2020.09.20 12:59 Joy-Through-SyphilisThe twisted tale of Terrible Tommy O’Connor
Thomas O’Connor was born in Limerick in 1880 but history would know him as Terrible Tommy – the last man sentenced to hang in Chicago. Terrible Tommy was the son of Joseph O’Connor and Elizabeth Roach of Ballykenny near the village of Strand. Before his third birthday, young Tommy emigrated with his parents and siblings to America where the family settled in the rough Chicago neighbourhood of Bloody Maxwell. Tommy’s brother John became an electrician and his sister Mary also led a crime-free life. His other brother David became a successful broker but he caused controversy when a messy divorce resulted in his arrest for ‘immoral conduct’ and local newspapers in the Windy City dubbed him ‘Darlin’ Dave’ as his wife claimed he had carried out a string of affairs with other women during their marriage. Tommy chose a life of crime and ran with street gangs during his teenage years but he did not come to police attention until he was 21 following the murders of two men – a retired police officer and a criminal associate. The police accused the Limerick man of murdering them and shady court dealings resulted in his release but, Tommy’s freedom would not last long. There have been many tales regarding how Tommy O’Connor became ‘Terrible’. His disloyal attitude which saw him betray and possibly kill associates may have earned him the moniker while another theory recalls how his fierce temper saw him chop the thumb off a butcher who overcharged his mother! However, he gained his nickname, Tommy O’Connor’s criminal actions could indeed be described as terrible. His route to criminal infamy began on a cold March morning in 1921 when five police men arrived at the home of his sister on south Washtenaw Avenue to arrest him on the murder charges he had previously slipped away from. Chicago police detective Patrick O’Neill, a fellow Irishman, knocked on the door with a warrant for Tommy’s arrest but, what followed would result in the death of the Irish American cop. Popular belief dictates that Terrible Tommy burst out the front door brandishing two guns and then sprayed the policemen with bullets. The less fantastic and more likely scene saw a brief gunfight break out between Tommy inside the house and the policemen who were on the porch. When a bullet brought down Detective O’Neill, Tommy made his getaway out the back door, over a fence and into the street where he hijacked a car. Detective O’Neill died from his wounds and the inquest that followed resulted in the suspension of the policemen who had accompanied O’Neill. The judge was not satisfied with their conflicting stories and poured scorn on their carelessness. The inquest found that the officers had fired indiscriminately and the judge declared it “the worst case of dog eat dog I have ever seen!’ Detective O’Neill left behind a widow and three young children and terrible Tommy made his get away to St Paul Minnesota. In July 1921, Terrible Tommy was making a drunken nuisance of himself on a train in St. Paul. The police arrested him and when word filtered back to Chicago that their wanted man was sitting in the county jail in St Paul Minnesota, the Chicago Police Department dispatched a group of heavily armed detectives to bring him back. At the time of his arrest in Minnesota, Terrible Tommy had just four items in his possession: rosary beads, a scapular, a St Patrick prayer card and a pistol! He was brought back to Chicago where in September 1921 he was sentenced to hang. The date for the hanging was penciled in for December 15th but, four days before his execution, the condemned Limerick man escaped. As prison guard David Strauss was walking past Tommy’s cell, he called the guard who then, rather unwittingly, approached the bars. Tommy’s cell mate James La Porte grabbed the guard in a head lock while Tommy grabbed the cell keys dangling from his belt. Tommy opened the door of his cell and took the guard’s gun while his cell mate bound and gagged him. The two prisoners ran for the prison yard and along with four other prisoners they scaled a 20ft wall to freedom. Terrible Tommy hijacked a car but in the wintery weather it slid on ice and crashed into a store front. Tommy managed to bundle himself out of the wreck and ran off down a side street. The Limerick-born Chicago hoodlum who was only days away from the gallows disappeared into thin air. Even though the police launched a massive manhunt across America, they never found Terrible Tommy. Sightings of him were reported in various towns and cities across the states. He was sighted in places such as Texas and Los Angeles and even across the border in Canada. It was even claimed that he made his way back to the land of his birth where he offered his services to the IRA. Other rumours arose that he robbed banks on route to Canada before taking his loot on a ship bound for Limerick where he bought a public house under a fake name and lived out his days on Shannonside. In 1937 it was suggested that Terrible Tommy had died form tuberculosis, a disease which had previously affected him in his childhood. Another rumour claims that his gravestone can be seen in the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Cook County Illinois where the date of death indicates January 31, 1951. The gallows that had been built for Terrible Tommy’s hanging remained in place until 1977 when it was dismantled and sold to Ripley’s ‘Believe It or Not’ Museum. A sign had been painted on the structure “Tried of Waiting Tommy!” Every year on the anniversary of Terrible Tommy’s escape from the gallows, the Chicago Tribune columnist Tom Powers would write a piece about the Limerick man which always began with the following: “Dear Terrible Tommy O’Connor, if you are still alive please contact me so I can quit writing these columns!” Well, the search continues…. What do you think happened to Tommy? Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tommy_O%27Connor_(criminal) https://soapboxie.com/government/Terrible-Tommy-OConnor-Chicago-Gangster https://www.limerickpost.ie/2018/08/11/the-twisted-tale-of-terrible-tommy-oconno
Yarbrough will make his ninth start of the season and his 10th appearance in Sunday's matinee. In his last outing, Yarbrough followed an opener for the first time this year and allowed one run over 5 2/3 innings.
Audrey Ann Kruger Magnuson Dec. 25, 1933 - Sept. 16, 2020 Audrey Ann Kruger Magnuson, 86, of Portland, Ore., passed away Sept. 16, 2020. Audrey was born in Sheldon, Iowa, Dec. 25, 1933, to parents Alfred George Kruger Sr. and Myrtle Winifred Evans Kruger. As a young child, Audrey attended a one-room schoolhouse in Sioux County. She contracted Polio at age 12. Audrey later graduated from Sheldon High School with a class of 52 people in 1951. Audrey attended Texas Lutheran University in Seguin, Texas, before she was commissioned as a Parish Worker in home congregation in her hometown of Sheldon by Pastor Schiffler. She was then called to St. Paul Lutheran in Portland, Ore., where she served as a Parish Worker for eight years. At St. Paul, Audrey met Robert Magnuson. They married Nov. 20, 1960, and would have celebrated 60 years in two months. After their children were born, Audrey served as office administrator and then preschool director at Gethsemane Lutheran before retiring in the late 90s. Audrey is survived by her husband, Robert; her brother, Al Kruger Jr.; her four children, Sharon, Jim, Claire (Miller) and Ann (Kilstrom); her two sons-in-law, Garth Miller and Lonn Kilstrom; her nine grandchildren, Marie, Audrey, John, Cory and Jenna Miller; Andrew, Helena, Nathan and Parker Kilstrom; and numerous nieces and nephews. She was preceded by her brothers, Don and John Kruger; and sister, Virginia Horn. A devout member of the Lutheran Church (ELCA), Audrey never failed to leave a positive mark on people. A cherished mother, grandmother, wife and friend, Audrey was loved by all. She lived her life by her favorite Bible passage, Romans 12, which calls for Living Sacrifice, Humble Service in the Body of Christ, and Love in Action. Audrey displayed a passion for life with particular interests in gardening, reading, sewing, crafting, cooking, spending time with family and cheering for her Portland Trail Blazers. Audrey possessed an uncommon talent for bringing the good out of people, providing constant joy to the world with her infectious laugh and relentless service to her community. Audrey displayed unwavering care for the world around her, and she loved all people. She will be missed dearly. A Celebration of Life will be held at Gethsemane at a later date when we can gather after the pandemic. Donations may be made in Audrey's name to Gethsemane Lutheran Church or SnowCap Community Charities. Mt. Scott Funeral Home will post this obituary and host an online guest book to share connections and stories. Please sign the online guest book at www.oregonlive.com/obits source: http://obits.oregonlive.com/obituaries/oregon/obituary.aspx?n=audrey-ann-kruger-magnuson&pid=196818683
2020.09.20 05:59 trebud69[US] HIGH&LOW (2016). A prefecture held by 5 gangs in Japan called S.W.O.R.D. have to come together and set aside their differences to push back the Kuryu Group and stop their plan to take their land. An epic, 7 movie action series that has as much character, heart, and style as it does action.
It's available worldwide for the first time starting today. I literally just got into this series a few weeks ago, before the announcement of it coming to Netflix so here's a quick guide by a recent devotee to this franchise. Perfect timing for you guys too because it took a lot to find everything with English subs as I was watching it. Though there are 4 "seasons" that are not coming to netflix and you would have to find online, here's a little guide if you're interested in what the franchise is about if you're out of the loop. Note: only the 7 movies will be on Netflix worldwide. HIGH&LOW is a Japanese action series developed by Exile Tribe, a group of J-Pop bands under one label, who star in this stylistic but wholesome world. Think City of Violence if it was all about the gangs they fought mixed with wholesomeness and humor with a sprinkle of John Wick stylistic cinematography and set design. There were two seasons that came out in 2015 that was the prologue for the official movie. You can find these two seasons on KissAsian.sh. I personally recommend watching the two seasons before the movies, as it adds character moments that the movies tend to lack for the sake of getting the story and action in. You also get to know the 5 gangs better and how each character forms a bond with each other it also has some great action sequences as well. Then there is the "first" movie Road to HIGH&LOW which is pretty much a retelling of the two seasons with an added 10 minutes or so just for the movie. Then it goes HIGH&LOW The Movie. Then a spin off film Red Rain is after HIGH&LOW THE MOVIE (be careful don't do what I did and immediately start HIGH&LOW 2 after the first movie as it spoiled Red Rain). This movie follows the Amimya Brothers who are pretty much the catalyst who split the Mugen gang into the 5 gangs in the SWORD story, which is what the two seasons are about, they're sprinkled throughout the series but this is the first time you really spend time with them. After the spin-off technically the DTC movie is next as it follows 3 of the comedic members of the main gang Sannoh, not an action movie, more of a comedy movie. I say technically because it actually came out after the official 3 movies but chronologically it's before some of them. Before the DTC movie there are 11, 3-5 minute episodes to watch beforehand but unfortunately the only way to watch them with English subs is you have to join MugenClub on LiveJournal, it's run by the one guy who has subbed every HIGH&LOW thing to come out these past 5 years. He moderates it himself and only allows people familiar with the characters already to join, it took a little over a week to get accepted into the community. (You could totally watch this after the 3 movies but I only brought it up because chronologically it happens after the first movie, I believe) After DTC Movie, it's HIGH&LOW Movie 2 followed by the 3rd movie Final Mission, which is presumably the end of the SWORD story arc. If you finish the Final Mission and want more just look up those first two seasons, if you haven't already. After Final Mission there is also another "season" called The Worst Episode.0 which has 6, 25 minute episodes that is a prologue to the last movie called HIGH&LOW THE WORST. The episodes help immensely because the movie starts right where the last episode ends. You would also have to watch The Worst Episodes .0 thru Live Journal, MugenClub. As of this past Thursday night, they just announced that even more Worst episodes will come as well that take place after HIGH&LOW THE WORST, so there is more content coming. If you wanna dive even more, there is another action verse that is in the same universe as HIGH&LOW and The Worst. Takashi Miike filmed the first two prequel adaptions of the manga titled Crows, which in itself a prequel to the Worst manga, which is the group in The Worst movie. The movies are the Crows Zero (2007) then Crows Zero 2 (2009) followed by Crows Zero Exploded (2014) then the story continues through the mangas. The school in those films and mangas is mentioned a bit thruought The Worst movie but they aren't exactly connected persue as some actors in Crows Exploded are actually featured in the High&Low series as different characters but they are still in the same universe, you don't have to worry about that but just thought if you wanted to expand into the universe more, you can. Well, there ya go. As someone who just found out this series a few weeks ago, I already binged all of it and find it one of the most wholesome action series to date and is definitely a great action series especially after something like Cobra Kai. The characters are likeable and can be quite funny and also have the variety of personalities a typical anime would have, the slogan for this show was "Everybody is the main character" but it also is about commraterie and friendship even if you're in opposite gangs. It's really worth your time and should watch it, even though it feels like Kingdom Hearts levels of confusion when it comes to the names and spinoffs lol
It has always been in my character to read up on certain things and one of the things I am most interested is relationships. Relationships between the sexes especially. I like to pick out bits and pieces of information that I find relevant or helpful for my relationship and bring them forth to my partner. The most recent read is Eight Dates by John Gottman and Julia Shwartz (.....). Early in the book they discuss the concept of cherishing your partner and commitment. There is 99 questions which you and your partner can review and comment on together. Me and my partner were mostly yes's - however there was one question. Is your partner worth more than jewels and riches? I hesitated. My rationale: we have been together for almost 3 years, have a good relationship, he just graduated from his Masters and I am in my second year of my degree. We are both not doing too well in matters of finance - he is working a driving job to cover himself until he can find something in his field after Covid punched his industry in the face. We are in love but we are still potential. He has proved himself to be a good partner so far but he is still potential. I can not give my all to potential. We are traditional in our approach to marriage- I will only move in once we are engaged and we agreed on 1 year after I graduate from academia. Until he can solidify himself as a man - to be a provider, a protector and a professor. I love him now. I feel somewhat indebted to my future children. Of course they need love but I don't want them to experience poverty. It's not about the money but about the package for me. We could be doing okay financially but if he fulfills all those 3 P's. Then he will be worth to me more than any riches. Until then he is potential. I love him. I answered honestly. "No." I saw the blue in his eyes fade ever so slightly. "I love you now. We still have alot to prove as a couple for me to feel that truthfully. I am considering marrying you so that is an indication of how seriously I feel about you. I just can't lie. I just feel like that is how I will feel about my provider, protector and professor. That value is for my husband and could most likely be you but just not right now." Then he speaks. "Well, yes. You are to me. If I had to choose between the riches and jewels I would choose you because I know the riches would come eventually. I wouldn't want the riches if not to be with you." Heart warming and flattering answer. However, I cant help but feel that we are still young and love drunk. I want to protect myself and him from beautiful words in place of truth. That was his truth. Ladies, Are your partners worth more to you than riches and jewels? It's not that I do not love my partner but I do not want to be niave. RP women, I would be interested to hear your views, feelings, anecdotes or just gush over your partners 😊💖
2020.09.20 02:40 lalasugarClarification: SDF is not Anti-Sexworker
We are not anti-Sexworkers per se. We have always been of the position that sex-workers should proudly embrace who they are on their own numerous sex-worker forums, instead of crowding out sugar dating forums (and bringing more competitions to themselves by converting SB's into sex-workers). In contrast, some on SLF seem to think "escort" "prostitute" "sex-worker" are dirty words; a person who thinks those titles are "insults" obvious wouldn't be able to assess realistically where herself/himself stands. We have always stated that while being a prostitute is usually detrimental to a girl's own physical/emotional health and safety, prostitution serves an important social function: societies that make sex too hard to come by for young men tend to become radicalized.
Marriage, Sugar-dating, and prostituion/"escorting" are just different ways of doing the sex-for-resources exchange. Engaging in sex-for-resources exchange is the natural condition of a female primate: monkeys and apes all do PPS (Pay-Per-Sex). The difference between Marriage/Dating vs. prostituion/"escorting" is not whether the husband gets kicked to the couch for forgetting to buy wife's birthday gift or whether the husband gets laid for doing dishes or buying a new fridge or buying a new vacation as the wife requested (all forms of PPS), but whether the wife is pimping herself or the husband pimping her to other men.
Prostitution is the original PPS sex-for-resources exchange where a female is engaging multiple males. Marriage (both mutual monogamy and polygyny, and dating for facilitating match) was invented after humanity realized that a child could be derived from only one man (not from all the men that the mother was sleeping with), and that caused men to become far more focused on being productive and provide for his own women and children instead of focusing all their effort on being the cavemen version of Pickup Artists; the direct result of that discovery/change was the emergence of civilization (initially the original agricultural revolution some 10,000 years ago). Then society out of self-preservation, decided to call the earlier one-off polyandry sex-for-resource exchange "Prostitution."
Demanding payment for platonic date is literally the original meaning of Escorting, before prostitutes took over the term. As recently as two decades ago, one of the best selling cars in the US was the Ford Escort, which had a long very popular run from about 1983 to 2003 (millions sold, comparable to Civic, Corolla, Accord and Camry). . . obviously Ford had something akin to platonic arm candy in mind, not naming a car after prostitutes. If an SD has to pay the girl for platonic date to prove himself not to be a John, then does an SB have to prove herself by putting out without being paid? All this talk of proving through not getting sex or not getting paid is rather silly and symptomatic of ignorance about the real issue: sex-for-resources exchange is fundamental to human intersexual relationship (sexual reproduction and sexual dimorphism), and female primates actually love to earn resources via sex! Instinctively so! When she is putting out for only one man, she can enjoy the exchange all she wants and getting taken care of without having to worry about proving not to be a prostitute. OTOH, if she is juggling multiple men, no amount of "proving" is going to convince any of the men to invest in her. BTW, it's rather ironic for the clarification for a "sex-positive" rule on SLF to demand no sex on some dates. Did they mean "sex-working positive"? Even then, the advocacy for sex-working on a forum that attracts young female readers seem to be counter-productive for existing sex-workers themselves: competition would drive down price.
"The business end of the spectrum" is silly talk. Even the frequently posting "experienced SB's" on SLF instinctively know that is prostitution: a few days ago when a girl innocently asked the forum what to feel about her "SD" recommending her to other guys, some of the "experienced SB's" on SLF very eloquently told the girl that the guy was treating her like a prostitute. Damn right! If "the business end of the spectrum" were anything like a normal business, then of course customer referrals would be much appreciated instead of being frowned upon! Your dog-groomer would love you for recommending her to your friends; your massage therapist would love you to recommend her to your friends. Sugar-dating is not at all like a normal multi-client-serving business! "Traditional sugar-dating" is traditional (i.e. stood the test of time) for a reason: the other end "of the spectrum" is prostitution; after the juggling gets started, as the woman's best physical features fade over time, she would inevitably have to juggle more and more, and men would be less and less inclined to invest in her.
We can get a glimpse of the difference from the simple fact that a client to a prostitute is called a "John" but we don't have similar "Alice"/"Jane"/"Chelsea" name for the provider. Why? Because women are attracted to men who are very experienced and able to handle her just like he had handled others (her man having had Alice/Jane/Chelsea would actually be a positive for her, and she can always be sure whatever child pops out of herself is her own); whereas men tend to be very turned off by being treated as an interchangeable. "John" is simply derived from how she treats him due to her juggling multiple Johns just like him.
Some girls might ask, how is it fair then a man can have multiple women but a woman juggling multiple men is a no no? The answer: it is no more unfair than the fact that millions men are wiling to pay girls to be SD's whereas hardly any women are willing to be SM's to men. The asymmetry is due to biology: sexual reproduction is precisely for the purpose of having multiple women matching the small subset of men in each generation who show signs of carrying good genes! Fundamentally, it is the lesser men who are the victims of this sexual selection game . . . but less cruel than if children have to be born to every lesser men then having to starve to death or killed in a far more brutal competition.
As before, for those of you too lazy to read, you can check out the YouTube version of this post. Selected 16th overall in the 2015 Entry Draft, Mathew Barzal has been a major piece for the Islanders since his first NHL season in 2017-18. Over his first 82 games, he netted 22 goals and 63 assists, landing him the Calder Trophy as the league’s best rookie. The following year, after the departure of John Tavares, Barzal was thrust into a 1C role, where he stumbled slightly. Not only did his defensive numbers take a hit, but he had a “sophomore slump” of sorts, putting up 18 goals and 44 assists for 62 points – much lower than his rookie total of 85 points. This past season he had a solid bounce back year, where he scored 19 goals and 41 assists before the season was put on hold, which would project him to have over 70 points in a full year.
With the playoffs coming to an end, Barzal’s ELC has finished and he is becoming a restricted free agent. The Islanders need to lockup their star centreman, but how much will they need to pay to do so? With the flat cap and the looming possibility of an offer sheet, will they be able to afford him?
To answer these questions and more, we need to examine several factors. First and foremost, the Islanders’ cap situation. We need to figure out how much space they have to work with, and what kind of term this means they are able to offer. From there, we need to determine how much Barzal is worth. I won’t lie, it was very hard to find players from the salary cap era that are good comparables for Barzal – there just aren’t many players like him. Because of this, rather than establish bounds for Barzal, I will instead look at a few comparable players that were offered contracts of differing length to try and gauge Barzal’s value on contracts of varying term. And to end off, because its fun, I’ll go rogue and take a quick look at two teams that may give the Islanders an offer sheet scare.
The Islanders’ Cap Crunch Currently, the Islanders have just north of $8.9million in cap space for the upcoming season. With guys like Matt Martin, Ryan Pulock, and Devon Toews all needing new contracts in addition to Barzal, it will definitely be a tight squeeze. One way around this issue would be trying to get Barzal to sign a 2 or 3-year bridge deal in order to open up space so that they can sign him long term once that deal finishes.
A short bridge deal is likely the best option for the Isles if they aren’t looking to move anyone as a cap dump. Outside of a bridge deal, the Islanders would need to make some smaller moves to afford a 5-year Barzal deal, or some bigger moves to afford a 7 or 8-year one. This of course makes them vulnerable to offer sheets, which we’ll talk about later.
If we look at a 2-year deal, contracts like Leo Komarov and Johnny Boychuk come off the books, clearing $9million in cap space. Getting a 3rd year on the deal adds names like Andrew Ladd and Semyon Varlamov (assuming Ilya Sorokin works out) to the list, bringing an additional $10.5million in cap space. A 3-year deal will also (hopefully) end in a time where the cap is no longer flat, which would be a great aid to the Islanders’ cap woes. Combine this with important players like Beauvillier, Pelech, and Sorokin needing deals after this coming season, and a 3-year bridge seems like the ideal scenario for the Isles.
But what would a 3-year deal look like for Barzal? To answer that, let’s jump into our first comparable player, Brayden Point.
A 3-Year Comparable: Brayden Point Another talented young centreman, Brayden Point played 3 seasons for the Tampa Bay Lightning, putting up 91 goals and 107 assists over 229 games. There were a lot of concerns and rumours circulating about his signing in Tampa, as the Lightning were getting crunched by the cap at the time. In the end, they signed him to a 3-year bridge deal valued at $6.75million per season, which makes up 8.28% of the cap.
Taking a look at their numbers, we see some stark differences between the two players. Their point breakdown varies significantly, with Barzal having 28.5% of his points represented by goals, while Point has a much higher 46% of his total points being goals. On top of this, Point has an extremely high S% of 17.2%, compared to Barzal’s 11.4%. While Barzal has a slightly higher P/60, goals are often considered to be more valuable, which would give the edge to Point.
If we focus on their ice time, we start to see some more similarities, with both players having close to the same amount of PP time, and Point being only slightly more effective on the PP compared to Barzal. Point also got a bit of time on the PK during his sophomore season, but since then has mostly been focused on the PP and even strength play.
So offensively, Point gets the edge over Barzal, but how do the two stack up in terms of defense and possession?
Both players put up similar Corsi numbers over their first 3 seasons, however when we add in oZS%, we see that Barzal has the advantage in their first season, whereas Point has the advantage in the final 2 seasons. Looking at xGF and xGA, Barzal has the advantage for the first 2 seasons. While he has a higher value in both stats, his xGF does outweigh the additional xGA. We see a swap in the final year, where Point has a higher xGF and xGA, but in this season both players have a similar difference, leaving them on a level playing field.
In the end, Point is the better goal scorer, but they both have a huge impact on their team’s offense and play an important role on the PP. On top of this, both players are close defensively and get a similar amount of ice time per game. While goals are a hot commodity, elite talent is an even hotter commodity, so I don’t expect this difference to reduce Barzal’s value to much, especially because he produces at a slightly higher rate than Point. Line mate quality is also something else to consider, as many would argue Point played with much higher quality teammates.
If signing a 3-year deal, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Barzal contract around the same AAV as Point’s, maybe slightly lower. Somewhere between $6.5 and $6.75million seems fair in my opinion.
As I’ve said before, personally I think a 3-year deal makes the most sense from the Islanders’ perspective, but what would a longer-term contract entail? Enter our next comparable, Patrick Kane.
A 5-Year Comparable: Patrick Kane While Kane might not be a centre, he is without a doubt a fantastic forward. Like Barzal, he won the Calder Trophy in his rookie season, where he put up 21 goals and 51 assists for 72 total points. Over the next 2 seasons he would score an additional 55 goals and 103 assists, bringing his 3-year point total to 230. Halfway through his 3rd season with the Blackhawks, Kane signed a 5-year extension, valued at $6.3million per year, or 11.09% of the cap at the time. The right winger was also part of the NHL’s First All-Star team in the final season of his ELC. Clearly Kane is a talented player, but how does he stack up to Barzal?
The answer is quite favourably, it seems. Kane puts up more goals and assists than Barzal over a comparable amount of time. He does this with a similar amount of ice time as well, resulting in a higher P/60 than Barzal. On top of this, Kane also has a lower A:G, meaning a higher proportion of his points are goals when compared to Barzal.
However, if we turn to special teams, we start to see an explanation for the point differences. Kane got significantly more PP time during his ELC, averaging almost a minute more than Barzal on a per game basis. This extra PP time combined with Kane’s ~19% higher PP production means that Kane has a lot more PP points, 35 to be exact. These 35 additional PP points more than make up for the total point gap between these two players, which is only 23.
Unfortunately, xGF and xGA stats weren’t widely used near the beginning of Kane’s career, so Corsi and oZS% will have to be enough. Here, we see Barzal have the Corsi edge in their first season, while Kane takes the lead in the last 2 seasons. Although at the same time, Kane has a much higher oZS% in these last two seasons as well, and this overwhelms the smaller Corsi advantage he has over Barzal. Overall, I’m leaning towards Barzal here.
So what does this comparison leave us with? Barzal gets points for being a centre and the better defensive player. He is slightly worse on the PP and produces at a lesser rate than Kane overall, but this is accounted for by Kane’s higher PPTOI and PP production. At the end of the day, they are both clearly elite talents and should have a relatively similar overall value, maybe with a slight edge to Barzal.
Applying Kane’s contract value to today’s salary cap, we would get a 5-year deal for Barzal at a cost of $9.04million per season. This would be a tight squeeze for the Islanders, who would need to move out some contracts in order to make this work. It would also take Barzal straight to unrestricted free agency, which isn’t ideal. On top of that, it’s dangerously close to the tier 4 compensation cap for an offer sheet (1 first rounder, 1 second rounder, and 1 third rounder) slated to be ~$8.7million, which I’m sure won’t come up again at any other point over the course of this post.
We’ve covered short- and medium-term deals, but what would a long-term deal for Barzal look like? For the answer, we look to Mitch Marner.
An 8-Year Comparable: Mitch Marner But Mitch Marner’s deal isn’t 8 years, it’s only 6! And he’s a winger, not a centre! And he’s overpaid! This is a terrible comparison!
I am aware of this sub’s general opinion on Marner (shameless plug, you can check out my post on Marner vs Rantanen here), but just give me a second to explain. I will agree that Marner is slightly overpaid, but if he is a good comparable to Barzal I think offering him the same deal for 8 years will be a fairly accurate assessment of Barzal’s value. This is based upon the generally agreed upon logic that buying UFA years is more expensive than buying RFA years. This means adding an extra year or two onto the contract could make up for the fact that it’s a slight overpay at 6-years.
Basically, despite Marner’s contract generally being seen as an overpayment, I think it could be a good evaluation of Barzal’s worth on a slightly longer term This all assumes that Marner is a good comparable for Barzal, so let’s examine that belief further.
We again see our comparable has slightly better offensive stats, with Marner having a slight point lead. He does so with less time on ice, resulting in a ~9% higher P/60. Both players put up close to the same S%, and have a similar A:G, meaning their point makeups are alike. As with Kane, we see that Marner is more effective on the PP, though by a much larger margin since Marner has produced more than Barzal with less PP ice time. The extra PP points Marner gets because of this higher effectiveness almost makes up for the total point difference between him and Barzal.
If we look at possession numbers, we see that Barzal has the Corsi edge in their first season, but it swings into Marner’s favour for the last two seasons. This is reinforced by the oZS%, where Marner has a higher percentage in the first season, followed by lower percentages in the remaining seasons.
Moving to xGF and xGA, we see Barzal having slightly higher values in both stats during the first 2 seasons, and a much lower value in both during the final season. Looking at total xGF and xGA, we see that Marner has the higher total in both stats, mostly due to the large difference in the final season. When comparing the net of these numbers, overall Barzal has the edge here, with 25.3 to Marner’s 15.1. This suggests that, in general, while Marner is better offensively, Barzal is better at shutting down chances, resulting in a higher net xGF-xGA.
Concluding this, Marner and Barzal have similar point makeups, with the total point output edge going to Marner. Marner is more effective on the PP, but the PP point difference does account for almost all of the point advantage he has over Barzal. On top of this, Barzal is both better at eliminating opposing team chances, as seen through his lower xGA, and he is a centre, which is seen as more valuable than a winger.
So, using Marner’s contract value on an 8-year deal for Barzal, we would get an AAV in the ballpark of ~$10.9million per season. And guess what? This is almost exactly the same as the tier 5 compensation cap for an offer sheet (2 first rounders, 1 second rounder, 1 third rounder), which sits at just over $10.9million. This is certainly a price many teams would consider to get a centreman of Barzal’s calibre.
The Threat of an Offer Sheet As I’ve been teasing, Barzal is a juicy target for potential offer sheets. But what teams would be willing to (and are capable of) giving up the number of picks required to get Barzal? And of those, who’s willing to risk their reputation and/or hurt their relationship with other GMs in the league? Fair warning, this is less statistical/fact based and more conjecture, so feel free to ignore this tangent.
I think there are two major candidates for an offer sheet: the New York Rangers and the Montreal Canadiens. Not only do both teams have the available picks, but both are among the richest teams in the league. With the rumoured money problems a lot of teams are going to have due to the pandemic, these are two teams that won’t be afraid to continue spending big money. I could see both teams in a position to do a variety of different offer sheets, from a 5-year $8.7million deal to a 7-year $10.9million deal.
Starting with the Rangers, they have a ton of picks to work with over the next 3 drafts and performed much better than expected this season. Imagine having the 1-2 punch of Zibanejad and Barzal down the middle. He also fits quite nicely into their roster and cup timeline, which has a ton of young talent in every position. This contract also wouldn’t hurt them cap-wise, as they have a ton of space coming off the books following next season, including Lundqvist, Staal, and a large chunk of the Shattenkirk buyout. Worst case, they force one of their biggest rivals to sign a deal they can’t afford, resulting in them having to move out players they’d rather keep. Best case, they get a high skilled centreman that could push them over the edge in terms of being cup contenders.
If we turn to Montreal, I think it only makes sense for them if they also get rid of Domi AND Danault in the offseason. Gaining Barzal through an offer sheet then moving Domi and Danault to get some help on the wing and defense would put Montreal in a decent spot to contend now. Their big names like Weber and Price aren’t getting any younger, so augmenting them with some young, elite talent helps in both the short and long term. We’ve also already seen that Bergevin is willing to offer sheet players in a time where so few GMs even consider it a possibility.
While offer sheets are fun to think about, for a player like Barzal, I think anything in the fourth tier of compensation will be instantly matched by the Islanders, as they won’t have to move too much to fit that cap hit. But if a team is willing to go bigger into the fifth compensation tier, then things could get a little rough for the Islanders. In today’s NHL, we likely won’t see any offer sheets, but it’s something interesting to think about.
Conclusion What does all this mean for Barzal and the Islanders? Let’s recap our potential contracts:
Short Term: 3x$6.75million, 8.28% of cap
Medium Term: 5x$9.04million, 11.09% of cap
Long Term: 8x$10.9million, 13.37% of cap
As I’ve stated previously, I think the best option for the Islanders is trying to sign Barzal to a 3-year bridge deal. This would give them the opportunity to sign some smaller contracts this year without needing to move much money out via trades. It would also allow them to wait out some of their bad/unneeded contracts, freeing up more money to sign Barzal to a long-term deal after his 3 years are up. The precedent for such a deal has been set by Braydon Point, so we’ll see if Barzal follows suit. While an offer sheet is certainly a possibility, I think it’s unlikely we see one.
TLDR – A 3x$6.75million deal is the best option for the Islanders given their cap situation, similar to Brayden Point’s deal in Tampa Bay.
What are your thoughts on this? Do you think the Islanders should try to clear more room this offseason and sign Barzal long-term, or do they try and sign him to a bridge deal? Do you think we’ll see anyone offer sheet him this season? If so, who?
5 new deaths recorded: Two men in their 80s, two women in their 80s and one woman in their 90s. All five deaths occurred prior to yesterday. One previous death was reclassified, resulting in a net increase of four deaths since yesterday.
The table below was last updated at 18:41:09 PM on Saturday, 19 September. Please view the DHHS website for the most up to date information. Added: None. Removed: None. Points to note: Around 1:50pm AEST 19/09, I noticed the website had been updated to include the following information but shortly after the information was removed:
Coburg North Coles, Coburg, Gaffney Street, Exposure period: 15/09/2020
Coburg, Dan Murphy's, Coburg, Louisa Street, Exposure period: 15/09/2020
Coburg/Brunswick West No.19 Tram, Moreland Road Stop #28 - Collins Street Stop #2, Exposure period: 15/09/2020
The above information is just an FYI - please ensure you are always referring to the DHHS website for the most up to date information.
Reported by DHHS
Sept: 18, 17
Burwood One Shopping Centre
13/09/2020 - 14/09/2020
Sept: 18, 17
Westgate Port Melbourne
11/09/2020 & 12/09/2020
Sept: 18, 16
Provans Mitre 10
Sept: 18, 16
Craigieburn Shopping Centre
Sept: 18, 15, 14
Deer Park/Southern Cross
6.00am V/Line Train Deer Park Station to Southern Cross Station, 3.45pm V/Line Train Southern Cross Station to Deer Park Station
2020.09.19 23:05 pog99Alternative Hypothesis/ Ryan Faulk distorts South Africa under Apartheid.
Originally, my plan was to continue on with his article on Slavery in the United States. However, United Left, and some previous posts of mine, more or less already debunk the picture he paints in that article. I still plan to address though at a later date. This article, perhaps even better than the last, show how thin Faulk's objectivity is. He opens and closes as if he was actually being holistic, but instead leaves a specimen blatant rationalization over a topic common among right-wing circles, the racial history and politics of South Africa. Lets not waste time.
The impact of European colonialism on the world is often described as being profoundly negative. The popular view is that Europeans came, stole resources, destroyed cultures, and committed mass murder all over the earth. By contrast, the prevailing view 100 years ago was that Europe was supplying the world with advanced institutions which they would not develop on their own and, in so doing, was civilizing the world. Either of these theories might be true, and, to some extent, they both are. It is obviously correct that Europe took resources from places, killed some number of people, and ended various indigenous cultural practices. It is also obviously true that Europe set up various institutions, such as capitalism and democracy, in various parts of the world which had not developed these things on their own.
Does he think state control over, say, African labor during colonialism is Capitalism? Or that limiting Local chiefs from legislation such as in Colonial Nigeria is democracy?
A broad look at the empirical evidence suggests that European colonization helped most people more than it hurt them. Research has shown that the longer, or more heavily, a place was colonized by Europeans the richer it ended up being today (Eaverly and Levine, 2012;Feyrer and Sacerdote, 2006). Moreover, in the 20th century Africa, which is the center of much of the colonization debate, saw tremendous net gains in both wealth and population size (Manning, 2013; Roser; 2016)
Going through each of these, The Easterly study mainly looks at economic growth, and honestly doesn't suffice to explain the specific of African colonial experience in that regard. The second study notes how specific conditions of colonialism influences growth, while the two figures on African population growth shows this to be particularly so in the Post colonial era. Few would consider the first decades of African independence to be embodied by these numbers. Here's an actual balanced set of studies and explanation on Colonialism in Africa.
I find this broad view compelling, but discussions on colonialism are rarely about the broad view. Instead, people like to talk about the anecdotal experiences of particular countries at particular times, and no anecdote is more often talked about than South African apartheid. In this article, I will examine the history of South Africa as a case study in European colonialism.
Correction: You will gloss over it in a way that reflects your political biases.
Black Origins The earliest people known to have occupied South Africa were a type of African called Khosians. Khosians are not the group of people most people think of when they think of Black South Africans. Those are Bantus. Bantu Africans and Khosians Africans look different, traditionally spoke different languages, and lived different sorts of lives. If we turned the clock back 4 thousand years, we would find that the southern half of the African continent was almost entirely inhabited by Khosians. Some time roughly 3,000 years ago, Bantu Africans began expanding out of eastern and central Africa. As they expanded, they displaced many of the African peoples who had previously lived there. The degree to which this expansion occurred via violence, disease, out breeding, or other means, is unknown. By 1,000AD, the Bantu had reached most of South Africa. However, most of the people there were still Khosians. When the Portuguese arrived in South Africa in the 1400’s, they encountered very few Bantu. As the Bantu expanded, they divided into tribes which then went to war with one another over land. In several African nations, a specific Bantu tribe came to dominate the others and then set up an empire. This occurred in South Africa as well. In the 1810’s and 1820’s, the Zulus conquered many neighboring African tribes and formed the Zulu empire. This empire went on to last almost until South Africa was entirely under White rule.
So a few things worth mentioning, that by 1000 AD, the current trends in a predominately Bantu Eastern half and a predominately Khoisan Western Half was already established.
The Rise of apartheid While the South African government did not obtain independence from Britain until 1948, the beginnings of Apartheid can be traced back to theland act of 1913. This law made it illegal for Whites to sell land to Blacks and vice versa. By this point, Whites had already conquered or purchased the vast majority of South African land and this law was designed to make sure that this would not change. Between this time and the 1960’s, the Apartheid government passed many laws which further segregated the races. For instance, inter-racial marriage was banned. The most often talked about policy of South Africa was the creation of the Bantustans. These were designated “homelands” for Black South Africans. The Apartheid government forcibly moved millions of Blacks from multi-racial areas of South Africa into these Bantustans. As explained in the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the people who established the Bantustans gave the following rational for their motives: “NP politicians portrayed the homelands as a moral response to South Africa’s ‘multi-national’ reality. Apartheid theorists believed that South Africa was a country containing a number of nations, each developed to a greater or lesser degree. Freedom, they posited, could be realized only by providing the opportunity for each of these nations to exist and develop along its own lines.” However, critics are quick to point out that the Bantustans consisted of less than a quarter of South Africa’s land even though Blacks made up an overwhelming majority of the nation’s population. 📷 Bantustans also suffered from tremendous poverty. As the Encyclopedia of Britiannia explains: “The Bantustans were rural, impoverished, underindustrialized, and reliant on subsidies from the South African government.The original hope of the designers of the Bantustan system was that industries would be established along the Bantustan borders to utilize the cheap labour available nearby, but for the most part these hopes went unrealized. Other initiatives to create the illusion of viable economies for the Bantustans also broke down. To the end they were heavily dependent on financial aid supplied by the South African government. Poverty remained acute in the Bantustans, and child mortality rates were extremely high. Despite draconian control of where people were allowed to farm and the number of cattle they were permitted to have, Bantustan lands were oversettled, overgrazed, and hence afflicted with serious soil erosion.”
So far so good. Of course, for this to be an article by Faulk, things would have to sharply turn downward.
The Net Economic Impact of Bantustans Such critics rarely mention the fact that as can be seen, in 1960, Black South Africans were exactly as poor as Sub-Saharan Africans generally were. By 1980 they were far richer (1). 📷 Given this, it does not seem fair to say, as some people do, that Bantustans caused Blacks to be poor. Prior to being forced into these areas, Black South Africans were just as poor as Sub-Saharan Africans generally were. Had Black South Africans been left totally alone, there is no reason to think that they would have become any richer than the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa let alone richer than they were under Apartheid. The land in Bantustans may have been bad. But this, evidently, was more than made up for by payments from the South African government.
The economic strain caused by the nature of the Bantustans is basically uncontested by actual experts as far as I know. The basis being that the clearly linked demographic disasters linked to their design have been established but ignored by the government since their early existence through the Tomlinson report and previous studies calling for reform. Voerwerd refusing to spend the recommended budget to actually achieve independence as oppose to partial dependence for black labour, as well as the future migration to urban areas fueled by the increasingly poor conditions, suggest whatever aid given to the homelands were far from sufficient in any meaningful sense. Height data suggests Living standards indeed deteriorated with the onset of particular labour exploitation events and that future improvements were linked to being apartheid of the same economic benefits that white South Africans were apart of. This would've been undermined had Apartheid not inadvertently fueled migration into white urban areas and new urban areas surrounding the homelands close to white populations. Thus, whatever growth seen between Apartheid, which eventually became economically weakened from the 1970s to the 1980s, would be in spite of the laws imposed. See here fore an overview on the arbitrary decision, poor conditions, and deceiving nature of Homeland "independence".
In conjunction with these external pressures, domestic terrorism was rapidly rising in South Africa during this time period. Following the incident in Sharpville, members of the ANC, the leading Black political party in South Africa, formed a military wing called the MK. Among its founders was Nelson Mandela, who was famously thrown in prison in 1962 for committing various acts of terrorism against the South African government. The most famous incident of said terrorism perpetrated by the MK was the Church Street Bombing of 1983. This attack consisted of a car bomb being set off in the middle of the day on a busy street. 19 people were killed and over 200 were wounded. 📷 This is but one example from a list of many similar terrorist attacks that occurred, mostly in the 1980’s. During this time, the MK also gained a reputation for torturing prisoners. On top of all this, in 1989 the South African president suffered a stroke that caused him to resign from office. F.W. De Klerk took his place after being elected by congress and was then re-elected by the electoral college. De Klerk eliminated as many of the Apartheid laws as he could and, after freeing Nelson Mandela, entered into negotiations to end Apartheid. Following the announcement of these negotiations, De Klerk’s party, the National Party, lost a national election to the pro apartheid Conservative Party. This was taken to indicate that the (White) people of South Africa did not want Apartheid to end and so De Klerk decided to hold a national referendum on whether or not to continue his negotiations to end apartheid. The referendum was conducted in 1992 and the public was taken to have voted to end Apartheid. However, the referendum has been heavily criticized on several grounds. First, the South African government owned the media and this meant that the public only got a biased presentation of one viewpoint (Schonteich et al., 2003). Secondly, western powers were expected to plunge South Africa into a recession if they voted no (Wren, 1993). Thirdly, serious accusations of voter fraud have been made. Regardless, the negotiations continued and in 1994 Apartheid was ended. Some Whites tried to resist the vote by setting up smaller areas of White control, but such efforts largely subsided after several Whites were executed on live TV by Black police officers. As one authorwrote: “the sight of three wounded AWB men pleading for their lives on live television and then shot in cold blood [by black policemen] had a powerful impact on the country’s Whites.” Following the end of Apartheid, Nelson Mandela was elected president of the new South African government.
So there's an impression left here that'll pick up on later, but to give you a hint, Faulk doesn't tell you exactly who the executed whites were.
National Success Since Apartheid Unfortunately, since Apartheid ended South Africa has declined on many metrics of national health. Under apartheid GDP per capita usually grew roughly in sync with the rest of the World. This trend began to collapse in the 1980’s following the introduction of sanctions against the country. After apartheid ended, GDP per capita not only stagnated but, in fact, fell such that South Africans were poorer in 2002 than they were in 1982. 📷 World Bank
Of course what it also shows is an eventual recovery.
What he doesn't show is this disparity occurring before Apartheid ended, almost 10 years prior in fact.
Under Apartheid, South Africa had a longer average life expectancy than Sub-Saharan Africa generally did. Since Apartheid ended, life expectancy has stagnated and fallen such that life expectancy was almost 10 years higher in 1992 than it was in 2002. 📷 World Bank
Murder rates in South Africa began to rise in the 1970’s. Given the national turmoil of this time period, an increase in crime is unfortunate but not surprising. Perhaps less obvious, however, is the fact that murder rates exploded following the end of apartheid. As can be seen, this has disproportionately impacted Whites. 📷 (Thompson, 2004)
That is actually not supported by the data. Coloreds in South Africa make up roughly the same percentage as whites, yet their victimizations are night and day. That's actually the point of the study.
These declines have not just impacted White South Africans. The wealth gap between Blacks and Whites in South Africa was slightly lower under Apartheid than it is today. 📷(Leibbrandt et al., 2012) This, taken in conjunction with the fact that GDP growth has slowed since Apartheid ended, implies that both Blacks and Whites in south Africa would likely be richer today if Apartheid were still in place. Moreover, Black South Africans reported feeling less happy and less satisfied with their lives in 2008 than they did in the early 1980’s. 📷(Moller, 1998; Gaibie and Davids, 2009) 📷(Moller, 1998; Gaibie and Davids, 2009) Thus, it seems that the economic, physical, and psychological health of South Africa has gotten worse since Apartheid ended.
The 1980s, mind you, being Apartheid at it's economical weakest compared to previous decades, going towards the trend of less government restrictions.
Kill the Boers Anti-White racism has also risen since Apartheid ended. Today, there is a wave of mass murder being waged against the descendants of the Boers.This is how the situation was described by the president of Genocide Watch: “Afrikaner farm owners are being murdered at a rate four times the murder rate of other South Africans, including Black farm owners. Their families are also subjected to extremely high crime rates, including murder, rape, mutilation and torture of the victims. South African police fail to investigate or solve many of these murders, which are carried out by organized gangs, often armed with weapons that police have previously confiscated. The racial character of the killing is covered up by a SA government order prohibiting police from reporting murders by race. Instead the crisis is denied and the murders are dismissed as ordinary crime, ignoring the frequent mutilation of the victims’ bodies, a sure sign thatthese are hate crimes*.*However, independent researchers have compiled accurate statistics demonstrating convincingly that murders among White farm owners occur at a rate of 97 per 100,000 per year, compared to 31 per 100,000 per year in the entire South African population, making the murder rate of White SA farmers one of the highest murder rates in the world.”Leon Parkin & Gregory H. Stanton, President – Genocide Watch14 August 2012 These murders are not only common place, they are also gruesome. Attie Potgieter was stabbed over 150 times while his wife and daughter, who were later executed, were made to watch. 📷 Dr. Louis John Botha was thrown into a crocodile pit and eaten alive. 📷 As a final example, consider the Vianafamily. The father and daughter were shot, the mother was raped and killed, and the son was drowned to death in a bath of boiling water. 📷 These murders reflect a more general anti-White sentiment which is ubiquitous in South Africa. Even leaders of the ANC, the party now in charge of the South African government, literally sang songs about killing White people as recently as 2012. “South Africa’s ruling party on Tuesday defended the singing of an apartheid-era song with the words “Kill the Boer” in a row that has raised fears of increasing racial polarisation.” –Govender (2010) White South Africans are also discriminated against by various South African institutions in order to make up for the damage that Apartheid institutions are thought to have done to Blacks. First, there is discrimination in University admissions. Consider, for instance, this report on the University of Cape Town: “The way in which the university has achieved this diversity, however, is somewhat controversial. To be admitted, white students must score the equivalent of straight A’s. Meanwhile, black and mixed-race students can get in with plenty of B’s. The University of Cape Town doesn’t make this policy a secret — admission cutoffs are listed by race in the prospectus.” –Kelto (2011) Employers are encourage by the state to discriminate against Whites as well. The Black Economic Empowerment law set up the following point system in the country: “Points are based on the percentage of blacks and other non-white ethnic groups in the company’s ownership and the skills training it gives to people in these groups. For companies, having a good BEE scorecard is often essential for business. The higher the BEE score they have, the more access they get to public markets and contracts.” –Iob (2013) Finally, in may of this year South Africa passed the “land expropriation bill” which allows the government to force White South Africans to sell their land to the government at a price that the government decides. The rational behind this law is that it can undue the redistribution of land into the hands of whites which was solidified by the Land Act of 1913. These factors have led White South Africans to abandon South Africa in large numbers. Since Apartheid ended, over half a million White South Africans have left the country. To put that in perspective, there are less than 5 million Whites in the whole country. Some White South Africans are unable to emigrate on their own and are asking Western nations for Refugee status. The Canadian government has recently acquiesced to this request and allowed two White South Africans to come to Canada as refugees. “31-year-old Brandon Huntley from Cape Town said he was constantly called a “white dog” and “settler” by Black South Africansback home. He was also robbed 7 times and stabbed three times by Black South Africans since his home country ended Apartheid in 1994. “There’s a hatred of what we did to them and it’s all about the color of your skin,” Huntley told the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board.The evidence Huntley provided showed “a picture of indifference and inability or unwillingness of the South African government to protect White South Africans from persecution by African South Africans,” Board Chairman William Davis said.” – White South Africans are also asking for refugee status from the EU which, in recent years, has allowed tens of thousands of middle eastern and African refugees to cross its borders.
I won't sugarcoat the the economic and social issues of whites currently in South Africa. The problem is, aside from the victimization of Afrikaners (farmers specifically) by murders, the general economic position of whites in South Africa hasn't changed. As for white emigration, his figure combines the total number of whites (roughly 300k) that have left between 1986 (that is before apartheid fell) and 2000, and roughly 300k between 2000-2015. Overall, the white population only slightly shrank between 1980 and 2015.
If conquest is not a legitimate means to acquire land, the Zulu and similar Bantu tributes did not justly own South African land, nor did any other tribe of the last few hundred years. After all, this land was conquered from Khoisan and older Bantu tribes. Moreover, if the Zulu did steal the land, it is not clear that Apartheid was in the wrong for taking it from them. Is it wrong to steal something which is stolen from the thief who stole it? If, on the other hand, conquest is a valid way to acquire land, then White South Africans had a perfectly legitimate claim on it. This might be taken to imply that there is also nothing wrong with modern Black South Africans taking land from Whites. However, conquering land via war is not the same thing as using a false political narrative about the supposed negative effects of apartheid to take land. Moreover, forcing White people into a society that hates and mass murders them is not analogous to putting Blacks in bantustans which, as we have seen, were not as bad as they are often made out to be. I consider the morality of conquest to be a difficult question and I won’t try to resolve it here. What I will say is that it is very hard to come up with any principled moral answer which would justify the totality of what is being done to White South Africans.
Where to begin?
Assuming the validity of the right of conquest, that only applies to the right to claim land or wield power over it. That doesn't exempt moral considerations on particular acts directed towards the previous occupiers. That is, if the Zulu Empire lead to the displacement and abuse of other groups like the Khoisan, then they can be morally judged on those grounds. Same can be easily said for victims of the Anglo-Boer wars under concentration camps.
"White South Africans" didn't conquer Bantu lands leading to their annexation, it was the British specifically. Boers more so are responsible for the displacement of the Khoisan in the Western Cape.
"Forced Removals" weren't the direct result of being conquered, annexation was. Forced removals, then, can be viewed as a separate act apart of conquest from war and as a decision by an already formed government. It was these laws that form the basis of land claims, not British colonization in and of itself.
There is noting "false" that was validly demonstrated regarding the effect of Bantustans had on the black population. Nor were the Bantustans "not that bad", as most moved out by 1986.
Political Violence Another important question is whether or not the political violence initiated by the MK against White South Africans was justified. Apartheid set up various laws, some of which I would consider unjust. Most importantly, Apartheid severely restricted the right of Blacks to protest. This was the justification that Mandela used for resorting to violence. He had no other choice. This may be true, and if you think that apartheid’s policies were sufficiently horrible this may justify violence, but there is no way that the indiscriminate violence against innocent and random White south Africans that the MK engaged in can be justified. Their activities, especially in the 1980’s, were morally equivalent to any other act of mass murder. Further more, as we have seen, Apartheid’s actions were not nearly as bad as they are often thought to have been.
This is what I was alluding to earlier, that terrorism among the Anti-Apartheid movement was directed towards whites mostly. While there were indeed anti-white motivation fueling the movement, the overwhelming majority were black. See here for an understanding. This whole section is a strawman.
Evaluating Apartheid Even if Apartheid improved the material and psychological conditions of Black Africans,
It didn't. De facto economic integration efforts was what lead to observed improvements.
On the other hand, the material benefit that Whites brought to South Africa, and Africa generally, was truly immense. Were it not for colonialism, most Africans alive today would have never even been born.
In South Africa, that population growth came from a reaction of concentrated poverty, not wealth.
Fundamentally, the problem of African colonialism is the problem of multi-racialism. So long as Whites allowed Blacks to continue to live in Africa, which could have only been prevented with a massive and horrific genocide, Black Africans were going to resent them.
Except in Botswana, and to a lesser extent Namibia. Both with significantly different approaches to race relations.
As Apartheid shows us, this is true even if the Whites improve the conditions of the Blacks. There will always been a feeling that Whites do not belong there and Blacks will always resent the invariably superior material conditions of Whites.
Probably because many were removed from and forced away from Urban living.
Colonialism of the United States only worked because there aren’t many Indians around anymore.
I get the feeling this is part of his Bitchute video on the topic.
The kind of colonialism practiced in Africa in which Whites would be permanent but ruling minorities in a majority Black nation was never sustainable without an uncomfortable measure of totalitarianism and even then ethnic conflict was still common place.
The violence surrounding colonialism was rarely, if ever, one sided. Today, there is a massive level of systemic racism against White South Africans. The fact that this racism is not covered in Western media offers a stark contrast with how the media covered the sins of Apartheid.
The sources of the farm murders and affirmative actions were News24, a relatively left leaning SA news source, NPR, Reuters, Voice of America and the Dailymail. Only one source was an "alternative one", which reported the murder a whole year after News24 did and relied on a mainstream Afrikaner-news report. These get attention by "Western media".
Overall, the problems of South Africa, both in terms of Blacks resenting their White rulers under Apartheid and Whites experiencing racism today, come from the inherent difficulties of having a multi-racial society. In this sense, the story of South Africa contains lessons not only about colonialism but also about more general and pressing questions of immigration and diversity.
Or, you know, what happens when you don't consider the role of Black Africans in your government, unlike Botswana.
2020.09.19 22:15 LeonSchuring93Share your Fallout 3 100% completion stats, here is my Xbox360 run first (no video yet though)!!
So I wanted to share my Fallout 4 100% completion list, after a short search I saw nobody has done this before. And unlike elderstats.com (a site where you can upload your character in order to compare scores on a leaderboard), there unfortunately is NO such site for Fallout games. I just added my fallout 4 100% completion list here: https://www.reddit.com/fo4/comments/ivz2rw/share_your_fallout_4_100_completion_stats_here_is/ Now I will share my Fallout 3 100& completion character stats here. So once again: I did ALL quests, and I just checked the Fallout Wiki extensively for if I got every unique item: weapon, armor, clothing, achievement, bobblehead, consumable, holodisk and note, key, magazine and even misc item. I also got every non-SPECIAL perk and random encounter. I off course have all DLC, and I upgraded my Megaton to my own satisfaction. I have a very good karma character, got every good karma companion as a result and searched every nook and cranny of all maps (all locations of DLC, cleared all of them). I finished with declining President John Henry Eden´s offer for the Purifier, and helped the BoS destroy the Enclave mobile base crawler. Time played: 331 hours. Name: Albert (I kept him standard in appearance too) Level: 30 Date: 09.27.78 (406 days; since traveling back and forth to Point Lookout adds 30 in-game days play time is actually more like 346 days). ALL SPECIAL 10, every skill level 100. Not notified under here but I slept about 7-8 days every day (due to realism, next to eating/drinking), just like in my Fallout 4 playthrough (see above in link). Difficulty played on: Very Hard Now my pip-boy stats:
Quests Completed = 57
Locations Discovered = 220
People Killed = 1493
Creatures Killed = 2593
Locks Picked = 631
Computers Hacked = 204
Stimpacks Taken = 687
Rad-X Taken = 34
Radaway Taken = 127
Chems Taken = 158
Times Addicted = 22
Mines Disarmed = 204
Speech Successes = 82
Pockets Picked = 6
Pants Exploded = 2
Books Read = 343
Bobbleheads Found = 20
Weapons Created = 72
People Mezzed = 0
Captives Rescued = 10
Sandman Kills = 0
Paralyzing Punches = 36
Robots Disabled = 31
Contracts Completed = 0
Corpses Eaten = 0
Mysterious Stranger Visits = 8
Might be something I forgot, but not sure! Please share your own character!!
Mulligan lost battles, gain intelligence and warn your ancestors, the possibilities are endless. The execution… is a little more limited. Eldar: Level 1 Eldar have demonstrated a limited ability to time travel half a day or so backwards in time (Yenneth) in order to alter the future, which really makes one wonder why they don’t do this more often. Necrons: Setek, Rahkoz, and Orikan all show limited time travel. Orikan specifically has the ability time travel across his own timeline to put his predictions back on track, but as with Eldar time travel, it begs the questions ‘why wasn’t it used’ (say to prevent the Necrodermis biotransference, which Orikan actually foresaw and warned against, and which the Silent King later judged to be a mistake). Again, I suspect the answer to this question is ‘time travel has critical limits. There are a handful of examples of Necros making large time leaps, e.g. In Shield of Baal a Cryptek sends some Nids billions of years into the past to save the ship they were on, and in another instance Imotekh threatens to send a group of prisoners to the entropic end of the universe. None of these examples however amount to the kind of time travel that would be really useful i.e. being able to pinpoint a date in the past that would change the course of an ongoing war – and hit the timeline where it matters. Conclusion: DRAW. I’d give an edge to the Nerons just because they seem to be able to time-travel further back into time, but neither side demonstrates the ability to time-travel effectively enough to alter key events which they would clearly want to alter – this is why I don’t see this being a game changing ability. Speculation: There is a section of the Webway the Eldar call Uigebealach in which time moves backward and in which they can theoretically time travel backwards as far as they want. They seem to have resolved not to mess with these sections of the Webway (further supporting the hypothesis that time travel was limited/dangerous) but in an existential time travelling war I suspect these reservations would evaporate. Additionally, I wonder whether level 4 Eldar, being more psychically advanced, could perform Yenneth’s time travel on a bigger scale to reach further into the past. I also wonder if short or longer time traveling jumps could be chained together in order to effectively time travel back further i.e. Farseer A time travels back 10 hours, passes a message to Farseer B, who then time travels back another 10 hours to pass a message to Farseer C – rinse and repeat until you reach the desired time.
Having an advantage here likely gives you first strike. This is also the ultimate form of intelligence that can let you evacuate planets from WMD targets, while determining the best targets for your own attacks. Eldar: This is another signature feature of the Eldar, and one of the only things keeping them alive in the hostile 40K universe. Level 1 Eldar make devastating use of precognition, often manipulating events thousands of years into the future (e.g. as the supposed puppet masters behind the 2nd War of Armageddon). I’m not aware of pre-fall Farseeing by Eldar as the Path of the Seer is a post-fall thing, but we know both Lileath and Morai-Heg could do it - and by some readings of the Eldar lore they foresaw the Fall millions of years in advance. Clearly Eldar precognition has many limitations though, or they would have been able to prevent the Fall from happening (yes some Craftworlds foresaw the falls and left, but most Craftworlds didn’t leave in time and were devoured, similarly most of the Eldar didn’t even bother to leave on Craftworlds, and even before that, precognition didn’t save the Eldar from the long decline that led to The Fall in the first place). Necrons: The Cryptek chronomancers can also see the future. It is said Orikan predicted the the Fall of the Eldar, the rise of the Imperium, the Horus Heresy, and the coming of the Tyranids, many thousands of years before each came to pass. Conclusion: ELDAR WIN – Both the Eldar and the Necrons seem capable of predicting events thousands of years before they happen, but the Eldar have more feats in actually altering the future. The Eldar gods also probably made better precogs than Crypteks. For these reasons I give this win to the Eldar. Sepculation: I wonder whether precognition is actually a counter to time travel. Suppose its halfway through the War in Heaven and the Necrons resolve to travel back 800 years in time from time 'T', to assassinate the Elder leader John Connor. This time travelling mission could be detected by two sets of Eldar. Should the mission succeed, the Eldar at time T would have their future erased, and that change in the future is something the Eldar can pick up (e.g. as the Breath of the Gods starts sending various time-streams on a collision course Bielanna sees the future being erased), allowing the Eldar to deploy countermeasures and prevent the time traveling mission. Similarly, at time 'T' minus 800 years (let's call this T-800), the assassination of John Connor is a significant event which might have been foreseen by Eldar of a previous age, say Eldar of the time T-1000, allowing them to run their own interference with the time travelling mission. Said differently, both the moment at which you decide to travel backwards, and the moment at which you travel back to, are always in someone's future - a future that can be foreseen. Perhaps one explanation for why the Necrons were not able to effectively time travel is because the Eldar actually had an answer to this. A similar effect is created when both sides have precogs i.e. side A plans to attack, side B's precogs detect this and plan a preemptive strike, but this is detected by side A's precogs who plan to preempt the preemptive strike. The attack keeps getting pushed further and further back in time until one side fails to foresee their future. In this sense too, the first strike is more likely to go to the side with the stronger precogs. I'd also note neither precognition nor time travel are panaceas. Suppose we detect that a black hole will collide with the sun in 100 years, this knowledge is probably not enough for us to stop it, we simply can't make the necessary technological advancements in time. For the same reasons, we would fail if we were to send someone back in time 100 years to warn our ancestors as the black hole was colliding with the sun. Sometimes knowledge helps, other times there really is nothing you can do.
Eldar vs Pylon Tech
Necron pylons such as those found on Cadia are worth a special mention because they were supposedly the Necron's trump card, which would have defeated the level 3 Eldar. From Fall of Cadia we know that activated pylons have a massive area of effect (shrinking the eye of terror - a region of the galaxy that encompasses billions of stars - from Cadia), cause demons to wink out of existence, cancel psychic powers (Celestine's aura), cause Psykers to drop dead (though more powerful Psykers are able to resist and even continue to use their psychic powers – the pylons hadn’t reached full effect by this stage), and prevent warp travel. There’s some lore that even claims that the pylons would have destroyed any creature with a soul! It's understandable why this would have been a game changer! What effects would this have on our hypothetical war? We don't have any examples of how the Eldar would deal with pylons but we can make educated guesses by examining how Eldar tech interacts with other similar effects such as The Shadow in the Warp, and psychic nulls/blanks. As a reminder The Shadow in the Warp is the psychic interference field created by Tyranid Hive Mind which is described in the lore as "blocking all connection to the immaterium". It also has a massive area of effect (covering whole sections of the galaxy), also causes demons to flicker out of existence (Fall of Shadowbrink), also makes manifesting psychic powers very difficult, and also prevents warp travel. Psychic nulls/blanks create some of these effects on a smaller scale and are described as being able to "sever the connection between the Warp and realspace within their local area". So how do these phenomena affect the Eldar war machine? They handicap, but do not disable Eldar tech: While some Eldar tech like Firehearts can’t function without psychic activation, this is the exception, not the rule. Under The Shadow in the Warp the psy-links that the Eldar use for communication as well as for guiding their weapons stop working. But when Yriel fires missiles into Hive Fleet Leviathan, sophisticated guidance systems take over from the psy-links to make sure the missiles reach their targets. From Valedor:
The entire fleet swarmed around the orifice, launching hundreds of volleys of missiles into its depths. The weapons, directed by their own sophisticated guidance systems – the psy-links the armsmen normally used were non-functional in the face of the hive mind – flew under the horny plates and exploded. The sphincter was caught by the concentrated blasts and twitched, exposing the innards of the vessel for just a second" and then once the Hive Mind destroyed: "Psy-links all over the fleet sprang into life. The battle leapt into sudden clarity for the eldar. At the same time, the tyranid fleet collapsed. Ships blundered into one another, or stopped moving. As on Iyanden, Yriel reckoned a quarter of them died on severance from their guiding intellect.
Similarly, despite the psy-links being down, the ships are still able to communicate with each other technologically. Aboard Iyanden, Eldar Shuriken Catapult continue to fire using a manual override, forgoing their ability to be fired psychically. Soul-powered tech like wraith constructs continued to function, and were even able to bring their warp spewing vortex weapons to bear. We should also note that these same shuriken catapults and Wraithguard, are made from psychically summoned wraithbone – but they do not flicker out of existence. Basically most Eldar tech is enhanced by psychic abilities, but it is by no means rendered useless in their absence. This is supported by the fact that the Drukhari had to stop using their psychically enabled tech overnight, and were not thrown back to the stone age, on the contrary, they still have some of the most advanced tech in the galaxy. They handicap but do not disable Eldar psychic powers: Iyanden Warlocks were able to unite in choir to repel the Shadow in the Warp and use their psychic powers. Similarly, Kelmont and a group of Farseers were able to breach the Shadow in the Warp to send Yriel a message light years away before 'calling down eldritch fire upon their attackers'. They do not affect the Webway at all: While The Shadow in the Warp fully blocks warp travel, it does not seem to affect the Webway at all. Already under its full affects, Webway portals all across Iyanden continued to pump out aid from other Craftworlds. Yriel also presumably comes to Iyanden's aid via the Webway given that he was light-years away when he received the call for help. There are also examples of Tyranids and large groups of nulls/blanks like the Sisters of Silence making their way inside the Webway without destabilizing it. Even the Atlas Infernal, an artifact that emits a blank aura so powerful that its lethal to psykers, is regularly used inside the Webway without destabilizing it. It would also make sense for Necron pylons not to affect the Webway given the Necrons themselves relied and continue to rely on the Webway pretty heavily. Viewed through this lens, I’d suggest thinking of the warp as water and as the Webway as an underwater tunnel – evaporating the water does not destroy the tunnel. They probably affect Eldar Gods: As warp entities, Eldar gods are technically demons and Pylons seem to have a much stronger impact on demons than the other examples we've discussed. Blanks make demons feel uncomfortable or makes them unable to see creatures within their aura, while the Shadow in the Warp can cause minor demons to lose their grip on reality though the stronger ones (the Avatar's of Khaine included) don't seem bothered by it. Pylons on the other hand make demons disappear outright (and even cause demon-infused humans to lose half their bodies!). Its possible that the Eldar gods were so powerful that even the Pylons could not hold them back (especially once augmented by worship from level 4 Eldar populations), but Pylons were probably the Necron trump card precisely because they blocked the influence of warp gods. If the Eldar want to bring their gods into Necron territory, they would therefore have to find a way to deal with Pylons first. Conclusion: Pylons probably prevent the Eldar Gods from leading a charge into Necron territory, and if you believe that they would have destroyed anything with a soul, they probably would have prevented the Eldar themselves from charging headstrong into Necron territory. Pylons do not however prevent the Eldar and their Gods from defending Eldar territory in which Pylons have not yet been established. Pylons also don't stop the Eldar from using their world-ending conventional weaponry. As far as I can tell there is nothing stopping Eldar robots building a webway tunnel into the heart of a Crownworlds, jumping out, and deploying a black-hole-in-a-box. Similarly there is nothing stopping autonomous Eldar ships from appearing above a Necron world and stripping it layer by layer with Akiliamor warheads. As best I can tell, Pylons would slow the Eldar down, but they are not an absolute defense by any means. I'd also argue that Cadia's activated Pylons almost certainly caught Craftworld Ulthwe in its absolutely huge area of effect - and as far as we can tell - the Craftworld didn't perish - so we can speculate that the Craftworld provide a shield from the Pylon's effects. Sidenote: The Necrons fielded precursors to pylons, such the Nexus Arrangement which were basically less powerful Pylons (they could prevent warp travel but not personal warp-mediated teleportation, nor could they prevent Demons from manifesting or stop psychic powers). They also had a similar device called a Null Field Matrix which generated a planetary scale anti-psychic field. Putting these two devices together creates a less powerful version of a pylon. For all intents and purposes the Eldar response to pylons is also a response to these devices.
These capabilities are extremely flexible – they can be used to bolster some of the parameters we’ve talked about e.g. to destroy areas of space (firepower), to summon armies, cities and planets (population and population replenishment) etc. Eldar: In Fist of Demetrius we are introduced to what is only referred to as ‘The Machine of the Ancients’. It is described as ‘the ultimate weapon and the ultimate defense’ that could ‘make thoughts and dreams real’. The Eldar who built it were supposedly devoured in the fall before they could test the machine. When the Archon Ashterioth uses the machine he experiences a ‘god like consciousness’ and remarks ‘I know that if I work on this I can summon armies to my aid, armies that will worship me like a god, which will allow me to raise myself to heights undreamed of by the inferior intellects around me. I hear the whisper temptations of absolute power and I do not resist them.’ Almost immediately Ashterioth is attacked by a group of Imperials featuring a cameo from a young Logan Grimnar. To defend himself, Ashterioth summons a replica of Commorragh and populates it with thousands of Drukhari warriors equipped with weapons and artillery. Luckily the imperials manage to fight their way to the Archon and take him out before he gets the hang of using the machine. So what could this machine do in our scenario? This really depends on whether you place any limits on ‘making thoughts and dreams real’. A modest interpretation would be to replicate things that already exist in the universe. It could likely self-replicate, giving the Eldar as many reality warping machines as they need. By the same logic, it could likely replicate just about anything the Necrons had already created: summoning legions of Necrons who would fight for the Eldar by charging into Pylon fields, led by Eldar controlled C’tan, and backed by a Necron arsenal that could include Necron reality manipulation technology like the Breath of the Gods. Necrons: We covered The Breath of the Gods briefly in the firepower section, but it was originally built in order to feed the C’tan star energy, by draining the energy of dozens of stars at a time. At some point, the human Telok finds the machine with a trapped C’tan in it, and superglues a Hrud to the machine to make use of its temporal field. He then rigs the machine to use the C’tan as a battery. This allows the machine to function in a way that it was not originally intended to, and in this new configuration, the machine is highly unstable, and an unimaginably more powerful reality manipulation tool. Over the span of a few centuries, it is used to terraform whole planets (including the creation of a Forge World!), and to summon crystal minions that can mimic machinery, but using the machine in this way has severe unintended side effects. Initially this reality manipulation results in all kinds of temporal anomalies like planets aging out of existence and stars going supernova before their time but eventually the machine malfunctions, threatening nothing less than the complete destruction of the universe (wait what?). Crucially, it’s not clear if the Necrons could use this modified version of the machine without destroying themselves and the whole universe in the process, which really limits its application in this war. Conclusion: ELDAR WIN - The Breath of the Gods, as impressive as it is, has some pretty catastrophic limitations as a weapon. Meanwhile the Machine of the Ancients has clear examples of weaponization. While the Machine of the Ancients can likely create the Breath of the Gods, it’s unlikely that the Breath of the Gods can create the Machine of the Ancients (stably or unstably), and even if they could, the Necron/C’tan couldn’t psychically interface with it. For these reasons I hand the win to the Eldar. Speculation: In its original stable configuration, the Necrons could probably use the Breath of the Gods to drain and destroy dozens of stars at a time – though whether this drain would happen quickly enough to be a viable weapon is unclear, as the C’tan can take forever to eat a star. In its modified unstable form, this machine has endless uses e.g. since it made a Forge World, could it be used to create new Tombworlds? This could solve a pretty major population replenishment problem. There’s the issue of whether this is really a Necron weapon if it requires a Hrud to work, though Chronomancers could probably engineer their own temporal fields. The million-dollar question is whether the Necrons could actually stabilize this kind of machine. I’d speculate that the limitations of the Breath of the Gods are similar to those of the Celestial Orrery (both technologies seem to have some similar technological underpinnings in that they remotely cause starts to go supernova 'before their time'), and that they can’t stabilize the former given that they have been unable to stabilize the latter, but this is pure conjecture. We have good reason to believe that the Breath of the Gods didn’t provide god like power because if it did – as with many other techs we’ve discussed – it would beg the question ‘why wasn’t this power used to decisively win the war in heaven’. On the contrary, we actually have a good answer for why the Machine of the Ancients was not used. We know its engineers were killed in the Fall before they could ever test it. So we truly don’t have a reason to believe that we’ve seen its upper limits. We used a pretty modest interpretation for what the Machine of the Ancients could do, but ‘thoughts and dreams’ is a pretty wide scope. Why stop at things that already exist? Why not populate the galaxy with Aeldari pylons that destroy Necrodermis. Hell why not imagine a machine that erases Necrons from existence without the pylons. If that’s out of scope of our machine, why not imagine a more powerful version of the machine of the ancients to remove those pesky limitations. I personally see thinking of the Machine of the Ancients in this way as a 'no limit fallacies', so I don't go go there. Continue to Part IV - Conclusion and Closing Thoughts
2020.09.19 18:31 misterjyoung[DISCUSSION] Theory Vs. Aural Learning
I’ve spoken to many seasoned and professional guitar players, and there seems to be a division between the idea of learning theory versus learning to play aurally. Even when doing research online or scrolling through this community. I have reached a point where I can understand basic theory and maybe a little more, and I can also learn songs by ear. What confuses me is knowing which one is “better” for the ultimate goal of becoming a great guitar player. For example, the Beatles didn’t know much theory, Hendrix and John Mayer didn’t have all the resources to learn theory, they learned by ear, and they became some of the greatest players to date. In my own journey theory has helped a lot but learning by ear is equally helpful. What I’m trying to gauge is levels of success in your own guitar journey based on what route you chose as a guitar player. Perhaps you never learned theory and stuck to learning by ear, perhaps you stuck to theory and never learned by ear, perhaps you chose to pursue both in the long and winding road of playing guitar. Hearing from as many different players as possible and their reasons for choosing their path would be greatly appreciated as I feel I have become confused on my own journey. Thanks everyone.
2020.09.19 16:50 Christopher_MaximI'm an office tech at a company that works with NASA. I should have never looked through their secret archive.
I don't work for NASA. I'm a lowly office tech at a company affiliated with NASA. We store data off-site mostly concerning their many, secret unmanned missions to the moon, including the countless ones that took place in between the Apollo launches. There are regular landings, even today. As you can imagine, we're not on the books. Still, we are a necessary facet of the space administration's delicate infrastructure. Now that you're up to speed with where I work, I can tell you about the room. Room 371 to be precise; the overseer's office. It always had an air of mystery about it. I, and other staff members, had been inside before; tasked with leaving behind flash drives filled with sensitive information for the overseer to upload to our database. You see, the sole computer in that room is an offline archive containing almost every one of NASA's dirty little secrets. Stuff that we can't risk getting out in the event of a data breach. If anyone were to hack our online mainframe, they would only find decoy files - outlying pieces of data that have already been in the public's eye. Most of the information I dealt with amounted to mundane statistical analyses. The real interesting, controversial stuff was sent directly to the overseer, bypassing the prying eyes of entry-level employment. That brings us to yesterday. It was a normal drop-off assignment. Bring the flash-drive to Room 371, leave it on the desk, and shut the door on your way out. I had done it countless times before. This time, however, was a little different. After placing the drive on the desk, I noticed a faint glow on the wall behind it. The computer was on. This was strange. It was always shut down by the overseer after a data dump. The only times I had ever seen it turned on were days when he was in there, still working. I admit, my curiosity got the better of me. With a slight spike in adrenaline, I walked around the desk and sat at the chair, ready to take back at least one mystery to the hive-mind on the main floor. The convenience in this moment cannot be understated. I later discovered that the overseer was sick and had rushed to the bathroom, where he remained for at least forty minutes. Not only was the computer on, but it was unlocked. Even our personal workstations required a series of passwords that changed, daily. Passwords we had to spend the first ten minutes of any given work day decrypting. This was the one and only chance I had to placate my curiosity and dig for the buried treasures of NASA. I knew there just had to be something in the confines of our database that would elicit a gasp or mouth drop. Something I would remember for the rest of my years. In settling in at the desk, my heart pounding at the thought of the overseer's return, I noticed the computer was calibrated just like the rest of our PCs. Because of this, I knew just what folders to open and what digital stones to turn on my hunt for secrets. Most files were your run-of-the-mill storage vessels; data pertaining to the boring truths of the trade; statistics and physics predictions. After a few minutes of searching, I almost called it quits, but one document caught my eye. It was titled Project Burial at Sea. This was what I wanted. A classified NASA project, never before released to the public. In this moment, secrets were revealed to me. Ones I soon wished I had never unearthed. As is common with these types of documents, the jargon was very straight-forward and low on description. As such, I had to piece together bits of information to form a clear picture of the proposal and subsequent missions that apparently started at the turn of our current century. What I discovered did indeed elicit a gasp. It also made my skin crawl. Project Burial at Sea was, ironically enough, a fail-safe against information leaks. It implemented the pre-existing infrastructure of NASA's unmanned missions to dispose of "cracks" in the system. That is, individuals likely to come clean about privileged information. Yes, you heard right. Individuals. NASA was killing off would-be whistle blowers to protect their assets. The initial proposal called for sending the bodies into deep space, but too many unknown variables presented themselves. If even one probe was knocked back to earth by an asteroid or unforeseen space event, the entire operation would be done for; especially if it landed in enemy territory. At that point, another country could use it to blackmail our government for aid and financial gain. Burying the bodies on the moon prevented this, and eliminated all potential evidence tying anyone to the crime. The people who vanished made up a very small portion of NASA, so the ratio of missing persons in relation to their workforce was barely disrupted, deflecting any potential suspicion. After a rigorous sterilization procedure, the bodies are stuffed into the hollow spaces of the previously unmanned probes. Once they reach the lunar surface, they are collected by rovers (of which there are many more than you're aware of) and buried in the craters of a specific section of the moon's dark side. In other words, mass graves. The rovers later collect samples to determine the long-term effects of the soil on human decomposition. This was not the purpose of the project, just an added benefit. I was floored. This document was not what I expected. I couldn't believe this sort of thing would happen in our country, and at NASA of all places, an organization I was involved with. After closing the file and navigating back to the home-screen, I left Room 371 and shut the door, my worldview shattered. Upon returning to my workstation, my co-worker, Bill, questioned me. "Jack, where were you? Did you hear the overseer retching in the bathroom? Poor guy has that stomach bug that's been going around." I politely nodded but offered no response to the initial query, still shaken. Bill buried his face back in his work. Eventually, the overseer returned, the sound of Room 371's creaky iron door slamming shut behind him as he resumed work at his desk. Beads of sweat formed above my brow as I wondered if he would notice something amiss and know I perused the archive. My heart began racing as the paranoia took hold. I had to tell someone about my discovery. Perhaps I misinterpreted the information. Maybe Bill could put my mind at ease. He was a nice guy. Not the type to break a promise or betray his fellow worker. "Bill," I whispered, "Have you heard anything about NASA sending corpses to the moon?" He stared at me a moment, an overly serious expression painted across his face. Then he laughed. "Jack, you are a card. Where do you come up with this stuff, anyway? You should write a book." Without so much as a sound to alert his arrival, the overseer put his hand on my shoulder. I nearly jumped out of my skin. "Jack, I've been meaning to talk to you. A big promotion in the works. Meet me in my office in ten minutes." With that, he loosened his grip and traveled back to Room 371. My eyes widened and my heart sank. Bill noticed something was wrong. "What's wrong, Jack? You look as though you've seen a ghost. Promotions are a big deal around here. Only one every few months or so. Lisa was promoted last year and went on to supervise one of the unmanned probe launches. Haven't heard from her since." I turned to Bill and met his gaze. "Bill, it's been nice working with you." He smiled before turning back to his computer. "You too, Jack." *** Ten, torturous minutes came and went. I hesitantly made my way to Room 371 and slowly opened the door. The overseer gestured for me to come in. "Have a seat, Jack. And close the door." I unwillingly obliged. The thought of making a run for it crossed my mind, but I knew the security detail at the front gate would stop me. Drawing attention to myself would only serve to expedite my demise. "So... what is this about?" I asked, my breathing now labored and sporadic. "Like I said before, it's a promotion. NASA is recruiting from its affiliate outfits to supervise some of their unmanned launches. You've been selected." I tilted my head in disbelief. "But sir, why me? I haven't done anything to warrant such a promotion, to my knowledge." He grinned. "That's where you're wrong, Jack. We've been watching you. We know what you did. You can't deny it any longer." With a wicked smile, he stood up from his desk and walked over to me, his arms outstretched in my direction. His shadow covered the entire room. Or at least, it seemed that way in the moment. Without realizing it, I had backed myself into the corner, almost cowering in fear. That's when the door opened and my co-workers flooded the room. "Surprise!" I stood upright, shocked. "What's going on?" Bill responded. "Don't you know what day it is, Jack?" The overseer pointed at his wall calendar. It was September 18th, which according to them, was my hire date. It all made sense now. It was a ruse. A practical joke at my expense. The overseer sometimes did this on workplace anniversaries - but not for many years at this point, and never to this elaborate extent. I didn't even realize what day it was until they pointed it out. "Did you really think I would leave my computer on, unattended?" Bill chimed in. "Bodies can't even decompose on the moon, Jack. There's no air!" They both let out hearty laughs. I laughed too, thoroughly relieved. *** The rest of the afternoon was nice. After all was said and done, we returned to work, invigorated by the positive surge of energy and morale. After finishing my leftover tasks, I left with a smile on my face, happy to be earth-side, alive and well. This mood would follow me the whole way home, but it wasn't alone. When I parked in my driveway, someone pulled in behind me. The overseer stepped out of the car and greeted me with a friendly wave. "Jack, can we talk?" House calls were unorthodox in our line of work, but not unheard of. "Of course, Colter. Please come in." He followed me inside and joined me in the living room. I sat down, but he paced at the fireplace, looking over my family photos on the mantle. "You know, what Bill said was true. Bodies don't decompose on the moon. That bit was added by NASA. They put falsehoods in all of their classified documents. It's another fail-safe; a detail they can point to in the event of a leak to make it seem illegitimate." I was utterly confused. "I'm not sure I follow. What are you getting at, exactly?" He turned to me, a stern look painted across his face. "It's all real, Jack. The dead bodies, the craters; everything. You should have never sat at my desk." I chuckled. "Come on, Colter. The joke's over. No need to drag it out." He wasn't laughing. "This is no joke. You were hired in July, not September. I sent out a last-minute memo to everyone in an attempt to avert your suspicion. Here, we can discuss things privately." "Very funny. You're forgetting about my wife and daughter." A smirk touched the side of his cheek. He tossed me an envelope. Inside were photos of my wife picking up our daughter from school. My heart sank. "What the hell is this, Colter? Are you following my family around?" "We've intercepted them. Let's just say they'll be late getting home, tonight." The gravity of the situation was beginning to sink in. If everything I saw was indeed real, then I was now a target. I would soon become the next NASA casualty buried at sea. If I didn't escape and get help, Charlotte and Leslie would never be saved. My eyes darted for the door. Colter noticed. "I wouldn't run if I were you. I didn't come alone." My blood boiling, I was tempted to lash out in anger. "Don't worry. They're safe." I remained silent, but livid. "There are things in the universe you can't begin to understand. Things not only above your pay-grade, but above your understanding. Things human words could never hope to describe." "Human?" I asked, perplexed by the wording. "Yes, Jack. Let me show you." What happened next was enough to put my mouth on the floor. Using his right hand and a single circular motion in the air, Colter opened up a portal. A fucking portal- one that seemed to connect my living room to the moon. I could even see Earth off in the distance. "WHAT IN GOD'S NAME IS THAT?!" I shouted. "Come, Jack. Get a closer look." As his hostage, I had no choice but to humor his demands. Upon stepping up to the void, still frazzled, I saw it. A crater, filled to the brim with corpses. "Why... why are you showing me this?" I asked in a shaky voice. "Just watch, Jack." I looked back to the scene and noticed something at the edge of the crater. Three, shadowy figures, far too tall to be human. They extended their arms and a glow rained down from the space above the crater. The corpses... they moved. I watched in horror as the bodies were re-animated- but these were not living things. They were shells controlled by a puppeteer, bent to its sinister will. The three shadows became one and formed an archway, a blinding brightness pouring out from within. One by one, the corpses walked into the light until, finally, the crater was emptied. Then, the light dissipated, and the shadows spun in unison, taking off at great speed into the abyss of deep space. With another wave of his arm, Colter closed the portal. I was speechless. "You see, Jack, Project Burial at Sea is more than a safety measure. It's a necessary sacrifice to them." "So... all those bodies?" I asked. "No, no. Only some were would-be whistle blowers. The rest; John and Jane Does, left at morgues across the country with no relatives to claim them." "Where did they take them?" I asked. "To the place where they live. There, they are forced to build. Stuck in the space between life and death for an eternity, slaves of an alien race. It's a truly terrible fate. We would all be there right now, if not for the deal we struck back in 1947. These creatures don't bode well in our atmosphere. We placate their every need to keep them from a developing a technology capable of mitigating the effect our air has on their bodies and spacecraft." I couldn't believe it. Everything I knew up to that point was a lie. Colter walked to the door. "I like you, Jack. That's why I'm telling you all of this. I want to keep you on. You're a good man, and a good worker. If you don't want to end up like the poor souls up on that hunk of space rock, you'll keep your mouth shut." I heard a car pull in outside. "Looks like your wife and daughter are home. We just took them out for ice cream." Before closing the door on his way out, the overseer turned back with a smile. "See you on Monday, Jack."
2020.09.19 16:27 nicholsresolutionMurders Aboard The Investor - Craig, Alaska's Most Famous Homicides
It was September of 1982 in Craig, Alaska and Mark Coulthurst of Blaine, Washington, had made his money for the year. He had skippered the 58-foot, $850,000 fishing vessel named the "Investor." It was the pride of the fleet, fishing season was over, everyone was having a good time (including Mark) and it was Mark's birthday. There were over a hundred fishing boats docked which virtually doubled the town's population. In fact, just a few hours before the killings, Mark and his family were at a birthday party thrown for him at a restaurant near the docks before returning around 9:30 pm just as a storm began to blow in. It is believed that the killer sneaked aboard in the darkness and massacred the victims. The next day after people trying to contact his boat were unable to reach them, someone saw the vessel about a mile and a half out from Craig and it was on fire. Once the fire was controlled they find something beyond disturbing. Onboard eight bodies were found. The murders of skipper Mark Coulthurst (28) and his pregnant wife Irene (28), their kids Kimberly (5) and John (4), as well as four deckhands - Chris Heyman (18); Jerome Keown (19), Dean Moon (19) and Mike Stewart (19) devastated the tiny town. There had been no cries for help or for maydays, when the Investor began to burn on September 7, 1982. The blaze from the fire quickly engulfed the boat making it virtually impossible to save anyone who might still be living. After more than four hours they were able to contain the flames enough to board although it took two days to fully extinguish it. Three adults and a child were all burned beyond recognition. It took dental records to confirm that the charred bodies were Mark, Irene and Kimberly. The third adult was found to be Michael Stewart. Mark and Irene had been shot several times. A couple of days later more remains were found, bones, teeth, and a torso. These were thought to belong to the other crew members. Mark and Irene's son John's remains were never found. Per the coroner, the victims died before the fire due to no carbon monoxide being found in their lungs. Blood alcohol levels indicated the adults were drunk. It is thought that just hours after shooting the victims with a .22 caliber pistol or rifle, the killer waved to a nearby skipper as he moved the boat to a secluded bay a mile or so out of town. After motoring back to the docks in the Investor's skiff the murderer went back the next afternoon and used a can of gasoline to set the boat on fire before hurrying back to town and disappearing. He was described by authorities as a white male, early 20's with a pockmarked complexion. The former police chief Ray Shapley recalled that, "When I got there, black smoke was coming out of the wheelhouse, but there was nobody on deck." After two years a man named JP, a former employee of the Coulthursts on their previous boat was arrested. He was arrested due to his similarity to the sketches and a possible falling out he had previously had with Mark after being fired. He had also previously dated Mark's sister. No physical evidence tied him to the crime but it got worse when he failed a polygraph. Another two years passed before the first trial, with it being held in Ketchikan. Another skipper who knew JP said he saw him board the Investor on the night in question and yet another witness stated he sold him gas just a few hours before the fire. The end result of that trial was a hung jury. The second trial was moved to Juneau and JP was acquitted. JP later filed a wrongful prosecution suit against the state to recoup his legal fees and was awarded a reported settlement of $900,000. Although the murders are far from resolved, police aren't looking for the killer stating that, "The case is closed," says Tim DeSpain, spokesman for the Alaska State Troopers. Former Bellingham, Washington police detective David McNeill helped with the investigation and stated, "It was a pretty damn good investigation." He also stated that, "They got the right guy. Just because someone is acquitted doesn't mean they're innocent, just means there's not enough evidence to show guilt beyond a reasonable doubt." JP has stated that, "Somebody out there knows what happened." He also stated that he wasn't going to waste any more of his life on this. Who that person might be is, of course, up for debate. Shapley, the former police chief, thinks the killings were a drug deal gone bad. He said there was a lot of talk about it being a drug boat. Shapley himself sifted through the ashes for bone fragments and teeth. Apparently Craig was known at the time as a drug haven. McNeill however discounts that theory as, "a bunch of bull crap." For years Mark's younger sister Laurie was firm in her belief of JP's guilt, but has since changed her mind slightly. He agreed to meet with her and her sister at a local place and answer their questions. Laurie stated that she didn't know if he's the one who actually pulled the trigger but does think he knows more than he's saying. https://www.alaskapublic.org/2018/10/12/what-happened-in-craig-trying-to-piece-together-one-of-the-states-most-perplexing-murder-mysteries/ https://people.com/crime/people-explains-investor-fishing-boat-murders-alaska/ https://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/ny-justice-story-investor-boat-killings-20190331-y333ejn4qjd5vnhf33wzxg4jiy-story.html
2020.09.19 15:05 LordChozoPeripheral Visions - "An Island in the Darkness" and the End of an Era
from Strictly Inc., 1995 Listen to it here! This is my sixth (and potentially final) post in the Peripheral Visions series, which I conceptualized as a means to talk about songs that were members of a sort of “Genesis-but-not-Genesis” set of pieces. The loose rule I set for myself going in was that songs needed to be collaborative efforts between two or more members/ex-members of Genesis, and that of course they needed to hold my interest enough for me to put in the effort to write about them at length. In this series to date I’ve covered bits from the solo careers of Mike, Steve, Ant, and Pete, as well as a meta-post about how well the various members of the band interacted with one another as songwriters, noting there that Phil was involved with every previous song in the Peripheral Visions catalog, as it were. But there’s someone who’s been conspicuously absent from this series outside of that meta-discussion. It’s someone who, with the exception of “From the Undertow” from A Curious Feeling, preferred not to rely on any of the full members of Genesis with his solo output. But given that I already discussed that song a bit both on the “A Call To Arms” PV post as well as the post for “Undertow” in my Hindsight series, it didn’t make much sense to me to retread that same ground here. So instead I’d like to break convention a little bit and talk not about the Tony song that most represents the spirit of Genesis in its collaborative songwriting, but the one that most represents the spirit of Genesis in its utter brilliance and ambition. Let me preface this by saying that, while generally familiar, I am by no means an expert on the solo career of Tony Banks. At the time of this writing there are quite a number of songs of his that I’ve never heard, and many of the ones that I have listened to I haven’t come anywhere close to fully digesting. So I am ill qualified to make any kind of comprehensive, sweeping statements about his solo catalog. OK? We’ve all accepted that disclaimer and we’re willing to continue? Still with me? OK, good. “An Island in the Darkness” is the best song Tony Banks ever created outside of Genesis, and it’s not even particularly close. I daresay it might be the best solo song any of the Genesis members have ever produced, and I’ve probably only heard 10% of their collective solo output (thanks, Ant). It’s the perfect capstone to an underexposed solo career, a perfect representation of Tony as a songwriter, and dang near a perfect song, period.
Tony:I was writing my solo material in parallel with Genesis and the style changes a little bit over [time], in the same way the Genesis stuff does. I did the solo albums because I had much more material than could ever come out in Genesis, and wanted to have an outlet for them. I'm primarily a writer, though I love recording music as well. So, the albums give me great satisfaction. I was very pleased with them at the time I did them and I'm still pleased with them. I'm not one of those people who tends to rubbish their old material. I think they're still valid and still could be appreciated by the Genesis audience—particularly the older Genesis audience. So, that’s a reason for putting them out this way. I don't know that I've changed that much over time. I always tend to ramble a bit. That's part of my musical style, which was also my approach within Genesis. Perhaps I did slightly more concise music when it came to the later solo period—a bit like it was with Genesis. But I still had the big, long rambling moments with “An Island in the Darkness,” which is probably the strongest moment on Strictly Inc.1
Let’s take a very brisk walk through Tony’s solo career to see how we got to this point, shall we? First things first: Tony’s no singer.
Tony:Although I have sung on previous solo albums, I don’t regard myself as a singer. I’m not really comfortable in the role of frontman and all that involves.2
So for his debut album, 1979’s A Curious Feeling, he finds Kim Beacon, former singer of the band String Driven Thing, who were labelmates of Genesis on Charisma and toured Europe with them - albeit before Beacon himself had joined the band. 1983 saw both a soundtrack for The Wicked Lady as well as Tony trying to score hits by becoming his own singer on The Fugitive, with predictably poor results. 1986 saw an underwhelming Soundtracks album with a few different voices scattered in, and then Tony sought to replicate Mike’s success with the Mechanics by forming his own band, releasing a “self-titled” album, 1989’s Bankstatement, with a pair of singers who weren’t always well-suited to the songs. Frustrated, he grabbed a bunch of different vocalists for a “true” solo album with Still in 1991. When that failed as well, he decided to go back to the band concept once again, looking for anyone who might fit to be a singer. One, more than one, didn’t matter. Gotta get that Mechanics money, ya know?
Tony:I’ve worked with Fish, Toyah, Nik Kershaw, and Jack Hues from...what the f---’s the name of the group? I’m getting old. Wang Chung! I’ve always looked for singers I liked, like Peter.3
Tony:With this album, I knew I needed a singer who could get into my corner and do a better job than I ever could. Jack was perfect in that his vocal style was similar to mine, only far superior. He was ideally suited to these songs. Jack’s voice has a slightly hysterical quality that I like. It’s unpredictable and a little eccentric, which fits these songs perfectly.2
I joke about it, but Tony’s right on the money here: Jack actually sounds fantastic on this album, all the way through. Tony probably thought he’d found one of two or three singers he’d need, but then ran through the whole set of material with Hues, just to see.
Tony:Jack has an intriguing voice with the edge that’s needed on the vocals I write. When we started work, the obviously suitable songs sounded fantastic, but then we went on to the ones that I thought might work less well, and they sounded really good too. It was very exciting.4
Now this is working. Now there’s some chemistry here. Jack’s allowed “in,” so to speak, more than anyone else has really been to this point.
Tony:It was the first time I’ve worked all the way through an album with a singer who was involved in more than just the singing. Kim Beacon sang on A Curious Feeling, but didn’t write lyrics. Jack Hues was involved in a couple of lyrics. He was also around quite a bit when I was making the album. He played guitar on some of the pieces, but didn’t want to do some of the lead guitar work. He was happy to do little bits and pieces and that worked well. So, Strictly Inc. was more of a unit with Jack and Nick Davis, who produced it.1
And in a fascinating bit of foreshadowing…
Tony:All the music is by me, and Jack wrote the lyrics on a couple of songs. That’s the stage that Jack came in. If we were to do it again, Jack would be more involved.5
Hmmmmm… Regardless of whether he’d be able to retain the lessons learned a mere two years later, Tony was all-in on this band thing again.
Well. Strictly Inc. is pretty much a pop/prog-pop/soft rock album through and through. It’s an inoffensive listen with tracks that grow on you. There are even a couple tunes you could envision being radio hits if the radio ever played songs like these and also if people’s tastes during the mid-90s were entirely different from what they were. Poor Tony had to resort to direct and desperate pleas in interviews to try to get this thing any play at all.
Tony:I just want people to give Strictly Inc. a chance. Some people think that it’s just the voice they like about Genesis, but much of it is down to the chord progressions and those sorts of things. I suppose that that’s me - I’ve always been one of the major writers of the group, and if you like our songs it’s worth giving Strictly Inc. a listen.4
To put it succinctly, Strictly Inc. was a clout-chasing, radio-begging, hit-starving Hail Mary of a record from a man who’d spent well over a decade choking on his bandmates’ dust. And I’m saying that as someone who actually likes the album. A typical prog fan picking this up will play the first nine tracks, declare themselves hopelessly bored, and have an angry rant of a comment all queued up on ProgArchives, just waiting for them to smash that enter key so they can share their sourness with the world. But just before they do, something wildly unexpected happens. What is this song? What is it doing here, of all places?
Tony:I can’t really say why “An Island in the Darkness” should come out now. I just had these ideas, and I wanted to let them go to see what would happen. It wasn’t my intention to make it any particular length, and when I finished it I didn’t realize that it was 18 minutes long. But for some people it will be the track. There’s something about it...a sort of excitement.4
This is 25 years of Genesis progressive sensibility bubbling over uncontrollably to the fore, with all the mastery those years bring, now unfettered by anyone telling him to edit himself down. It’s a blending of new, old, older, and timeless in one epic package; the second longest song Tony has ever done in any form after “Supper’s Ready”. Longer than any of his soundtrack pieces, longer than any of his classical works. This is it, the biggun, the hoss from the boss.
Tony:There are a few moments [in my solo career] that are worth talking about, I suppose. A very long song, "An Island in the Darkness," which lasts for about 15 minutes and perhaps is comparable to the early Genesis days more than any other, I think has the most to it. It's the most "meaty" piece...6
It opens with just piano and nothing else. Though it sounds nothing like “Firth of Fifth”, it’s got the same kind of effect of drawing you in. There’s something really compelling about pure piano sound, and you almost don’t even notice when the gentle synth notes sweep in to texture it all. It’s an introduction that runs for nearly two minutes. “From the Undertow” was a piano introduction to “Undertow” that the other two-thirds of Genesis told him had to go, but Tony didn’t have to answer to anyone this time around. You want a two minute introduction to this piece? Go for it, man.
Tony:I write what appeals to me and follow that through with no compromises. Basically, I prefer music that has some odd quality to it… I get most excited when something a little weird is going on within a song. It might be a certain lyric or a particular chord change, but I like to put something in that steers the song away from the beaten path and leads it elsewhere - hopefully somewhere a bit more interesting.2
From that “Firth”/”Undertow” intro sensibility it’s into “Duchess” territory, with a prominent drum machine pattern anchoring the verses and choruses of the song’s primary melodies. There’s Tony on piano, Tony on synth, Tony on synth that sounds like guitars, Tony just building on this drum pattern any which way he wants to. It all works.
Tony:It’s such an aid to writing - you get a drum loop going, play along, and see what it does for you.4
And here after an album full of pop efforts, and after a successful career as a new wave artist before that, Jack Hues is unleashed as a progressive rock vocalist, and the haunting quality of his voice just nails the atmosphere in this track. It’s a bizarre match, but it’s somehow an ideal one at the same time.
Tony:I felt I’d written a lot of strong material for Strictly Inc., but I’m particularly happy with “An Island in the Darkness,” which was a long piece and I thought was the backbone of the album. Jack also sang a little bit the way I would want to sing if I could sing. I thought he sounded great on that track.1
Now, it’s a pretty down-tempo song to this point. We’re definitively in the “darkness” part of the equation, the foggy gloom of the whole affair. So it feels completely natural when, after two verses and two choruses themselves spanning nearly four unbroken minutes, Tony goes into a very restrained, somber, melodic keyboard solo. If I can again draw parallel to “Firth of Fifth”, this is like the flute solo in the middle; same feel, same kind of effect. So if we’re following that formula, we’d expect the next bit to be an up-tempo bit, maybe reprising the lively piano introduction...except that, as you’ll recall, that piano introduction was also mostly melancholy and reserved. At this point the song has run for 7.5 minutes and hasn’t had a lick of pep whatsoever. It’s so good you don’t even notice, really, but by now you’re aching for something “up,” lest you wallow in this mood forever. And so, the island in the darkness. The drum machine pattern vanishes, replaced by tight cymbal work by renowned session drummer John Robinson, who by this point in time had drummed on 17 Billboard Hot 100 #1 hits, and an additional 19 other top ten hits besides. You want solid? Let’s get solid.
Tony:The drummer is John Robinson...he’s so quick to learn. “An Island in the Darkness” is 18 minutes long and, having heard it just once, John pretty much played it straight through!4
OK, granted we’ve just established that the first 7.5 of those minutes are just drum machine, but still! You may recall Phil Collins won the Genesis audition by hearing how something was supposed to go and then playing it right back, so it must’ve felt like coming home for Tony to get that with someone else 25 years later. But it’s not the cymbals that you’re focused on here. It’s the flaring piano arpeggios, beaming through the haze like rays of brilliant sunlight, and though other synth tones and chords threaten to take over, ultimately they just fall in line so that the arpeggios are THE thing. Then more countermelodies, tight drumming with dramatic cymbal crashes...you wanted up? We’re going up, baby. Up and up and up on an arpeggiating journey that doesn’t want to end. You can’t get off Mr. Banks’ Wild Ride. It’s 2.5 minutes of instrumental consisting of almost nothing but keyboard solos, but to describe it as a keyboard solo would be woefully inaccurate and actually undersell the whole thing. When it finally comes back to earth, we’re back to pure piano again, just as with the song’s introduction. Reflective, meditative, still somehow triumphant, like a weary soul resting on the shore, looking out upon the tumultuous sea he/she just emerged from. And then we’re off again into arpeggiating glory. Except this time, Jack Hues is back, and there’s a quiet menace in his voice. “Now the fog surrounds you,” he says, undermining all that you feel you’ve just accomplished. You’ve gotten so accustomed to those arpeggios that you can almost still hear them in this chord structure, but they’re not there, and Jack is taunting you about it. “All you see are phantoms always just out of reach.” Then come the almost hypnotic suggestions: “You don’t want to be here anymore.” It’s downright eerie, I tell you. And now he gets that hysteria in his voice that Tony was talking about. And now those arpeggios are back, but they’re coming from synth strings this time, sounding out of control, dangerous. “You cannot choose direction or control the motion.” This was supposed to be my island, man! Why am I back in the darkness again?! “Tell me are you frightened on your own?” Yes! Yes I am! The final sounds you hear from Jack Hues on this track are a deathly wail, like he’s falling from some towering precipice to his untimely doom. ”Do you have the will to carry on?” I say final sound, because even though Jack is a guitar player and played guitars on Strictly Inc., Tony opted to bring in a familiar face for the ending of this song.
Tony:Most of the guitar on the album is played by Jack, although Daryl Stuermer plays a solo on “Island” and guitar on one other track.4
Perhaps a Genesis collaboration of sorts after all, eh? After 13+ minutes of only occasional and subtle background guitar, Daryl comes ripping in with a solo that’s far more artistic than technical, though in typical Stuermer fashion he nails both facets with relative ease. A very deliberate kind of underlying rhythm, emphasizing the third beats of each measure just to keep you on your toes, and this solo’s gonna keep going even after it sounds like it’s about to end. “Pull back a bit, Tony?” Nah, friends. Not this time. Not ever again.
Tony:The guitar solo’s my favorite bit, the emotional high point on the album. It’s a cliché, I suppose, but it seems to work.4
Daryl gets 2.5 minutes of his own to work his magic here, and it’s just breathtaking, especially given everything that came before. That’s the ol’ “Supper’s Ready” mentality at work here: give ‘em a payoff, even if they didn’t know they wanted it.
Tony:Nowadays everything is too concise. Everyone is working at the four minute pop song. I listen to groups that I like...and I yearn for them to take it just a little bit further. Pop music has become too rigid - you have to fit the format all the time, and I don’t think that it needs to be that way. In fact, ask the people who don’t listen to the radio what they want to hear, and you’ll find that they want something more ambitious, that’s got atmosphere.4
Tony spends the final minute and change scaling back down. It’s piano overlaid with synth oboe, then back to the piano alone, gentle arpeggios caressing once again before it all slows and ends on a chord that hits precisely all the right notes and lasts precisely two seconds too short. It’s honestly the only thing wrong with the song, I think. It’s Tony’s second longest piece of all time and my only complaint is that it wasn’t two seconds longer. That’s a job well done, I think. Lyrically, it’s not quite obvious when listening, but Tony positioned this piece as another vague political message:
Tony:“An Island in the Darkness” is about political situations: striving for something, getting there, and fighting to hold onto it. You know...Russia was so optimistic, and now it’s going through a much more difficult stage. The same thing will happen in South Africa - the euphoria will disappear and then, having reached the goal that seemed so marvelous, things won’t quite hold together. Many people will feel that it’s worth carrying on, but they’ll really have to fight.4
Over the years, however, he became a bit more pragmatic about it.
Tony:I had written a long piece, and it was a good 50-60 percent instrumental, and I wanted the lyrics to follow the flow of the song, which starts in a certain place and goes darker and the end is optimistic. So, it's a song about ambition and achieving what you set out to do, and then about sustaining it, and how it goes for you after that, and how you cope with failure and all the rest of it. But a lot of people have different interpretations of the song, and I intentionally kept the song quite ambiguous, so people could put their own ideas into it a little bit. But it is about finding yourself in a place that you perhaps didn't think you would have ever been in - a good place. And then perhaps later on, finding yourself in a bad place, and then how you cope with that.6
Sounds almost like Tony’s solo career, doesn’t it?
Tony:I was really excited by Strictly Inc. and when we listened to it when it was completed, Jack said “Well, that’s fantastic. If this was the new Genesis album, everyone would be very happy.” I felt I’d covered all bases on this album. It had some range and quality about it that made it special. Of course, I was trying to quietly shy away from me “being the man.” That’s why I put it out under the group name Strictly Inc and of course, for that reason, it didn’t do anything. People didn’t even know it was a Tony Banks album. I regret that the most about the project. I would have definitely liked it to have had a much higher profile.1
Strictly Inc. sold about a baker’s dozen copies and then, as its title suggested, vanished entirely from whatever small pocket of the public consciousness it ever had claim to. For nine out of ten tracks on the album, that doesn’t come as a huge surprise. But ohhhh, that tenth. With the utter commercial failure of Strictly, Inc. and the collapse of Genesis as a recording band a couple years later, Tony decided to call it a day. He’d pivot over to the orchestral world, where he seems a natural fit, and his music there is great stuff. But he’d never again record as a proper solo artist, making “An Island in the Darkness” effectively the swan song of his solo career. What a way to go out.
Tony:The important thing though is that people listen to it with an open mind… If they do that, then I think they’ll find something that will move them or excite them…2
Let’s hear it from a middle school in Quebec! An eighth grade teacher in the heart of French Canada had a radical idea that she could teach English as a second language to her students by playing them music. The concept goes that associating certain sounds and inflections with melodies would help them “stick” better, and as kids might like hearing these songs, they’d get built in repetition. This is sound logic, and works pretty well, and also it’s totally just lip service because what this lady REALLY wanted to do was get her kids hooked on Genesis. To that end, she made them listen - repeatedly, one would imagine - to “An Island in the Darkness”. Whether the obsession was their own or just a homework assignment from a fanatic making dubious use of her authority position, the kids made Tony a book based on the song and wrote him a letter thanking him for, well, being Tony Banks. It’s the most bizarre thing ever, and Tony was clearly a little flabbergasted in how to respond.
Tony:I thank them for their time, and the fact that they gave it a chance. You know, you give it a listen. I mean, this isn’t...it’s not an easy piece of music; it’s not a piece of music that’s been particularly successful, either, you know what I mean? So it’s not something that you have to listen to or do anything...But I think it can speak to people because of its lyrical idea. I mean, nobody’s gonna suggest... It’s quite an open lyric; it lends itself to quite a few interpretations, I think. And obviously they found some of those interpretations within the things they wrote. So I think it’s very good. I’m very impressed.7