend, built a stadium in his backyard and guided his team to Europe
submitted by pogacsa_is_life to soccer [link] [comments]
The 2019/2020 season of the Hungary’s National Football League (NB1) – being one of the first leagues to restart play - came to an end on 27 June. If a casual observer (for whatever reason) decides to check out the final standings
, he would be not surprised at the first two positions: record-champion Ferencváros defended their title, while regional powerhouse Fehérvár (Videoton) came in second. However, the third place team, Puskás Akadémia FC might seem unusual and one could think that there is a story behind that.
Is there a team named after Ferenc Puskás? Did some academy youths make an incredible run for the Europa League qualification? Well, the observer is right, there is a story behind all this, but it’s absolutely not a fun story. It’s a story about how one powerful man’s obsession with football stole a legend, misused state funds and killed the spirit of Hungarian football. (Warning: this is a long story, feel free to scroll down for a tl;dr. Also, I strongly advise checking out the links, those images are worth seeing).
Naturally, political influence in football has been present ever since the dawn of the sport and we know of numerous state leaders who felt confident enough to use their influence to ensure the successful development of their favored clubs – Caucescu’s FC Olt Scornicesti
and Erdogan’s Basaksehir
are well-known examples of such attempts. However, I fear that very few of the readers are aware of the fact that Puskás Akadémia FC is nothing but Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán’s grandiose project for establishing his hometown’s club as one of the country’s top teams
. Considering that Orbán managed to achieve this goal using state funds in an EU member democracy in the 2000s, one might even say that it might be one of the most impressive attempts of cheating your way through Football Manager in real life. Now that Puskás Akadémia FC escaped the desolate football scene of Hungary and is getting ready for the European takeover, I feel that it’s high time to tell its true story.
Part 1: Part time striker, part time PM
Our story begins in 1999 when the 36-year-old striker Viktor Orbán (recently elected as the country’s Prime Minister) was signed by the sixth-tier side of Felcsút FC
residing in rural Fejér County. It might sound surprising that an active politician would consider such a side job, but given that Orbán has been playing competitive low-level football throughout his whole life and has always been known as a keen football enthusiast, people seemed to be okay with his choice for a hobby. Orbán spent most of his childhood in the village of Felcsút (population: 1,800), so it seemed only natural that he would join the team after one of his old-time acquaintances became team president there.
Orbán’s arrival to the club seemed to work like a charm as Felcsút FC immediately earned a promotion to the fifth league. The Prime Minister’s busy program did not allow him to attend every training session and game but Orbán did make an effort to contribute as much as possible on the field – there is a report of a government meeting being postponed as Orbán was unavailable due to attending Felcsút FC’s spring training camp
. The 2001/2002 season brought another breakthrough for the side as Felcsút was promoted to the national level of the football pyramid after being crowned the champion of Fejér County. Sadly enough for Orbán, he suffered a defeat on another pitch – his party lost the 2002 election and Orbán was forced to move to an opposition role. No matter what happened on the political playing field, Orbán would not abandon his club.
Just before the 2002 elections, Felcsút was surprisingly appointed as one of the regional youth development centers by the Hungarian FA. Orbán continued contributing on the field as well (he had more spare time after all) but his off-the-field efforts provided much more value for the team as he used his political influence to convince right-wing businessmen that they should definitely get sponsorship deals done with the fourth-division village team. Club management was able to transform the influx of funds into on-field success: Felcsút FC was promoted to the third division in 2004 and achieved promotion to the second division in 2005.
Although these new horizons required a skill level that an aging ex-PM is not likely to possess, Orbán regularly played as a late game sub
and even appeared in cup games against actual professional opponents. The now-42-year old Orbán did not want to face the challenge of the second division, so he retired in 2005 – but this did not stop him from temping as an assistant coach when the head coach was sacked in the middle of the 2005-2006 season.
Success on the playing field did not translate to political success: Orbán lost the elections once again in 2006. However, this was only a temporary loss: the ruling party committed blunder after blunder and by early 2007 it became absolutely obvious that Orbán would be able return to power in 2010. Now confident in his political future, Orbán opted for the acceleration of football development in Felcsút – by late 2007 he took over the presidency of the club to take matters in his own hands. Sponsors seeking to gain favor with the soon-to-be PM were swarming Felcsút FC, so the club was able to stand very strong in an era where financial stability was a very rare sight in the Hungarian football scene, accumulating three medals (but no promotion) between 2007 and 2009.
On the other hand, Orbán realized the value of youth development as well, and started a local foundation for this purpose back in 2004 that gathered funds for the establishment a boarding school-like football academy.
The academy opened its doors in September 2006 (only the second of such institutions in the country) and Orbán immediately took upon the challenge of finding an appropriate name for the academy.
He went on to visit the now very sick Ferenc Puskás in the hospital to discuss using his name, but as Puskás’ medical situation was deteriorating rapidly, communication attempts were futile. Luckily enough Puskás’ wife (and soon to be widow) was able to act on his incapable husband’s behalf and approved the naming deal in a contract. According to the statement, naming rights were granted without compensation, as “Puskás would have certainly loved what’s happening down in Felcsút
”. However, there was much more to the contract: Puskás’ trademark was handed to a sports journalist friend of Orbán
(György Szöllősi, also acting communications director of the academy) who promised a hefty annual return for the family (and also a 45% share of the revenue for himself). Ferenc Puskás eventually died on 17 November 2006 and on 26 November 2006 the football academy was named after him: Puskás Academy was born.
Orbán shared his vision of the whole organization after the opening ceremony: “It’s unreasonable to think that Felcsút should have a team in the top division. We should not flatter ourselves, our players and our supporters with this dream. Our long term ambition is the creation of a stable second division team that excels in youth development and provides opportunity for the talents of the future.”
Let’s leave that there.
Part 2: No stadium left behind Orbán became PM once again in April 2010 after a landslide victory that pretty much granted him unlimited power.
He chased lots of political agendas but one of his policies was rock solid: he would revive sports (and especially football) that was left to bleed out by the previous governments. The football situation in 2010 was quite dire: while the national team has actually made some progress in the recent years and has reached the 42nd position in the world rankings, football infrastructure was in a catastrophic state. Teams were playing in rusty stadiums built in the communist era, club finances were a mess, youth teams couldn’t find training grounds and the league was plagued by violent fan groups and lackluster attendance figures (3100 average spectators per game in the 2009/2010 season).
Orbán – aided by the FA backed by business actors very interested in making him happy – saw the future in the total rebuild of the football infrastructure. Vast amounts of state development funds were invested into the football construction industry that warmly welcomed corruption, cost escalation and shady procurement deals.
In the end, money triumphed: over the last decade, new stadiums sprung out from nothing all over the country
, dozens of new academies opened and pitches for youth development appeared on practically every corner. The final piece of the stadium renovation program was the completion of the new national stadium, Puskás Aréna in 2019 (estimated cost: 575 million EUR). Orbán commemorated this historic moment with a celebratory video on his social media that features a majestic shot of Orbán modestly kicking a CGI ball from his office to the new stadium.
Obviously, Orbán understood that infrastructure alone won’t suffice
. He believed in the idea that successful clubs are the cornerstone of a strong national side as these clubs would compete in a high quality national league (and in international tournaments) that would require a constant influx of youth players developed by the clubs themselves. However, Orbán was not really keen on sharing the state’s infinite wealth with private club owners who failed to invest in their clubs between 2002 and 2010. The club ownership takeover was not that challenging as previous owners were usually happy to cut their losses, and soon enough most clubs came under Orbán’s influence
. Some clubs were integrated deep into Orbán’s reach (Ferencváros and MTK Budapest club presidents are high ranking officials of Orbán’s party) while in other cases, indirect control was deemed sufficient (Diósgyőri VTK was purchased by a businessman as an attempt to display loyalty to Orbán).
Pouring taxpayer money into infrastructure (stadium) projects is relatively easy: after all, we are basically talking about overpriced government construction projects, there’s nothing new there. On the other hand, allocating funds to clubs that should be operating on a competitive market is certainly a tougher nut to crack. The obvious solutions were implemented: the state media massively overpaid for broadcasting rights and the national sports betting agency also pays a hefty sum to the FA, allowing for a redistribution of considerable amounts. However, given that the income side of Hungarian clubs was basically non-existent (match day income is negligible, the failed youth development system does not sell players), an even more radical solution was desperately needed. Also, there was definite interest in the development of a tool that would allow for differentiation between clubs (as in the few remaining non-government affiliated clubs should not receive extra money).
The solution came in 2011: the so-called TAO (“társasági adó” = corporate tax) system was introduced, granting significant tax deductions for companies if they offered a portion of their profits to sports clubs
– however, in theory, funds acquired through TAO can be only used for youth development and infrastructure purposes. Soon enough, it became apparent that state authorities were not exactly interested in the enforcement of these restrictions, so some very basic creative accounting measures enabled clubs to use this income for anything they wanted to. Companies were naturally keen on cutting their tax burdens and scoring goodwill with the government, so TAO money immediately skyrocketed.
Opportunistic party strongmen used their influence to convince local business groups to invest in the local clubs, enabling for the meteoric rise of multiple unknown provincial teams (Mezőkövesd [pop: 16,000], Kisvárda [pop: 16,000], Balmazújváros [pop: 17,000]) into the first division.
Although it’s not the main subject of this piece, I feel inclined to show you the actual results of Orbán’s grandiose football reform. While we do have our beautiful stadiums, we don’t exactly get them filled – league attendance has stagnated around 3000 spectators per game throughout the whole decade. We couldn’t really move forward with our national team either: Hungary lost 10 positions in the FIFA World Rankings throughout Orbán’s ten years. On the other hand, the level of league has somewhat improved – Videoton and Ferencváros reached the Europa League group stage in 2019 and 2020, respectively. Too bad that the Instat-based top team
of 2019/2020 Hungarian league consists of 10 foreigners and only 1 Hungarian: the goalkeeper.
Part 3: Small place, big game!
As seen in the previous chapter, Orbán did have a strong interest in the improvement of the football situation Hungary, but we shouldn’t forget that his deepest interest and true loyalty laid in the wellbeing of Felcsút and its academy. Now that Orbán had limitless means to see to the advancement of his beloved club, he got to work immediately.
Orbán handed over formal club management duties to his friend / protégé / middleman / businessman Lőrinc Mészáros in 2010, but no questions would ever arise of who is actually calling the shots.
First of all, no club can exist without a proper stadium.
Although in 2011 Orbán explicitly stated that “Felcsút does not need a stadium as stadiums belong to cities”,
no one was really surprised in 2012 when the construction of the Felcsút stadium was announced. Orbán was generous enough to donate the lands just in front of his summer home in the village for the project, locating the entrance a mere ten meters away from his residence. Construction works for the stunningly aesthetic 3,800-seater arena
(in a village of 1,800 people) started in April 2012 and were completed in April 2014, making Felcsút’s arena the second new stadium of Orbán’s gigantic stadium revival program.
The estimated budget of the construction was 120 million EUR (31,500 EUR / seat) was financed by the Puskás Academy who explicitly stated that they did not use government funds for the project. Technically, this statement is absolutely true as the construction was financed through the TAO money offered by the numerous companies looking for tax deduction and Orbán’s goodwill. However, technically, this means that the country’s budget was decreased by 120 million EUR unrealized tax revenue. Naturally, the gargantuan football stadium looks ridiculously out of place in the small village
, but there’s really no other way to ensure that your favorite team’s stadium is within 20 seconds of walking distance from your home.
Obviously, a proper club should also have some glorious history. Felcsút was seriously lagging behind on this matter as though Felcsút FC was founded in 1931, it spent its pre-Orbán history in the uninspiring world of the 5th-7th leagues of the country. Luckily enough, Orbán had already secured Puskás’ naming rights and they were not afraid to use it, so Felcsút FC was renamed to Puskás Academy FC in 2009. The stadium name was a little bit problematic as the Hungarian national stadium in Budapest had sadly had the dibs on Puskás’ name, so they had to settle with Puskás’ Spanish nickname, resulting in the inauguration of the Pancho Arena
. But why stop here? Orbán’s sports media strongman György Szöllősi
acted upon the contract with Puskás’ widow and transferred all Puskás’ personal memorabilia
(medals, jerseys, correspondence) to the most suitable place of all: a remote village in which Puskás never even set foot in.
While the off-field issues were getting resolved, Orbán’s attention shifted to another important area: the actual game of football. Although academy players started to graduate from 2008 on, it very soon became painfully obvious that the academy program couldn’t really maintain even a second division side for now. In 2009, Orbán reached an agreement with nearby Videoton’s owner that effectively transformed Felcsút FC into Videoton’s second team under the name of Videoton – Puskás Akadémia FC. The mutually beneficent agreement would allow Videoton to give valuable playing time to squad players while it could also serve as a skipping step for Puskás Academy’s fresh graduates to a first league team. The collaboration resulted in two mid-table finishes and a bronze medal in the second division in the following three seasons that wasn’t really impressive compared to Felcsút FC’s standalone seasons.
It seemed that the mixture of reserve Videoton players and academy youth was simply not enough for promotion, and although Orbán had assured the public multiple times that his Felcsút project was not aiming for the top flight, very telling changes arose after the 2011/2012 season. Felcsút terminated the Videoton cooperation deal and used the rapidly accumulating TAO funds to recruit experienced players for the now independently operating Puskás Academy FC (PAFC)
. The new directive worked almost too well: PAFC won its division
with a 10 point lead in its first standalone year which meant that they would have to appear in the first league prior to the completion of their brand-new Pancho Arena. Too bad that this glorious result had almost nothing to do with the academy - only two players were academy graduates of the side’s regular starting XI.
Orbán did not let himself bothered with the ridiculousness of an academy team with virtually no academy players being promoted to the first division as he stated that “a marathon runner shouldn’t need to explain why the other runners were much slower than him
”. Orbán also displayed a rare burst of modesty as he added that “his team’s right place is not in the first league, and they will soon be overtaken by other, better sides”.
The promotion of PAFC to the first division made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move. Supporter groups were united in hatred all along the league and not surprisingly, away fans almost always outnumbered the home side at PAFC’s temporary home at Videoton’s Sóstói Stadium (demolished and rebuilt in its full glory since then
). One of the teams, however, possessed an extraordinary degree of anger against PAFC: supporters of Budapest Honvéd – the only Hungarian team in which Ferenc Puskás played – felt especially awkward about the transfer of their club legend’s heritage to Felcsút. Tensions spiked at the PAFC – Honvéd game when home security forced Honvéd supporters to remove the “Puskás”
part of their traditional “Puskás – Kispest – Hungary” banner
– the team answered the insult with style as they secured a 4-0 victory supported by fans chanting “you can’t buy legends”.
Despite Orbán’s prognosis, other better sides did not rush to overtake his team, so PAFC, now residing in their brand new Pancho Arena, came through with a 14th and a 10th place in their first two seasons. Naturally, conspiracy theories began to formulate, speculating that government-friendly owners would certainly not be motivated to give their best against PAFC. However, as the league size was reduced to 12 for the 2015/2016 season, PAFC found themselves in a dire situation just before the final round: they needed a win and needed rival Vasas to lose against MTK in order to avoid relegation. PAFC’s draw seemed to be unlucky as they faced their arch-enemy Honvéd at home, but Honvéd displayed an absolute lackluster effort – fueling conspiracy theories – and lost the fixture 2 to 1 against a home side featuring four academy players. Vasas, however, did not disappoint, their 2-0 victory resulted in PAFC’s elimination and a very relaxed sigh all over the football community.
PAFC’s relegation seemed to be in accordance with Orbán’s 2013 statement, so public opinion supposed for a while that Orbán’s project came to a halting point and the Academy would go on to actually field academy players in the second division (especially as rostering foreign players was prohibited in the lower leagues). However, if you have read through this point, you know better than to expect Orbán to retreat – obviously, PAFC came back with a bang. With a ballsy move, PAFC didn’t even sell their foreign players, they just loaned them across the league, promising them that they would be able to return next year to the newly promoted team. The promise was kept as PAFC went into another shopping spree of experienced players (easily convincing lots of them to choose the second division instead of the first) and easily won the second league. Orbán
– now aware of his negligence – opted for the doubling the team’s budget, making PAFC the third most well-founded club in the whole country
(only coming short to his friend’s Videoton and his party minion’s Ferencváros). With an actual yearly influx from TAO money in the ballpark of 30-40 million EUR, PAFC management had to really work wonders in creative accounting in order to make their money look somewhat legitimate. The books were now full of ridiculous items like:
- Construction of a new tea kitchen for youth players for 650,000 EUR
- Construction of a new “sports and conference center” for 40 million EUR
- Employment of a 45 person “cleaning and maintenance staff” for the academy.
Naturally, in the country of no consequences, absolutely nothing happened: PAFC went on with its spending and signed 35 foreigners between 2017 and 2020. They did so because they could not hope to field a winning team in the first league consisting of academy players
, despite the fact that Puskás Academy has been literally drowning in money since 2007. This seems to somewhat contradict Orbán’s 2013 promise, stating that “Puskás Academy will graduate two or three players to major European leagues each year”.
To be fair, there have been players who managed to emerge to Europe (well, exactly two of them: Roland Sallai plays at Freiburg, László Kleinheisler played at Werder Bremen) but most academy graduates don’t even have the slightest the chance to make their own academy’s pro team as it’s full of foreigners and more experienced players drawn for other teams’ programs.
Despite their unlimited funding, PAFC could not put up a top-tier performance in their first two years back in the first division, finishing 6th and 7th in the 12-team league. Many speculated that the lack of support, motivation and even a clear team mission did not allow for chemistry to develop within the multinational and multi-generational locker room. Consistency was also a rare sight on the coaching side: club management was absolutely impatient with coaches who were very easily released after a single bad spell and there were talks of on-field micromanagement request coming from as high as Orbán.
Even so, their breakthrough came dangerously close in 2018 as PAFC performed consistently well in the cup fixtures and managed to reach the final. Their opponent, Újpest played an incredibly fierce game and after a 2-2 draw, they managed to defeat PAFC in the shootout. Football fans sighed in relief throughout the country as ecstatic Újpest supporters verbally teased a visibly upset Orbán in his VIP lounge
about his loss.
Obviously, we could only delay the inevitable. While this year’s PAFC side seemed to be more consistent than its predecessors, it seemed that they won’t be able to get close to the podium - they were far behind the obvious league winner duo of Ferencváros and Videoton and were trailing third-place Mezőkövesd 6 points just before the pandemic break. However, both Mezőkövesd and PAFC’s close rivals DVTK and Honvéd fall flat after the restart while PAFC was able to maintain its good form due to its quality roster depth. PAFC overtook Mezőkövesd after the second-to-last round as Mezőkövesd lost to the later relegated Debrecen side. (Mezőkövesd coach Attila Kuttor was fined harshly because of his post-game comments on how the FA wants PAFC to finish third.)
PAFC faced Honvéd in the last round once again, and as Honvéd came up with its usual lackluster effort, PAFC secured an effortless win, confidently claiming the third place
. PAFC celebrated their success in a nearly empty stadium
, however neither Orbán, nor Mészáros (club owner, Orbán’s protégé, now 4th richest man of Hungary) seemed to worry about that. While Orbán high-fived with his peers in the VIP lounge, Mészáros was given the opportunity to award the bronze medals (and for some reason, a trophy)
to the players dressed up in the incredibly cringe worthy T-shirts that say “Small place, big game!”.
Big game, indeed: in the 2019/2020 season, foreign players’ share of the teams playing time was 43.6% while academy graduates contributed only 17.9%.
On Sunday evening, less than 24 hours after PAFC’s glorious success, György Szöllősi, now editor-in-chief of Hungary’s only sports newspaper (purchased by Orbán’s affiliates a few years back) published an editorial on the site, stating that “the soccer rebuild in Felcsút became the motor and symbol of the revitalization of sport throughout the whole country
”. Well, Szöllősi is exactly right: Felcsút did became a symbol, but a symbol of something entirely different. Felcsút became a symbol of corruption, inefficiency, lies and the colossal waste of money.
But, hey, at least we know now: you only need to spend 200 million EUR (total budget of PAFC and its academy in the 2011-2020 period) if you want to have a Europa League team in your backyard. Good to know!
Epilogue: What's in the future?
As there is no foreseeable chance for political change to happen Hungary
(Orbán effortlessly secured qualified majority in 2014 and 2018, and is projected to do so in 2022 as well), PAFC’s future seems to be as bright as it gets. Although consensus opinion now seems to assume that Orbán does not intend to interfere with the Ferencváros – Videoton hegemony, we can never be really sure about the exact limits of his greed. One could also argue that entering the European theater serves as a prime opportunity for making splashy transfers who could be the cornerstones of a side challenging the league title.
However, as all political systems are deemed to fall, eventually Orbán’s regime will come apart. Whoever will take upon the helm after Orbán, they will certainly begin with cutting back on the one item on Orbán’s agenda that never had popular support: limitless football spending. Puskás Academy, having next to zero market revenue, will not be able to survive without the state’s life support, so the club will fold very shortly. The abandoned, rotting stadium in Felcsút will serve as a memento of a powerful man who could not understand the true spirit of football.
But let’s get back to present day, as we have more pressing issues coming up soon: PAFC will play their first European match in the First qualifying round of the Europa League
on 27 August. We don’t have a date for the draw yet, but soon enough, a team unaware of the whole situation will be selected to face the beast. I hope that maybe one of their players does some research and maybe reads this very article for inspiration. I hope that the supporters of this club get in touch with Honvéd fans who would be eager to provide them with some tips on appropriate chants. I hope that other teams gets drawn as the home team so Orbán wouldn’t get the pleasure of walking to his stadium for an international match. But most importantly, I very much hope that this team obliterates PAFC and wipes them off the face of the earth.
5-0 will suffice, thank you.
And if this team fails to do that, we don’t have to worry yet. Due to our shitty league coefficient, PAFC would need to win four fixtures in a row. And that – if there’s any justice in this world – is a thing that can’t, that won’t happen. Ball don’t lie – if I may say. TL,DR
Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán redirected some 200 million EUR of taxpayer money over 10 years to fuel his ambition of raising a competitive football team in his hometown of 1,800 people. He built a 3,800-seater stadium in his backyard, expropriated football legend Ferenc Puskás’ trademarks and heritage and built up a football league where almost all clubs are owned by his trustees. His team, Puskás Akadémia FC was originally intended to be a development ground for youth players graduating from Orbán’s football academy, but eventually the team became more and more result-orianted. Finally, a roster full of foreign and non-academy players came through and finished third in the league, releasing this abomination of a team to the European football theatre. Please, knock them out asap!