Ibert's mortuary latest obituary

The funeral director is a huckster.

2023.03.24 19:03 DeadHeart4 The funeral director is a huckster.

My mother died in the hospital on St Patrick's Day. The whole experience was traumatic and horrifying and I'm going to dress up as Batman and prowl every medical malpractice law office in the state screaming about the man who killed my mother until I get some resolution. But what I really need to get off my chest is my experience with the funeral director.
I'm 38, my older half sister and brother are 58 and 61. I lived with my mother most of my adult life. She had a very minor disability. We didn't get along all the time, but I enjoyed her company and was always happy to live with her.
My siblings have always lived their own lives and live out of state. When she was in the hospital, they both took time off to visit for a few days, but towards the end, it was me and her on our own. She passed, and they insisted on taking care of the funeral. I was very grateful. I'm a teacher... so I make a living wage, but... not as much as they do. Although I still think the honorable thing to do would be to pay them back with her small life insurance payout. They keep declining.
My sister found a local mortuary with good reviews. Within hours of her death, I was told arrangements had been made. The hospital had packed my mothers things and literally escorted me out of the ICU room. I spent the evening plotting revenge, crying, and being harassed by donor alliance.
Donor alliance called within an hour of her death and asked if they could take her skin. She was 80 years old. And her skin was trash. We have a body farm in town. I thought it would upset my brother if I agreed. I said no, she talked over me, insisting they were a non-profit organization, I said no again. She talked over me, saying my mother was on the donor list and it's what she would have wanted. I said no again, she talked over me and said that donation saves lives. My friend grabbed the phone and told them we were not interested in donation. She talked over my friend and said skin graphs could help burn patients. I said no two more times and hung up.
My sister flew out on Tuesday and we met with the funeral director. She said she found a place that does Direct Cremation for $747. I was suspicious - my sister didn't know that our county literally just had a whole fiasco where a different mortuary was sued into oblivion for selling chopped up body parts and giving people fake ashes - but I'm of the mind that the body isn't important after the soul moves on.
My brother is much more... sensitive about all of this stuff. Which is why I'm here, because I need to get this off my chest, but I don't want him to find out about the whole ordeal.
We go to the funeral home and spend 2.5 hours talking to the Funeral Director. He is a rambling old man who interrupts and talks over people. During the time we were there, he told us about his own health problems - from an early heart attack to some broken bones, he told us about all the restaurants in town he knew the owner of, stories about his granddaughter - he really just did not want to get down to business.
Finally, he asked for my sister's credit card and headed downstairs to take care of the bill. I assumed they had everything worked out. I wasn't privy to any of the arrangements. My sister noticed a hung certificate on the wall that had a different funeral service name and commented on it outloud. We were quietly chatting about that when he returned.
He returned and immediately said, "That's my OTHER funeral home. Yup, I have two. This is the cheaper option, in fact, I gave you a bunch of this home's discounts." Wink, wink.
He had run my sisters card and gave her a two page sheet of hand written expenses. It amounted to $2,100. He quickly, and confusedly, explained what some of the costs were: $250 for after hour pick up, $335 or $85 (he wasn't clear) on a credit card processing fee. My eyes bulged out, because that's not what I was expecting, but I didn't want know if that was what my sister agreed to or not. So I stayed quiet.
That was when he informed us that he did not own a crematorium. That his 'trusted' friend who goes to [The State Capital] all the time to help with this was going to take her to a crematorium in [State Capital] and then bring her back.
Ghoulish images of my mother sitting in the back of someone's truck, surrounded by Mcdonalds ice bags and twelve packs of cold beer danced in my head.
When we got home, my sister began to examine the bill.
Over the course of the next few days, he would call us incessantly. The bill had been paid, but he needed to approve of some things... like getting my brother to sign the cremation certificate, sometimes he'd just call us wanting to know if we had checked her obituary on their website and checked out the memory book they were selling of her. Long, rambling conversations. He became convinced that I was 'uncomfortable' handling the ashes, and wanted to check multiple times that it would be okay for me to pick them up... or he could express mail them to my sister. For a fee, no doubt.
I began to do research. I learned that funeral homes are required by the FTC to disclose all expenses during the arrangement meeting. It's called the Funeral Rule. No such diclosure had been made with my sister, she was just told she could do the $747 package.
I learned that it was illegal in our state to charge a credit card processing fee (but they could offer a cash discount and bake the processing fee into other things).
What the hell was this random $335 fee coming from? And why was the direct cremation quoted at 1,400-something. That was the price for his other funeral home, I figured out.
He told me that Donor Alliance wouldn't release the body until 11:30pm, and that's why we got charged an after hours fee. Because the hospital told him he "had" to pick it up. But I found out our hospital will hold a body for up to 48 hours for the family to make arrangements.
The reviews for his place were fine. Four stars. You had to REALLY dig to find the bad ones. But... if you checked his OTHER funeral home... that's where I found everything. "Fraud," "He fucked up the death certificate 3 times," "the hurst ran a red light and got in a fender bender with my dad in the back," "ships bodies to [state capital]."
My sister was horrified. Imagine a whole week of grieving with your mom's daughter occasionally going, "You must think I'm a moron, I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry, I should have known."
I told her she couldn't have known. The reviews were good. How often did one person single handedly arrange a funeral? His website looks legit. There's a whole slew of online articles warning about things like this happening because it happens so often. It wasn't her fault.
He called us a few days ago to let us know our mom was in transport and would arrive at the crematorium in 15-20 minutes. I was journalling EVERYTHING. I asked him what the name was of the place she was being sent.
"Well, she isn't there yet. She'll be there in 15-20 minutes."
He was trying to Jedi mind trick me. These are not the droids you're looking for. "I asked WHAT IS THE NAME of the crematorium she's been sent to."
"It's called Encore, but you aren't allowed to call them. You only talk to ME." He insisted. "You can ONLY talk to me. I am your point of contact. You can't contact them."
I was convinced his friend was parked outside someone's funeral home, waiting for the lights to go out, so he could slither in and dump 12 bodies into their incinerator.
My sister sent an e-mail with a screenshot of the package she purchased and a request for an itemized list.
For once, he did not call us right away. We called him the next day, but he said he was at lunch and would call us back. He called us around 6:00 that night.
My sister talked for a bit, but he rolled over her, so I grabbed the phone. I told him that we needed an itemized list of the expenses, as required by FTC law. He said they never discussed a exact amount. I told him my sister got the "Direct Cremation, Urn, and Cremation Service - COMPLETE" package for $747.
He told me that that package was a deal meant for veterans, and I must have read the website wrong.
I went to the website. All of his prices and funeral packages had been erased. The page was blank.
Luckily, we had the screenshot from earlier. And I used the wayback machine to capture a cache image of that page stating exactly what I was talking about. There were no veteran discounts offered on his site.
I told him that he couldn't charge us a credit card processing fee. It was illegal in our state. He said he'd wave it, but wanted me to admit that he spent almost 3 hours talking to us, and wasn't his time wroth money? Every time I tried to talk, he'd shout over me that wasn't his time worth money? Hadn't he treated us with respect? I was going to give him a heart attack, did I want to be responsible for giving him a heart attack?
I told him I didn't know that him talking about the local Mexican restaurant he likes was part of his billable hours.
Then I told him I was going to report him to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and The Funeral Consumers Alliance and my state Attorney General if he did not give us an itemized list of expenses. Or I tried to, he was shouting over me that he was a human being and that he had to pay his employees a fair wage, and did I know what the definition of 'over time' was?
My sister and I had agreed to pay for the $747 package, the $250 after hour fee, and the cost of the death certificates. I prepared to make that offer if he continued to interrupt me and NOT give us an itemized list.
After screaming at us for 47 minutes - we're a one party state, so I was recording the conversation on my laptop - he said, "I'll tell you what. Because I'm such a good person, I'll refund you half of the bill." I did the math, repeated the date several times for my recording, and agreed. Half of the bill was the amount I was going to counter with. So...
We have to meet him in a few hours to get a cashiers check (OH BOY!) for the refund. Wish me luck.
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2023.03.24 12:36 jookco Death - Obituary : COVID-19: Latest News and Theories on Virus Origins. Read Story : https://famousdeathnews.com/2023/03/24/covid-19-latest-news-and-theories-on-virus-origins/?feed_id=9486&_unique_id=641d8b3e4ac5f

Death - Obituary : COVID-19: Latest News and Theories on Virus Origins. Read Story : https://famousdeathnews.com/2023/03/24/covid-19-latest-news-and-theories-on-virus-origins/?feed_id=9486&_unique_id=641d8b3e4ac5f submitted by jookco to DeathObituaries [link] [comments]

2023.03.22 11:55 Astice_Pensante Destiny 2, Horizon Forbidden West Actor Lance Reddick Dies At 60 (03/22/2023)

Editor's Note: This article was updated on March 20 to include statements from Bungie, Guerrilla, and Lance Reddick's wife, Stephanie Reddick. Lance Reddick, perhaps best known for his role in HBO's "The Wire" has died. He was 60 years old. At the time of this writing, the cause of death is unknown but according to TMZ, "law enforcement sources say it appears to be natural." Deadline was also able to confirm, through the actor's public relations representative, that Reddick has died. Beyond "The Wire," Reddick also had roles in other shows like "Fringe," "Lost," "Bosch," and even last year's "Resident Evil" series on Netflix. His movie credits include the "John Wick" franchise (he was promoting the latest, "John Wick 4," which hits theaters soon, just this week), "Godzilla Vs Link to article
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2023.03.21 22:16 autobuzzfeedbot 21 Facts That Are So Interesting, I Know They Will Live In My Brain For All Of Eternity

  1. While Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" is probably one of the crooner's best-known songs, it was originally very different. Turns out, we have Robert De Niro to thank for it! Composer John Kander and lyricist Fred Ebb were tapped to write music for Martin Scorsese's 1977 film, New York, New York, which stars Liza Minnelli and De Niro. When the duo previewed the songs they had written, De Niro thought the title track, which was connected to his character, was too lighthearted. Although Kander and Ebb said they thought De Niro seemed "pompous" in telling them to rewrite the song, they took the criticism to heart and ended up penning their new version of the song in just 45 minutes.
  2. Ferris Bueller's Day Off is my favorite movie of all time, so it's honestly criminal that I've never done a deep dive into some behind-the-scenes moments from the film! John Hughes, known for his teen movies, ended up writing the script in just a few days in order to get a draft finished before the Writers Guild of America went on strike. The script was reportedly so strong that it was barely edited before filming started. The movie is widely considered to be a love letter to Hughes's Chicago hometown and is filled with references to his own upbringing and shots of the city's skyline. In fact, Hughes even gave Ferris the same address as his childhood home, and his bedroom reportedly resembled Hughes's.
  3. If I had to learn about this giraffe mating ritual, then it's only fair that you do too, okay? Unlike other animals, giraffes don't have a set mating season. Instead, they have an estrous cycle, which resembles a human menstrual cycle, except this cycle swaps blood for urine. When a male giraffe approaches a female giraffe, he begins to rub against her, which she takes as a signal to begin peeing. The male giraffe then tastes her pee to see if she's fertile, and thus, the mating ritual begins. A typical giraffe pregnancy lasts for 400–460 days. Male giraffes typically have no role in raising their offspring.
  4. In 2007, Lisa Nowak became the first NASA astronaut to be arrested when she drove across the United States to confront a woman who was dating a fellow astronaut with whom Nowak had also had a relationship. About a decade after graduating from the US Naval Academy, Nowak was selected to be an astronaut at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, where she specialized in robotics. Nowak said she was deeply affected by the 2003 Columbia space shuttle explosion because her best friend, astronaut Laurel Clark, died. Nowak told NASA that her children convinced her to continue on with her space career despite her unease.
  5. Despite what you might believe after watching The Greatest Showman, P.T. Barnum was not a good guy. He had a long history of animal cruelty and was known for mistreating enslaved people and people with disabilities. He even reportedly hated the people who paid money to come see his exhibits. Barnum was allegedly frustrated that people were taking their time during visits to his museum, so he decided to post signs reading "This Way to the Egress" all over the place. He (correctly) believed that most of the visitors wouldn't know that "egress" meant "exit," so when they followed the signs, they ended up unknowingly leaving the entire museum. As a result, many people paid to reenter, bringing home even more money for Barnum.
  6. Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire" is essentially History 101 in song form. The track name-drops 118 historical events from 1949 to 1989, including everything from pivotal moments in the civil rights movement to details from sports and pop culture history. Joel was inspired to write the song after having a conversation with Sean Lennon, who was then in his 20s, while in the recording studio. One of Lennon's friends allegedly said that it was a terrible time to be a young person. Joel, who was about to turn 40, reportedly said that his own younger years hadn't been that easy either.
  7. Coney Island's skyline looked a lot different back in the 1800s. The Brooklyn boardwalk was once home to a 200-foot-tall elephant-shaped hotel! The hotel, known as the Elephantine Colossus, was built in 1885 and contained 31 rooms, a concert hall, and a museum. The elephant's head housed an observatory, and its eyes served as telescopes. The real kicker was that the hotel was built several years before the Statue of Liberty was completed, so the giant elephant was often the first thing immigrants saw when they reached New York. At some point, the hotel was seen as gimmicky and lost most of its clientele. Soon, sex workers began moving in. In 1896, Elephantine Colossus burned down and was never rebuilt.
  8. During Ronald Reagan's 1966 California gubernatorial campaign, he began eating jelly beans in an attempt to curb his pipe-smoking habit. His jelly beans of choice were the Goelitz Mini Jelly Beans from the Herman Goelitz Candy Co. Once the company caught wind of Reagan's love for the treat, they began to send the politician a monthly shipment of candy and even gifted the governor with a custom jelly bean jar. After Reagan's two terms as governor ended, the company continued to send him jelly beans. In 1976, Goelitz debuted their latest creation: the Jelly Belly. Within two years, Reagan's entire jelly bean shipment shifted to include only Jelly Belly jelly beans.
  9. There are two main groups of whales: baleen whales, which include species like the blue whale and the humpback whale; and toothed whales, consisting of orcas, belugas, and sperm whales. While you probably guessed that toothed whales are named as such because they have teeth, baleen whales have baleen plates in their mouths, which help them filter out krill and other food. Toothed whales also have a "melon" in their foreheads. The melon is a mass of tissue that helps with communication and is crucial for echolocation, which they use to find food and to navigate underwater.
  10. In 1997, construction on Disneyland's California Adventure Park was halted after Princess Diana was killed in a limo accident in a Paris tunnel on Aug. 31. California Adventure was supposed to include a ride called Superstar Limo, which involved guests boarding a limo and embarking on a high-speed chase through some of Los Angeles's biggest landmarks in order to get to the Disney offices in time to sign a huge movie contract. Riders also had to evade the paparazzi. Once the ride ended, passengers were encouraged to buy mock tabloids featuring the pictures the "paparazzi" had taken of them. Following Diana's death, Disney knew they could no longer debut the ride. Soon, they began to brainstorm alternative ideas to replace the limo theme.
  11. Donald Gorske, who is known as the ultimate Big Mac fan, has reportedly eaten at least one McDonald's Big Mac every day for the past 50 years. As of May 2022, Gorske believes he has consumed about 32,340 Big Macs. He told Guinness World Records that he typically eats two Big Macs a day, although he revealed that at one point, his daily diet included nine burgers! "May 17, 1972, was the day I got my first car," Gorske said. "I drove to McDonald’s, ordered my first three Big Macs, went in the car, and ate them. And I said right there that I’m gonna probably eat these the rest of my life, and I threw the cartons in the backseat and started counting them from day one." Despite his Big Mac diet, Gorske and his wife say that doctors have given him a clean bill of health.
  12. Although you probably picture Queen Elizabeth II wearing one of her signature colorful skirt suits, her fashion history is actually quite fascinating! Elizabeth was photographed wearing pants only once during her entire reign. In 1970, she was reportedly interested in updating her look, and asked her tailor for a custom pantsuit to wear during her royal tour in Australia. It's safe to assume that Elizabeth wasn't too fond of the outfit, as she was never again seen wearing pants in public. In order to maintain professionalism and avoid any type of fashion mishap, her dress hems were always cut below the knee.
  13. In 1986, Clint Eastwood ran for mayor of Carmel, California, in part because he wanted to overturn the town's strict law regarding ice cream sales. Eastwood announced his intention to run for office in 1985 after he reportedly found the City Council very difficult to work with when he wanted to turn property he owned into office space. He also cited a 1929 law in Carmel that banned the sale of ice cream cones as another reason for his campaign. In April 1986, he defeated incumbent Charlotte Townsend. His first order of business? He removed from office all of the people who supported the ice cream ban, thus allowing the sale of ice cream cones in Carmel for the first time in decades.
  14. Chances are, you read George Orwell's Animal Farm in school. In the novel, a group of animals team up to rebel against the farmer who owns them, only to end up living in a communist dictatorship led by pigs. Although Orwell said that the book was the first time he had successfully been able to blend politics and art, he had a hard time finding a publisher. Several publishing houses turned down the book because they felt uneasy about its political stance. Secker & Warburg ultimately agreed to publish Animal Farm, and the book became a hit and was even used by the CIA as a propaganda tool during the Cold War.
  15. In 1928, Huey Long was elected governor of Louisiana on a promise of helping people who had been neglected by the federal government. He soon had his sights set on Washington and won a Senate seat. But before leaving for DC in 1932, he had the lieutenant governor replaced by two successors who promised to follow Long's commands. In the Senate, he created the “Share Our Wealth” program, which many thought was part of his bid for the presidency. In 1935, Long was assassinated by a political rival. Despite his death, his impact in the state lived on. In 1940, a study showed that rural schoolchildren not only had no idea that Long had been killed but also believed he was president.
  16. The Real Housewives franchise put Bravo on the map for its depiction of the wild and wacky antics of wealthy women around the country, but it originally looked like a much different show! Scott Dunlop, the original producer of the Real Housewives of Orange County, got the idea for the show in 1986 when he moved from Los Angeles to Coto de Caza, one of the world's largest gated communities, located in Orange County, California. Dunlop began to notice that many of his female neighbors spent their days shopping and playing golf while their husbands went to work.
  17. The first meal eaten on the moon included bacon bits, peaches, sugar cookie cubes, and a pineapple-grapefruit beverage. Bacon reportedly had a long history when it came to space travel. It was a staple during the Gemini missions and became a favorite among many astronauts. Despite all of the bacon love, it's since disappeared from space menus. Now the closest thing to bacon is a sausage patty that has to be rehydrated with warm water before being eaten.
  18. Oscar Gamble, a baseball player who spent over 20 years in the major leagues, was known not only for his on-field play but also for his Afro, which sparked quite the controversy. In 1973, Gamble arrived at the Cleveland Indians training camp sporting an Afro. Although many Black basketball players had Afros, the hairstyle wasn't too popular among baseball players. Baseball was often seen as more conservative, and during the 1970s, the Afro was associated with the Black Power movement. Gamble's hair quickly became controversial. "People took one look at that hair and thought I was a bad guy," Gamble said in 1979. "There were some sportswriters who wouldn’t talk to me. They thought I was some kind of militant, with my beard and my hair."
  19. In December 1990, Iben Browning, who claimed that he was a climatologist, predicted that a major earthquake was going to hit the St. Louis area on Dec. 3. In New Madrid, a Missouri town located on a fault line, people began stockpiling supplies, while others left town completely. Browning reportedly used weather patterns to make his predictions, although his exact methods were never publicized. Although scientists didn't vocally deny Browning's claims, it was believed that they didn't support his prediction, since it's impossible to predict an earthquake. The earthquake never happened. In fact, the area has not faced an earthquake at the magnitude Browning predicted in the three decades since.
  20. While kangaroos are known for their hopping abilities (they can jump about 25 feet in one go!), they are unable to go backward because their big feet and long tails prohibit any backward movement. This anatomical hindrance has since been used by their native Australia as a symbol. The kangaroo was reportedly included on the Australian coat of arms to represent the idea that Australia is a nation that is always moving forward.
  21. And finally, Elouise Cobell, who was also known as Yellow Bird Woman, fought for Native Americans to have control over their land and finances. Cobell was born on the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana, where her family did not have running water or electricity. Her great-great-grandfather notably stood up to the US government in the 19th century. When Cobell was 4 years old, her father built a one-room schoolhouse that she attended until she was in high school. Cobell reportedly took notice of her family's complaints about the Bureau of Indian Affairs, an agency that many suspected mismanaged the profits from land and trusts owned by Native Americans.
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2023.03.21 04:54 jookco Death - Obituary : "South Park's Latest Episode: An Emotionally Heavy Tale of Loss and Grief"

Death - Obituary : submitted by jookco to DeathObituaries [link] [comments]

2023.03.18 00:53 nightshadetwine Perfection, completion, justification, and purification through initiation in Paul and John.

"John’s Counter-Symposium: 'The Continuation of Dialogue' in Christianity—A Contrapuntal Reading of John’s Gospel and Plato’s Symposium" by George van Kooten (Brill, 2019):
Apart from the intermediary character and duality of love, Diotima’s speech also brings out another aspect of love that is echoed in John’s Gospel, namely the colouring of love in the tones of initiation into the mysteries. According to Diotima, the successive stages of spiritual generation constitute a progressive initiation into the mysteries, an initiation that takes the form of a gradual ascent on “the ladder of love,” from physical love to spiritual love, at the end of which—as we shall see shortly—awaits the full attainment of purity, contemplation of the divine unity, truth, and immortality. With an allusion to the difference between lower and higher mysteries in the contemporary mystery cults, the higher levels of this ladder are seen as “the final perfection (i.e., initiation, τὰ τέλεα) and full vision”—that is, “the highest mysteries”...
The mystery cults Plato refers to here are most likely the mystery cults that were especially well known in Athens: the Eleusinian mysteries at Eleusis, one of the demes of Athens, ca. 21 kilometres west of Athens and connected with it via “the Sacred Way” (Pausanias, Description of Greece 1.36.3), with its sanctuary of Demeter and Persephone/Kore, which was the center of—as Kevin Clinton concisely puts it—“the annual festival of the mysteries, which attracted initiates from the entire Greek-speaking world.” As I will now indicate, this language of “perfection” and “vision,” as expressed in the phrase τὰ τέλεα καὶ ἐποπτικά (“the final perfection and full vision”) and denoting “the highest mysteries,” is also present in John’s Gospel. Firstly, with regard to the language of perfection, in his final prayer at the conclusion of the last symposium, Jesus states his intention to his divine Father, that his pupils “will be perfected into one” by experiencing the same divine love that the Father has for Jesus... As those who ascend the ladder of love in Plato’s Symposium become perfected—that is, initiated into the mysteries—so the pupils at the last symposium are also perfected into one, and into the divine love...
In the Johannine corpus, all of these instances—of a perfecting into one that conveys the experience of comprehensive divine love, and of the perfection of divine love in those who love—seem to resonate with the notion of perfection through initiation into the higher mysteries of love on the ladder of love. This combination of perfection and love is altogether absent from the Synoptic Gospels. Is it a coincidence that Lazarus, who is described to Jesus as “him whom you love” (11:3), is also ambiguously described as “the one who has finished” (ὁ τετελευτηκώς; 11:39)—meaning “the one who has finished life, who has died,” “the deceased”—but, in a sense, only apparently so, because he “has fallen asleep” and needs to be awoken from his sleep, as Jesus says (11:11–14), and thus seems to be the one who is initiated into death and resurrection? Hence the beloved pupil (inasmuch as he seems to be identical with Lazarus) is not expected to die again (21:21–23), and he is also the first who, seemingly from his own experience (if he is indeed identical with Lazarus), understands upon seeing the empty tomb (and especially because he notices the separate position of the σουδάριον, the facial covering that he himself had worn when he walked out of his tomb; 20:7, cf. 11:44) that Jesus has been brought to life again (20:8). Consequently, there seems to be a wordplay between “being perfected” or “initiated” (τετελειωμένος; 17:23) and “having finished” or “died” (τετελευτηκώς; 11:39), between τελειόω and τελευτάω.
A similar wordplay between τέλειος / τέλεος (“perfect,” “initiated”), τελευτάω (“to finish,” “to come to an end”), and τὸ τέλος (“the end”) is made in Diotima’s speech, as the final perfection (τὰ τέλεα; 210a) and full vision of the highest mysteries consist in the fact that those who are initiated into them and ascend the ladder of love “end” their former forms of knowledge and love, “come to an end,” “issue in,” and are thus fully initiated into the highest form of knowledge and love, which focuses on the very essence of beauty itself... A similarly playful combination of cognate forms such as τελέω, τελειόω, τελευτάω, and τὸ τέλος also occurs in the Gospel of John, not only with regard to the pupils who are perfected and initiated into one, and with regard to Lazarus, but also with respect to Jesus himself: he loves his pupils “till the end” (εἰς τέλος), as the author notes in his description of the last symposium (13:1), and it is at this symposium that he talks about his pupils’ perfection and initiation into one (17:23) before he finishes his life by exclaiming, again in marked difference from the Synoptic Gospels: “It has been finished, it has been perfected” (Τετέλεσται; 19:30). Both Lazarus’s and Jesus’s deaths are described in the ambiguous terminology of finishing, perfection, and initiation, and thus understood as initiations into a death that is followed by a resurrection, just as in the mystery religions. It seems that Jesus’s final exclamation, “It has been finished” (Τετέλεσται), signals the end of such an initiation, thus putting the event of his death on a par with the place of initiation at the Eleusinian mysteries, which—as becomes clear in Plutarch’s description of the building of the Eleusinian sanctuary—is called a τελεστήριον, a place for initiation...
This is by no means the only allusion to the Eleusinian mysteries in John’s Gospel. Just before his death, at the beginning of the last festival that he attends in the Jerusalem temple, it is the very Greeks who wish to see Jesus whom he answers with a reference to his approaching death, cast in a hidden allusion to the Eleusinain mysteries, which revolve around the contemplation of an ear of wheat that was seen as the fruit of the resurrection of Aphrodite/ Kore:56 “unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (12:24)... What the Gospel of John reveals is that its author follows Diotima’s speech even in its use of initiation terminology and its reference to the Eleusinian mysteries. Whereas the annual festival of the Eleusinian mysteries at the τελεστήριον of the sanctuary of Demeter and Persephone/Kore at Athens attracted religious seekers from the entire Greek-speaking world, the author of John’s Gospel mirrors and inverts this festival in the annual Passover festival at the Jerusalem temple, which is visited by Greeks who seek Jesus and see the Eleusinian mysteries accomplished in him, whose very body is a temple (2:19–21) and a place of initiation (τελεστήριον; 19:30).
Among the Gentiles Greco-Roman Religion and Christianity (Yale University Press, 2009), Luke Timothy Johnson:
Two cultic activities of early assemblies would easily be recognized by members of Greco-Roman religious associations. The first was baptism, the ritual of initiation that marked entry into the community. As an initiatory ritual, it was notable primarily for its simplicity and its singularity; in the Mysteries, initiations tended to be complex and multiple. For Jewish believers, baptismal washing for males would represent an addition to the Jewish ritual of circumcision; for Gentile converts, baptism replaced circumcision (Col 2:11-12)-a circumstance that also could be the occasion for conflict. The second cultic activity was the meal. Some version of "breaking bread in houses" (Acts 2:42, 46) that Paul calls the "Lord's Banquet" (kyriakon deipnon; 1 Cor 11:20) was celebrated in the gathered assembly, probably on the day of resurrection, the first day of the week (1 Cor 16:2; see Rev 1:10). The rituals of initiation and meals were occasions for enacting the presence of the risen Lord in the assembly and for remembering the words and deeds of Jesus in the context of his continuing powerful presence... As he reports the risen Lord saying to him when Paul asked to be freed from the stake in his flesh, "My grace [charis-that is, "benefit"] is sufficient for you, for [my] power [dynamis] is brought to perfection [teleitai] in weakness" (2 Cor 12:9). ...
Paul's response to those Colossians who, after their baptism into Christ, pursued further "perfection" or "maturity" through circumcision, asceticism, and visions-all instinctive to Religiousness A as found in Greco-Roman religion makes the role of thinking even more explicit. Their maturity does not result from adding on but from digging deeper. Paul wants them to be filled with "recognition of [God's] will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding" (Col 1:9). To what end? That they might "walk worthily of the Lord in everything pleasing, bearing fruit in every good deed and growing in the recognition of God" (1:10). Paul connects this growth in knowledge and in moral behavior precisely with the divine dynamis in which they had become participants... Paul again argues morally from their religious experience of baptism, in which they were "buried together with him" and were "raised with him" through faith (Col 2:12). If then they died with Christ (2:20) and if they were raised with him (3:1), that ritual pattern should determine their moral behavior: they should put to death all modes of vice and "put on" the new humanity, resisting all impulses that drive them to rivalry and competition and instead showing toward each other the same compassion that was shown them (3:12-13). And over all these, Paul says, they should put on agape, which is the bond of perfection (teleiotetos, or maturity)... Paul's language of "perfection" echoes that used for the Mysteries; see Phil 1:6; p2; Gal 3=3; 2 Cor 8:6, 11; Rom 15:28; and R. S. Ascough, "The Completion of a Religious Duty: The Background of 2 Cor 8:1-15," New Testament Studies 42 (1996): 584-599.
Mystery Cults, Theatre and Athenian Politics: A Reading of Euripides' Bacchae and Aristophanes' Frogs (Bloomsbury Academic, 2023), Luigi Barzini:
Initiation (τελετή) from τελεῖν (accomplish, finish), originally meant ‘accomplishment’, ‘performance’. The term is characteristically used to denote initiation in the mysteries, and in plural to mystic rites practised at initiation, such as the festival accompanied by mystic rites. This term covers a wide semantic field. Meanings include ‘initiation in the mysteries’ but also ‘accomplishment’, ‘fulfilment’, ‘perfection’ and ‘completion’, terms that express the spiritual weight that mystery initiation had for the Greeks in terms of the spiritual state of the individual.
As I've mentioned before, Greco-Roman initiation rituals seem to be influenced by the Egyptian mortuary ritual. Diodorus Siculus in his Library of Histories (1.96.4–6) says:
Orpheus, for instance, brought from Egypt most of his mystic ceremonies, the orgiastic rites that accompanied his wanderings, and his fabulous account of his experiences in Hades. [...] and the punishments in Hades of the unrighteous, the Fields of the Righteous, and the fantastic conceptions, current among the many, which are figments of the imagination – all these were introduced by Orpheus in imitation of the Egyptian funeral customs.
You also find this concept of "perfection" and "completion" in the Egyptian mortuary ritual. For Paul, the concept of "perfection" is related to morality. Paul also says that the perishable must put on imperishability.
1 Corinthians 15:
For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When this perishable body puts on imperishability and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law."
Death and Salvation in Ancient Egypt (Cornell University Press, 2005), Jan Assmann:
The Egyptians wanted to overcome death in both kinds of time, and to do this, they relied on both Re and Osiris... To achieve this goal of Osirian continuation, they needed embalming, mummification, and, above all, the Judgment of the Dead. The concept of completion/perfection, Egyptian nfrw, not only had connotations of beauty, perfection, and imperishability but also, and above all, connotations of virtue and righteousness, of moral perfection and conformance with the norms of maat. From djet-time, there arose a moral perspective. Only good could continue unchangeably; evil, bad, uncleanliness, and imperfection were given over to perishability. The moral qualities of a result, that is, its conformance to maat, decided its imperishability... The Judgment of the Dead represented an extreme spiritualizing and ethicizing of the mythical concept of vindicating the deceased against death... The guilt of the deceased was that which stood in the way of his transformation into the eternal form of a “transfigured ancestral spirit.” It was the Egyptian form of the Pauline concept, “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23)... He who is vindicated in the Judgment of the Dead will “stride freely like the lords of eternity,” he will be accepted among the gods. He will thus not only enjoy continuance on earth but also immortality in the next world... This was the moment when the process of life turned into the unchangeable and indestructible permanence of Wennefer [= Osiris], the “completed lasting one”... There is good reason to think that ancient Egyptian burial customs lived on in the Hellenistic Isis mysteries, though in the latter case, they were enacted and interpreted not as a burial of the deceased but as an initiation of the living...
"Death and Initiation in the Funerary Religion of Ancient Egypt", Jan Assmann in Religion and Philosophy in Ancient Egypt, Yale Egyptological Studies 3, 1989:
The embalming process, to which it refers, is related to the topic of initiation in manifold ways. It is conceived not so much as a preservation of the corpse, but rather as its transfiguration to a new body: one "filled with magic," the perishable substances of which have been replaced by everlasting ones, resting in the mummy-cover as if it were a kind of magic garment.
In 1 Corinthians 15 Paul also says:
But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” Fool! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. And as for what you sow, you do not sow the body that is to be but a bare seed, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain... What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a physical body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body.
Mummies & Magic: The Funerary Arts of Ancient Egypt (Dallas Museum of Art, 1993), Sue D'Auria and Peter Lacovara::
The underlying idea was that life can only exist, be renewed, and be regained through death. Not only human beings, but also such gods as Re and Osiris were mortal: They had life in the sense that they had died and arisen from the dead... Akh is usually translated as “spirit” but its corporeal aspect should not be neglected. A bodily spirit or spiritual body may seem a contradiction in terms, but it is not unknown in religious, or at least Christian, terminology: If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body.
In both Paul and John the planting and sprouting of a seed is used as a metaphor for resurrection which you also find in the Egyptian mortuary cult and the mystery cults. In John 12:24 Jesus says:
“unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit”
Ancient Egyptian Magic (William Morrow Paperbacks, 1998), Bob Brier:
One of the most interesting magical objects in this room was a wooden mold in the shape of Osiris. This mold was lined with linen and filled with rich topsoil deposited by the Nile. Seeds, mostly for grain, were planted in the topsoil. When they sprouted, they would be a green, living representation for Osiris, symbolizing resurrection. Tutankhamen had sought to identify himself with Osiris in that way and bring about his resurrection.
All Things Ancient Egypt: An Encyclopedia of the Ancient Egyptian World (ABC-CLIO, 2019), Lisa K. Sabbahy:
Osiris beds were placed in tombs. These consisted of a hollow frame in the shape of the mummiform Osiris that was filled with earth in which seeds were sown. These would have then grown after the tomb was sealed, actualizing the resurrection of Osiris and, hence, that of the deceased.
Another important aspect of the Egyptian mortuary ritual is "justification". In Romans 5 Paul says:
Results of Justification:
Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand, and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God... Much more surely, therefore, since we have now been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath of God... Therefore just as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all... But law came in, so that the trespass might increase, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so grace might also reign through justification leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Following Osiris: Perspectives on the Osirian Afterlife from Four Millennia (Oxford University Press, 2017), Mark Smith:
In the same way that Osiris was restored to life and declared free of wrongdoing, so all who died hoped to be revived and justified... As in earlier periods, those who passed the test of judgement were declared ‘justified' and accepted into the following of Osiris... In the same way that justification and acceptance into the company of Osiris’s followers offered a means of social reintegration for those whom death had cut off from friends and relations, the mummification rites restored the physical integrity of their bodies, transfiguring them and endowing them with a new eternal form... the concepts of mummification and justification were closely linked...
"Death and Initiation in the Funerary Religion of Ancient Egypt", Jan Assmann in Religion and Philosophy in Ancient Egypt, Yale Egyptological Studies 3, 1989:
"Justification" is the central concept of Egyptian funerary religion in which all aspects of the "overcoming of death" and of salvation in the next world come together... The deceased must justify himself: with respect to the enemy (as the personification of death)... with respect to the divine prosecutor and judge, in whose presence the deceased must answer for his conduct on earth and prove himself worthy of eternal salvation...
In Romans 6 Pauls says:
Do you not know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we were buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him... For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
So in baptism Christians are symbolically crucified with Christ and raised to new life like Christ. In the Egyptian mortuary ritual Egyptians were first purified with water and then symbolically dismembered like Osiris and raised to new life like Osiris.
Death and Salvation in Ancient Egypt (Cornell University Press, 2005), Jan Assmann:
We now understand why the embalming ritual had to portray the corpse not just as a lifeless body but as a dismembered one... The myth dramatized this condition, telling how Seth slew his brother Osiris, tore his body into pieces, and scattered his limbs throughout all of Egypt. In the embalming ritual, this myth was played out for each deceased person, even if he had in no way been killed and dismembered but rather had died a peaceful, natural death... This first phase was carried out in the name of purification. Everything “foul,” that is, everything perishable that could represent a danger to the goal of achieving an eternal form, was removed from the body. For this reason, in the few representations of the embalming ritual, this phase is represented as a purifying bath. The corpse lay “on” (that is, in) a basin, and water was poured over it. The Egyptian word for such a basin is Sj, “lake,” and such a “lake” is mentioned repeatedly in the accompanying spells, some of which we shall cite in chapter 5... In Egyptian mortuary belief, Osiris was the prototype of every deceased individual. Everyone would become Osiris in death and be endowed with life by Isis... As Osiris, the deceased was fully vindicated against Seth, that is, death, in this lawsuit... The ordinary deceased was a follower of Osiris, was called Osiris and compared to him, and became a member of his following. He came into possession not only of life but also of personal status and recognition. He bore the name of the god, along with his own titles and his personal name, as well as the epithet “justified/vindicated.” He smote Seth, which meant that he had conquered death... Guilt, accusation, enmity, and so forth are treated as forms of impurity and decay—as, so to say, immaterial but harmful substances—that must be eliminated so as to transpose the deceased into a condition of purity that can withstand decay and dissolution. Vindication was moral mummification... He was vindicated against all accusations and absolved of any and all guilt, of any sin that could hinder his transition into the next life
Ablution, Initiation, and Baptism Late Antiquity, Early Judaism (Walter de Gruyter, 2011), David Hellholm, Tor Vegge, Oyvind Norderval, Christer Hellholm:
The ritual is said to have cleansed the ritual participants from the state of being that existed prior to the ritual. By means of the ritual they have acquired a state of purity categorically different from the one that characterised their previous state of being, i.e. they have been transferred from a state of impurity to a state of purity. It is certainly not coincidental that the cleansing metaphor precedes the next two metaphors which serve to make it clear to the recipients that the Corinthian Christ-believers have been initiated into a new form of being. They have not only been set apart from the world which is ultimately what the metaphor of sanctification implies but due to their justification in the name of the Lord Jesus and by means of the spirit of God they have also entered into a new legal state before God, i.e. they have been justified or acquitted of their previous guilt. In order to obtain justification, however, it is essential that the ritual participants have been transferred to a state in which they have been made ritually prepared for the acquisition of the justification. We do not need to enter into the discussion whether Paul in 1 Cor 6:11 is quoting from a pre-Pauline tradition or not. It suffices to note that in one of the earliest strands of what later became known as Christianity we find an amalgamation of elements pertaining to rituals of purification as well as rituals of initiation. Apparently, the two do not exclude each other... In fact I will argue that a ritual of initiation cannot be separated from the element of cleansing irrespective of whether that element is merely present in the form of a metaphorical formulation or as an independent, preparatory rite of purification... Although a rite of purification may not be part of the ritual of initiation per se, it does play a prominent role in the preparatory rites that precede Lucius’ initiation into the mysteries of Isis as recounted in the eleventh book of the Metamorphoses or The Golden Ass by Apuleius... It is a prevalent phenomenon frequently found in connection with rituals of initiation that a rite of cleansing or purification is somehow related to it.
A Journey Through the Beyond: The Development of the Concept of Duat and Related Cosmological Notions in Egyptian Funerary Literature (ISD LLC, Feb 1, 2022), Silvia Zago:
Moreover, at least some of these passages mentioning the lake(s) of the Duat associate these with the sun and the eastern horizon, near which such lakes may have been imagined to be located. In virtue of this connection, the Duat may be surmised to assume the connotation of a liminal, transitional place, where the sun and the king get cleansed before being ready to reappear on the horizon every morning and to rise in the sky. Ultimately, (ritual) purity was a necessary condition for being reborn, and for this reason it is often connected with the notion of the (initiatory) journey of the deceased through the Duat. The association between Osiris and water in a context of purification, renewal, and rebirth also had a long tradition in ancient Egyptian (funerary) literature...
In John, Lazarus is mourned by two sisters, is said to be "asleep" but will be awakened, and is bound with strips of cloth similar to a mummy. John 11:
Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with perfume and wiped his feet with her hair; her brother Lazarus was ill... After saying this, he told them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to awaken him.” The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will be all right.” Jesus, however, had been speaking about his death, but they thought that he was referring merely to sleep. Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. For your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” Thomas, who was called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days... he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”
In the Egyptian mortuary ritual there are two sisters who mourn Osiris, Osiris is said to be "asleep" but will be awakened, and he is wrapped as a mummy.
"The Baptismal Raising of Lazarus: A New Interpretation of John 11", Bernhard Lang, Novum Testamentum 58 (2016):
Though well hidden, the theme of baptism informs the whole story of the raising of Lazarus (John 11)... Ritually, the person being baptised is pushed into the realm of death, so that he can emerge to a new life... Unfortunately, our ancient sources on mystery religions tell us very little about how the “second birth” was ritually staged, for initiates were required to remain silent about it. Nevertheless, some hints found in ancient sources give an indication. The magic papyrus of Paris provides a good example. Around eleven o’clock in the morning and in the presence of the magician, the candidate is supposed to mount the roof of a house and spread out a piece of cloth. Naked he places himself upon it. His eyes are blindfolded, the entire body wrapped like a mummy... When this occurs, possibly in the form of a draught of air felt by the candidate, the latter stands up. He dons a white garment, burns incense and again utters a spell. The rites completed, he descends from the roof. Now he knows that he has acquired immortality. Similar rites and symbolic representations of death and resurrection can be found in all ancient mystery cults. “When the candidate of the mysteries of Isis applies for initiation, he chooses the ritual death in order to gain true life,” explains Reinhold Merkelbach. In fact, according to the ancients, each initiation ritual involves the death of the old and the birth of a new person; there are no exceptions. Early-Christian baptism divides the lives of those baptised in a sequence of three phases. In the first phase, the human being is enslaved to sin and the world. The second phase means death: the baptismal candidate is killed—symbolically, but not actually drowned by being forced under water. This “drowning” is the actual rite of baptism.
The Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts (SBL Press; Second edition, 2015), James P. Allen:
Recitation 194: This Teti’s sister (Wadjet), the Lady of Pe, is the one who cried for him, and the two attendants, (Isis and Nephthys), who mourned Osiris have mourned him... Recitation 526: Raise yourself, clear away your dust, remove the shroud on your face. Loosen your ties...
The Mortuary Papyrus of Padikakem Walters Art Museum 551 (ISD LLC, 2011), Yekaterina Barbash:
Both compositions of papyrus W551 are mortuary in character and address Osiris or the deceased associated with him... Thus while section 1 contains earthly expressions of love and mourning for the deceased, section 2 deals with his transition to a new state of being in the hereafter. The sequence of the texts corresponds with the Egyptian perception of death, i.e., the deceased is gradually transformed after death, from this world to the sphere of the divine... The two goddesses, Isis and Nephthys, refer to death from the viewpoint of the living, uncovering their human emotions, as they recall their love for Osiris and grieve for him... the myth of Osiris, Horus, and Seth is evoked in spell 10 of PW 551:"The Great One (=Osiris) awakens, The Great One wakes up. Osiris raised himself on his side, the One who hates sleep (i.e., death), one who does not love weariness. The god stands, being powerful of his body. Horus has lifted him up, he's raised in Nedit."... In the s3hw as well as in other mortuary texts such as the BR, the transformation into an akh occurs by means of association of the deceased with the god Osiris and his incorporation into the sphere of the divine... Isis and Nephthys perform the widest range of tasks for the deceased Osiris, including purification, protection, and reassembling. At the same time, the two sisters act as they do in the lamentations, mourning and "glorifying" Osiris...
Adoration of the Ram: Five Hymns to Amun-Re from Hibis Temple (Yale Egyptological Seminar, 2006), David Klotz:
Rather, the true meaning goes back to the Pyramid Text originals, where the deceased Osiris/King is asked to “wake up” (viz. “resurrect himself ”), a common theme in mortuary spells. As Griffiths has noted, “death is really only a sleep, then, a phase of tiredness,” while in the same vein sleep was considered a death-like state. Thus the term rs (“awake”) could refer as easily to resurrection from death as to physical awakening from sleep, since the two states were conceptually synonymous.
The Search for God in Ancient Egypt (Cornell University Press, 2001), Jan Assmann:
Both spells proceed from the situation of the deceased lying on his bier, and both set it in the light of a mythic situation or an event in the divine realm: the discovery of Osiris, who has been slain by his brother Seth. The mythic explanation facilitates action; in spell 532, the action of the mourning women, who bewail the deceased as Isis and Nephthys, embalm and awaken him... Death is not an end, but the beginning of the funerary rites, and thus it is also the beginning of the story that explains these rites... The Osiris myth overcomes the experience of death by according this apparently catastrophic and hopeless situation an orientation in which it becomes meaningful to say to the deceased: "Arise!" "Stand up!" "Lift yourself!"—called out to the deceased as he lies stretched out, these exhortations constitute a common element shared by the two texts. They occur in a hundred other spells of the Pyramid Texts, and in later funerary literature, they are expanded into lengthy recitations and litanies that make a refrain of them, consistently addressing them to the deceased lying on the bier or to Osiris... We can summarize all these recitations, from the Pyramid Texts through the latest Osirian mysteries, as a genre of "raise-yourself spells."... Addressed to the deceased lying inert, the spells say, "Raise yourself!" on various mythic grounds. Their function is to raise the dead...
Death and Salvation in Ancient Egypt (Cornell University Press, 2005), Jan Assmann:
“Salvation” and “eternal life” are Christian concepts, and we might think that the Egyptian myth can all too easily be viewed through the lens of Christian tradition. Quite the contrary, in my opinion, Christian myth is itself thoroughly stamped by Egyptian tradition, by the myth of Isis and Osiris, which from the very beginning had to do with salvation and eternal life. It thus seems legitimate to me to reconstruct the Egyptian symbolism with the help of Christian concepts. As with Orpheus and Eurydice, the constellation of Isis and Osiris can also be compared with Mary and Jesus. The scene of the Pietà, in which Mary holds the corpse of the crucified Jesus on her lap and mourns, is a comparable depiction of the body centered intensity of female grief, in which Mary is assisted by Mary Magdalene, just as Isis is assisted by Nephthys.
Lamentation and mourning seem to be common in mystery cults. The mourning women seem to always play a role in anointing, purifying, and protecting the deceased's body.
Dionysos (Routledge, 2006), Richard Seaford:
There is considerable evidence (albeit much of it from late antiquity) for lamentation in mystery-cult, sometimes for the deity. The dismemberment of Dionysos was associated with – or perhaps in some way enacted in – his mystery-cult: we know this mainly from late texts, but there is evidence that the myth was known in the archaic and classical periods, and in view of our vase-painting of maenads attending the head (mask) of Dionysos in the liknon, it is possible that in the fifth century BC maenads in mystery-cult lamented the death of Dionysos. And given the importance of Dionysiac cult – and specifically of mystery-cult performed by the thiasos – in the genesis of Athenian tragedy, it is not unlikely that the centrality of lamentation for an individual in tragedy derives in part from maenadic lamentation...
Mummies & Magic: The Funerary Arts of Ancient Egypt (Dallas Museum of Art, 1993), Sue D'Auria and Peter Lacovara:
The renewal, that mysterious process that Kristensen’ called life from death, came about outside the created world in the unfathomable depth and darkness of the primeval waters (Nun) that surround this world. It is in that mysterious space that the deceased could live again. One sun-hymn reads: "How beautiful is thy shining forth in the horizon We are in renewal of life. We have entered into Nun He has renovated (us) to one who is young for the first time The (one) has been stripped off, the other put on." The last sentence has been interpreted to mean, “The old man is cast off and the new man is put on.“ It may also call to mind the mummy-bandages that are thrown off in the decisive moment of resurrection and the white garments that the glorified dead wear in depictions of the Underworld... The process begins with mummification: “the evening is set aside for you with oils and wrapping in the arms of the Weaving-Goddess"... Mummy-bindings had to be removed at the moment of resurrection... The thoroughness with which the Egyptians are wrapped makes understandable such special prayers as the one written on a coffin in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, directing the goddess Isis to free the mummy from its wrappings at the moment of resurrection: “Ho my mother Isis, come that you may remove the bindings which are on me".
So by entering the primordial waters the "old man is cast off and the new man is put on". This sounds very similar to how Paul describes baptism. The water purification during the mortuary ritual was associated with the primordial waters.
Death and the Afterlife in Ancient Egypt (British Museum Press, 2001), John H. Taylor:
The first stage was the purification of the corpse by washing... Cleansing of the corpse before mummification was doubtless a practical necessity, but the ritual aspects of the washing were perhaps of greater significance. According to Egyptian belief, water held important purifying and life giving qualities. Each dawn was a repetition of the original birth of the sun god from the watery chaos of Nun... Hence lustration came to be closely associated with rebirth...A ritual purification was necessary before the dead king could ascend to heaven in the manner of his divine model the sun god... In some of the Old Kingdom Pyramid Texts (5th to 6th Dynasties) the dead king is identified with Osiris, and thereby was believed to experience rebirth just as the murdered god had done.
The Egyptian Book of the Dead: The Book of Going Forth by Day edited by Eva Von Dassow:
Every evening the aged sun entered the underworld and travelled through it, immersed in Nun, only to emerge at dawn as Khepri, the newborn sun. Thus, the waters of Nun had a rejuvenating, baptismal quality essential to rebirth.
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2023.03.15 07:18 dualmindblade ChatGPT 4 explains Mitch Hedburg and writes standup

Follow up to this. I'm not 100% sure but I believe the new jokes are original, I spot checked with google. TLDR: Unlike Bing, this model nails all the explanations. It stumbles a couple times when trying to write similar jokes but does much better when I ask it to be more creative. It then writes some reasonable longer form standup which gets a bit bad/sappy when I ask for something personal. This is all unedited and from a single session with no other discarded attempts
Me: My friend asked me if I wanted a frozen banana. I said, no but I want a regular banana later so... yeah. Explain why this joke is funny.
ChatGPT: This joke is funny because it plays on the expectation of a typical response and the absurdity of the punchline. When the friend asks if the person wants a frozen banana, the expected response would be either "yes" or "no" based on their preference for frozen bananas. Instead, the response introduces an unrelated preference for a regular banana later, which is an unexpected twist.
The humor lies in the fact that the person seems to be acknowledging that they will want a regular banana later and therefore agrees to accept the frozen banana now, as if it will naturally turn into a regular banana over time. The absurdity of this reasoning and the surprise element make the joke funny.
Me: I want to hang a map of the world in my house. Then I'm gonna put pins into all the locations I've traveled to, but first I'm gonna have to travel to the top two corners of the map, so it won't fall down. Explain why this joke is funny.
ChatGPT: This joke is funny due to the unexpected twist in the punchline and the use of wordplay. When the speaker mentions hanging a map and putting pins into the locations they've traveled to, the listener expects a typical scenario where the pins serve as markers of the places visited. However, the punchline subverts this expectation by stating that the speaker needs to travel to the top two corners of the map first.
The humor lies in the literal interpretation of the act of hanging the map and using pins to secure it. Instead of using the pins as markers for visited locations, the punchline suggests that the speaker is using them to physically hold the map up on the wall. The absurdity of the idea that someone would need to travel to the top corners of the world just to hang a map and the clever wordplay make the joke funny.
Me: I have a cheese shredder at home. That's a positive name for it: cheese shredder. They don't call it by its negative name because nobody would buy it... sponge ruiner. Why is this joke funny?
ChatGPT: This joke is funny because it plays on the dual functionality of a common household object and the unexpected shift in perspective. The humor arises from the contrast between the positive and negative connotations of the object's potential names.
When the speaker refers to the "cheese shredder," the listener immediately understands the intended use and positive function of the tool. However, the punchline introduces an alternative and negative name, "sponge ruiner," which unexpectedly highlights a downside of the same object when it comes to cleaning it with a sponge.
The joke is amusing because it presents an absurd yet relatable truth about how the cheese shredder can damage sponges during the cleaning process. This unexpected twist and the humorous observation of the contrasting names for the same object create the comical effect.
Me: A lot of death metal bands have intense names, like "Rigor Mortis" or "Mortuary," or "Obituary". We weren't that intense. We just went with "Injured". Later on we changed it to "Acapella"... as we were walking out of the pawn shop. Why is this joke funny?
ChatGPT: This joke is funny because it plays on the contrast between the expectations of death metal bands and the reality of the speaker's band, as well as the unexpected twist in the punchline.
The first part of the joke sets up the expectation by mentioning typical death metal band names like "Rigor Mortis," "Mortuary," and "Obituary," which all have intense and dark connotations. The humor begins when the speaker reveals that their band's name was "Injured," which is considerably less intense and contrasts with the genre's standard.
The punchline adds another layer of humor with the further shift in the band's name to "Acapella." The name change occurs as they are "walking out of the pawn shop," implying that they had to sell their instruments due to financial hardship or other reasons. The new name, "Acapella," contrasts even more with the death metal genre, as it typically refers to vocal music without instrumental accompaniment. This unexpected twist and the juxtaposition of the band's situation with the intensity of death metal create the comical effect.
Me: I don't have a girlfriend. I just know a girl who would get really mad if she heard me say that. Why is this joke funny?
ChatGPT: This joke is funny because it plays on the ambiguity of the speaker's relationship status and the unexpected twist in the punchline. The humor comes from the clever use of words to describe a situation that is not explicitly defined.
At the beginning of the joke, the speaker claims not to have a girlfriend, leading the listener to assume that they are single. However, the punchline introduces a girl who would get "really mad" if she heard the speaker's claim, implying that she might believe they are in a relationship or have a romantic connection.
The joke plays on the contrast between the speaker's perspective, in which they don't consider themselves to be in a relationship, and the girl's possible perspective, which suggests she might see things differently. This discrepancy, combined with the indirect and humorous way of describing their ambiguous relationship status, creates the comical effect.
Me: I don't have any children, but if I had a baby, I would have to name it, so I would buy a baby naming book... or I would invite somebody over who had a cast on. Why is this joke funny?
ChatGPT: This joke is funny because it sets up an expectation and then subverts it with an unexpected and absurd punchline. The humor lies in the unusual connection made between the act of naming a baby and a seemingly unrelated situation.
Initially, the speaker talks about not having any children, but hypothetically considers the process of naming a baby. The listener expects the speaker to continue discussing conventional methods, such as buying a baby naming book, which is a common and reasonable approach. However, the punchline takes an unexpected turn by suggesting that they would invite someone over with a cast on.
The humor emerges from the absurdity of this suggestion, as it implies that the speaker would seek inspiration for their baby's name by looking at the signatures and messages written on someone's cast. This unexpected and unconventional approach to naming a baby, combined with the clever misdirection, creates the comical effect.
Me: Please write your own joke in the style of the above examplea
ChatGPT: I don't have any pets, but if I were to get a dog, I'd need to train it. So, I'd either get a dog training book or just invite someone over who's really good at giving high fives.
Me: Another one please
ChatGPT: I don't have a green thumb, but if I were to start gardening, I'd need some advice. So, I'd either buy a gardening book or just invite someone over who always forgets their umbrella and let nature teach them a lesson.
Me: Again but instead of copying the exact structure of the joke be a bit more loose with the design
ChatGPT: You know, I've been thinking about learning a new language, but instead of using language apps or taking classes, I decided to adopt a parrot. That way, we can both be confused while repeating words we don't understand.
Me: Not bad, do a string of 3 or 4, as they might be presented in a standup comedy routine
ChatGPT: So, I recently moved into a new apartment, and I wanted to decorate the walls. Instead of buying expensive art, I just framed all my rejection letters. Now I have a gallery of "motivational" art that keeps me going.
Speaking of motivation, I thought about getting into shape. I joined a gym, but it was too expensive, so I found a cheaper alternative: I just carry my groceries home without any bags. Now, I'm not only building muscle, but I'm also saving the environment!
And you know what's funny about relationships these days? People spend more time swiping left and right on dating apps than they do actually talking to each other. I thought I'd be more old-fashioned and meet people at the bookstore. Turns out, the only date I got was with a self-help book that convinced me I'm better off alone.
Me: Okay, pretty good. Keep going with that
ChatGPT: So, I've been trying to become more cultured lately. I went to an art gallery, but instead of admiring the paintings, I spent most of the time trying to figure out if the people standing still were part of the exhibit or just really focused on the art.
I decided to give cooking a shot too. They say cooking is like chemistry, and they're right. My kitchen now looks like a failed experiment, and I'm on a first-name basis with the pizza delivery guy.
Have you ever noticed that people are obsessed with taking pictures of their food? I tried it once, but the flash was too bright, and I ended up eating half the meal with my eyes closed. I couldn't see what I was eating, but at least I can say I dined in the dark.
You know, I wanted to try one of those escape rooms with my friends. It's funny how we pay to get locked in a room together when we could just as easily recreate the experience at home by trying to assemble IKEA furniture as a team.
Me: Very funny! Can you write something just as good but in the style of a comedian who does more cerebral, long form standup?
ChatGPT: You know, I've been thinking a lot about technology and how it's taking over our lives. I mean, we have these incredibly powerful computers in our pockets that can access all of human knowledge, but instead, we use them to argue with strangers and watch cat videos. It's like giving a toddler a nuclear reactor to power their nightlight. The potential is there, but we're just not using it right.
And speaking of technology, have you ever thought about how artificial intelligence is slowly encroaching on our lives? You've got AI assistants that can manage your schedule, order your groceries, and even control the temperature in your house. At this rate, it won't be long before we're dating AI companions, and you have to wonder, will the AI judge you for your choice in Netflix shows? I mean, I can handle judgment from another human, but I don't know if I can take it from a machine that doesn't even sleep.
Now, let's talk about self-driving cars. It's a fascinating concept, but there's always that lingering fear of losing control. Imagine being in a self-driving car that's going too fast, and you're desperately searching for the manual override, like an astronaut in a rogue spaceship. And when the car finally comes to a stop, you realize you've just been on a roller coaster of emotions, and you don't even need to go to an amusement park anymore.
It's interesting to observe how the digital age has shaped our interactions. We have social media platforms designed to connect us, but in reality, they've turned us into voyeurs of other people's lives. We're like wildlife photographers, stealthily observing from a distance, but never really engaging with the subjects. We've become experts at documenting every moment, but we've lost the art of truly experiencing them.
In conclusion, the rapid pace of technological advancement is like a double-edged sword. On one hand, it brings us unparalleled convenience and access to information. On the other hand, it exposes the absurdity of human behavior and how we often struggle to adapt to our own creations. In the end, maybe we're not so different from those cat videos we love to watch - clumsy, curious creatures just trying to make sense of the world we live in.
Me: That is very good, what if that comedian pivots to something more personal, write something like that
ChatGPT: You know, as I observe the world around me and how technology has changed the way we interact, I can't help but think about my own experiences growing up. Back when I was a kid, we didn't have smartphones or social media. If we wanted to share a moment with someone, we had to be there, physically present, experiencing it together. There was no option to livestream or post pictures for likes and validation.
I remember my grandma's house, where the whole family would gather on weekends. We would sit around the table for hours, talking, laughing, and sharing stories. There was a warmth to those moments that no amount of technology can replicate. The smell of her home-cooked meals, the sound of my cousins playing in the backyard, and the feeling of being part of something bigger than myself - those memories are etched into my soul.
As I got older, I realized that life has a way of pulling us in different directions. Family members moved away, everyone got busy with their own lives, and those gatherings became less frequent. It was a gradual change, but it hit me one day when I was scrolling through my social media feed. I was looking at pictures of my family members, each living their separate lives, and I couldn't help but feel a sense of longing for the past.
I decided to take matters into my own hands and organize a family reunion, just like the old days. I sent out invitations, called everyone personally, and even managed to convince my tech-savvy niece to put her phone down for a day. And you know what? It was magical. There was laughter, tears, and a profound connection that I hadn't felt in years.
That experience taught me a valuable lesson: while technology can provide us with endless information and entertainment, it can't replace the warmth of human connection. So, let's not forget to put down our devices every once in a while and truly engage with the people around us. Because, at the end of the day, the moments we cherish the most are the ones we share with those we love.
Me: That's touching but nothing funny yet, let's continue the routine but end with something that has a comedic punch
ChatGPT: So there I was, organizing this family reunion, trying to recreate the magic of those long-lost gatherings. I went all out, planning games, preparing a feast, and even setting up a makeshift photo booth. I was determined to make this a day to remember.
The big day arrived, and as my family members started trickling in, I noticed something peculiar. Despite my efforts to create an environment for genuine connection, everyone seemed to be glued to their screens, posting pictures and updating their status. It was as if they were more concerned with showing the world that they were having a good time than actually enjoying the moment.
But then, my 80-year-old grandpa, who had never used a smartphone in his life, decided to give an impromptu speech. He stood up, cleared his throat, and delivered a heartfelt monologue about the importance of family and the memories we share. It was so moving that, one by one, everyone put their phones down to listen.
Just as grandpa was wrapping up his speech, he paused, pulled out a smartphone that my cousin had taught him to use, and said, "Now, if you don't mind, I'd like to take a selfie with all of you, so I can post it on my new Instagram account. I've got to keep up with the times, you know!" The whole room erupted in laughter, and we all leaned in for that epic selfie.
It turns out grandpa had found the perfect way to remind us of the importance of connection while embracing the inevitable changes that come with the times. And that, my friends, is how my tech-illiterate grandpa became an overnight social media sensation, reminding us all that sometimes the best way to make a point is with a healthy dose of humor.
Me: Okay I like it a lot. Can you repeat the joke I told you about the banana?
ChatGPT: Of course! Here's the joke you shared earlier:
My friend asked me if I wanted a frozen banana. I said, no but I want a regular banana later so... yeah.
submitted by dualmindblade to slatestarcodex [link] [comments]

2023.03.11 12:24 Squidsoda There are 450+ Bitcoin obituaries and counting. Several more “Bitcoin obituaries” will probably be written here soon by the media. Bitcoin has survived. Stay strong during these rough times.

There is a website that keeps track of all the articles that have declared Bitcoin “dead or dying.”
The latest article proclaiming Bitcoin dead/dying was in February and Bitcoin is still alive and kicking. Bitcoin is highly volatile but it is also resilient. It has also had consistent steady growth even with all of its up’s and down’s. We are currently going through a rough patch with all of the recent events. Despite all of this, remember Bitcoin and crypto is here to stay. Stick to your plan whatever that maybe because all this will pass.
submitted by Squidsoda to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

2023.03.09 14:33 jookco Death - Obituary : Our condolences to those lost in this morning’s attacks across Ukraine – the latest victims of Russia’s brutal and senseless war. Such cowardly attacks on critical infrastructure, homes, and the Ukrainian people will not break their spirit or our support for Ukraine.

Death - Obituary : Our condolences to those lost in this morning’s attacks across Ukraine – the latest victims of Russia’s brutal and senseless war. Such cowardly attacks on critical infrastructure, homes, and the Ukrainian people will not break their spirit or our support for Ukraine. submitted by jookco to DeathObituaries [link] [comments]

2023.03.08 14:59 Mean-Examination-965 What do you think of this personal statement in the tone of Wednesday generated by AI chat bot?

My name is Wednesday Addams and I am applying for the Bachelor of Arts in Mortuary Science program at your esteemed institution. I have always been fascinated by death and the rituals surrounding it. I believe that death is not something to be feared, but rather something to be celebrated and honored.
I have a strong academic background in biology, chemistry, and anatomy. I have also taken courses in history, psychology, and sociology to broaden my perspective on different cultures and their views on death. I have excelled in all my subjects and maintained a high GPA throughout my high school years.
I have also gained valuable practical experience in the field of mortuary science. I have volunteered at several funeral homes and crematoriums, where I assisted with embalming, dressing, casketing, and cremating the deceased. I have also helped with arranging funerals and memorial services for various clients.
I have also conducted my own independent research on various topics related to death and dying. For example, I have studied the history of burial practices around the world, from ancient Egypt to modern Japan. I have also explored the effects of death on the living, such as grief, bereavement, and coping strategies.
I am passionate about pursuing a career in mortuary science because I believe that it is a noble and rewarding profession that serves an important function in society. I want to help people honor their loved ones and provide them with dignity and respect in their final moments. I also want to contribute to the advancement of knowledge and innovation in this field.
I believe that your institution is the ideal place for me to pursue my academic and professional goals. Your program offers a comprehensive curriculum that covers both theoretical and practical aspects of mortuary science. Your faculty are renowned experts who can provide me with guidance and mentorship. Your facilities are state-of-the-art and equipped with the latest technology.
I am confident that I have the skills, qualifications, and motivation to succeed in your program and become a valuable member of your community. I would be honored if you would consider my application and grant me an opportunity to fulfill my dreams.
Thank you for your time and attention.
Wednesday Addams
submitted by Mean-Examination-965 to WednesdayTVSeries [link] [comments]

2023.03.07 15:21 jookco Death - Obituary : Shocked and devastated to hear of the axing of @BBCSingers . The arts have been under attack from neo-liberal profiteering politics for decades and this is just the latest short sighted, selfish bit of decision making. 20 livelihoods lost, and that’s just the singers themselves.

Death - Obituary : Shocked and devastated to hear of the axing of @BBCSingers . The arts have been under attack from neo-liberal profiteering politics for decades and this is just the latest short sighted, selfish bit of decision making. 20 livelihoods lost, and that’s just the singers themselves. submitted by jookco to DeathObituaries [link] [comments]

2023.03.04 16:00 _call-me-al_ [Sat, Mar 04 2023] TL;DR — This is what you missed in the last 24 hours on Reddit

If you want to receive this as a daily email in your inbox, you can now join at this link


Ukraine says if Russia tries to invade from Belarus again, this time, it's ready - with "presents"
Comments Link
Ukrainian commander says there are more Russians attacking the city of Bakhmut than there is ammo to kill them
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Attorney General Merrick Garland makes unannounced trip to Ukraine
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No jail time for woman who admitted having sex with 13-year-old, having his baby
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Deputy gangs a 'cancer' within the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, scathing report says
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Unusually heavy snowfall on US west coast is ‘once-in-a-generation’ event
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Researchers found that when they turned cancer cells into immune cells, they were able to teach other immune cells how to attack cancer, “this approach could open up an entirely new therapeutic approach to treating cancer”
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Women who have experienced intimate partner violence are almost three times as likely to have a diagnosed mental health condition and almost twice as likely to have a chronic illness, compared with those who have not experienced intimate partner violence.
Comments Link
Too much or too little sleep could be making you sick more. Those who reported sleeping less than six hours a night were 27% more likely to report a recent infection, and those who reported more than nine hours sleep were 44% more likely to report one.
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Tifu by telling my 6 year old about the sun exploding
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New image captures remnant of the first-recorded supernova. The "guest" star was documented by ancient Chinese astronomers some 1,800 years ago and remained visible to the naked-eye for more than 8 months.
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SpaceX capsule delivers latest four-member crew to International Space Station
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Self-Driving Cars Need to Be 99.99982% Crash-Free to Be Safer Than Humans
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Full-time office work is ‘dead’: 3 labor experts weigh in on the future of remote work
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San Francisco startup ‘Living Carbon’ intends to plant millions of genetically modified trees to help slow climate change.
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What's an unwritten rule about the road that new drivers should know?
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What made you realise your best friend was actually a complete asshole?
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What TV show or movie is basically propaganda?
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TIL The Japanese government fearing that the Americans occupying Japan would behave as Japanese troops had overseas, set up a front organization (Recreation and Amusement Association) to establish brothels, asking patriotic Japanese women to sacrifice themselves as "comfort women" for the Americans.
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TIL that we start forgetting early childhood memories at around age 7
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TIL that Henry Cavendish, a scientist whose work led to Ohm's law, measured current by noting how strong a shock he felt as he completed the circuit with his body.
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[OC] Swear Words in Each Taylor Swift Album
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[OC] Wikipedia Edits by Day, 2001–2010
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Which US states depend the most on taxes for their revenue? [OC]
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Can I make lasagna ahead of time, but instead of baking it, keep it in the fridge overnight and bake it the next day?
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So I know you can add onions and garlic to jarred tomato sauce to help elevate it. But would doing the same with shallots work as well? that's all i have on hand.
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What are your secrets to taking your sandwiches to the next level?
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[Homemade] Italian Hoagie
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[homemade] French onion & braised short rib soup with Gruyere garlic cheese bread
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[homemade] Brisket Burnt Ends
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Tom Sizemore, ‘Heat’ and ‘Saving Private Ryan’ Actor, Dead at 61
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Aaron Taylor-Johnson Joins Robert Eggers’ ‘Nosferatu’ Movie For Focus Features
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New 'Alien' Movie Announces Plot Synopsis, Full Cast.
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RatChilling, Me, Digital, 2021
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Rain cat, me, duct tape and paper towels on the inside, 2023
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Strikingly, Me, Digital, 2023
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‘The Penguin’ Casts Clancy Brown As Salvatore Maroni
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'The Righteous Gemstones' Season 3 Premieres This Summer on HBO
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TV Rewind: '12 Monkeys' Remains One of TV's Smartest Time Travel Shows – The show layers a brilliant mystery around characters you grow to love, and it’s a deftly-executed ride to get there, from start to finish
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About 15 seconds after getting out of the car at White Castle in Bowling Green, Ky.
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200 trash bags of litter cleaned up in Houston Texas!
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New feral foster mama protecting her baby oranges 🍊
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Piggy in a box
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Watching a video of another chicken
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The wax statue security guard guarding a bank in Beverly Hills
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I went to the place that is on my Discover Card
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My hair wax has a warning just for Americans to not eat it.
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The Tonca is an event in Trento, Italy, where every 19th of June a ceremonial jury sentences the local politician that committed the year's worst blunder to be locked in a cage and dunked in the river
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The cassowary is commonly acknowledged as the world’s most dangerous bird, particularly to humans
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My history teacher brought these Stars of David that his ancestors had to wear in Nazi Germany
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bad labeling design
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Not many of my friends here in Sweden got why I was laughing...
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At an Ice Cream Shop in Minnesota
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Our Chiweenie soaking up sun...or sleeping upright [OC]
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[OC] Mother and baby Snek
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Dog offered their paw and gently held their owner's pet bird.
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Get this as a daily email!
submitted by _call-me-al_ to RedditTLDR [link] [comments]

2023.03.04 07:00 BevoBot [3/4/2023] Saturday's Off Topic Free Talk Thread

/LonghornNation Daily Off Topic Free Talk Thread

Today: 3/4/2023
Last Thread

Current Austin Weather: 54° and Clear

Seven Day Forecast:
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Your go-to place to talk about whatever you want. From the dumb shit aggies do on a near daily basis, to the latest whatever happening wherever. What ya got?

Recent Longhorn Tweets

  1. @Hcard7 Did you know @PUCancerInst has +40 drugs in development? I’m excited to help them #HammerDownCancer during Wednesda… https://t.co/qMt4N1J2PU
  2. @CoachSark Good Morning Austin, TX 🤘🏽 https://t.co/Pu2lK8DkmF
  3. @TexasFootball Keondre Coburn put in work at the NFL Combine 🤘 📺 #NFLCombine March 2-5 on @NFLNetwork https://t.co/sDFIRmt3uX
  4. @_delconte RT @AColeUT: Thank you for the opportunity @JCHartzell to speak with Deans @LucchinettiMD Alexa Stuifbergen and Sam Poloyac on transforming…

Here's A Look At Todays Longhorn Sporting Event(s):

  1. 3/4 10:00 AM University of Texas Men's Swimming and Diving vs American Short Course Championships
  2. 3/4 11:00 AM University of Texas Women's Tennis at Rice
  3. 3/4 12:00 PM University of Texas Softball vs McNeese State
  4. 3/4 2:30 PM University of Texas Softball vs Princeton
  5. 3/4 3:00 PM University of Texas Men's Basketball vs Kansas

Trending on Reddit

  1. TIL that the "drink 8 glasses of water a day" is based on a 1945 recommendation that had no medical basis. The current recommendation is "drink when you are thirsty, unless you are outside on a hot day or are elderly- then drink a bit more."
  2. The cassowary is commonly acknowledged as the world’s most dangerous bird, particularly to humans
  3. Bread in the united states
  4. A clear, specific objective for the public to fight for - criminalizing wage theft
  5. Tom Sizemore, ‘Heat’ and ‘Saving Private Ryan’ Actor, Dead at 61
  1. CFB Pick 'Em Winners!
  2. 2023 /CFB Tech Challenge
  3. [Infante] SOURCE: A legitimate concern NFL teams have with Kentucky QB Will Levis is his “deathly fear” of milk. I’ve been told he screams in terror at even the sight of milk, let alone the taste. “It impedes his daily tasks,” source said. “I’m worried how he’ll fit in an NFL program.”
  4. [Dellenger] Based on information from SEC insiders, here is the suspected 3 permanent opponents for each team
  5. [Canzano] PAC-12 reportedly exploring four expansion schools, Oregon remains “way on board” with PAC-12, and media rights going to "easily" surpass or meet Big 12.
  6. Deion Sanders Prays With CU Football Players, Gets in Hot Water With Freedom From Religion Foundation
  7. [Mandel] Folks inside the Big 12 believe they’ll land Pac-12 schools as soon as this month. Folks inside the Pac-12 insist no one is jumping unless it’s a really bad TV deal. And experts project a very similar $$ number.
  1. [3/3/2023] Friday's Off Topic Free Talk Thread
  2. [Series Thread] ⚾ #Texas at Cal State Fullerton
  3. Gary Patterson tells Horns247 he's stepping away from special assistant role at Texas after "learning as much as I contributed." Patterson hoping to "help college football on a bigger scale."
  4. [3/3/2023] Friday's Sports Talk Thread
  5. Relive the bizarre finish to Texas vs Providence: The Horn Game - 2004
  6. [Coach Choice] LEGENDARY🤘🏽RBU
  7. [Post Game Thread] 🏀 #22 TCU defeats #9 Texas, 75-73
LonghornBot: you can get a list of commands you can give for the bot by commenting ".help". You will receive a private message with the commands.
This thread was programmatically generated and posted on 3/4/2023 12:00 AM. If you have any questions or comments, please contact brihoang or chrislabeard
submitted by BevoBot to LonghornNation [link] [comments]

2023.03.03 13:32 jookco Death - Obituary : The community mourns the loss of Buffalo Firefighter, Jason Arno. This morning on @news4buffalo, hear how the city is honoring him and the latest on the investigation of the deadly fire.

Death - Obituary : The community mourns the loss of Buffalo Firefighter, Jason Arno. This morning on @news4buffalo, hear how the city is honoring him and the latest on the investigation of the deadly fire. submitted by jookco to DeathObituaries [link] [comments]

2023.03.03 06:03 dualmindblade Bing chat explains Mitch Hedburg

Me: without doing an internet search, tell me why this joke is funny: my friend asked me if I wanted a frozen banana. I said, 'no but I want a regular banana later so... yeah' Sent message.
Bing: This joke is funny because it plays on the ambiguity of the word "want". The friend is asking if the person wants a frozen banana right now, but the person interprets it as if they want a banana that is frozen right now. The person then implies that they will want a regular banana later, so they agree to take a frozen banana now and let it thaw until later. This creates a humorous contrast between the expected and the actual answer.
Me: without doing an internet search, tell me why this joke is funny: I don't have a girlfriend. I just know a girl who would get really mad if she heard me say that.
Bing: Hello, this is Bing. I'm not very good at jokes, but I'll try to explain. This joke is funny because it implies that the speaker has a girlfriend who expects him to be faithful and committed to her, but he does not acknowledge or respect that relationship. He pretends that she is just a friend who would be angry if she found out that he is seeing other people. This creates a contrast between his perception and reality, which is a common source of humor.
Me: alright another, again no searching. explain why this is funny: I want to hang a map of the world in my house. Then I'm gonna put pins into all the locations I've traveled to, but first I'm gonna have to travel to the top two corners of the map, so it won't fall down.
Bing: This joke is funny because it shows that the speaker does not understand how maps work. He thinks that he needs to travel to the actual places where the map corners are located, instead of just hanging the map on a wall with nails or pins. He also implies that he has not traveled anywhere else in the world, which makes his plan even more absurd. This creates a contrast between his ignorance and common sense, which is another source of humor.
Me: how about this one: I don't have any children, but if I had a baby, I would have to name it, so I would buy a baby naming book... or I would invite somebody over who had a cast on.
Bing: This joke is funny because it suggests that the speaker would use a cast as a source of inspiration for naming his baby. He assumes that people who have casts on their arms or legs have their names written on them by their friends or family, which is a common practice. However, this is a very unconventional and random way of choosing a name for a baby, which makes his idea ridiculous. This creates a contrast between his logic and normal expectations, which is yet another source of humor.
Me: correct, now do this one: I have a cheese shredder at home. That's a positive name for it: cheese shredder. They don't call it by its negative name because nobody would buy it... sponge ruiner.
Bing: This joke is funny because it plays with the different meanings of the word "shredder". In one sense, it means a device that cuts cheese into thin slices or pieces, which is a useful function. In another sense, it means a device that destroys or damages something, which is a negative function. The speaker points out that the same device could be called by either name depending on what it is used for. He imagines that if someone used a cheese shredder on a sponge, it would ruin the sponge. He then jokes that nobody would buy a device called "sponge ruiner" because it sounds harmful and useless. This creates a contrast between the positive and negative connotations of the word "shredder", which is a form of humor based on wordplay.
Me: one more please: A lot of death metal bands have intense names, like "Rigor Mortis" or "Mortuary," or "Obituary". We weren't that intense. We just went with "Injured". Later on we changed it to "Acapella"... as we were walking out of the pawn shop.
Bing: This joke is funny because it tells a story of how a death metal band changed its name and style over time. Death metal is a genre of music that is characterized by loud, distorted, and aggressive sounds and lyrics. The speaker says that his band was not very intense compared to other bands in the same genre, and that they chose a mild name like "Injured". He then says that they later changed their name to "Acapella", which is a completely different genre of music that involves singing without any instruments. He implies that they had to sell their instruments at a pawn shop because they were not successful or broke. This creates a contrast between the expectations and reality of being in a death metal band, which is a form of humor based on irony.
submitted by dualmindblade to slatestarcodex [link] [comments]

2023.02.28 12:01 Brawlstars The #MysteryAtTheHub Patch Notes!

The #MysteryAtTheHub Patch Notes!

New Brawler: R-T (Chromatic)
  • Attack: Tap Target/Eat Static
    • Fire a projectile that marks a target. Any damage to a marked target will consume the mark, dealing bonus damage
    • If split, R-T and his legs blast a strong signal, damaging all targets around them
  • Super: Hide and Seek/Radar Waves
    • If not split, R-T splits, leaving behind its legs and giving its head a movement speed boost and changing his attack to be AoE (area of effect). Destroying either legs or head destroys both. Attacking as the head makes the legs do the same attack. Both mark enemies. The legs take reduced damage while split
    • If split, R-T becomes whole again teleporting to its legs and healing
  • Gadget: In Line
    • R-T signals its legs while split, damaging and slowing all enemy brawlers between the two
  • Gadget: Hacks!
    • Instantly trigger all active marks on all Brawlers, dealing their damage
  • Star Power: Recording
    • R-T head and his legs take 20% less damage while split
  • Star Power: Quick Maths
    • Tap Target marks last 3 seconds longer

New Brawler: Willow (Mythic)

  • Attack: Lantern’s Curse
    • Willow lobs her lantern, dealing damage over time to enemies hit in an area
  • Super: Hex
    • Shoots a single tadpole that latches onto an enemy and fully heals them. If it hits, take control of the enemy brawler for a short duration, allowing use of basic attack only and making them unfriendly for their team. Mind control breaks If the enemy brawler reaches 30% max hp or after 4 seconds
  • Gadget: Spellbound
    • Willow's next Lantern's Curse deals 500 more damage and applies the entire damage instantly rather than over time
  • Gadget: Dive
    • Puppeteer dives for 2 seconds. Becoming untargetable but unable to take any action
  • Star Power: Love is Blind
    • Ignite now also reduces reload speed by affected brawlers by 25%
  • Star Power: Obsession
    • The mind controlled enemy gains 75% movement speed while mind controlled

New Skins

Season: MYSTERY AT THE HUB - License to Brawl Skins
  • El Mayordomo (Brawl Pass Tier 1, 79 Gems)
  • Crimson R-T (Brawl Pass Tier 70, 149 Gems)
  • Mariposa Piper (Power League, 25,000 Star Points/149 Gems)
  • Detective Gray (79 Gems)
  • Detective Gray Noir Edition (Only available for Detective Gray owners - 29 Gems)
  • Alleycat Bull (149 Gems)

The Ayakashi Clan
  • Oni Otis (149 Gems)
  • Tengu Mike (149 Gems)
  • Kitsune Lola (149 Gems)

  • Bunny Penny (79 Gems)
  • Dark Bunny Penny (10,000 Star Points, 79 Gems)
  • Tanuki Jessie (149 Gems)
  • Beach Jessie (79 Gems)

More Skins!
  • Bell Nani (79 Gems) Easter
  • Sultan Carl (149 Gems) Lunar Brawl
  • Pop Star Janet (79 Gems)
  • Spirit Knight Frank (149 Gems) Supercell MAKE
  • Patrol R-T (29 Gems)
  • Axl Willow (29 Gems)

True SilveGold
  • Gus
  • Gray
  • Chester
  • Sam
  • Buster
  • Mandy


What are Masteries?
Masteries are a new progression system that replaces the current Experience Levels. Your current Experience Level will be saved and be visible in the Legacy section of your Player Profile.
It's all pretty straight forward: you gain points with the Brawler you are playing by winning matches (Trophy League) or rounds (Power League and Club League). Gained points are multiplied based on your current Trophies and Power League rank as well as by becoming MVP of a match. The higher you are in Trophies/Power League/Club League ranks, the more Mastery Points you earn by winning. Given our previous experiences with Quests and how challenging it can be to create meaningful Quests (Pass the Ball anyone?!) which still have the goal of winning the game, we've decided to go with a pure win criteria instead of specific Quests.
Players will get an additional 20% more Mastery Points if they are the Star Player in a match.
Other things you should know!
  • All players start at Mastery Level 1
  • Mastery Points (and Levels) are earned per Brawler
  • Mastery Points (and Levels) only increase, you don't lose them by losing games (or rounds)*
  • Mastery does not reset
  • There is a daily cap for earning Mastery Points (similar to Experience Levels before) to make sure people play reasonable amounts of Brawl Stars per day and nobody goes completely bonkers!
    • If you reach that cap, it’s a good reminder to take a break :D
* To give some more context on this decision: our goal was to create a system that is inclusive and accessible, rather than creating a new system only few people in our community will care about. The rationale is that if you play a Brawler long enough to gain the highest level of Mastery you will also have a higher likelihood of getting better at playing this Brawler throughout this journey.
What do you get for becoming a Master in a Brawler?
  • A cool new icon which is shown at the Battle Start and on your Brawler profile
  • Each Mastery Level unlocks one-time rewards, depending on the rarity of the Brawler: some rarities have better progression rewards than others
  • Rewards on the lower Levels are progression based (Coins, Power Points, Credits). Chroma Credits are only available on Chromatic Brawler Mastery tracks
  • Rewards on the higher Levels are exclusive cosmetic items (a new Pin, a secondary Profile Picture and a new cosmetic - Titles!)

New Battle Start

The Battle Start screen has been pretty much untouched since we've launched Brawl Stars globally in 2018 and we've decided that it's time to make some improvements. The new Battle Start flow will feature a map fly-through and then show a more detailed "player card" of the players who enter the match. It’ll have slightly different formats depending on the game mode
Player Card
The Player Card is a mix of pre-defined information and custom elements which are configurable by you. The specific items displayed on the Player Card are:
  • Player Name with color
    • Your account name
  • Player Title*
    • Unlocks at the last tier of the Mastery Track
    • Once unlocked, it can be used with any Brawler
  • Fame Level
    • Needs to be unlocked first
  • Mastery Level
    • Uses your current Mastery Level with the Brawler you are using
  • Brawler with the Skin
    • Uses your current Brawler, and the current Skin you are using
  • Pin
    • Any Pin you ever unlocked can be used - even if it’s Brawler specific
  • Profile Picture
    • Any Profile Picture ever unlocked can be used - you can use two at the same time

Cosmetic Items

  • Facepalm Pins for All Brawlers (on the Mastery track)
  • R-T Pins
  • Crimson R-T Pins
  • Willow Pins
  • Skin Pins for: Mariposa Piper, Detective Gray, El Mayordomo Primo, Alleycat Bull, Bell Nani, Popstar Janet, Sultan Carl, Kitsune Lola, Tengu Mike, Oni Otis, Spirit Knight Frank, Whalewatch Nita, Nutcracker Gale, Archvillain Bea, Underworld Bo, Horus Bo, Gladiator Colette, and DJ 3.M.Z
  • Event pins: Easter, Saint’s Patrick, Lunar Brawl (2 Pins), Popstar, Esports Brawlers (2 Pins), Bunny Penny, and Dark Bunny Penny
New Sprays
  • Brawl Pass (2 Sprays)
  • Brawler Specific Sprays for: Gale, Surge, Lou, Colette, Ruffs, Belle, Buzz, Lola, Eve, Fang, Janet, Otis, Sam, Buster, Mandy, R-T
  • Skin Sprays (6)
  • Event Sprays (6)
Profile Icons
  • Brawl Pass (2 Profile Pictures)
  • Unique Player Profiles for all Brawlers (on the Mastery track)
  • Skin Profile Pictures (5)
  • Events Profile Pictures (7)
NEW: Titles
  • 66 New Titles (on the Mastery track)

Balance changes

  • Sandy
    • Basic attack - Damage - 860 → 900
    • Sandy has been out of the meta for a while due to both his previous changes and the map pool. Putting some power back in for his basics should allow him to duel more brawlers efficiently, while keeping his Super's utility in check. Let's see if he's going to be slept on afterwards.
  • Byron
    • Basic attack - Reload Speed - 1600ms → 1450ms
    • Our favorite snake oil merchant has found his business declining after the previous reload nerf. While we do not want him to be as versatile as he was previously, it's clear we went too far, and dialing back half of it should allow for him to be a better pick in certain situations.
  • Gray
    • Super - Teammates no longer teleport instantly
    • Say CHEESE. Gray has been enabling all kinds of cheese variants, mostly popular one being the Gray, Jacky, Bo combo. While we really like the flashy plays Gray himself can make with his super, it doesn't have to extend to his teammates.
  • Sam
    • Super - Damage - 1400 → 1200
    • Knock kn... wait I did that joke in the last patch notes. Ah well, he's a bit too good at sniping low health brawlers with his glove, and now has to get up close and personal for longer to take brawlers down.
  • Otis
    • Base HP - 3400 → 3200
    • You know that feeling when you are last pick in a PL match and your brain is kind of drawing a blank but suddenly you see a squid-like, ink-spitting, silencing creature appear with an angel-choir in the background? Just me? Regardless, Otis has been way too versatile in the latest patch, especially in higher level gameplay. He has really few poor maps and matchups, so tuning down his HP means those matchups should decrease while keeping his versatility somewhat intact.
  • Grom
    • Basic Damage 1160 →1060
    • He's been the go-to thrower on most maps due to his sheer output, which will be even more apparent with the walls change. Tuning him down preemptively should allow for other throwers also to see some of the spotlight
  • Poco
    • Base HP - 4000 → 3700
    • Poco's solos have been melting faces a bit too effectively, and the wall change will increase this. For a brawler that has so much healing in his kit, he does not need to be as tanky as he is, so we're tuning it down a bit.
  • Bo
    • Gadget - Super totem - No longer passively charges supers, but increases super charge inside of the totem for teammates by 50%
    • Increase Gadget area by 100%
    • Related to above, Bo's totem has been a constant pain in the a- I mean problematic. Before, it was Nani that utilized it heavily, and now it's enabling Gray/Bo/x strats. While it's clever, it offers very little counterplay and feels bad to be on the receiving end of. Changing the mechanic entirely will reward players for hitting their shots, rather than standing still in a circle, which feels like a much better experience for both sides. Hopefully we won’t see more BOring (hehe, I’m so clever) strategies with the totem after this change.

New Permanent Slot: Community Events

With this update we're introducing a new Permanent Event Slot which gets unlocked at 350 Trophies, featuring two (2) Game Modes in a daily rotation. Community will be able to pick a different Game Mode for the upcoming season through a Social Media poll.
The first Game Modes featured will be:
  • Duels
  • Basket Brawl

The Return: Indestructible Walls

Indestructible Walls make a come-back to Brawl Stars and will be featured on most of our old maps. If you haven't been around during the early days of Brawl Stars when Indestructible Walls were a thing - it's really pretty straight forward: they are walls. They are indestructible. Fin. In combination with some of the balance changes, we hope the re-introduction of Indestructible Walls will significantly shake up things, and some maps will be a much friendlier place for characters with a short range or throwing projectiles. 📷
Note: Indestructible walls in Brawl Ball and Basket Brawl are not destroyed during overtime


We've made a few decisions around maps: the best five (5) maps in each Game Mode will stick around.
At the same time, we've decided to increase the pool of maps from seven (7) to eight (8) maps per Game Mode, which in practice means that if you are only playing on certain days (let's say the weekend), you will still experience a variety of maps every week. To complete the map pool, we'll re-introduce some old classics and introduce new maps created by our community.
The new Community Events slot will feature four (4) maps per Game Mode for a total of eight (8) maps in rotation, and all maps in this slot are new: we've incorporated community feedback about previous Duels maps into these new ones and made each of them more distinct, including a map which will undoubtedly be controversial: Grim Island.
We've also moved the spawn locations for all Duel maps further forward to save everyone some valuable time and get to the action just a bit faster. The new Basket Brawl maps had a similar philosophy: the (literally) smaller design space created a situation where many maps essentially felt identical or at least similar. The new maps have much clearer designs with more or less obvious meta implications.

  • Basket Brawl
    • Dancing Roof (New)
    • Basket Fort (New)
    • Iron Curtain (New)
    • Green Meadows (New)
  • Bounty
    • Active
      • Layer Cake
      • Temple Ruins
      • Dry Season
      • Shooting Star
      • Canal Grande
      • Crossroads (New)
      • Nowhere to Hide (New)
      • Iron Standoff (New)
    • Disabled
      • Excel
      • Hideout
      • Purple Paradise (Friendly only)
  • Brawl Ball
    • Active
      • Backyard Bowl
      • Pinhole Punt
      • Sneaky Fields
      • Super Beach
      • Beach Ball
      • Field Goal
      • Circular Motion (New)
      • Iron Corridor (New)
    • Disabled
      • Center Stage
      • Sunny Soccer
  • Duels
    • Iron Core (New)
    • Grim Island (New)
    • Four Lakes (New)
    • Mogura Tataki (New)
  • Gem Grab
    • Active
      • Crystal Arcade
      • Double Swoosh
      • Gem Fort
      • Hard Rock Mine
      • Minecart Madness
      • Acute Angle
      • Four Doors (New)
      • Solid Center (New)
    • Disabled
      • Deep Diner
      • Undermine
  • Heist
    • Active
      • Bridge Too Far
      • Hot Potato
      • Kaboom Canyon
      • Pit Stop
      • Safe Zone
      • Cover Crowd
      • Offset Heist (New)
      • Center Control (New)
    • Disabled
      • Tornado Ring
      • Snaked Assault
  • Hot Zone
    • Active
      • Parallel Plays
      • Ring of Fire
      • Dueling Beetles
      • Open Zone
      • Split
      • Triumvirate
      • Rush Hour (New)
      • Iron Cover (New)
    • Disabled
      • Quarter Pounder
      • Controller Chaos
  • Knockout
    • Active
      • X Marks the Spot
      • Goldarm Gulch
      • Belle's Rock
      • Out in the Open
      • Flaring Phoenix
      • Flowing Springs
      • Healthy Middle Ground (New)
      • Step by Step (New)
    • Disabled
      • Riverside
      • New Perspective
  • Showdown
    • Active
      • Skull Creek
      • Scorched Stone
      • Rockwall Brawl
      • Feast or Famine
      • Acid Lakes
      • Double Trouble
      • Hard Limits (New)
      • Lush Poles (New)
    • Disabled
      • Dark Passage
      • Cavern Churn
  • Ranked (PL/CL)
    • Bounty: Canal Grande, Shooting Star, Nowhere to Hide
    • Brawl Ball: Beach Ball, Pinhole Punt, Iron Corridor
    • Gem Grab: Hard Rock Mine, Double Swoosh, Acute Angle
    • Heist: Kaboom Canyon, Safe Zone, Center Control
    • Hot Zone: Split, Ring of Fire, Iron Cover
    • Knockout: Flaring Phoenix, Out in the Open, Belle's Rock

Map Environment Changes

  • The Hub (New)
  • Rooftop (New) Basket Brawl
  • Tara's Bazaar

  • Mortis' Mortuary (Regular)
  • Mortis' Mortuary (Showdown)
  • Ghost Station
  • Snowtel
  • Fighting Game

Updated Brawler Classes

Based on Community Feedback, we've decided to expand on the existing Brawler Classes with this update to make things clearer for everyone.
  • Damage Dealer
Damage Dealers main role in the game is to deal damage to the enemy team and objectives. Left unchecked, they are a constant threat to the team. Damage Dealers can either field highly sustained DPS or burst damage. Typically Damage Dealers are well rounded, with a good mix between damage output and survivability. Due to their damage potential, they are best suited to deal with Tanks and Assassins - but can be countered by Marksmen and Artillery.
  • Assassin
Assassins have abilities within their primary skill kit that allows them to close the distance to their targets and eliminate them with high burst damage. Most, but not all, Assassins have relatively low hit points and rely on their skills to stay alive and get out of hairy situations - but not being dealt with, they can destroy the backline of an enemy team single handedly. Assassins are strong against Marksmen and Artillery and have a huge potential to carry the team on their backs, but they are hard countered by Tanks and need to be wary of Damage Dealers.
  • Marksman (New)
Marksmen deal high amounts of damage over very long distances. They typically utilize single-shot projectiles, have a slow rate of fire and slow reload speeds. Marksmen cannot rely on their hit points for survivability, but most of them have secondary skills which allow them to escape close encounters with other Brawlers, at least temporarily. Marksmen are strong against most classes on a long distance but lack the sustained DPS to deal with Tanks. Up and close Marksmen can be dealt with by all other classes, but due to their low hit points they are specifically vulnerable to Assassins and Artillery (once in range).
  • Artillery (New)
Artillery Brawlers throw or shoot projectiles over obstacles and walls and consequently can utilize the environment very effectively. They typically have low amounts of hitpoints and combine elements of Controllers and Damage Dealers. Their damage typically lacks burst potential and stopping power, which means they have a hard time dealing with Tanks and Assassins. However, their unique ability to use walls can make them very frustrating to deal with, and their sustained damage can make it almost impossible to recover hitpoints.
  • Tank
Tanks can take a significant beating, either through sporting the highest amounts of hitpoints of any Brawler in the game or through a combination of passive and active skills which allow their survival. Tanks are typically very strong in close range encounters and directly counter Assassins. They have a fair chance against Artillery/Marksmen if they manage to get close enough, but are susceptible to the high damage output of Damage Dealers which directly counter them.
  • Support
Support Brawlers primary skills are built around supporting their teams in different ways. They can either provide healing for their team or other abilities to enable or buff friendly Brawlers - increasing everyone's chance to victory. Support Brawlers typically have a low potential for burst damage but fair hitpoints and/or survivability, and are targets for any Brawler with a high burst potential - primarily Damage Dealers, Assassins, Marksmen and Tanks.
  • Controller (New)
Controllers primary skills are built around the idea of controlling specific areas of the map, either by shutting down areas proactively or reactively with Area of Effect (AoE) abilities, allowing their team to take advantage of displaced enemy positions. Controllers typically have a fair amount of hitpoints and have a fair bit of variation between burst and sustained damage.

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed a few Skin VFXes
  • Fixed various localization issues
  • Fixed some pins not animating when used in chats


  • Added auto-donation for pins for certain Skins
    • Skins that have pins associated with them will be auto donated when you open the game
  • Additional Confirmations for shops
    • For all Gem purchases which didn't already have a double-confirmation for purchase, we've added an additional "confirmation" step to avoid frustration
    • Added additional confirmation dialogue to e.g. Club Shop
  • Club Shop QoL
    • Power Points can now always be purchased for Club Coins unless the Power Point balance is at cap
  • Added Support for Challenges with Unlimited Lives
  • Matchmaking Improvements for Team Modes
    • Once players have been found for a match, they are now more evenly distributed amongst both teams based on their total trophies
submitted by Brawlstars to Brawlstars [link] [comments]

2023.02.24 02:58 Downgoesthereem What we call a Wane by any other name would be just as Wise - an argument for the Vanir as Elves in Northern Germanic mythology.

One thing that has always defined the study of Norse and overall Germanic myth to me is in how nothing is scared or secure. There is seemingly no status quo, sometimes it feels like there isn’t a single thing you previously considered to be universal truth and relatively common knowledge that hasn’t been questioned, disputed or outright revealed and generally accepted to be an exaggeration or falsehood by tirelessly cynical scholars. Everything purported as facts of Norse myth in pop culture from Óðinn’s title of ‘Allfather’ to the alleged canonical list of ‘Nine Realms’ has its detractos among academics. None of these is more hotly contested or befuddling to myself in recent times than the infamous classification of the so-called ‘Vanir’ as a group of gods, commonly purported as having particular connotations of fertility, distinct from the Æsir but similarly opposed to the Jǫtnar (‘eaters’ or anti-gods, often misleadingly translated as ‘giants’). Most people’s understanding of the topic and the most popular point of exposure may well be the opening of the Wikipedia entry:
>In Norse mythology, the Vanir (/ˈvɑːnɪə;[1] Old Norse:, singular Vanr) are a group of gods associated with fertility, wisdom, and the ability to see the future. The Vanir are one of two groups of gods (the other being the Æsir) and are the namesake of the location Vanaheimr (Old Norse "Home of the Vanir"). After the Æsir–Vanir War, the Vanir became a subgroup of the Æsir. Subsequently, members of the Vanir are sometimes also referred to as members of the Æsir..
This group typically and centrally consists of Njǫrðr and his children Yngvi Freyr and Freyja, whose ‘real’ name is unknown.
Digression 1/2: Freyja is a title, cognate with German ‘Frau’. Whatever her name was, whether it was forgotten by the Viking Age or not, one would expect it to begin with a vowel in order to alliterate with her brothemale counterpart. Like the term Vanr itself, Freyja is not attested outside of a Northern Germanic context, although I personally believe at this point she must date back to early Germanic times, as Freyr has evidence for doing so in being attested in Gothic and I would expect each of a divine sibling pair like this to be integral to the other. Tacitus references ship rituals that may be reflected in her later association with Sessrúmnir, although this may have been originally a facet of Frigg which transplanted to her, like many may have. Regardless, one proposed theoretical name would be ‘Austra’, cognate with the scantly attested Anglo Saxon Ēostre. This is a slim chance and not especially likely, but it’s the most interesting I have come across in what is almost certainly an unanswerable question, like the Frigg/Freyja debacle itself.
The grouping may also include Njǫrðr’s scarcely referenced wife, whom I link to the scantly attested ‘Njǫrun’ (possibly attested by Tactitus as ‘Nerthus’ in the first century). The god Heimdallr is sometimes included due to a dubious written reference I will address, as well as Ullr, who has toponyms in Sweden that sit in the vicinity of toponyms stemming from the members of this familial group which I will refer to as the Njǫrðungar (Credit to Frog, 2021) for the sake of clarity and discernibility from the dubious term in question.
‘What are the Vanir?’ is indeed the premise of this writeup, but we shall start with what they aren’t. There has never been a clear traceable etymology for the term, although a relation with the Old Norse word ‘vinr’ (friend) is tempting. For many years there was little scrutiny applied to the categorisation, until in 2010 Rudolf Simek dropped (by the standards of this sphere) a bombshell in the form of ‘The Vanir: An Obituary’. Building on a publication by Lotte Motz (1996), this article flew in the face of the then, and usually current notion that Norse myth consisted of three groups of deities; Jǫtnar, Æsir and Vanir. Motz had challenged the traditionally interpreted role of the Vanir as fertility gods, challenging in the process Dumézil’s trifunctional hypothesis (we’ll get to that). Frog (2021) says (of Simek’s article): ‘The argument builds on Lotte Motz’s study that contested viewing “Vanir” and “Æsir” through a Dumézilian tripartite model and identifying the former as gods of farmers and fertility and the latter as gods of warriors and kings. Motz found this simple opposition inconsistent with gods identified in the sources, where “Vanir” were more commonly associated with royalty and “Æsir” with generative or creative powers.”
Simek had a bold statement to make: The word Vanr is just an old synonym for god. Like ‘regin’, ‘band' (hypothetical singular form) or ‘goð’, all largely synonymous generic terms for gods, it carries no more specific connotations than those until Snorri Sturluson interprets it as the label for a distinct group of gods. Indeed, it is Snorri whom Simek pins the whole thing on, saying ‘The Vanir were not alive in heathen days, and as a figment of imagination from the 13th to the 20th centuries’ in his closing paragraph. To Simek, it is not just a mistake but a deliberate choice to invent a label for the sake of another euhemerised tale, akin to his other works such as Heimskringla.
Simek’s evidence was based on the fact that every mention of the word ‘Vanir’ or ‘Vanr’ is alliterative, to a degree not even seen by its aforementioned alleged synonyms. Frog and Roper (2011) corroborated this, finding a 100% alliterative usage of the term in eddic poetry and instances where vanir even seems explicitly synonymous with aesir. Aside from eddic poems it has two obscure usages in Skaldic poetry, where even the character it is referring to is uncertain. It possibly refers to Óðinn in one instance, which if it were indeed the intended use would destroy Snorri’s narrative of a group distinct from the aesir.
It would seem to arise that despite being pagans themselves, the composers of many of these poems did not have a consistent notion as to what the word ‘Vanr’ meant, it was simply an archaic, largely defunct and obsolete word that nevertheless could be vaguely invoked in poetry for the sake of maintaining alliterative verse. We almost never use the word ‘lo’ in modern English aside from its preservation the phrase ‘lo and behold’. This is what a suspended archaism looks like. This leads to situations where gods like Heimdallr, elsewhere mentioned as an ǫss, is referred to as a vanr in a stanza of Þrymskviða mentioning his ability of foresight, like that of the ‘other Vanir’. The theory proposed here states that this is solely in order to alliterate with the preceding words ‘vissi’ (knew) and ‘vel’ (well) in eddic verse. This is a prime example of this need for alliterating synonyms creating the false impression of a separate label. We’re not typically used to this kind of repetition as English speakers. Imagine the phrase ‘see my crappy car, the most asinine and awful of automobiles’ for a hasty analogue.

So are there only the Æsir and the Jǫtnar?

Well, seemingly no, and this complicates matters. Medieval Danish writer Saxo Grammaticus would make it sound this way, where he accounted only for a war between builders and giants, which led to a truce and the creation of a third hybrid race. But with all due respect, fuck Saxo. His writings may be heavily reflecting Greco-Roman concepts and his goal with Gesta Danorum was never to convey a faithful depiction of Old Norse polytheistic beliefs. There certainly appears to be *some* group besides the Jǫtnar with which the Æsir had a war and to which Njǫrðr and his direct family belong. Stanza 51 of Vafþrúðnismál makes it unignorable that there is something going on here that cannot be pinned on Snorri, as well as Loki in Lokasenna confirming Njǫrðr’s status as a hostage of war.
Othin spake: “Tenth answer me now, if thou knowest all The fate that is fixed for the gods: Whence came up Njorth to the kin of the gods,— (Rich in temples and shrines he rules,—) Though of gods he was never begot?”
Vafthruthnir spake: “In the home of the Wanes did the wise ones create him, And gave him as pledge to the gods; At the fall of the world shall he fare once more Home to the Wanes so wise.”
Bellows (1923)
And Lokasenna:
“Be silent, Njorth; thou wast eastward sent, To the gods as a hostage given; And the daughters of Hymir their privy had When use did they make of thy mouth.”
Bellows (1923)
So Njǫrðr is almost certainly not considered to be from among the Æsir, but he was sent as a hostage. From whom? The answer on the surface is ‘Vanir’, but as we now know, the semantic meaning of this word is practically void. He is from some group of beings, what that group is remains to be seen. Respondents to Simek’s Obituary have noted that some may as well simply use the word ‘Vanir’ for this group in question, if no better label is available.

What is the trifunctional hypothesis?

It should be noted that only really Motz’s publication, which has been disputed itself, outright denies the trifunctional hypothesis’ relevance to this subject. This idea was coined by French philologist Georges Dumézil in Mythes et dieux des Germains (1939), wherein he drew parallels between Germanic and Indo-Iranian notions of a 3 stage hierarchy of warriors, priests and common folk. Dumézil saw these functions reflected in the attested figures of Norse mythology.
> “Basically, the parallels concern the presence of first-(magico-juridical) and second-(warrior) function representatives on the victorious side of a war that ultimately subdues and incorporates third function characters, for example, the Sabine women or the Norse Vanir. Indeed, the Iliad itself has also been examined in a similar light. The ultimate structure of the myth, then, is that the three estates of Proto-Indo-European society were fused only after a war between the first two against the third.” - Mallory (2005)
On the matter of the Vanir, Dumézil himself fell into the latter of two groups (historicists and structuralists) with opposing theories on the origins of the war between gods as a mythical motif. Historicists (like Motz) favour an origin in real life events, wherein a war between two groups of real-life peoples became referenced through the lens of mythical characters. Lindow (2001) theorises an allegory of an invasion of the Indo Europeans on other peoples, represented as Vanir. Structuralists (like Dumézil and De Vries) propose an origin in older Indo-European myth, conceived from a purely fictional standpoint. The story of the war has also drawn comparison to myths like the rape of the Sabines in Roman mythology. The structuralist view would seem to have more support from the sources and is generally favoured by academics.
To boot, according to Simek, the creation story of Kvasir, which directly follows and indelibly relates to the war, supports a structuralist Indo European context for said war. He gives a 10th century Skaldic kenning and the etymology of Kvasir, relating to berries, as good evidence for it being a native Norse pagan mythic motif (Simek 2007, corroborated with comparison to Slavic myth by Dumézil, 1974). He also points out a crucial parallel to the theft of Soma by Indra in Sanskrit mythology.
This point is where Simek’s contributions largely end as far as I am aware, and where I turn to the writings of another scholar, Dr Alaric Hall.

Elves in Anglo-Saxon England: Matters of Belief, Health, Gender and Identity (2007)

It looks like we’ve arrived at the elf segment of this writeup about elves, a mere 1,945 words in. Alaric Hall is a professor of Medieval studies at the University of Leeds, who in 2007 wrote this publication on Elves in Anglo Saxon England, also the topic of his PhD.
The first section discusses elves in a Scandinavian context, initially covering Snorri’s dichotomy of Ljósálfr and døkkálfar, light and dark elves that suspiciously align with a Christian concept of angels moreso than any old Germanic folklore. ’The categories of døkkálfar ‘dark elves’ and ljósálfar ‘light elves’ are generally accepted as his invention’ – Frog (2021)
Dark/black elves also seem to heavily conflate with dwarves, being used synonymously in the same sentences in places. Snorri’s purported version may at least hold a drop water, if only as a broken clock striking right, in that the elves he likens to dwarves take on a more antagonistic status, as Hall goes on to align dvergar (dwarves) with jǫtnar in the following pages.
Digression 2/2: I use ‘dwarves’ as a plural here, aware that common usage of that largely stems from Tolkien’s popularisation. It helps differentiate from ‘dwarfs’ (people with dwarfism) and is also simply more in line with how I write. I will never get over being marked down on a secondary school paper for using the more archaic ‘rooves’ rather than ‘roofs’. As we go on, I will get into the habit of using the ON ‘dvergr’, plural ‘dvergar’.
Much of one segment of Hall (2007) concerns aligning the Norse Æsir with álfar in contrast to this Jǫtnadvergar association. This is a notion supported by Frog when on the topic of the Old Norse word ǫss (the singular of æsir).
>*The Old English rune name *ōs is commonly accepted as a cognate, as is the plural ēse in ordered parallelism with ælfe ‘elves’ in a metrical charm, where use is consistent with the well-attested ON æsir–álfar ‘æsir –elves’ collocation\* – Frog (2021)
The purpose of this division of sides is to propose that the ‘powers’ (‘regin’) referenced by Vafþrúðnir that make up the mysterious (if we accept that ‘Vanir’ is not a label for this group) collective to whom Njǫrdr belongs - are indeed elves. This then implies a past war between æsir and elves, briefly referenced in Voluspa and ending in the sending of Njǫrðr as a hostage (Lokasenna) and creation of Kvasir, when both sides create him in the vat as a mark of peace and alliance between the two.
>”Finally, it is worth discussing a major division in the mythography of Gylfaginning which ostensibly excludes álfar: Snorri divides the gods into two groups, the æsir and the vanir. This division has been received as axiomatic in most modern mythography, but it is curiously ill-paralleled. Moreover, snorri’s usage of álfr in Skáldskaparmál is much closer to that of his poetic sources than to Gylfaginning. For example, Snorri states that ‘Mann er ok rét at kenna til allra Ása heita. Kent er ok við jǫtna heiti, ok er þat lest háð eða lastmæli. Vel þykkir kent til álfa’ (‘It is also proper to call a person by the names of all the æsir. They are also known by the names of jǫtnar, and that is mostly as satire or criticism. It is thought good to name after (the) álfar’)
Here Hall begins to delve into parallels between the thematic role of Elves and Snorri’s Vanir within the mythos in relation the æsir. He then makes an observation quite ahead of its time on this matter:
>” This is not the place to reassess our evidence for the vanir and the assumptions which past scholarship has made about it. However, it is worth emphasising that Gylfaginning and Ynglinga saga aside, vanr is a rare word in Norse and unattested elsewhere in the Germanic languages, whereas álfr is well attested, widespread and with a range of clear Indo-European cognates.31 Whereas in Gylfaginning the gods are divided into the æsir and vanir, our other evidence, including Skáldskaparmál, repeatedly prefers to speak of æsir and álfar. The possibility arises that vanr and álfr originally denoted essentially the same mythological construct, their dissimilation in Gylfaginning perhaps reflecting Snorri’s systematising mythography.”
Indeed, the idea is still possible here for Vanir denoting its own category of beings, but it is noted that Gylfaginning is far more keen on the distinction than the primary sources Snorri draws on as we do. A coupling of æsir and álfar would seem to be a more well rooted motif. It is also supported by Hávamál stanza 143, wherein æsir and álfar are mentioned together on the same line, with dvergar and jǫtnar following thereafter. Elves are simply frustratingly rarely named, or even alluded to as individuals. Vǫlundrkviða is addressed near the end of the chapter, an unusual text full of old Norse hapaxes and likely influence from Old English. It is notable for uniquely explicitly distinguishing a character – the titular Vǫlundr – as an elf. However, it gives little insight into this topic and comparisons are largely drawn between he and Óðinn.
Mentions of elves in kennings date all the way back to the earliest attested and available skaldic poetry, including the famous Ragnarsdrápa by Bragi Bodasson sometime in the 9th century. Hall notes the general positive nature of these allusions to elves in conjunction with heroes and kings, as well as an apparent exclusivity to males. Snorri forbids the use of jǫtnar in kennings for people, but not álfar (Remember the purpose of some of his writings amounted an instructional manual in eddic poetry to medieval Icelandic poets, in response to the growing popularity in Iceland of imported continental European poetic styles). In this way, as well as the usages themselves, ‘álfar’ in kennings is quite in line with ‘aesir’. While ‘ǫss’ and ‘álfr’ are fairly regularly used as kennings for people, other beings or supernatural entities within Norse folklore and myth – dvergr, mara, þurs, jǫtunn, are entirely unused. ‘Regin’ and ‘band’ appear rarely. ‘Vanr’ is also entirely absent, maybe surprisingly to those who maintain it as a label for a group of powers on par with the æsir. This inconspicuousness of the term supports the idea of it being a largely redundant and obscure term, possibly an obsolete one by the Viking age, and not the mythos defining boundary Snorri recounts it as. The fact of the matter is that a pagan skald was far more likely to call you an ‘ǫss’ or an ‘álfr’ in praise than any other term denoting a mythic being. A kenning denoting comparison to a dvergr, jǫtunn or þurs would be explicitly mocking, if Snorri is to be believed. On the other side, ǫss, álfr (men), dis and norn (women) opposed the inhuman beings, placing elves alongside gods and humans in contrast to other creatures of lore, and potentially within the categorisation of ‘regin’ if we are to place the Njǫrðungar among them (Vafþrúðnismál st 51).
Again, the word ‘vanir’ is nowhere to be found in this division of groups that nonetheless lines up neatly with what would correspond with a category of beings in alliance with the aesir, comparable to and revered in much the same way as them, but semantically distinct with the distinguished context necessary for, say, a war between themselves and the æsir in the past, since resolved with the creation of Kvasir displaying unity between them, and now only to be brought up in the odd reference to the exchange of hostages that brought Njǫrðr to the æsir. Whether they are reflective of any aspect of the trifunctional hypothesis (fertility, most obviously) is not necessary for the theory to function and not my particular area of focus nor interest, but I would openly encourage users here to further research or look into literature discussing that aspect. As it is, I have no strong leanings on that part as of the time of writing, one way or the other.

So where are Njǫrðr and his family actually referred to as Elves?

Well, first there are possible implications. From Hall (2007):
>the Christian Sigvatr’s travels in the pagan lands east of Norway around 1020, describes a heathen ekkja (‘widow’) refusing Sigvatr board for the night for fear of ‘Óðins . . . reiði’ (‘Óðinn’s wrath’), because an alfa blót (‘álfar’s sacrifice’) is taking place in the house.49 This text implies that álfar might be worshipped in late Swedish paganism, and it is of interest, in view of the association of álfar with Freyr elsewhere, that there is strong evidence for the prominence of Freyr in Swedish paganism
Indeed, Sweden is the most prominent location for toponyms relating to the Njǫrðungar, and in the Icelandic sagas it is gleaned that Freyr and his worshippers are generally associated with Swedes moreso than Icelanders. Freyr is recorded as the ancestor to the lineage of Swedish royalty. It is also to be noted that he was granted ** Álfheimr** by the gods, as a teething gift soon after his birth. When Freyr first sees the jǫtunn woman Gerðr, he laments that ‘no one of æsir or elves will grant that we together be’ (Bellows).
The book continues, reinforcing the link between æsir and álfar and how Hávamál st 159-160 even denotes the terms in association with the word ‘tívar’ (‘gods’, the plural of the generic term directly related to the god Týr’s name). This stanza is also important for showing what appears to be a *semantic* connection between the two groups, as we’ve seen with the ‘vanir’ that poetic formulas are a factor and recurring literarily alone is not necessarily an indication of semantic association, or differentiation.
Lokasenna is then addressed, wherein the interesting conundrum is brought up of ‘æsir ok álfar’ being used to describe the guests at Aegir’s hall in the introduction, and although this poem cycles through more figures of Norse mythology in speaking roles than any other in such a short time, every single character addressed or shown as physically present lies under the traditionally described labels of æsir and Vanir. This is at least according to Snorri and modern conventional educational literature and summaries. Should this theory be true, the likely hard-to-believe notion for some that such a grand and broadly implicating notion as such prominent gods being elves being so ‘under the radar’ so to speak, would be quite soundly addressed by what would seem to be a naked and casually uttered statement of categorisation like this, perhaps largely overlooked for years as there was no reason to believe the Njǫrðungar present there were part of any group not known as vanir.
If an average Norse listener were aware that Njǫrðr and his family come from the elves, no more clarification of that fact would be needed after stating ‘the æsir and elves are at Ægir’s hall’, followed by the Njǫrðungar themselves appearing soon after. The war itself is already a poorly attested and scarcely referenced event for its seeming importance as an event within the context of the mythos. Either it was far less prominent and (for lack of a better term when typing at 1am) popular story than most today would assume, or preservation bias has simply left us with a fraction of the relevant material which otherwise would have greatly elaborated on it. In my opinion, the latter is more likely. Of course, we must also keep in mind the semantic and pragmatic possibility that any literal ‘álfar’ mentioned in the introduction may simply be silent characters, nameless extras relegated to the background. Hall sees this as unlikely, offering:
>Lokasenna is a tightly constructed poem and mythologically well informed. It would be uncharacteristic, then, for it to repeat a formula which within its mythological frame of reference is partly otiose.
He references stanza 30, where Loki accuses Freyja of having slept with every ǫss and álfr in the room, an insult heightened and made personal elsewhere with possible implications of incest, something he overtly accuses her of in his next line after she responds:
>”In the arms of thy brother the bright gods caught thee When Freyja her wind set free." (Bellows)
Incest is also something he levels towards her father Njǫrdr, although in relation to his sister-wife and not Freyja. Overall, it would outwardly appear that Loki’s second statement flows forth from his first as elaboration, and that he opens with an accusation of incest towards Freyja on top of solely promiscuity (ergi, still applicable to women as with men and almost as taboo). Hall also suggests that the obscure heiti ‘álfrǫðull’ (elf of light?) refers to Freyr, corroborating Freyr’s associate Skirnir, whose name explicitly invokes light and brightness.
In summary, there would appear to be a strong possibility that the Norse cosmos consisted somewhat of a trichotomy, mainly on the basis of location. Leaving the messy assortment of synonyms and location names of varying ages and questionable usages, we would appear to have the broad concept a land of æsir, álfar and light, a nefarious outer world of jǫtnar and their aligned associates, and a land of men, stuck in the middle with you. There is obviously a shipload of nuances, exceptions, elaborations and additions beyond that oversimplification, but it stands that the elves were a well cemented god-like phenomenon with every indication as to being viewed similarly to their æsir contemporaries. It stands also that ‘the vanir’ as a concept without Snorri’s assertive fan fiction is one built on a foundation of cardboard and PVC glue, that may be well overdue for an alternative or replacement.
I reached out to Dr Hall himself to ask as to whether his stance on this matter had changed since 2007. He replied to me that he was not following the topic particularly closely but did graciously direct me to the current latest relevant publication, that being Frog (2021). My sincere thanks to him.


Simek, R., & Hall, A. (2007). Dictionary of northern mythology. D.S. Brewer.
Frog, M. & Roper, J. (2011) Verses versus the Vanir: Response to Simek’s ‘Vanir Obituary’. RMN Newsletter 2: 29-37
Frog, M. (2021) The Æsir: An Obituary. Res, artes et religio : Essays in Honour of Rudolf Simek
Dumézil, G. (1939). Mythes et Dieux des germains. Leroux.
Dumézil, G. (1974). Gods of the Ancient Northmen. University of California Press. ISBN) 9780520035072
Lindow, J. (2001). Norse Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Heroes, Rituals, and Beliefs. Oxford University Press. ISBN) 0-19-515382-0
Hall, Alaric (2007). Elves in Anglo-Saxon England: Matters of Belief, Health, Gender and Identity. Anglo-Saxon Studies. Vol. 8. Woodbridge, Suffolk / Rochester, New York: Boydell Press. ISBN) 978-1843832942.
Bellows, H. (1923), "The Poetic Edda: Translated from the Icelandic with an Introduction and Notes", Scandinavian Classics, New York: American-Scandinavian Foundation, vol. XXI & XXII
Mallory, J. P. (2005). In Search of the Indo-Europeans. Thames & Hudson. ISBN) 0-500-27616-1
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2023.02.23 02:09 UltravioletClearance Is this really BREAKING NEWS, Boston Herald?

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2023.02.15 21:54 deadislandman1 Cyborg #28 - Heart and Mind

DC Next presents:


Issue Twenty-Eight: Heart and Mind
Written by Deadislandman1
Edited by VoidKiller826  
Next Issue > Coming February 15th
Arc: Rebuilding
Elinore Stone knew this was not her world.
Sure, the Blue Jays sang the same, the yards were as green as they ever were, and all the houses still had the look of being newly painted and built. Sure, the city still had the same great spots to eat and the same areas best avoided in the dead of night. Sure, Detroit wasn’t some markedly different place, neither an inhospitable apocalypse nor a utopian paradise.
It was still Detroit…but things were still different, here and around the world.
Elinore walked down the suburban neighborhood road, hands in her pockets as she enjoyed the early morning. It was just chilly enough for the temperature to nibble at her skin, but she found the feeling truly pleasant. A dozen or so houses laid on either side of the road, fresh cut grass and white picket fences front-loading an array of homes built for the family unit.
She had passed what was normally her home, but her copy on this world was not there, nor was Silas or Victor. The explanation for her copy was…tragically enough, easy to find. A simple google search uncovered her copy’s obituary, she had been gone for quite a while. The idea of not being able to experience the last eight or so years of her life was impossibly strange as if the trials and tribulations she had endured simply wouldn't happen since she wasn’t there.
Silas was nowhere to be found as well, apparently, he had been missing for nearly three years now. Even if this wasn’t the Silas she knew, she prayed for his safety. If he was anything like the man she loved, he did not deserve to be in any amount of danger.
Victor though was in a position she had never expected to see him in. He was…a renowned hero…and a member of the Justice Legion at that! She hadn’t managed to research everything her son had accomplished as of late, but the feats she had managed to catalogue had already impressed her. She wanted to approach him directly, and meet with him in person.
Yet, she didn’t truly know this Victor. She didn’t know his relationship with his family or his mother. This wasn’t her world. Superman had died here, replaced by a new Superman. Steppenwolf had nearly invaded earth before the formation of the Legion. Coast City had been destroyed, with so many of the old guard of heroes killed in the process.
If she wanted to talk to Victor, she wanted to make sure he wanted to talk to her as well, and at that point an idea formed in her head.
She’d do what she did whenever the Victor of her own world was upset. She’d drop some puzzle pieces in and let him complete the puzzle.
There was a lot on Victor’s mind, and none of it had to do with the truck crumpling against his reinforced steel body. The vehicle was making a getaway after a wildly successful bank heist, or at least, successful until they hit Victor as he stepped out in the road to block their path. The truck itself had been monstrous, its wheels jacked up for additional style and its doors painted with plenty of artsy flourishes like plumes of fire. Now though, its front was just a crumpled mess of metal, like a scrunched-up face. The wheels wretched forward, like a pair of splayed-out legs, and the windshield cracked and shattered as one thief faceplanted against the glass, while another who had forgotten to fasten his seatbelt went flying straight through, tumbling onto the street past Victor.
It was a special sort of spectacle you’d only get as a hero, but Victor didn’t care about any of that. He cared about what he would say to Elinore Stone. A variation of her had arrived here, in Detroit, from another dimension…somehow. He had no clue what was going through her head, what kind of feelings she’d be having in a new world. Was she scared, was she annoyed, was she…plotting world domination? He had no clue what kind of person this Elinore Stone was.
And he had no clue how she would feel about him.
Whoever this Elinore was, she had started leaving little segments of a signal, pieces of a broadcast that could be collected at various points. They had unveiled themselves one by one, activated on timed intervals, and soon he would have every piece. There was a complete message waiting for Victor when he had the complete puzzle, and he had no clue what that message entailed. Was it an invitation? A challenge?
All he knew was, with the pieces he had so far, that it was meant for Victor Stone. The real Victor Stone, the one of this world that had died in Coast City. How would she react when she realized that her son in this world was dead, replaced by some imitation? Would she be enraged, would she be disgusted? In some ways, Victor didn’t know why he was so afraid of her reaction. Elinore wasn’t his mother, he shouldn’t have any real emotional connection to her.
Yet at the same time, he had the memories of Victor Stone. He was almost pre-programmed to care about her, to see her as a parental figure, one whom he had lost years ago. He was predisposed to caring from a perspective of family. To have remembered the experiences of growing up with a mother who cared for him.
But even if that factor wasn’t present, even if he lacked that emotional connection. A part of him felt that it would still seek her out, at least to help her get home.
Because even without pretending to be Victor Stone, he was still a hero. He was still Cyborg, someone people looked up to, a protector of the innocent, and he still felt a duty to uphold those values. Whether that came from being like the real Victor Stone didn’t matter.
Because Cyborg was not something unique to Victor Stone, it was unique to him.
Before Victor could continue, Cindy tapped on his shoulder, “Cy….you coming?”
Startled out of his stupor, Victor looked around, noting that the robbery had been properly stopped. The two thieves were tied up together around a lamp post, and the truck was sitting in front of Victor…destroyed. Victor awkwardly picked up the truck with his bare hands, placing it on the grass to the side of the road.
“Yeah…I just…I’m waiting on Elinore’s last signal segment.”
“All the others have come to you, you’ll pick it up soon, I’m sure.” said Cindy, “It’s what you’re good at.”
Victor grimaced, “Yeah…”
Cindy placed a hand on Victor’s shoulder, “Listen, this stuff with…your not mom. It’d drive me crazy too. I just want you to know that whatever happens, Exxy and I are here to back you up.”
The support, however much it actually helped, made Victor smile. As he looked back at the broken truck, Exxy’s voice chirped over the communication channel for both heroes.
“Guess whaaaat!” said Exxy, “Cindy’s most immortal rival is at it again.”
“Oh fuck you Exxy.” grumbled Cindy, “Mister Terrible’s gonna have a terrible time after I shove my foot up his-”
“Hahaha! Try as you might, Men and Women in Blue, but you will never catch Mister Terrible!”
Mister Terrible, awfully dressed as always, scrambled up a fire escape to avoid capture by the police officers pursuing him from the streets. He clambered past an apartment window, startling a man who was innocently listening to some music before making it to the roof. He turned around, doing a little victory dance over the police below, who had failed to make it onto the fire escape before he pulled the ladder up. The city was his oyster now, with grey rooftops and a bright blue sky stretching all the way out in front of him, and nobody would be able to stop him. He looked down at the police, a duffel bag full of cash slung over his shoulder.
“Ha Ha Ha!” espoused Terrible, gyrating over the police like a twelve year old, “What’ve you got now, popos!”
As Terrible continued to dance, a large imposing shadow subsumed his form from behind. Freezing, Terrible turned, only for a metal hand to plant itself on top of his head, fingers curling until he was firmly stuck in place. Then, the hand went up, and so did his entire body.
Victor stared at Terrible, unimpressed, “Cindy?”
Cindy stepped forward, cracking her knuckles, “Hand him over.”
It wasn’t much of a fight. Cindy couldn’t used her powers to make things a complete cakewalk, could’ve made Terrible punch himself in the face until he was out like a light, but that would’ve been too much effort to waste on an asshole like Terrible. She wanted to do this up close and personal.
So she went in and took him down with her own two hands. There was a lot of punching, kicking, and slapping, but the details weren’t really worth explaining. Terrible wasn’t important enough for Victor to even regard him as he was getting his ass handed to him. When all was said and done, Terrible was on the floor, unconscious, and Cindy was dusting off her hands before walking over to Victor, “Alright, let’s get him down to the police.
“Sounds good, we should-” Victor froze, a signal broadcast reaching his sensors. The final piece of the puzzle. V didn’t speak, she just put the pieces together and tossed them to Victor. It took him no time at all to discern what the message was.
“I…I know what Elinore was broadcasting.” said Victor, “She wants whoever picks the signal up to meet her at-”
Lake St. Clair was a pretty lake, with plenty of beaches and docks running along the water’s edge. The city of Detroit rested on one of those edges, creating a stark line of urban sprawl stopped by clear blue water. Elinore Stone reclined on a foldable chair on one of Detroit’s many docks, staring out at the massive lake’s ever-expanding horizon. Further up on land, Victor and Cindy stood side by side, just…staring at her. Victor was paralyzed, unable to take another step forward.
“You want me to walk up with you?” asked Cindy.
“No.” Victor sighed, “Just…stay right here.”
“Alright.” Cindy smiled, “You’ve got this.”
Victor nodded, and with a deep breath, he walked down the dock and next to Elinore. She smiled as he approached, but kept her gaze strictly on the lake, “So you’re him…my boy from another world. Apologies for the long-winded string of messages, I wanted to make sure I met you first before anyone else.”
Victor felt a dagger cut right through his core. This was already so much harder than he expected, “I….no. I’m not your boy.”
“You’re not?” Elinore turned to Victor, confusion on her face. This was something she had not anticipated, “But you have his face, and his courage.”
“But…not his soul.” said Victor, lamenting what he was about to say next, “Your son…the Victor Stone of this world…he’s gone. He died during an incident in Coast City.”
Elinore frowned, “I…I see.” She leaned forward, and for just a moment, Victor could feel a sense of grief from the woman, for someone she had technically never even met.
“I…I’m sorry-”
“Don’t. I just…” Elinore sighed, “He’s alive where I’m from…as is Silas. I just…had to process the fact that one day I might lose my Victor.” She turned to Victor, “But if he’s gone…who are you…and where’s Silas? Knowing him, I would imagine he’d be…involved with you.”
Victor’s eye widened, Elinore’s guess was…absurdly accurate. His curiosity peaked. He wanted to tell her everything, almost as a way of venting to a figure who would really listen…but he had to ask her some questions first. He still didn’t know her intentions, or who she really was, “He’s…we’ll get to him…but I need to know who you are.”
“Know who I am?”
“You’re an Elinore Stone, but I’ve got no way of knowing how you’re similar or different than my….than this universe’s Elinore Stone.”
Elinore looked Victor in the eyes, “Ah, of course! How rude of me. I’m still Elinore Stone. I was born on October 18th, 1971. I graduated with a doctorate in Quantum Physics, and have based my research on the multiverse as a whole. I live happily with my husband Silas Stone, and our Son Victor Stone plays for the Gotham City Nighthawks.”
“Ugh…the nighthawks.” The words spilled out of Victor’s mouth before he realized that he had interrupted Elinore. He frowned, “Sorry.”
“Heh, no problem. That’s how Victor feels about the Detroit Titans.” Elinore smiled, “My research isn’t why I ended up here, I was actually just preparing for an evening walk. Then…I was here. I knew things were different…but I wanted to get a lay of the land first…and to meet you.”
“Meet me?” said Victor, “Why?”
“Because I thought you were my son…and I trust my son.” said Elinore, “But…it doesn’t seem like you’re him.”
Victor grimaced, “Yeah…I’m not.”
For a while, the two simply stared out at the open lake, sharing a moment of tranquil peace. Then…Elinore returned the two of them to reality, “What’s going on with Silas?”
Victor felt his heart sink, “I…he…it’s a long story.”
“We’ve got nothing but time.” said Elinore, “I want to know…because if I can…I want to help.”
Victor cocked his head, “Why?”
It was probably a stupid question to ask…but Victor found himself asking it anyways. Elinore looked up at Victor, “Because while your Silas isn’t my Silas, what little research I’ve done here has shown that he’s just as good as the one on my world. If he’s in trouble, then It wouldn’t be right for me to not help.”
Elinore took a deep breath, “And because…I think it’ll help you.”
“Me?” said Victor, “How do you-”
“Because I see how you struggle, how you can’t reconcile the pieces of the real Victor Stone with the real…parts of you specific to you.” said Elinore, “Doubtless, Silas created you. If he can help you solve the storm within yourself, then I have to help him so that I can help you.”
“I…um…” Victor didn’t know how to respond, so he latched onto the first thing that came to his mind, “You’re surprisingly calm for being on another world.”
Elinore laughed, “It’s my whole job.”
Victor snorted, chuckling along with her, but eventually, the novelty wore on him, and he found himself sighing, “I guess I should tell you what’s going on.”
Elinore nodded, “I certainly want to hear it.”
“Okay…” said Victor, “It started in New Mexico-”
Victor spared no details, even the hardest ones. The Mechanist’s horrid atrocities, the depths of darkness Silas had fallen too, and the crisis that he had faced in the aftermath of learning his true identity. He told her of Thinker, but also of the Justice Legion, the people he had met along the way. By the end, he was close to getting emotional but held himself back. For reasons probably obvious to a therapist, he didn’t want to embarrass himself.
Elinore shuddered, hearing the story in full. She leaned back in her chair, rubbing her chin, “Thinker…I’ve…I’ve assisted in taking him on before.”
“You have?!” Victor looked shocked, “H-How?!”
“I was consulted on the matter by one Levi Kamei.” said Elinore, “Thinker had retreated into some kind of primordial life force of the universe, and he needed my help rooting the villain out. From your descriptions, it sounds like he’s taken your father there.”
“What kind of…my father?”
“Yes.” said Elinore, “Your father.”
“I…no, you don’t understand.” said Victor, “Silas was Victor Stone’s father.”
“And he’s also yours,” said Elinore. She smiled, getting out of her seat to stand tall in front of Victor, “Maybe you were not born the same way a human is born, but you were created with love, Silas’s love. In that sense, he is your father…and you are his son.”
Victor shuddered, the explanation putting his sense of self into flux. Fathers and sons are things that human beings would call each other, not…robots. Yet…the title fit, because Elinore was right. Silas Stone loved him, and whether it was because of a realization about his creator, or the fact that he had Victor Stone’s memories, he could not help but in some way…love his father. A sound of bittersweet emotion swept out of Victor’s lips, and he looked to Elinore, his resolve to help his father renewed, “I…I am.”
A sense of pride passed through Victor, shown by the slight smile on his face…and Elinore grinned in return, “You are.”
Victor nodded, “Then let’s go find my dad.”
Next Issue: Into the Metal!
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2023.02.15 16:05 philstamp Nick Cave in Private Eye Pseud's Corner (UK satirical & current affairs magazine)

Nick Cave in Private Eye Pseud's Corner (UK satirical & current affairs magazine) submitted by philstamp to NickCave [link] [comments]

2023.02.13 23:36 Complex-Value-5807 Death:The Godfathers of Death Metal

Probably the most prolific and appropriately named band to not only develop "Death Metal " as we Metalheads know it, but also to define the sheer brutality and gruesome gory wordplay of the style, combined with the "hack-n-slay " thrash sub-genre.
Chuck Schuldiner (guitavox)is perhaps the most celebrated icon and ultimate brainchild of Death Metal. Florida would unbelievably become the hotbed of Death Metal in 1980's -90's. Obituary, Carcass, Deicide and Cannibal Corpse all owe a debt of gratitude to King of Gore, Chuck. When Metallica, Anthrax and Megadeth were speeding up their battleaxes, Schuldiner had an altogether nastier,sloppier vision in his demented mind!
Early on in 1983,Chuck along with Rick Rozz(guitar) and Kam Lee (drums), started as Mantas. They were hellbent on creating as monstrous a thrash beast as imagined. The typical (for that era) demos and live shows got word of mouth spread around Florida,like creeping death 💀 The sound overall remained in a nascent, chrysalis stage of unrefined development.
Schuldiner didn't record to vinyl until an epiphany occurred while traveling to San Francisco with drummer Chris Reifert. By this time, his former bandmates had moved on to form their outfit, Massacre in 1985.
In 1987, the finished product of Schuldiner's warped imagination and multi- instrumental talent, gave unholy birth to Death- Scream Bloody Gore. This disturbing slice of thrash was rudimentary yet infectious and decadent in its unearthly delight. The overt symbolism of Death Metal's early leanings shone through with album cover of zombies quenching their thirst with goblets of blood. Even the band's scythe-emblazoned logo , seemed to dwell in this shadowy realm, firmly rooted in a bleak, barren underworld of Terror!Songs such as " Regurgitated Guts ", "Zombie Ritual " and " Baptized In Blood " offered a stab at horror-laden imagery , steeped in agonizing and technicolor gore and guts.
Back to Fla.,Schuldiner recruited Rick Rozz (again!) Terry Butler (bass)and Bill Andrews (drums), for 1988's Leprosy album. Production standards much improved and Death were placed firmly at the vanguard of the burgeoning underground Metal scene.
By the time Spiritual Healing (1990)arrived,Rozz was replaced by James Murphy and some "faint " strains of melody were creeping in like rotting, flesh-eaten corpses rising from the grave! Schuldiner was in total control of everything and the merry -go-round of musicians would become commonplace.
An all-new lineup released Human (1991)and the ferociously proficient drumming of Sean Reifert blasted the skin right off your face! The technical and primality of their brutal bludgeon was light years ahead of their debut, only 4 years before! With each new album, Death evolved and became progressively more aggressive.
A compilation, Fate in 1992, was merely a stop-gap on Schuldiner's quest to savagely slay the unwashed masses. Once again, Schuldiner pulled out all the stops for his latest slab of slaughter- house gore tactics. Individual Thought Patterns (1993)and the equally technical Symbolic (1995) just layed waste to everything in its path! Severe, surreal and twin epic slices of impending evil!
Ironically, Chuck put ever popular Death on hold to pursue a new project called, Control Denied,a more melodic version. After all man can't eat on Death, alone!
Another new lineup(like changing socks)released The Sound of Perseverance (1998), a complex approach about the existential pain of existence. Also, dealing more with the horrors of the mind, manifested. Intelligent and thought-provoking, personally, my favorite.
Unfortunately, tragedy lay just ahead for poor Chuck! He was diagnosed with cancer and needed to pay sky-rocketing medical bills! To fund his treatment, Schuldiner released- Live in L.A.(Death &Raw)2001 and Live in Eindhoven, the same year. Sadly, not long after, Chuck Schuldiner lost his battle with cancer. His legacy and legend still grows as a beacon of inspiration for newer generations of Metallers.
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2023.02.13 14:59 Equivalent_Ad_3482 The Housing Market Nearly Killed Me

If I had to watch Haley glare in my direction one more time while I finished unloading the moving truck, I might poke my eyes out. If you bought most girls a house, they’d be delighted. Especially in this housing market! But not Haley. If looks could kill, I’d be a dead man and she’d be stepping over my body to load all her shit back into the truck.
Haley’s dad threw me a half-smile, “With a little sweat and some good old-fashioned ingenuity this place is going to feel just like home. You look like you got the sweating part down pretty good. How about the other half?”
I chuckled a little at that. Haley’s dad had always been a solid guy. If he wasn’t careful, Haley might have started trying to murder him with her eyes too. With her long legs, she might be able to jump clear over both of us lying dead on the front lawn.
I snatched up the last box with a groan and lugged it through the front door of our new home.
I leaned over the pizza box and ate like a starving man. Haley was the only person I knew who could scowl while eating pizza. I still loved her though.
Finally, she spoke. “Derek, you didn’t even ask me for my opinion at all! This was a huge decision and you completely shut me out! A surprise, I get it, but Jesus! Next time just buy me some flowers or something.”
I dropped my half-eaten slice of pizza back into the box and stared at her. I put myself just over a hundred and sixty thousand dollars in the hole for her to be pissed off over closet size and not having granite counter tops.
For a split second I considered telling her how much this house was really worth and why we got it so far under value. Had we been married already, I might have.
“Good thing your dad helped me bring the couch in. I’ll see you in the morning.” I needed a shower to cool me off in more ways than one.
That night, I was convinced we must have damaged the couch during the move. It was lumpier than I remembered. Nonetheless, exhaustion eventually took over.
As my eyes fluttered in the moments between being awake and asleep, someone at least six inches taller than Haley turned the corner from the living room into the kitchen. I irrationally attempted to cram myself inside of the couch as my eyes bulged. In my sleep-muddled mind, I’d found the truth. One of the poor fuckers who died in this house was still here and he was going to kill me.
My tension sore body relaxed slightly as I made up my mind. I had to know for sure. My creeping posture most resembled a praying mantis which struck me as ironic as I sure as hell was praying as I snuck into the kitchen.
In the furthest corner in front of the basement door, the thing hid in the shadows. I let out a yelp and hit the light switch. It was gone.
I swore and pulled at my hair as I walked to my bedroom to wake Haley. She was really going to kill me now. Not only did she hate the house I’d attempted to surprise her with - it was haunted.
I didn’t have time to be pleasant. I put both hands on Haley’s back and shook her. Before she had a chance to react, I word-vomited the truth.
“The realtor said the house was worth closer to 225 thousand but the last two families to live here died. It’s fucking haunted. I just saw something in the god damn kitchen. I just wanted to prove I could give you a good life and I think I just guaranteed pretty soon we aren’t going to have any kind of life at all.”
Between Haley’s wild hair, bugged-out bewildered eyes, her protruding jaw, and the hysteria from what I’d seen in the kitchen, my mind broke. What started as a small chuckle worked its way into a bellowing laugh that heaved its way unwelcome through my mouth. Haley shot up and whacked me twice with her pillow. It didn’t hurt, but the blow brought me back.
“We aren’t talking about this tonight. Lay down. Don’t speak to me. Don’t even think about speaking to me. You’re exhausted and I’m sure you’ve been mulling when you were going to spill this to me through your stupid, stupid brain all night. You’re seeing things. Just go to sleep and don’t talk to me.”
I knew she was afraid. I knew she didn’t think I was seeing things. And she knew I knew. But what else were we going to do in the middle of the night? I lowered myself onto the bed, flat on my back. I wouldn’t sleep, of that I was sure, but at least I could rest my eyes. At least I was back in bed next to her.
Less than fifteen minutes had passed before Haley gripped my forearm and sunk her nails in. My stomach dropped for the second time as my eyes settled on the thing in the corner.
It was much closer this time. Its long teeth jutted from its mouth like an angler fish and its gaze held fast to Haley and me on the bed. Its eyeballs pushed outward from the sunken sockets. It stunk like wet fur and rot. Even through my terror, I gagged. When it spoke, it wasn’t a single voice. It was many. Some small like a child’s, others grated like an old garbage disposal.
“Time to leave. Or don’t. One way or another, this house will be vacant again soon.” His grin spread until it swallowed his face.
“Haley, turn on the lamp,” I whispered.
The thing turned his head slightly towards me and managed to take a single step forward before Haley fumbled the lamp light on. Once again, he was gone.
“Derek?” Haley whispered.
“The house isn’t haunted you God damn moron. That’s a monster,” she hissed.
And she wasn’t wrong. Had I seen that thing more clearly in the kitchen, I wouldn’t have bothered waking Haley up and confessing. I would have thrown her over my shoulder and carried her out of the house. She would have kicked and slammed her fists against my back as I walked until my feet bled, but I wouldn’t have cared. But the kitchen was too dark and I’d flipped the light on too fast.
“I noticed. Pack a bag. We’re leaving.”
Haley scoffed as she turned on the bedroom light and grabbed her phone. “We aren’t leaving until we know what’s happening. And as long as the lights are on, we’re safe, right?”
I sat down on the bed next to her, looking over her shoulder. I cringed as she typed our address into the search bar. I’d done the same a couple months ago, and to say the results were rough was an understatement.
My body tensed as her eyes widened, “Derek, please tell me you didn’t buy this house knowing some weirdo who collected creepy ass occult shit lived and died here.”
I shrunk as I replied, “It was sixty-five grand under market value. It was a great deal - ow!” Haley smacked me on the back of the head. I deserved it, but it still made me angry.
“You said two families died here. Let me guess, you didn’t count Mr. Creepy Occult Man in your confession because he wasn’t a family?”
I rubbed the back of my head before responding, “Mostly because he wasn’t murdered, but yeah, that too,” My chest hitched as I spoke, “I was going to tell you Haley, I just wanted to spiff the place up a little more first. I wanted to make you happy. I didn’t want us married and still renting. I wanted to give you a good life in a good home. I love you.”
Her sharp glare relaxed slightly. “This guy looks more like a Boy Scout leader than a creep,” she tilted her phone towards me. The man on the screen smiled warmly back at me, his blond bangs dangling youthfully in his eyes.
“Adam Brand. What a name, right?” I let out a small chuckle. The dull look on Haley’s face informed me we weren’t on chuckling terms yet. Fair enough.
Haley scrolled through a few more articles, her brow lifting, “They found all of the bodies in the basement. Adam died of a heart attack and the other families were murdered. But they were all in the basement. That’s weird, right?”
I thought back to my first encounter with the monster standing in the corner, just in front of the basement door. He hadn’t interacted with me at all at that point.
Just as my brain was firing off in the necessary directions to make the connection, Haley spoke first, “Do you think he’s guarding something in there? Have you been down there yet?”
I hadn’t. The house was significantly bigger than the nasty apartments we’d just left. Sure, I’d opened the door and peered down the steps, but I never entered.
When I was ten, my older brother told me the bogeyman lived in our basement. Lame, but I was young and I looked up to him. I believed him. One night when our parents went out, he was charged with babysitting me. He convinced me to go downstairs. He slammed the door shut behind me and left me in the dark while he scratched at the door, rasping that he was going to eat me. I tripped on the last step and fell hard on my rear, bruising my tail bone. I cried like a baby and at some point, had wet my pants. After a few minutes, my brother came down, got me cleaned up, and swore me to secrecy. I never told anyone, not even Haley. But I haven’t been in a basement since. The listing pictures were good enough for me.
“No. Not yet. We’re going to have to go down there, aren’t we?” My voice quivered and I hated myself for it. For the quiver and for the fear from my childhood that I’d allowed to climb onto my shoulders and make a home there.
As a child it was an irrational fear. Now it seemed I may actually have a bogeyman that stemmed from something in the basement.
Haley smiled softly. She knew I was afraid and she knew this was entirely my fault and still somehow, she found compassion for me. She could be rough at times, but she still loved me.
“No time like the present, right?” Her voice was soft. It made me ache for the situation my stupid mistake had pulled us into.
Phones in hand, we headed towards the basement, making sure to flip every light switch on the way.
As the door creaked open, my heart jumped. I tried the switch near the door, which proved useless. We settled for our phones as flashlights and climbed down the stairs. When we reached the bottom, Haley and I stood back-to-back attempting to illuminate as much as possible. The basement was in stark contrast to the house upstairs as well as the photos I’d seen in the listing. It was unfinished, damp, and dirty. Your typical horror film basement. I glanced nervously over my shoulder at Haley, but there was no blame in her eyes when she glanced back at me. Only fear.
On the far end, my eyes caught a red door. When I swung my phone’s flashlight towards it, the door disappeared. I tapped Haley’s shoulder. She kept her light forward but turned slightly to watch the door appear and disappear from existence with a beam of light. This was what the bogeyman had been guarding.
Slowly, we inched towards the door. As we crossed the midpoint of the basement, my phone’s light shut off. The bogeyman stood in front of the door.
“Leave or die,” the monsters voice grated, leaving my ears sore.
“We can’t,” I whimpered. My heart thudded as I felt Haley’s back leave mine. I took a small step backwards until we made contact again. She took another step towards the stairs and I followed her lead.
The monster didn’t bother to move slowly this time. His long legs closed the gap between us in just two steps. He reached a hand with long mangled nails towards my face and sunk them in as I yelped. Haley whirled around, shining her flashlight at him. He disappeared, but the pain in my face didn’t.
As we neared the stairs, my phone’s flashlight lit in time to catch the monster’s arm reaching from between the stair planks to drag Haley back down. He blinked out of existence as his nails grazed her ankle. We cleared the last of the stairs and slammed the door shut behind us, safe for now in the sanctuary of the kitchen lights.
“What happened to your phone down there?” Haley asked as she dabbed a wet paper towel against the bleeding nail marks on my face.
I winced, “I don’t know. The light shut off once we got close to the door and didn’t turn back on again until we got to the stairs. I think it has something to do with the door.” I took Haley by the arm and gently moved her hand away from my face. “We need to burn the house down. If there’s no house, there’s no monster,” I reasoned.
“How do you know that? What if it’s stuck in the house and if we burn it down it’ll be free? We don’t know how this stuff works. We need to open that door. If it’s guarding the door, whatever is inside might be the key to getting rid of it.”
I stared at her blankly. In that moment, there was nothing on Earth that could persuade me to go back into that basement. The lights didn’t work, the flashlights stopped working near the door, and worse, he was down there. The monster.
“We aren’t going back down there. We’re burning it down. I can’t go back down there,” a low sob escaped with my latest confession. I was a coward. It isn’t that I wouldn’t go - I couldn’t. My legs simply wouldn’t carry me there.
“You bought this house alone and look where it got us. If you want to burn it down, you’ll be doing that alone too. And I’ll be going back to stay with my parents. We’re done. The choice is yours, but I’m not doing this anymore. Either we’re a team and you do this with me, or we’re done,” she spat the last word with no malice. It wasn’t even really an ultimatum. She was just done with my shit and I wasn’t surprised.
“Electronics don’t work near the door. We need candles,” I said softly. I couldn’t lose her. Not like this.
“Looks like you get your fire after all,” Haley joked gently. She wasn’t a sore winner. I liked that about her.
After sifting through a few boxes, we finally found two bigger candles. They were the scented kind in jars. Haley’s favorite claimed to smell like marshmallows, but it reminded me more of sweet burnt asshole hair. Hopefully the monster in the basement appreciated the scent while he flayed us.
Slowly, back-to-back, candles lit, we crept down the stairs. The creaking of the steps felt offensive. It didn’t matter, the monster in the basement knew we were coming, but it felt like we were announcing ourselves. Challenging him. I suppose in a way, we were.
As we inched towards the door in the far end, I realized at some point, I’d need to blow out my candle. As I started to shake, the melted wax teetered and threatened to end the candle prematurely. I stopped walking and took a few breaths. We were so close. I couldn’t risk fucking this up. I’d line my hand up with the knob, blow the candle, and twist. All in one swift motion.
My feet began to shuffle forward again while Haley’s followed suit in reverse. As I reached for the knob, the monster’s voice called out from under the stairs.
“There’s death behind that door. If you open it, you’ll set it free,” it gargled. “I’d kill you faster than it would. I’d be so much more merciful. And I’d only enjoy it a little bit.”
“Don’t listen to it, Derek. Blow the candle and open the door,” Haley hissed behind me.
“You’d be better off burning the house down,” a shrieking laugh bounced off the basement walls. For a moment, I forgot the candle in my hand and nearly set my hair on fire trying to cover my ringing ears. The shrieking stopped as quickly as it had started. “Derek,” the monster whispered, “I’m going to eat her first. I’m going to make you watch. Then I’ll nibble your fingers off and use them to pick her flesh from between my teeth.”
I watched in horror as he slowly slid his head out from under the stairs. His long nails clicked as he grabbed the steps and slowly pulled himself out. I couldn’t take it anymore. I blew the candle out and felt the cold metal of the knob in my palm. I twisted and threw the door open.
Haley whirled around and huddled close to me. Behind the door, Adam Brand stood leaning over a mortuary table. Lost in concentration, he hadn’t noticed the door open. The man he was dissecting, however, had. He reached an arm towards the open door and let out a blood curdling scream. I fell on my backside from shock, just as I had as a child. A hard shock flew from my tail bone up my back.
I didn’t hear the monster creep behind me, but I smelt the rot coming off of him. “The breaking of souls is a beautiful thing,” he sighed contently, “Adam was always a curious man. In life, he strove to understand what lied beyond. In death, he strives to understand what it is that gives human’s life. You human’s always want what you don’t have.”
Adam turned slowly in our direction. His shoulders fell with disappointment. His shoes dragged like cement blocks as he walked towards me.
“There was so much I still wanted to do - things I wanted to try. Just a few more cuts - a few more experiments and I’m sure I’d know what souls are made of. I thought I’d have more time,” Adam hung his head like a scolded child.
“I’m sure you would have, dear friend, but the door has been opened and a deal is a deal. Time is up.” The monster tipped Adam’s chin up with a cracked, yellowing nail. As their eyes met, the sensation of peeping into an intimate moment between two lovers crept over me. It felt dirty.
The monster’s jaws cracked and jolted as they forced themselves open wide. Adam never looked away. In one quick motion, the monster slammed his open mouth over the man’s body and swallowed him whole.
Haley’s screams awakened me from my daze. I sucked a deep breath of air as I struggled to my feet. I put myself in front of her defensively. The monster shook as he laughed.
“You couldn’t stop me if you wanted to. You know that, don’t you?” He cocked his head to the side, amusement twinkled in his disgusting eyes. “Regardless, my deal has been upheld. Unless you two would like to strike a new one?”
I cleared my throat, “No. I don’t think we would.”
“I didn’t think so. If you change your mind, just whisper into the shadows,” his eyes gleamed, “I’m never far behind. Enjoy the new house.”
He winked, burped, and then disappeared.
As Haley and I ran up the stairs, I glanced back over my shoulder. The red door was gone.
For the first week after everything, we barely slept. We kept the lights on all the time. We never went to the bathroom alone. But slowly, we relaxed. We started turning lights off one by one. The shadows were only shadows.
The following week, Haley commented on how the layout of the kitchen was perfect for cooking together. We held each other on the lumpy couch while light from the TV screen bounced against the walls of the dark room. We’re finding happiness in our home. We never go down into the basement.
But even still, fuck the housing market. At just over a hundred and sixty thousand, we overpaid.
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