(37M) Just finalized divorce yesterday, and it feels great AMA
I wish I had found this sub years ago. Reading through these posts is really eye-opening and I see so many similarities to my own marriage. Long post ahead. I married at 18 for all the wrong reasons. She was 21. We were high school sweethearts. We were in love, but, in retrospect, neither of us were ready to get married. I kind of knew it at the time, but I went against my gut and did it anyway. We were married for 19 years. No kids. There were so many red flags over the years, but, in my eyes, none of them were worth ending the marriage. I never cheated. To my knowledge, neither did she. It just became a never-ending cycle of her treating me like a man-child which got progressively worse over the years. I even have a text message thread from several months ago where she claimed I wanted her to be "my mommy" (this couldn't be further from what I wanted) and that's why she treated me like this. She pushed me (not in a good way, but I'm glad she did) to advance my professional career. Any job I had was never good enough for her, and I never made enough money for her. Red flag. However, this caused me to rapidly climb the corporate ladder in my 20s. At 29 I was able to quit my FT 6-figure job and start my own business, doubling, then tripling, then quadrupling my income over the next couple of years. Certainly no regrets here. We have also been able to buy several houses, become landlords for 6 years, and pretty much live where we wanted. But she resented me for it. I was required to be at the office *a lot* and she hated that I wasn't home until 9 pm on any given weekday. Our last house was a solid 2-3 hour drive (depending on traffic) from the city center. So I often had to leave the house by 6:30 am and wasn't back until late in the evening. Yeah, she was lonely. She wanted me to watch TV with her every night (I became very disinterested in TV anyway) which just wasn't possible. I could have kept a somewhat cushy corporate job that wasn't demanding in terms of hours, making much less money, but that wasn't good enough for her. Rewind back to 2001. I put her through college and sacrificed my own college education for her. I worked 2 jobs, 7 days a week, for years to support us when I was 18-21. We were living in a crappy apartment and barely making ends meet. But she was going to make something of herself, then I was going to go to college and do the same. Like you are supposed to do. I tried to go to college while working 2 jobs for 60-70 hours per week, but it was way too much. My grades made it unable for me to advance, so I dropped out. She graduated in 2004... then never really tried to get a decent job. The 'best' job she ever had was a retail store manager for a small store (making like $15/hr) and she hated it. She was perfectly capable of making 6-figures at a corporate job, but she never even made an attempt. She hopped between entry-level and minimum wage jobs, never spending more than a couple of months at any of them. Don't take this to mean I ever really cared about how much money she made. What I cared about was the effort she put into being a responsible adult. We were still having trouble making ends meet. In 2006 (married for 5 years) I got my first big pay jump when I switched companies. I increased my income by 70% overnight and I was starting to see light at the end of the work-till-you-die tunnel. It was finally going to be good with my new income and hers, right? Wrong. A couple of months into my new job she brought up the idea of her quitting her job to be a 'full-time homemaker'. Remember, we didn't have kids and didn't want any, and she is the one with the degree and the college debt we would be paying down for the next 15 years. It started as an idea, then over a couple of weeks, it turned into her begging me to let her quit her job for good. I resisted, explaining to her that it made no financial sense. Besides, how was she going to keep herself occupied throughout the day? Laundry only needed to be done once a week, dishes only take a few minutes a day. So, against my wishes, she quit working for good and never looked back. She did take to cooking more, but she basically sat at home and watched TV. This went on for years. She knew I was against it. Without her income, we were in a worse financial situation than before I got my new job. But, (her words) because I was the man, "I was supposed to support the family" She was bored all the time. The free time gave her much more time to find things to get upset about and dwell on. For example, she would start a big fight if I left a single bowl in the sink for *me* to wash later. Or if I used the stove or microwave and she found a single spec of splattered food. Or if I turned a perfectly functional knob on the washing machine to wash my own laundry. She would absolutely blow up -- "I did [insert thing here] on purpose so I could get out of doing [the thing] in the future." Thank god we had our own bathrooms. She resented me for these things and I had no chance for retribution. She did do most of the housework for a few years, but I always did 100% of the yardwork. And almost 5 years ago we bought and lived on a farm -- got several dozen animals from horses to sheep to donkeys to ducks and geese. Just like in her professional 'career', she helped take care of them for a little while. Until she decided it was too much work. Then I was the one left by myself rounding up the animals, fixing broken fence, thawing out frozen water pipes, etc at 2 am on a weeknight when I had an 8 am meeting the next morning. As you would expect, the sex decreased significantly over the years. It was good when we were in our teens and early 20s. But she became less and less interested over the years. It went from several times per week, to several times per month, to every few months, to... almost never. She wanted sex to be very mundane. She didn't like it when I went down on her. She absolutely refused to go down on me, and never did. She didn't like it when I tried to use my hand to please her. She didn't like foreplay. She never wanted to do anything other than missionary. We talked about how to spice up our sex life for years. I brought all sorts of ideas from the table from roleplaying to toys to things on the kinkier side, but she never actually wanted to do anything about it. I had also been struggling with PE throughout my later 20s which made the situation worse. And the PE was "my fault" and "I needed to do something about it". I did see a urologist who diagnosed me as perfectly normal and sent me on my way. He suggested both of us see a sex therapist together, which she was not ok with -- because this was "my problem". Until we separated and I put myself out there, I hadn't had sex in about 4 years. Fast forward to 2018. I was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer -- like fewer than 100 cases per year in the entire country. The physician knew very little about it -- the hospital hadn't seen a case of it in over 5 years -- and referred me to a specialist in a city a few hours away. It was a few months before I knew anything definitive or could get it treated. When I told my ex about the diagnosis, she preceded to inform me how I don't "have cancer" (but I did) and made it clear it was my own problem. I had an all-day surgery with the specialist to remove it -- I told her it was going to be an all-day surgery in advance. A couple-hour drive each way. Did she offer to drive me there or support me in any way? Nope. I got to drive myself there and back. Did she help me clean the huge surgical wound (it was like 10 inches in diameter) I had for the next 3 months? I even asked for her help cleaning and dressing it. She refused. So I had to figure out how to do it by myself. Did she express the slightest interest in talking to the specialist about it to get her own answers and put her mind at ease? Nope. She already knew better. This when it became painfully obvious she didn't care about me at all. And I still financially supported her 100%. At this point, she hadn't had a job for over 10 years and spent most of any given day watching TV. In 2017 she started an Etsy sewing shop -- which didn't take much of her time, but it gave her something to do. We were vendors at lots of local festivals together when those were still a thing. We were doing this almost every weekend from April through December. She didn't have more than 200 orders per year until 2020. When the lockdowns and mask shortages started in March she started sewing cloth masks. She did really well for a couple of months, doing 50-100 orders per day. I told her I was proud of her. I also tried to help her when she was having trouble keeping up. I spent a whole day helping her get caught up on orders. I can't sew, so I was helping her pack envelopes, print shipping labels, and iron decals onto the masks. She showed me how to do the iron-on transfers. It's so easy a 10-year-old could do it. I did a couple hundred of them that afternoon. She came to inspect them before they got shipped out. And she blew-the-fuck-up. I did it *exactly* how she showed me and they looked great. But she could still see a crease in the fabric where it was folded. It was "my fault" and, as usual, I had done it "on purpose" so I could get out of helping in the future. Sound familiar? I immediately stopped helping and left. I was done with her acting like a child. She is 40 years old and still acts like she is 12. Did she ever thank me for helping? No. Did she still ship the orders? Yep, so they weren't bad were they? Did she apologize for blowing up again? Nope. And I forgot to mention -- we have been basically separated for the better part of 4 years. Sleeping in different rooms in the house. I've been living in an 'apartment' in the basement of my own house. She kicked me out of the bedroom when she was throwing a fit about a short business trip I was going on. I needed to "tell them I wasn't going". She threw all of my stuff down the stairs and that was the end of that. I wasn't allowed to use the stove that I paid for. If I had food in the microwave and she wanted to use it, she would throw away whatever I had in there. She would throw away my dishes if I wasn't watching; I found them in the trash all the time. I spent the next several months thinking about all of this and much more. One thing I came to realize: in the 19 years we had been married I couldn't think of a single instance where she apologized for blowing up about something meaningless or admitted she was wrong. Not a single one. I even challenged her about it. Could she think of a single time she did either one of those? She couldn't come up with one concrete example. BTW, I apologized thousands of times. I never once blew up about anything in our entire relationship -- that's not the kind of person I am -- but I have apologized for things I said that made her feel bad and admitted I was wrong many, many times. At her insistence, I even admitted to doing lots of meaningless things that I didn't actually do just to put a fight to bed and keep the relationship in-tact. There is no point in fighting over BS. 2020 also brought on a lot of financial stress. At the beginning of the year, I had signed contracts that would make this the biggest year since I started the business. Clients were in sports, restaurants, casinos, and live entertainment. I lost all of them, and most of them are unlikely to survive 2021 without a bankruptcy. I laid off my entire staff. Our income took a nosedive. We burnt through most of our savings because she couldn't control her spending habits, and she had zero interest in financially contributing to the household. This was the straw that broke the camel's back. She made it abundantly clear she didn't care about me, and, at the same time, she expected me to financially support her do-whatever-she-wants consequences-be-damned lifestyle. I prepared the divorce papers and presented them to her on a whim when she was blowing up about dishes in the sink or something like that. I just couldn't deal with it anymore. I don't know why she acted surprised. She had told me she wanted a divorce plenty of times in recent years, and a couple of times in 2020. But she never had the balls to do it. This was something I had been thinking about for a few years, but I was likely to be on the hook for $10k/month in alimony for the rest of my life if it weren't for COVID. We live in a midwest state with divorce case-law which strongly favors women, and I have lots of male friends/colleagues who got screwed royally in a divorce -- even if their spouse cheated. So it was kind of the perfect storm. Depleted savings and drastically reduced income meant there was nothing for the court to grant. All we really had left was retirement savings and home equity. The house sale is closing in 10 days and we already liquidated the 401k, which she used to buy her own house. That was everything. Sorry for the long post, but I needed to rant to some strangers on the internet. There is obviously much more to tell over 19 years of marriage, but I'll leave it here for the sake of brevity. This post may sound very one-sided, but I really tried to keep it together. I tried to be a good husband. To give my wife what she wanted. To be there for her when she needed me. To make her happy, at the expense of my own happiness. Happy wife, happy life, right? As I put in the title, the court granted dissolution yesterday. It was very easy. No attorneys, we didn't fight about any remaining property. We each own our own vehicles free and clear and had no interest in the other's. She stole a few thousand more dollars from our joint account and sold some valuable things without my permission, but it wasn't worth fighting over. I just let it go. I'm finally free and I feel better than I have in years. Ask me anything.
I was asked to make a post about some stories within the Casino grounds so I thought I'd share. I have many so I'll do my best to pick the better ones. Some back information: I've been a Casino Dealer for 11 years, I've been a supervisor for five years, and I've been a Surveillance Operator for one year. I've worked at three properties, none of which are connected or owned by the same company. I've worked on : Government/Private/Native American owned casinos.
From Hero to Zero.
At my first Casino, I was one of the first group of people who were trained to deal Roulette . After 4 weeks of working 6PM-3AM then doing roulette training from 3AM-8AM (Not paid) , I actually really enjoyed the game and after about six months I became extremely quick at the number game and the pace of the action was steady with very low margin of errors. Young man walks in, cashes in for $500. He buys in for $2 chips and just loads the board. After a few spins and pretty decent hits, he then changes his chips from $2 to 5$ then to $10 and racks his winnings up to $10,000. It was then, five spins in a row, he loaded the board with some pretty gross bets, and every spin I would hit the ONE number with either NO CHIPS on it, or maybe 1 chip , He lost all $10,000 in a matter of minutes. He leaves , and I go on break. After my break I was going back to the same table and wouldn't you know it, the same young man walks in and cashes in another $500. He tells me he just sold his car outside and this is all that he had left. So we do the same deal, buys in for $2 chips, then slowly starts betting $5 chips, $10, $25...and he makes $10,000 AGAIN. Within the next 25 minutes it was straight agony. Every spin, same thing, he would bet $2500 in chips, and win only $250, $400, and after about a half hour he lost it all . Never saw the guy again. 2) Man down At this property, we are 24 hours for table games. It's currently 5AM , and I'm dealing some $25 Blackjack to this guy. He's probably early thirties , heavy guy. He's sober as can be, but right away I can tell he's been losing. We know how much you've bought in for, how much your down, or up, and I could see he was down $2000+. After about twenty minutes of pure losing, his temper starts to flare.At this point I now have two other guests at my table. Drinking coffee, not saying a word, just losing their money. After losing hand, after hand, this guy looks me straight in the eye, seized up, starts shaking, he can't move. He tries to punch towards me and smashes his stack of chips all over the place and falls backwards to the floor. I call for security, we cannot touch him due to liability . I can't move from my table because, well, liability / casino cash property, all I can do is try to talk to him. As I'm doing so, these other two woman who are sitting at my table just look at me and one says "OK, dealer, cmon lets go " as she taps the table telling me to start dealing and forget about the guy having a stroke on the floor. As security takes him to the ambulance out front, I had to stay behind for a couple minutes and give a statement. I go on break. I come back, and 45 minutes later, he comes right back in with a oxygen tank and keeps gambling for the remainder of the morning. 3) You get a dildo, and YOU get a dildo! On a late summer Saturday night, we had a large event for these massive muscle guys/strongman competition type thing. After their show, I'm at the roulette table , and five of these boys come over to play. They were absolutely hilarious. They were feeling pretty good, cashed in somewhat large amounts and I could tell this was going to be a fun time. After about a hour of dealing to these guys, it's almost midnight, everybody is pretty hammered , I spin the ball, and all five of these guys take out these god damn (what I can only tell was) two feet purple dildos from inside their pants, and wiping them around in the air. The ladies were just loving it, one of the dildos landed in the roulette wheel and we had to shut the table down to re-calibrate the wheel to make sure nothing had been changed. I just remember that night was so much damn fun, I couldn't believe what I was seeing and I would never forget it. 4) Full Moon On this day, I was actually training dealers / supervising them on small games like Three Card poker. We opened the table at 10AM, and this older man came and sat down . He played all day. The jackpot was $21,000 and that was pretty high for this table. He played, and played and played. He's one of the players where you know he's wearing a diaper because he's been drinking coffee/pop all day and hasn't moved in eight hours. As the day went on, this man never moved from his chair. Getting closer to midnight, he was aggravated and said "I need to go have a smoke, I'm getting killed in here". He left, and the very next hand, the lady beside him was dealt the jackpot . He didn't say much, but you could just tell he just hated life at that very moment because had he not gotten up, it would of been his hand. The man calmly took his cane , his hat, jacket, coffee, and left. The next morning I found out when he did leave he drove his car straight through his bank and was arrested. 5) Slick Robber I actually give props to people who can actually pull this off. This story may confuse you so I'll try and explain things as best as possible. A lot of casinos have machines as soon as you walk through the front doors. A man walks up to one of these machines and sticks in HIS $100 bill. He doesn't gamble it, instead he hits the cash out button and gets a $100 TITO ticket where he then takes the ticket to the ATM machine to get his $100. Now remember, his Original $100 is in the slot machine. He then takes the $100 from the ATM and goes back to the same machine, and repeats this process over a hundred times. Essentially he's taking money from the ATM, and loading up the Slot Machine . Now he knows he can't do it too much because if the slot machine gets full of money, the machine will shut down and the slow attendant will have to take all the cash out. So he deposits over $10,000 , then has a small crowbar, he cracks the machine open and makes a run out the front door. To my knowledge he was never caught . But damn, that was pretty smart . EDIT: 6) Mental Health is a thing. 10PM man walks in to play some high limit BlackJack. This guy knows the game and played well. Dressed nice, drank juice/tea , a little bit of a attitude, cashed in over $10,000. When this man was half way down his buy in, he said something a long the lines of "If I don't win here tonight, I'm going to go set myself on fire." I wasn't sure if he was serious because when people are down, they tend to say a lot of nonsense. I actually left early that night, and from a third party was told he did exactly that in the parking lot. The next day it was clear something terrible had gone wrong in the parking lot . EDIT: 7) Nothing good happens after midnight After a busy Saturday night, I was dealing a mix of games, and during this story I was in the middle of Blackjack. I had one young kid (probably 19) sitting in the middle, one older male probably in his later 40's sitting beside him on his right, and I had a really nice couple in their 20's sitting together at the other side. This young kid wasn't playing just sort of watching, and ever time the old man won he would give this young guy some of his winnings. The older man, was a wine drinker, and he had black between all of his teeth, I'll never forget. He's a little drunk but nothing terrible. As the night goes on, the older man goes and uses the washroom, at which point the couple asked the young guy "Oh was that your dad?" and the young guy says "Hah, no I wish!". The couple and I just looked at each other. This old guy, was in complete control over this kid. Absolutely disgusting. The night ends, and I find out the couple called a few of their friends, and they all waited outside by this old mans truck and beat the living hell out of him. 40 years old, sleeping with a 19 year old, completely brain washed . Very weird. 8) That one co-worker where you just wish they would quit. One of our co-workers, nice guy but had a very big ego and we as employees just sorta left him alone. One day he had enough of the atmosphere and quit. Now usually when you quit, you cannot come back until you paperwork is finalized. How ever, HR was in that day, and he was given the paperwork the very next day. He came in, cashed in $1000, and made $50,000 in about a hour at the Baccarat table. My manager, was extremely annoyed, because now this guy is just mocking the casino and having the time of his life (Thanks for the big tip by the way :) ) and so he decides to call it quits. He wants to ban himself and he wants $50,000 in cash. The casino says Nope, we are going to give you a cheque. Now here's the thing, most business people will take the cheque, how ever you CANT CASH the cheque until the following monday because it's on that day where the funds are available. The casino on the other hand will cash their own check in anytime , because they want you to play. So this guy pretty much said go to hell I want my cash, and he called the police. Police show up, and management promptly gave him the cash.I though it was absolutely hilarious . 9) No good deed goes un punished I was dealing Three Card Poker, and the jackpot was around $17,000. This old man (a regular) was sitting there all day grinding it out. Super nice guy, always a pleasure to deal to. Well, after hours of playing, he stands up and says "Hey john!, can you come here for a minute?" so his buddy John comes over. He says to John "I need to go take a piss real quick, can you play my card until I get back?" John agrees . John takes the chips and I stop him and explain he can't play his friends chips, he needs to cash in and play his own. And he does. Welp, second hand out and bam, doesn't he win it. The old man comes back and is so happy, he can't believe it. John, took his $17,000, didn't say a word to his "buddy" and walked away. I never felt so much hatred in all my life. Didn't give him a dollar, not a thank you, nothing. The old man sits back down again, the progressive resets to $2500, and he sat there grinding away again. 10) The Top Knot I had this player , young guy, who was born into a fortune. One of his relatives passed away and left him a pretty big sizable amount of money, so he played poker every single day for the rest of his days. I will add, he IS a good player. I did not enjoy his company just because of the "Know-it-All" attitude, but he was good. We'll call him John. John is 5'10, and well build, with muscle. John also decided today was the day to show off his Top Knot. (google top knot if you're not sure what I mean) So he sits down, and he's absolutely KILLING the table. Every hand, after hand, after hand. And because he's in such a good mood, he's playing any two cards, calling any $500 bet, and he's just dominating. This one guy at the table decided he had enough. He got up, without saying a word and left. A moment later, he comes back in, walks behind John, and takes a pair of scissors , and cuts off his Top Knot. I for one couldn't believe it, dying laughing inside, and it just turned into one big brawl. That was a good day. 11) That one bad seed One of my best friends who I haven't seen in YEARS ended up being part of the crew. Was kind of nice to catch up. We never really got along as we grew up because he has a very high picture of himself . He wanted that 10/10 woman. A mansion, and a new Corvette. So every month or so we would all go up to the other casino to play. I myself would bring no more than $500, but I couldn't understand how this guy (we'll call him Kyle) was spending THOUSANDS of dollars at the tables. So this wen on for a few months. Well, one day, as we're closing the casino, he and I are in the High Limit room and we're getting ready to close the tables. We are told to take the chips out, count them, put them back, sign this piece of paper and that's it. Well as the supervisor was locking the tray, the piece of paper fell to the floor, so she asked Kyle to grab the piece of paper. As he bends over, a great big $500 chip falls right out of his sock. Kyle was fired immediately , but it all made sense. They offered Kyle a deal where if he replaced all the stolen chips they would not make it public. Not sure how that turned out. 12) If I ever decide to write a book, this will be the last chapter: <3 After working at my first Casino for five years, I met a Indian woman who was visiting from another part of the country. During this time I was explaining a game to her, which honestly I don't think she even cared. She explained she was visiting and sight seeing , and that was that.Well, two years later I ended up moving to the other side of the country and transferred casinos, and low and behold she worked there as a Dealer. We got married , and it's been 5 years. 13) The Tip One of our tables that we've had for a couple years had a progressive jackpot that had reached $100,000. The dealer at the table was sitting pretty lonely. Nobody really played the game because people knew it was extremely difficult to win the jackpot. My memory is a tad foggy, but you somehow needed to flop the royal flush. This young guy sits down and says to the dealer, we'll call him John. "John, if you pay me that jackpot, I will tip you $10,000" Well John started dealing, and about a half hour into his shift, he F*cking did it. He dealt him the royal. And you know something?This young lad, kept his word, and he made sure there was a audience, and he tipped exactly $10,000. That was a moment right there. That pay cheque was real nice. I think we all got about $500 more than usual. The moment that jackpot was awarded they got rid of the table because the money it was making was not near what the casino wanted. I'm sure there have been bigger tips at other casinos, but that was something special . 14) The Lawsuit Now this story I'm going to have to beat around the bush a bit due to the nature of what happened. I can't won't answer any questions that you may have on this topic other than what I have to say because it had a lot of publicity . The waitresses at this casino had to wear very thin sexy clothes. Not borderline legal, but it was noticed. One day they called all the waitresses to come in and explained they were changing their outfit to something even more sexier. Now these new dresses were very very borderline legal . The staff said No way. We're not wearing that.So , friday night comes, and the staff work their whole shift, then at the end of their shift were called into a meeting and were all fired. Welp, one of those ladies father was a pretty big time lawyer. Brough the casino to court and won. They won big. Good for them. We had no waitresses for a couple days haha. Thanks for reading along, I have many more I can add as the day goes on, those were just some off the top of my head. Feel free to ask any questions of the Casino industry. I don't really have many stories about the surveillance department because that's the one area where I can't really say a whole lot due to its privacy and contracts I was and still am under.
Note: The particularly important details and music artist names are in bold text. Licensed music track names are in italics. The year is 1973, five years after the events of the Mafia III, and 22 years since Vito Scaletta’s seen or heard from his old friend Joe Barbaro. The canon ending of Mafia III with this Mafia IV story is Vito taking over the city after Lincoln skipped town, however Cassandra and Burke are left alive and loyal to both Vito and Lincoln still. Burke was able to survive his liver cancer by getting a black market liver transplant in Mexico, like he did in his ending, except with Vito running the city. On Vito and Lincoln’s behalf, Burke and Cassandra agree to stay behind in New Bordeaux and keep the city locked down, incase Leo Galante and the Commission try anything. The beginning cutscene is Vito answering his telephone after getting up in the morning in his new penthouse, on the top floor of the New Bordeaux casino he finished that was once Sal Marcano's, and grabbing a cup of coffee. It's Alma with some urgent news. Lincoln Clay came down to the cigar warehouse to visit her after 5 years of silence, and he has big news. Joe is alive in Empire Bay and has been this entire time. However, as punishment for his actions, he's become Leo Galante's personal driver against his will and is forbidden from contacting Vito ever again, or else him and Vito will be killed. Alma then tells Vito to meet Lincoln at the airport to learn more, as he's already there awaiting Vito's arrival. When they're away from anyone who could listen in on their conversation, Lincoln tells Vito he has a friend named John Donovan he's going to introduce him to, hiding in the outskirts of Empire Bay, ready to help Vito and Lincoln with their new mission Vito gets dressed in one of his signature trench coats with a suit and tie, ready to rain down hell on the Vinci crime family and their allies, and finally be reunited with his lifelong friend he previously thought was dead, Joe Barbaro. Here is my idea for the kill list, all related to the Commission in Empire Bay and their allies.
Leo Galante - Top target on the list, Vinci family consigliere who's in with the Commission and the man you thought put Joe in the ground for the past 22 years. Bury this wrinkly old cocksucker.
Johnny Galante - Vinci family capo and younger relative of Leo's mentioned in Cassandra's ending, possibly Leo's cousin even. John Donovan knows that the two are close, and that Johnny's a valuable asset to Leo's organization. Kill him both to hurt Leo's earn and influence, and to hit him straight in the heart by taking away his family and everyone he loves
Michele Galante Jr. - Another Vinci family capo, and Leo Galante’s youngest brother. Killing Leo’s little brother will both take away one of his most reliable allies, and leave him stricken with grief and enraged, and more prone to making mistakes.
Nunzio Galante - Leo’s seasoned older brother by 3 years, and yet another Vinci family capo. He knows enough about smuggling that he worked out an ingenious plan for smuggling military grade weapons into the city. He pays off corrupt officials at Empire Bay International Airport, to allow guns to be loaded inside the walls and floors of planes, unknown to everyone onboard save for the palms the Galantes and Frank Vinci have greased to cooperate and keep quiet. The time has come to put this crafty old bastard in the ground.
Don Frank Vinci - Frank Vinci is the boss of the Vinci crime family, the family Leo's been a consigliere of for decades, and a lifelong friend of his. Kill Frank, and Leo loses more ground than he could ever imagine, and will be forced to deal with both the loss of his boss, and the loss of his lifelong childhood friend.
Don Ennio Salieri - Longtime close friend of both Frank Vinci and Leo Galante, Don of the Salieri crime family, and a third party Frank and Leo call in to crush Vito's uprising, when it becomes too big of an issue for Vinci alone to handle. Salieri was eventually able to grease enough palms while behind bars to have his life sentence overturned, and he got released from prison on good behavior in 1953, after he served 15 years of his sentence. He’s since relocated to his main operations to Empire Bay, having already had connections and men present there while he was in prison, backed by the Commission and the Vinci crime family. He's seasoned, but he’s nothing Mr. Scaletta can't handle. Give this tired old fuck the gangland ending he's had coming.
Isaac - Isaac is the personal assistant to an influential loan shark named Bruno Levine, who handles the money of the Commission, including the Vinci crime family and the Salieri crime family. He does anything from serve his boss coffee, to count incoming and outgoing money for Bruno. Because of his duties, he's aware of Bruno's location at all times. You’ll need to get to Isaac to get information on his boss out of him, and dispose of him afterwards if you want to get to Bruno.
Bruno Levine - Bruno is a Jewish-American loan shark who kicks up all of his earn to both Frank Vinci and Ennio Salieri, and the Commission in Empire Bay. Killing him kills a lot of earn for the Commission, and they loses a valuable asset. In addition to getting rid of him being practical, to add insult to injury, he gave your father that loan. It's about time to put this asshole out of business.
Mr. Chu & Mr. Chu Jr. - This old man has been leading the Empire Bay Triads with an iron fist since before you were even born. The bastard has a son too, who eventually went on to become his underboss. The Empire Bay Triads became a close ally of the Vinci crime family, the Salieri crime family, and the Commission shortly after Vito killed Don Carlo Falcone in 1951, forming a lucrative partnership with the Commission. Mr. Chu and his eldest son are valuable assets for Leo Galante who give him extra reach. Melt their iron fists and show these two pricks just who they fucked with.
Eddie Scarpa - This cocksucker used to be Carlo Falcone's underboss for as long as you could remember. After you whacked Falcone in the fall of 1951, he decided to throw in with Vinci to save his own skin. He took over the smuggling and dock union extortion that fat fuck Derek Pappalardo used to run. You know all too well how to deal with this sorry fuckin' rat.
I'm thinking Vito and Joe work with Lincoln Clay and John Donovan to split up Empire Bay and distribute territory to three other factions not unlike what Lincoln did with New Bordeaux. This time though, this is a much larger city in a much, much different part of the United States. The empire building mechanics would be a lot smoother, more robust, and streamlined compared to Mafia III. They would work similarly a more modernized version of how the game Scarface: The WorldIs Yours handled it's empire building and management mechanics, minus the whole switching to other characters lower on the ladder to do your bidding. This would be ideal for a story rich organized crime game in my opinion. Here are my ideas for those factions, all close allies of the up and coming Scaletta crime family. The Cuban mob led by Alma Diaz. Vito goes way back with Alma, and she does not hesitate to answer him and Lincoln's calls to save Joe's life and royally fuck both Leo Galante and the Vinci family. Conti crime family, led by Enzo Conti. This Conti crime family formed sometime in late 1968, months after Lincoln helped Enzo flee New Bordeaux and drop off of Sal Marcano's radar. It turns out he fled north to Empire Bay and finally formed his own family, having more than enough years of experience in the underworld to handle the job. Lincoln's tight with him and manages to recruit him to Vito and Joe's cause. The Yakuza, based out of Empire Bay's Japantown. Longtime sworn enemies of the Empire Bay Triads, with bad blood going back decades. They would greatly enjoy seeing Mr. Chu and his son's heads mounted on pikes, along with whacking everyone who's ever supported their organization. You don't know them well, and they're known to be very unpredictable and ruthless. Use these traits to your advantage when taking on the Commission of Empire Bay and their friends. I should mention as expected, this entire 1973 section where you play as Vito is much shorter than Mafia III. Vito's takeover is shown much more quickly over time than Lincoln's, and there's time skips during it, to keep it short and sweet, and to show onscreen only what's important. There is also no option for your underbosses to betray you, as to reduce confusion and keep the story consistently the same each playthrough, like the first two Mafia games. However, unlike Mafia III, after all of these tasks are completed and every single assassination target on Vito’s kill list is dealt with, the game does not end. In fact, it's not even anywhere near close to being over yet. Vito's 1973 section was merely the beginning act. It was really a lead up to an entirely new Mafia story, centering around a newcomer to the American mob. Fast forward two years following Vito’s rampage that led to him taking over Empire Bay and the Commission, in the year 1975 him and Joe now rule Empire Bay, with Vito as the Don of the Scaletta Crime Family, and Joe working as his loyal underboss. You play the rest of the game as a young up and coming soldato named Louis in his 20’s, who’s a rising star in Vito’s organization. Do right by Mr. Scaletta and Mr. Barbaro, understand kid? My basic idea for the character and his backstory is that he's a young Italian-Canadian mobster from Toronto, Ontario, or whatever Mafia's equivalent of it could be called. Let's call him Louis DeAngelo. (No relation to Tommy Angelo) His family hails from Tuscany in Italy and moved to Toronto, Ontario in 1939, shortly after World War II broke out in Europe. Louis DeAngelo was born in July 1952 in Toronto, and was raised in Toronto's Little Italy. Louis fled south to Empire Bay when the feds started cracking down on his old family and put his boss in prison, and he ended up finding a new home with the Scaletta crime family. The first few missions playing as Louis DeAngelo involve shooting your away out of an arrest by a Toronto Police Service SWAT team in Toronto in December 1974, seeing the rest of the members of your old crime family either get arrested or shot in front of you as you make your escape. You spend the next two missions fleeing Ontario through Quebec and upstate New York, before finally arriving in Empire Bay in early 1975, late January to be exact. Winter is in full force with snow everywhere, Louis' arrival to Empire Bay for the first time in his life mirroring Vito's return to Empire Bay in 1945 30 years earlier, except under far different much more dire circumstances. Louis' older brother and his father, both capos in his old crime family in Toronto, are shown to be arrested by the TPS SWAT team in his first mission, the same one that attempted to gun him down when he resisted arrested. Louis knows someone had to have ratted out his old crime family, and he wants to find out who someday. The thing is though, he doesn't just want to kill them. He wants to get out of them why they did it before he kills them. More than anything else, he just wants to find out why his crime family was betrayed and served up to the feds on a silver platter, having most of his biological family sent to prison in the process. He’s out to uncover the mystery of why his family fell apart, and he’s more than willing to help people like Don Vito Scaletta and his underboss Joe Barbaro to eventually get the answers he seeks. I came up with the idea for this character because I figured that playing as a fugitive from the law made sense for the mob life, and I'm surprised we haven't had a fugitive protagonist in the Mafia series yet. In the 1975 chapters while playing as Louis, the Watergate scandal, President Richard Nixon’s resignation, and the official end to the Vietnam War are both discussed on the in-game radio during news segments. In the last 1979 chapter, the beginning of the Soviet-Afghan War is also the subject of a news segment on the radio. The story eventually transitions into the 1980's as years pass, with the scenery, cars, and music changing accordingly, and historical events of the time discussed in the game. By the time the game ends, it's 1992, and significant historical events from the past few years at the time that are covered on the radio in-game include anything from the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Gulf War, the collapse of the Soviet Union, to the 1992 L.A. riots. The rise of the internet and home computers are briefly touched upon during news segments on the in-game radio during the early 1990's section of the story, but not greatly delved into given their relative infancy in that time period. During this entire 1975-1992 stretch of the story, Vito is no longer playable, and Don Scaletta takes a backseat in the story as a main supporting character, similar to Don Salieri throughout Mafia: Definitive Edition. You now play as the Italian-Canadian Scaletta family soldato Louis DeAngelo, who is later promoted to being a capo in 1985. However, unlike Don Salieri, Don Scaletta has much more integrity, and has more genuine loyalty for his men and his associates. If you've beaten Mafia 1 or Mafia: Definitive Edition, you'll know this is something Salieri lacked in the end. The game will include a number of hit music from the 70’s that played on the radio back then, such as Bobby Womack’s Across 110th Street and Tony Christie’s (Is This the Way to) Amarillo, The Grateful Dead's Casey Jones and at least a few songs by the then new American rock band Cheap Trick, as well as popular songs from the 1960’s people still listened to at the time, such as Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs’ Wooly Bully, King Crimson’s 21st Century Schizoid Man,Zager and Evans' In the Year 2525, The Zombies' Time of the Season, and Nancy Sinatra’s These Boots Are Made for Walkin'. When you progress through the game, especially after you switch to playing as Louis DeAngelo for the rest of the story, years change, and the music changes. Different songs start playing on the radio, such as Sylvester's You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real),Randy Crawford's Street Life, and The Village People's Y.M.C.A., Cheryl Lynn's Got to Be Real, Gloria Gaynor's I Will Survive, and the Bee Gees' Stayin' Alive start playing in the 1979 portion of the game. After you've completed the 1975 section of the game, Foghat's Slow Ride starts playing on the radio. Starting in the 1977 section of the game, Cheap Trick's I Want You to Want Me and Heart's Barracuda start playing on the radio. In the 1980's portion of the game, Thomas Dolby's songs Hyperactive! and She Blinded Me with Science, in addition to Night Ranger's Sister Christian also start playing on the radio. If Hangar 13 can afford the licenses, I also think a few Michael Jackson and Madonna songs should definitely be on the radio during the 1980's portion of the story, given the immense popularity and regular radio airtime those two had in that decade. If this ended up being possible, I imagine that Michael Jackson's Smooth Criminal, Beat It, Bad, and Billie Jean being on the radio in the 80's sections would be a must, Smooth Criminal especially because of how well it suits the series. Madonna's Lucky Star, Burning Up, Like a Virgin, and Borderline would also be perfect for the 80's portion of the game to me. Also mentioned by NPCs and civilians in the game are topical events of the time period, such as the release of the groundbreaking 1973 horror film The Exorcist at the end of Vito's playable portion of the game. Other music of the 1980's segment when playing as Louis DeAngelo for the remainder of the game includes hits of the era such as Joe Jackson's Steppin' Out, The Buggles' Video Killed The Radio Star, Corey Hart's Sunglasses at Night,Laura Branigan's Self Control and Gloria, The Weather Girls' It's Raining Men, A-ha’s Take On Me, Men at Work's Down Under, Kim Wilde's Kids in America, The Gap Band's You Dropped a Bomb on Me, Culture Club’s Karma Chameleon, Twisted Sister's I Wanna Rock and We're Not Gonna Take It, Bon Jovi's Wanted Dead or Alive and Bad Medicine, Loverboy's Working for the Weekend, Dead or Alive's You Spin Me Round (Like a Record) and That's the Way (I Like It), Tiffany’s I Think We’re Alone Now, Daryl Hall & John Oates' Maneater, Aneka's Japanese Boy, Mötley Crüe's Dr. Feelgood, Girls, Girls, Girls and Kickstart My Heart, Billy Joel's We Didn't Start the Fire, Huey Lewis And The News' Hip To Be Square, Bill Medley's (I've Had) The Time of My Life, The Police's Every Breath You Take, Whodini's Magic's Wand, Tears For Fears' Everybody Wants To Rule The World, Rockwell's Somebody's Watching Me, Regina's Baby Love, Nena's 99 Red Balloons, Earth, Wind, and Fire's Let's Groove and September, Billy Idol's Eyes Without a Face and White Wedding, Rick James’ Give It To Me Baby, Wham!'s Everything She Wants, George Michael's Careless Whisper, Toto's Hold the Line and Africa, Blondie's Heart of Glass and Atomic, and Mai Tai's History. Note that not every single year and moment of the 17 year 1975-1992 section playing as Louis DeAngelo is playable or chronicled. My idea is it would be handled similarly to how the time skips in Mafia 1/Mafia: Definitive Edition were handled. Time skips of two or more years, or in this case, even longer such as 4 years sometimes, the game skipping from 1979 to 1983. This is to keep the game and story length ideal, and not risk it getting boring or repetitive, or going on for too long. Repetition was a big problem in Mafia III even if I still thought it was a superb game, so I think it'd be best to learn from that for the next big entry. The games story will skip ahead and show onscreen only what's significant, similar to the first Mafia game and it's remake, as well as certain aspects of Mafia II. Louis starts his section as a 22 year old fugitive soldato who got picked up by another crew south of the Canadian border, and in the epilogue of the game in 1992, is promoted to the consigliere of the Scaletta crime family at the age of 40, being set to take over the family once Vito and Joe become too old to run the day to day on a regular basis. The years chronicled in the main gameplay segments are as follows: 1973 1975 1977 1979 1983 1985 1986 1987 1989 1990 1991 1992 Much more of the rural areas and countryside outside of Empire Bay are included than what was available in Mafia II. The way rural environments are handled for this hypothetical Mafia IV is akin to how Mafia: Definitive Edition and Mafia III handled their rural environments outside the main cities, except much larger in scale, given the increased power of the current new consoles such as the PS5 and Xbox Series X. This region is based off of upstate New York and the surrounding areas across multiple states in the Northeastern US, and includes forests, fields, mountains, rivers, lakes, beaches, and small towns. Also included are other cities and towns, based off of other large cities in New York like Syracuse, Buffalo, and Rochester, where other story missions, business activities, and side missions take place, along with smaller notable places like Ithaca, Binghamton, and Utica. The entire states of New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Delaware, Maryland, and Ohio are also included, including places based off of all of their major cities and most of their notable towns in between. Large portions of Pennsylvania are included as well, including Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Scranton. Large portions of the eastern half of the Canadian province of Ontario are included as well, including cities based off of Toronto, Ottawa, and Niagara Falls. There's even a small portion of Quebec included, including Montreal and the surrounding countryside of the province outside that city, including a few small towns in southern Quebec. The player must pass a quick border patrol check when crossing the US-Canada border in a car or other ground vehicle. Wildlife is present in the game, mostly to add to the background, scenery, and immersion in rural environments on the map. These are all animals native to the Northeastern US, ranging from white tailed deer, coyotes, bobcats, Canada lynxes, rabbits, hares, groundhogs, gophers, beavers, raccoons, opossums, bats, chipmunks, red and gray squirrels, mice, and rats to more formidable and potentially dangerous animals that may sometimes attack the player, such as grey wolves, black bears, mountain lions, and moose. These last four animals are known to spawn in the mountainous regions, especially in New York, Ohio, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Ontario, including the rural regions based off of the Catskills and the Adirondack mountains. Dogs are present in the cities, towns, and settlements where humans live and keep them as pets, being walked and sometimes found in people's yards. Some are used as guard dogs by enemies and are aggressive towards the player on sight. Domestic cats are also present in the background of residential areas, and both Louis and Vito own them as pets throughout the game in their safe houses, as well as other onscreen characters we see the homes of throughout the game. Aircraft make their first usable appearance in the Mafia series too, from airplanes to helicopters. Vito cannot use planes or helicopters in his playable 1973 portion of the game, as he does not know how to pilot, being a paratrooper in World War II who never actually flew any of the planes himself. Aircraft are unlocked to use when Louis DeAngelo gets his pilot’s certificate offscreen in 1977, and at the end of a chapter set that year, Louis has to fly Vito in a helicopter to a penthouse in Downtown Empire Bay acting as a family safe house, equipped with a helipad. Louis frequently serves as a personal driver and pilot for both Vito and Joe afterwards, having done a lot in his time serving the family to earn their trust and respect. Melee weapons also make a return from Mafia: Definitive Edition, with even more variety this time. In their respective sections of the game, Vito and Louis may use anything from baseball bats, pipes, shovels, brass knuckles, golf clubs, police batons, switchblades, kitchen knives, bowie knives, ice picks, 2x4s, claw hammers, crowbars, tire irons, chain links, machetes, meat cleavers, pickaxes, hatchets, sledgehammers, to fire axes. This amount of melee weapons is so no matter what environment the player finds themselves in during a mission or any other game activity, there is usually a weapon of some sort nearby. If the player has obtained piano wire, you may also strangle an enemy to death with it from behind as a stealth kill, this being a classic assassination method infamous for being used by the Italian Mafia. Rope can also be found and used for similar strangulation stealth kills, appearing in the gameplay environments where piano wire can’t be found. There is a wide variety of new guns and explosives to use in this concept for Mafia IV, going with the new weapons of the time the game takes place that criminals quickly got their hands on. This includes the SPAS-12 combat shotgun, the Beretta 92 pistol, the AK-74 assault rifle, the mini uzi, the MAC-10 submachine gun, both suppressed and unsuppressed variants, the Beretta 92 pistol, the Taurus raging bull revolver, Glock handguns, the TEC-9 machine pistol, illegally modified to be full auto, the Ruger Mini-14 full auto variant, and even Vietnam war era flamethrowers, which I think is only natural given that as of Mafia III, we already have RPGs and grenade launchers. Late in the game from the 1989 section and onwards, the Benelli M3 combat shotgun becomes available. The Milkor MGL grenade launcher becomes available beginning in the 1983 portion of the game. Attached grenade launchers are also available for the AK-47, AK-74, and M16 assault rifles. Free ride makes a return in Mafia IV, with the player having the options to change the weather, time period, and an option to play as Louis, Vito, Joe, or Lincoln. Naturally, a multitude of new free ride missions are available as well. I previously posted a much earlier and less detailed draft of this on the old Mafia3 subreddit 3 years ago back in 2017 as an idea for a hypothetical Mafia 3 expansion where you play as Vito, but have since updated and revamped it to a possible Mafia IV plot, and fixed any plot holes I noticed and made it much more fleshed out and in depth, and focus on more than just Vito in the end. You may view my original here if you so desire, to compare. https://www.reddit.com/Mafia3/comments/6sldhp/spoiler_mafia_iii_vito_dlc_basic_plot_idea/ Feel free to give me constructive criticism on this, as I encourage this discourse and believe it is integral to growing and improving, to build upon or improve these ideas I've come up with, or say whether or not you think something like this should happen in the future. Thank you for reading!
Summary of AEW Angles and Storylines leading into Full Gear, with links to Video
Here is a relatively quick summary of the major angles leading into Full Gear. Links to AEW's Youtube, Twitter and Instagram with highlights and clips of what is going on. I'm including other angles that I feel might end up being relevant to Full Gear, but am not attempting to summarize everything. The Buy In: Serena Deeb (NWA Women’s Champion) vs Allisyn Kay Summary: Serena Deeb is a wrestling veteran, very skilled in the ring, who has just become the NWA champion, in addition to being an AEW wrestler. Allisyn Kay, a former NWA Champion, wants her old title belt back.
John Silver vs. Orange Cassidy Summary: Orange Cassidy is a lazy wrestler who can go toe to toe with the best, if he bothers to try. John Silver, a member of the Dark Order, is a little bundle of hyperactive aggression. Orange Cassidy took on the leader of the Dark Order, Mr. Brodie Lee for the TNT championship. While Mr. Brodie Lee won, the Dark Order, and John Silver in particular, want to punish Cassidy for even trying in the first place. This will be a pretty comedic match, by two people who are genuinely good in the ring.
TNT Title: Cody Rhodes (TNT Champion) vs. Darby Allin Summary: Cody is the son of legendary wrestler Dusty Rhodes, a charming talker and face of the company. He is the TNT Champion. Darby Allin is a reckless daredevil. They have faced off often over the past year, with Cody barely managing to win every time. Will Darby finally win over Cody?
World Tag Team Titles: FTR (AEW Tag Team Champions) vs. The Young Bucks Stipulation: If the Bucks lose, they can never challenge for the Tag Team belts again. Summary: FTR are arrogant brawlers who say they're the best tag team in the world, and they have the AEW Tag Team titles to prove it. The Young Bucks are arrogant high-fliers who say they're the best tag team in the world. They've both been arguing over who is the best for years, and now finally get to prove it. Previously, FTR messed with the Young Bucks by manipulating Hangman Adam Page, taking the Bucks out of the last title match, and the Bucks are still upset about it.
10/28 - FTR and The Young Bucks are interviewed. FTR leave when they think the Young Bucks are getting preferential treatment. The Bucks announce that if they lose this match, they’ll never challenge for the tag titles again.
Women's World Title: Hikaru Shida (c) vs. Nyla Rose Summary: Hikaru Shida is the AEW Women's champion, who had been doing an open challenge for her title. Nyla Rose is a bruiser of a beast, loving to slam women through tables. She's recently gotten Vickie Guererro as her manager. Nyla lost her world title to Shida earlier this year, and has been waiting for a rematch.
World Title Eliminator Tournament Final: Kenny Omega vs. Hangman Page Summary: Kenny Omega and Hangman Adam Page until recently were tag team champions. Hangman's bad decisions lead to their defeat at the hands of FTR. Now Kenny wants to go back to being a singles star, and Adam Page feels abandoned and hurt. Can the sad drunken cowboy beat his former partner, one of the best wrestlers on the planet? Winner of this match gets a shot at the World Championship. The saga of Kenny Omega and Hangman Adam Page is one of the best storylines in wrestling to date. The first chunk of it is summarized here, and the second chunk was summarized by me here. I am not including the Being The Elite segments here too, even though Hangman has been doing some REALLY good work there, because they are really tied up with other plots and hard to summarize briefly.
Chris Jericho vs. MJF Stipulation: If MJF wins, he can join The Inner Circle. Summary: Chris Jericho is a raging egotistical rock star, and leads the villainous Inner Circle. MJF is a spoiled egotistical rich guy, with a massive bodyguard in Wardlow. MJF wants to join the Inner Circle, but has to beat Chris Jericho to prove he has what it takes.
9/9 - MJF and Jericho meet and compliment each other, but each secretly call the other a loser.
Elite Deletion: Matt Hardy vs. Sammy Guevara Summary: Matt Hardy, a legend in the ring, has been trying to get Sammy Guevara to reach his full potential by leaving Chris Jericho's side. Sammy doesn't want an old man telling him what to do. They've been feuding for months now, with both of them getting injured along the way. It really needs to end. This will be a cinematic match, filmed at the Hardy Compound.
9/5 - Matt Hardy is legitimately injured during his match against Sammy at All Out, but finishes the match anyways, despite that being a really really dumb idea, beating Sammy Guevara. Probably AEW's worst decision to date.
11/4 - While Matt Hardy is coaching Private Party before their match, Sammy Guevara attacks him from behind.
AEW World Title "I Quit" Match: Jon Moxley (AEW Champion) vs. Eddie Kingston Summary: Jon Moxley is a tough bastard, who spent years in the WWE, and beat Chris Jericho to become the AEW World Champion earlier this year. Eddie Kingston has been an indie wrestler for years, struggling to make ends meet before recently joining AEW. Eddie thinks Moxley is a sell out. Moxley thinks Eddie has become bitter and jealous. Once friends, now they're going to practically murder each other in the ring. NOTE: The promos that both Moxley and Kingston are giving are PHENOMENAL.
Polo shirts are possibly the most ubiquitous clothing item of the 21st century, undergoing a long journey from aspirational 1930s sportswear to becoming the default smart-casual option for millions of men. We’ve researched and tested 14 of the best polo shirts and think that the best polo is the Sunspel Riviera with its great fit, unique fabric and strong range of over twenty colours. If you’re looking for an elevated take on the polo then the John Smedley Adrian Polo is incredibly soft and will smarten up your wardrobe. Finally, if you’re on a budget the H&M Cotton Polo Shirt is a good quality take on the classic item at an affordable price point. The original garment as we know it was based on a design worn by French tennis star René Lacoste aka “the Crocodile” in the 1930s as a practical, flexible, comfortable sports shirt. Unfortunately, from the 1980s onwards, creeping “casual Friday” dress codes made the polo shirt with badly fitting chinos an American business-standard. Later, it was the uniform of golfers and delivery drivers, security guards, and coffee chain staff not to mention the sometime uniform of the American far-right, in almost a parody of conformity. What saves the polo shirt from fashion irrelevance is its potential for reinvention. Its been reclaimed by subcultures ranging from punks to skinheads and mods. As the tie disappears and the suit becomes increasingly relaxed, the polo shirt has become a place to experiment with shirting alternatives and continues its long tradition of reinvention, molding itself to the zeitgeist. For our review we tried to cover this range, from semi-activewear to knit-fabric classics to find the best polo shirt overall, looking as always at specialists who’ve produced these styles year after year in an attempt to find an ideal.
Sunspel Riviera Polo With a smart fit, retro-inspired basket weave fabric, and a huge range of tasteful colours, the Riviera is on its way to becoming a contemporary classic. $105
The Riveria was introduced by Sunspel in 2006 after a design by Linda Hemmings for the James Bond film Casino Royale. The Riviera became something of an instant classic for a brand which up until then had been known largely for its undergarments. The references here (as the name suggests) are much more Talented Mr.Ripley than contemporary sportswear but it doesn’t feel like a period piece either. There has been some clever thought put into taking the best of that golden era and updating it. The fabric has a looser, wider weave than most piqué polos, and a nice spongy texture with none of the coarseness that some piqué can have. After researching I found that the brand created the fabric with a vintage lace making machine in Sunspel’s HQ in Nottingham, and none of the competition I tried have a similar quality. The fit is trim but not overly slim. The sleeves fall flatteringly halfway down the bicep, the length is standard and it has the classic split tail. The sleeves didn’t pull up into my armpits and I still had movement through the body. The collar is a fairly small point collar that sits well when buttoned up but also folds down easily into a camp collar shape when undone which allowed it to be worn cleanly both ways. The buttons are a discreet tonal plastic and the placket is a simple 2‑button design. I’m a fan of the pocket design though in a practical sense it’s not good for much and makes the shirt much more of a casual style. Colours are another area where Sunspel gets it just right. They always have a strong seasonal palette which this year covers 20 options including a deep chocolate brown (seen above) an intense Yves Klein blue and a great brick red. Compared to their competitor’s depressingly basic ranges of pastels and neons, this quiet tastefulness is refreshing and it means that season to season it will be easy to update your wardrobe with some new additions. Through washing and wearing over a number of weeks, I noticed no noticeable shrinkage or discolouring and the fabric kept its softness (which wasn’t always the case, especially if a garment has been chemically softened). I also kept an eye out for loose threads and buttons but found no faults. Which brings us to the final question of value. Polo shirts are an interesting category in this sense as they are so tied up to a certain idea of aspirational dressing — and priced accordingly. Our testing found that the general quality and feel of a £10 polo from H&M didn’t massively improve when compared to its £80 Lacoste equivalent. But that’s to ignore the fact that you are paying for what that £80 polo says about you, what it represents in our culture, and the semiotics of that logo — a francophile or a football causal, a preppy or a punk. That said, if you’re like me and the branded polos aren’t your niche but you want something that feels premium, then, for the cost, you will have a beautifully fabricated, European-made polo shirt of notably better quality than its competitors in the same price bracket and that’s enough for us to award it the top spot.
The downsides for the Riviera really come down to preference. I could imagine if you want a more classic fitting polo you may find it too slim or if you want one without a pocket that could turn you off. But as for the construction of the shirt itself or its fabric I couldn’t find any faults. Even the plastic buttons which might in other brands seem like a cost-saving measure feels more like a thoughtful design choice. It’s also more sportswear-adjacent than actual sportswear, but that feels like a quibble and true of any of the major polo brands at this point.
John Smedley Adrian Polo Made from incredibly soft sea island cotton, this knitted polo is perfect if you want a softer, more formal style of polo. $298
The Adrian Polo from John Smedley comes a close second to the Sunspel Riviera. The main attraction is the sea island cotton fabric which is incredibly soft with the best hand feel of any polo I reviewed. The placket length and knitted collar means it feels much more like the elegant mid-century polo shirt than something that would be mistaken for a 21st-century corporate uniform, albeit with some nice updates that make it feel more contemporary than other knitted polos. Smedley is to fine knitwear what Burberry is to trench coats, or John Lobb is to shoes and considered to be the best in the world in the category (it’s where the Queen gets her knitwear). The Adrian genuinely felt like a luxury. Everything from the feel of the fabric to the way it fitted just right with substantial ribbing on the waist and sleeves (near the bottom of the bicep) with just the right amount of tension spoke to the care and attention that had gone into making it. It’s also versatile, working just as well under the lapels of my suit when I got married a few weeks ago as it did in our 35 degree London heatwave when worn with a pair of shorts although, it is a bit too formal to work with tracksuit bottoms. Out of all the styles I reviewed it felt much more like a smart option. What the Adrian definitely isn’t on the other hand is a piece of grab-and-go sportswear that can be washed and thrown on like a t‑shirt or folded up at the bottom of your bag for destination holiday. I found myself hand-washing the delicate fabric to avoid rips and the collar, though it stands well, needs shaping with an iron after washing. Like a lot of luxury items, it’s delicate and requires a bit more care and attention than most and at £145 it’s not quite affordable enough to be a staple. That’s not saying it’s bad value necessarily, you can see the care and attention that was put into it and it’s UK manufactured but it’s probably not what most people are looking for when it comes to an everyday polo shirt, and those not quite the all-rounder that could hold the top spot. If you’re more likely to wear smart trousers than jeans and prefer a knit jumper to a hoodie then this is the polo for you.
H&M Cotton Polo Shirt A great price paired with good fabrication and quality, the H&M polo offers the best value for money with their straightforward take on the classic polo shirt. $12.99
If you’re unconcerned with logos and just want a classic polo shirt as a wardrobe staple you could do a lot worse than the H&M Cotton Polo Shirt. The piqué is soft and drapes well, the fit is classic, and straight (though as is often the case with H&M group, a bit long for me). In a blind test, I’m not sure I could tell the difference easily between this polo and the Lacoste L.12 which it’s clearly based it’s detailing on. And at £9.99 it’s extremely good value. Ethical clothing site Good on You’s review gives the brand an “It’s a start” rating for it’s environmental and ethical credentials noting that it’s environmental record is consistently improving while some issues with it’s supply chain labor remain.
What to look for
Range of colours: More than most sportswear, polo shirts are about colour, and we wanted our staple pick to have a good range of quality seasonal colours. Flexibility: We wanted a Polo that looked good with a range of clothing from the formal to the ultra-casual (a pair of shorts or sweats) Fabric: Has to work well in the heat, for most people a polo is a summer item and anything too heavy or coarse wasn’t going to cut it for us, we tried a range of synthetics and cottons of different qualities. Fit: Piqué and knitted cotton are unforgiving fabrics so having a good fit is key to making a polo shirt work. Collar: Does it stand up well, does it look okay when unbuttoned? is it easy to fold down or does it look sloppy. Length: Long enough to wear tucked in but not long enough to look sloppy on its own. Sleeves: We wanted the sleeve length to flatter the bicep but not ride up too high into the armpits, we also wanted easy movement as you’d expect from sportswear. Easy Care: The best polos, like all good sportswear, should be easy to wash and care for. Aesthetics: We wanted a polo that was more than a billboard for logo’s or an anonymous boxy t‑shirt alternative, the best would have a strong aesthetic quality.
The Fred Perry M12 & M3's are the most solidly constructed of all the branded polos I tried, and I was particularly keen on the thick ribbing on the sleeves and collar and the wide, reinforced placket. The collar had a slightly wider spread than most and which I found more flattering. The fit is trimmer than Lacoste and the hem is square so overall it has a neater, less sporty look. It's also nice that it's been continuously made in the UK since its introduction in the 1950s. The M12's aesthetic with its twin tips on the collar and sleeves have deep roots in the mod, Britpop, punk and skinhead subcultures in the UK and it can be a bit overpowering if you're looking for something more casual, but I love the simplicity of the M3's laurel crest and it has the same fit. Our favourite if you're looking for a logo. We ordered from Lacoste as they're the originators of the style. The Lacoste L.12.12 is their staple and comes in a huge range of colours. It's hard to judge it fairly as it seems to be the most duped of all polo styles—the Ralph Lauren polo is said to be a copy of their pre-60s model after the designer was disappointed with the synthetic blend polos they produced in the 70s. It has a straight fit, flattering sleeve and fairly flat collar. The fabric is softer than most piques and the split tail is nice but there is nothing particularly stand out, though the mother of pearl buttons are a nice touch. In terms of transparency, they were probably the most disappointing of the branded styles as there was absolutely no place of origin for manufacture, not even a "made in" on their label (though I believe they are produced in Peru). The Lacoste Paris Polo Shirt is their more contemporary update to the classic style and it features a slightly smaller collar, a bit of elastane in the fabric (6%) and a longer, narrower hidden placket and tonal crocodile patch. It's an interesting update, but if you're going for something so subtle I'm not sure why you wouldn't go for something completely unbranded. The Ralph Lauren Classic Fit Mesh Polo Shirt was an interesting variant. Its piqué was solid and soft feeling, It had a really thick placket and nice mother of pearl buttons, but it was largely indistinguishable from the Lacoste L.12 and its dupe status makes sense. It has a slightly lower stepped hem and a surpassingly slim fit for a "classic" style. It comes in a huge range of colours (some pretty dubious) and is the most expensive of the branded options we tried, coming in at £85. It's also shorter than most of the polos we tried so could be a good option for smaller guys. Kent Wang is one of menswear's best-kept secrets and we're a big fan of the Kent Want polo shirt. It splits the difference nicely between the more casual sportswear elements and smarter styles like the Adrian with thick quality pique, mother of pearl buttons and a high spread collar designed to look good under a suit jacket or jumper. If you want something with the formality of the Smedley and the easy-care of a classic polo then this is probably your best option and it has some of the most tasteful colours of any brand we reviewed (as well as a wide range of long sleeve options). It should be noted that the fit is quite slim and it's worth sizing up. The Uniqlo Airism Jersey Polo is sleek and technical without seeming dorky. It kept me from sticking to the sofa when the heat in London got to a high of 35°C (95°F). It would be the ideal choice for a warm-weather tech enthusiast and looked pretty cool and sleek worn with my black running shorts. The other Uniqlo style I tried was the Uniqlo DRY PIQUE polo, which I was less of a fan of. It was fine but not particularly interesting fit wise and has a slightly coarse plastic-y feel to the fabric. I tried ASKET's Pique Polo and while it has the brands great fit range (you can choose the length from small to large) was a disappointment overall. The piqué was soft and mercerized but also the most transparent of all the ones we tested which meant nipples showed through. The collar was strangely floppy and unstructured so looked messy when buttoned up but also had trouble sitting flat when opened and the placket looked visually off centre. As usual with the brand, the environmental and social tracing is excellent and I hope they can perfect the style. Finally, I also gave the H&M COOLMAX Polo a try and while I might appreciate it if I lived in a much warmer country, the texture just suffered in comparison to the pure cotton pique of their standard polo. This is a new guide from Typical Contents, the “wirecutter for clothes”. It’s by the team behind Epochs, a now defunct menswear blog. *We’re reviewing categories of clothing in hopes of finding the best item(s) in that category. All items tested in this guide were purchased with our own money. This post does not contain affiliate links. Check out our previous guides on boxer briefs, plain t-shirts, low top canvas trainers, and summer socks.
Putting Bond's revenge against Quantum at the centre of Quantum of Solace
Saw the post mentioning that no one has attempted to give Quantum of Solace a rewrite and decided to give it a shot. It was actually harder than I thought. Rewatching it I think many of the film’s issues comes from the director writer than writing. I think the generally plotting of the film is fairly decent, especially giving the ongoing writer’s strike at the time. The main issue is that there’s effectively two films going on: One in which Bond is hunting down Quantum seeking revenge for Vesper and one in which Bond goes rogue in order to stop the CIA financing a coup d’etat in Boliva. My main goal was to try better merge them into a more cohesive story. In particular I want to give Vesper’s former lover, Yusuf Kabira, (ie the reason she betrays Bond and then gets murdered in Casino Royale) more of a role, rather than just having him be relegated to a single scene at the end of the film.
· Making Yusuf Kabira, Vesper’s former lover, a major character, effectively serving as the main henchman of the film · Changing Camille’s backstory. Instead of being a Bolivian agent she’s the daughter of the current Bolivian president and she’s has also been seduced by Kabira. Quantum’s plan is to expose the relationship between the President’s daughter and a foreign agent, thus creating a political scandal that will pre-empt a coup d’état by General Medrano. · We cut Dominic Greene and the Plot To Steal Bolivar’s Water entirely. We give most of Greene’s role to Mr White. · Finally, we are going to play up the whole Bond Versus the CIA thing. Lets try and use Jefferey Wright more and give Felix a bit of a redemption arc
The new plot
We are going to cut the opening car chase entirely and start with Bond driving into the Sienna safehouse having captured Mr White at the end of Casino Royale. Waiting inside the safehouse are M and another agent called Yusuf Kabira. Bond can greet Kabira saying something like “How was Bolivia?” and he replies with something witty like “Very stimulating”. The interrogation goes the same way as the original as Kabira is revealed to be a double agent and helps Mr White escape. Bond chases Kabira across the rooftops of Sienna. They can briefly fight but Kabira is able to escape. Cut to the opening title sequence. After the titles we see MI6 investigating Kabira’s London apartment. In a secret compartment they discovered files on Vesper Lynd including photos of Kabira and Vesper together. Bond is visibly shaken by this information and M asks him if Bond can be trusted to keep his feelings separate from his job. Bond assures M he will. He also suggests looking into Kabira’s recent mission in Bolivar. When they do, they discover that Kabira was having frequent meetings with a mysterious woman at a particular hotel and will soon meet her again. Kabira meets the mysterious woman, who we learn is called Camille, in the hotel in Santa Cruz, Boliva. The two are clearly lovers. They go to their room but are ambushed by Bond waiting for them there. We then basically get the scene from the end of Quantum of Solace where Bond reveals who Kabira is to Camille and shows her the necklace he gave to Vesper, identical to one Kabira’s given to Camille. Camille is obviously shocked by this revelation. At gunpoint Bond orders the two of them into a car to drive to an airfield where MI6 is waiting to arrest Kabira. In the car Kabira taunts Bond about Vesper. The car is soon stopped by members of the Bolivian military led by a General Medrano. Bond now finds himself being captured as he is separated from Kabira and Camille and taking to a different site. There he discovers Felix Leiter and several other CIA agents. Initially Bond is pleased to see an ally but quickly realises that Felix and the CIA are working with Medrano and Kabira. Leiter tries to justify himself saying that things are more complicated than they seem, and that MI6 has no business getting involved in Bolivia. He also reveals that Camille is the daughter of the Bolivian president. He pleads with Bond to go back to London and forget about what he has seen. Bond refuses and escapes leading to a chase between Bond and the CIA. Bond is able to make his way to the airfield where he leaves Bolivia, dejected after failing to capture Kabira and avenge Vesper. We then see Leiter meeting with White and Medrano. This pretty much resembles the scene from the original film where the CIA strikes a non-interference deal with the pair in exchange for the USA gaining access to Bolivian oil. After Leiter leaves, Medrano tells White that he has held up his end of the bargain and accuses White of unnecessarily delays. White argues that they need the support of the other partners of “his organisation” before they can go ahead, and Medrano replies that perhaps he should speak to White’s partners in person. MI6 discover that Medrano has booked a ticket to see an opera in Bregenz, Austria and Bond goes to investigate. We then get the scene from the original film where the leaders of Quantum have their meeting during the Opera. Medrano is also at the meeting and we hear the Quantum members give their assent to go ahead with Medrano and White’s plan to expose the relationship between Camille and Kabira (who will be presented as a British spy) thus creating a political scandal which will cause a crisis allowing Medrano to seize power. Afterwards Medrano will allow Quantum to take control of Bolivia’s oil fields. With Medrano is Camille who is clearly being held there against her will. When she excuses herself to go to the bathroom Medrano sends one of his men to watch her. Camille still attempts to escapes and Bond intervenes helping her but blowing his cover in the process and gets caught in a very public shoot out with Medrano’s men. Medrano and the other members of Quantum escape. We then cut to London where we see M getting a dressing down from the foreign secretary in the aftermath of the shooting in Austria. The foreign secretary tells M that the Prime Minister has bowed to American pressure and order that all MI6 operations in South America be terminated. With no choice M calls Bond and orders him to return to England but Bond of course refuses. M once again asks if his desire to get revenge on Kabira for Vesper’s death is affecting his decision-making. Bond hangs up. In a safehouse Bond and Camille watch as news of Camille’s relationship with Kabira makes international headlines and the crisis Medrano and White engineered begins to take shape. Bond and Camille open up to each other, with Bond hinting at his past with Vesper. They resolve to return to Bolivia and attempt to prevent Medrano’s coup d’état. Without MI6 aid Bond turns to Rene Mathis who, after being acquitted of being a double agent following Casino Royale, is living in retirement in the south of France. Mathis agrees to help them, and they use his private jet to fly to Bolivia. As they reach Bolivian airspace two American fighter jets begin tailing them, ordering them to land. Bond, Mathis and Rene agree that their only option is to abandon the plane only to learn there’s only one parachute onboard. Mathis tells Bond and Camille to escape while he leads the Americans away, sacrificing himself. Bond tries to protest. Mathis tells Bond that Vesper did love him. As Bond and Camille cling to each other with the parachute they see Mathis’ plane get shot down. Once they land, they make their way to Bolivia’s capital La Paz. Felix contacts Bond for a meeting, effectively offering a brief truce. Camille tells Bond its a trap, but Bond decides to go anyway. They meet in a bar and Bond is able to convince Felix that Medrano will betray the CIA and give Quantum access to the Bolivan oil fields. Felix tells Bond that they are currently being watched by other CIA agents and as soon as Bond leaves, they will try to kill him. Felix gives Bond a location to go to if he survives. Evading the American agents Bond goes to this location and discovers Felix has left him a file detailing the CIA’s involvement in the impending coup d’état. We then see tanks rolling into La Paz as the Medrano’s coup d’état begins. Medrano arrives at the state television station to announce his takeover. Bond and Camille race to the station to try to stop him. Fighting their way through Medrano’s men they are confronted by Kabira. Bond and Kabira get locked in a one-on-one shootout as Camille goes to take on Medrano alone. She finds the studio where Medrano is broadcasting the announcement of his new rule. His men have all left to stop Bond leaving Medrano all alone. Camille shoots Medrano and starts showing the Felix’s evidence of the CIA’s involvement. Mr White, watching this unfold, orders the broadcast be stopped by any means necessary. The tanks outside the television station suddenly begin firing on the building, reducing it to rubble. We cut back to Bond and Kabira who are now fighting hand-to-hand. As the building starts to collapse Kabira becomes trapped under falling debris. In desperation he reaches out to Bond. Bond holds out his hand, only to drop Vesper’s necklace in front of him. He leaves Kabira to die. Finding Camille, the two escape the collapsing television station. They go to the Bolivian Presidential Palace as the Bolivian military either retreats or surrenders around them. There Camille’s family is waiting. The two kiss before parting ways. Cut to a few weeks later Bond meets Leiter on the National Mall in Washington D.C. Leiter tells Bond that Mr White and the other members of Quantum have all gone underground and can’t be found. Bond asks Leiter if he’s been reprimanded for the whole Bolivian affair and Leiter replies he’s being sent on a dead-end assignment to San Monique. The two part as friends. As Felix leaves Bond receives a call from M about his next mission.
Prince Rainier III (1923-2005) Rainier’s mother, Princess Charlotte, was actually illegitimate. Her father Louis II, getting older and with no legitimate children, legitimized her and made her his heir. She never took the throne, and in fact renounced her rights to her son, Rainier, the day before his 21st birthday. Rainier became the Sovereign Prince of Monaco upon the death of his grandfather in 1949. During WW2, Rainier served in the Free French Army. During the 40s and 50s he was in a long term relationship with the French film actress Gisele Pascal. Rainier’s sister, Princess Antoinette, wanted her own son to ascend to the throne, and spread rumors that Pascal was infertile. The rumors along with her treatment by the press and public ended their relationship. After the war Monaco, a country who made its money primarily as a gambling origin, was in crisis as wealthy Europeans found their funds diminished after the war. To restore Monaco’s treasury Rainier decided to promote Monaco as a tax haven, and he personally took control of SBM (the company who owns the Monte Carlo Casino, Opera, and Hostel de Paris) in 1964. Prince Albert still retains a large share of the company and profits from it today. Marriage: Everyone knows this one. Rainier married American film star Grace Kelly in 1956. Their marriage is rumored to have been turbulent. It is said that Grace struggled with adjusting to royal life, regretted ending her film career, and that Rainier had extramarital affairs. Her children have stated that though she was a loving mother, they spent more time with nannies than with their parents. Grace's dress is iconic, but here you go if you want to revisit some photos from that day. Rainier smoked up to 60 cigarettes per day, and in the last years of his life his health steadily declined. On March 8th, 2005 he entered the hospital for a lung infection and by the end of the month he was on a ventilator suffering from renal and heart failure. On March 31st he officially announced his son Albert, as regent, and on April 6th he died. The Constitution Monaco’s constitution stated that Monaco is a constitutional monarchy ruled by the hereditary princes of the Grimaldi. If the reigning prince were to die without leaving a male heir, Monaco, according to the treaty, would be incorporated into France. In 2002, realizing he had a 43 year old bachelor son, Rainier amended the constitution to allow the crown to pass to his daughters should Albert not marry. Grace, Princess of Monaco (1929-1982) Grace was born in Philadelphia to an affluent and influential family. Her father was an Olympian and a Democratic nominee for Mayor of Philadelphia and was appointed by President Roosevelt as National Director of Physical Fitness. Her mother taught physical education at the University of Pennsylvania and coached women’s athletics at Penn. Her Uncle, George Kelly, was a Pulitzer prize winning dramatist, screenwriter, and director and used his influence to gain Grace admission to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. Grace became one of the biggest movie stars of her generation. In 1955 she was sent to the Cannes Film Festival and invited to appear in photos with Prince Rainier. After a year-long courtship, they were married in 1956. Grace was not allowed to continue her acting career after her marriage. She instead devoted herself to her role as Princess, become heavily involved with the Red Cross of Monaco and the Rainbow Children Coalition. On September 13, 1982, Kelly was driving back to Monaco after spending time at her country home. During the drive she had a stroke, lost control of her vehicle, and drove off the mountainside. She died a day later. An article on their relationship Prince Albert II (b. 1958) Prince Albert is one of the wealthiest royals in the world with a net worth at more than $1B. He attended Amherst College in Massachusetts, studying political science, economics, music, and English literature, and completed his education with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. He toured Europe in 1979 as part of the Amherst College Glee Club. Albert competed in the bobsleigh for five consecutive Winter Olympics on behalf of Monaco, and was their flag bearer at the 1988, 1994, and 1998 Olympics. He is also a judo black belt. He became Prince of Monaco when his father died in 2005. Marriage: Prior to his marriage his status as a bachelor was a hot topic of discussion. He was known to date well-known fashion models and actresses, however at age 53 had never married. It was rumored that Albert was gay, something he expressed great frustration with in the press. In 2006 he attended the opening ceremony of the Torino Olympics with South African swimmer Charlene Wittstock. They were engaged in 2010, and married in 2011. There are rumors that Charlene tried to flee the country the day before their wedding. It is reported that the future bride, after discovering Albert may have fathered yet another child during their relationship, attempted to flee as many as three times before their wedding, however was always intercepted at the airport. It is also said she attempted to seek refuge at the South African embassy, and that officials in Monaco ended up hiding her passport so she could not leave the country. Moreover, during their wedding, Charlene openly cried at parts, and Prince Albert was caught on camera begging her to kiss him. Honestly, she looked pretty miserable the whole time. The palace has denied all of these claims. During their honeymoon, they stayed in separate hotels Here's everything you ever needed to know about their wedding Watch it Prince Albert is passionate about the environment and an avid sportsman. Prince Albert speaks French, English, German, and Italian. He speaks English with basically no accent thanks to his American mother. Illegitimate Children In 2005, the day before Prince Rainier died, Albert publicly acknowledged he had fathered a son out of wedlock. In 2006, he confirmed he had also fathered a daughter. These children were barred from the line of inheritance because of a 2002 constitutional amendment requiring an heir’s parents to be married. Alexandre (b. 2003) Alexandre’s mother (Nicole Coste) was a flight attendant for Air France and met Prince Albert when he was a passenger on a flight. He asked for her number, the beginning of a years-long affair. The relationship ended at the insistence of Prince Rainier. Albert visited Alexandre and Nicole often, however when he refused to acknowledge Alexandre publicly, Nicole sold an interview and pictures to the media. Albert was in mourning for his father and made no public comment, but later did acknowledge paternity. Alexandre and Nicole live in France at an estate given to them by Albert. Jazmin (b. 1992) Jazmin’s mother, Tamara, met Albert while working as a waitress. Albert knew of Jazmin and visited her, however did not acknowledge her publicly until she was in high school to protect her identity. In 2006 the French magazine Voici published photographs of Jazmin and her mother on a visit to Monaco, outing her as Albert’s daughter. She has attended events with Albert and Charlene, and is listed as a sponsor for her father’s royal foundation. An interview with Jazmin Princess Charlene (b. 1978) Born in Zimbabwe, Charlene’s family relocated to South Africa in 1989. She represented South Africa at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, finished fifth in the 4x100 meter relay. Albert and Charlene met at the Mare Nostrum swimming competition in Monaco in 2000, however were not seen together until 2006. Charlene converted to Roman Catholicism for her wedding, and has learned French and Monegasque after her move to Monaco. She is an ambassador for the Special Olympics, patron of the South African Red Cross, and is passionate about sport. In recent news, she completed “the crossing” water bike challenge, a 180 kilometer water bike race for charity. An interview with Charlene and Albert on the 1st birthday of their twins Albert and Charlene have 2 children: Hereditary Prince Jacques *twin* (b. 2014) Princess Gabriella *twin* (b. 2014) Gabriella was born 2 minutes before her brother, however because of the constitution her brother will inherit the throne. They are super sweet together and you see them at events often. Princess Caroline of Hanover (b. 1957) Caroline is the eldest child of Rainier and Grace Kelly, however because of the constitution her brother, Albert, sits on the throne of Monaco. She served as de facto first lady of Monaco until the marriage of Albert and Charlene. Until the birth of her niece and nephew she was heir presumptive to the throne, although she had only held that title since 2005 after the change of the constitution to include female heirs. Caroline received her French baccalaureat in 1974, and received a degree in Philosophy from Sorbonne University. She is fluent in French, English, Spanish, German, and Italian. Her hobbies include horseback riding, swimming, and skiing. Marriages:
Marriage 1: Philippe Junot
Married Phillippe, a Parisian banker, in 1978. The couple divorced in 1980 with no children.
Marriage 2: Stefano Casiraghi
Married Stefano in 1983, the sportsman heir to an Italian industrial fortune. The two had to marry in a civil ceremony rather than a religious ceremony because Caroline, a Catholic, was divorced. Caroline was 3 months pregnant at the time of their wedding. They have three children:
Note: The Casiraghi’s are all very beautiful and very fashionable but I don’t want to go much into them here because they are so far down the line of succession. They’re fun to follow for their fashion if you have the time to check them out.
Marriage 3: Prince Ernst August of Hanover
Married Ernst August, a Prince, in 1999. They have one daughter, Princess Alexandra. Caroline is thus a Princess twice-over, through her family and through her husband. She and Ernst August have been separated since 2009 however are still legally married, thus she retains the title of Princess Caroline of Hanover. Read about all of her weddings here See her speaking in English around 12:00 here Princess Stephanie (b. 1965) Stephanie was in the vehicle with her mother when Grace died. She suffered a fracture of the neck. She has studied classical dance and piano, and competed in gymnastics and horse riding. She interned at Christian Dior and debuted as a model in 1984. She has a swimwear and perfume line, and owns cafes and stores in both Monaco and Barcelona. She also has sold more than 2 million copies of her song, Ouragan, and sold 1.5M copies of her album Besoin. She recorded “In the Closet” with Michael Jackson, however is listed as “mystery girl” in the credits. Marriages/Relationships:
Marriage 1: Daniel Ducruet
Stephanie married her former body guard, Daniel Ducruet, in 1995. When Rainier learned of their relationship Daniel was not only still his employee, but had a pregnant girlfriend too. Stephanie gave birth to their two children “out of wedlock” because Rainier refused to grant permission for them to marry, however eventually relented. The two divorced a year later after Ducruet was photographed naked with a stripper. Read more They have two children:
Stephanie met elephant trainer (yeah, you read that right) when she presented him with the award for “best animal tamer” at the Monaco Circus Festival in 1997. Franco, a decade older than Stephanie, was married with two children at the time. Franco left his family for Stephanie, moving her and her three children into his circus caravan in Zurich. Marrying in 2001, their relationship lasted 18 months until their divorce. An interview with Stephanie in English in 1990 Why is he a Prince and not a King? From vogue: It goes back deep into the history of Monaco. Monaco has always been a tiny nation, and, for protection, allied itself with (or, at some points, was flat-out annexed by) big powerful countries, with big powerful rulers—aka kingdoms, or, a nation ruled by a king or queen. So Monaco’s rulers styled themselves as prince and princess. That, by definition, made the nation a principality, or one ruled by prince or princess. Regardless, Albert actually plays a bigger role in the day to day operations of the country than most of his European peers. Legislative power is divided between the Prince who initiates the laws, and the National Council who votes on them. Executive power is retained by the Prince, and he has full judiciary powers. Jewels See their tiara collection I think the Ocean Tiara, gifted to Charlene for her wedding, is particularly interesting. You either love it or you hate it. The Grimaldi Curse What do you think?
Just some questions about Sae in the game. *spoilers*
We infiltrate her palace but... the game never shows us her doing bad things in the real world does it? I kept waiting for a scene like her forging evidence to win a case or something else like that but it never came so we just have her Shadow or whatever telling us that she thinks it's okay to cheat/lie/steal? Even after beating her palace I still felt a casino to be a pretty big reach for her and whatever her desires manifest as. And I still didn't feel like I really knew her at all. With Kamoshida and Madarame and Okumura, I had a pretty good gist of what kinda men they were and the bad things they did and what they were like in a nutshell, but with Sae I didn't even understand why she was dressed like that or what the deal was with the panda eyes makeup. Plus Based on how the game starts with her interrogating Joker, I thought she would have a much bigger impact in the story overall but she kinda doesn't, she doesn't even interact that much with Joker besides that 1 time in the cafe. She wasn't even the one who interrogated him at the school! When the game first started I thought we'd actually get to be pretty close with her throughout the game but I guess since the game gave her a sister in Makoto it meant that's where the relationship was. The other thing I read was that the phantom thieves never stole her heart and she actually had a change of heart all by herself and remember what was good/what she was fighting for in the first place? Need confirmation on that. Also not sure if the "wanting to be a defense attorney" is something from Royal only or in the vanilla game, since it felt a little like ace attorney series there. Just wanted to confirm what happened after we finished her palace as well.
X-RAY OF A TRAGEDY, RECOUNTING THE WAR ON DRUGS IN MEXICO YEAR BY YEAR
Felipe Calderón Hinojosa wanted his government (2006-2012) to be remembered as the six-year term of security. He bet on the persecution of organized crime, multiplied spending on federal police, sent the army to the streets and launched a strategy to make his actions convincing: the war against drug trafficking. The year prior to his inauguration, the country's homicide rate was 9.5 per 100,000 inhabitants. The figure soon multiplied, leading the government to deny that there were collateral victims; those killed in the "war" were criminals or heroes - policemen and soldiers - who fought them. Fourteen years later, too many unknown victims have fallen in this battle. Estimates are close to 250,000 dead and 60,000 missing. The beggining The beginning of this dark and violent era can be dated December 11, 2006. On that day, then-President Felipe Calderón declared war on narco. The intention was to arrest criminals who acted as lords and masters in various entities. He launched the Joint Operation Michoacán and sent 6,000 troops to stop the violence of the cartels. Since then, the beast of crime felt the prick in the back and has not stopped slapping its tail. There have been fourteen in which it has been learned to measure homicides linked to this type of violence. Fourteen years in which the structure of the narco "faltered": new cells arose, new leaders appeared, others died or were killed. It has been fourteen years in which journalists have used self-censorship as their “survival” card. Fourteen years, 168 months and 5,250 days, of "blood and lead." Heads rolled in Michoacán The attack on the Sol y Sombra bar, which occurred on September 7, 2006, in Uruapan, Michoacán, it is said, was the germ of the war against drug trafficking that ex-president Felipe Calderón waged. That day, a score of hooded individuals with AK-47 rifles dressed in Federal Investigation Agency uniforms opened fire without commiseration on the business. The roar of the bullets sent dancers and customers to the ground. The fake agents entered, approached the dance floor and took out a bag with five heads. They left without a word, but left a narco-message. “The family does not kill for pay, it does not kill women and innocents. Only those who must die die. Sepal. This is divine justice ”, it read. This crime attracted international attention like few before. It was also the first time that the name La Familia Michoacana spread to the rest of the country. Four months after the start of the war against drug trafficking, the Army - responsible for the fight with criminal groups - suffered its first major ambush. It was in Carácuaro, in the Tierra Caliente region, near Guerrero and the State of Mexico. On the night of May 1, 2007, an armed group attacked a military convoy with rifles and grenades during a patrol. Five soldiers, a colonel, a sergeant and three corporals were killed. The Army turned in the area. Within days they arrested ten people, four of them women and minors. They seized long and short weapons and scored a victory. In September, however, the minors reported rape and sexual abuse by the military. The National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) issued a devastating report. Shortly after the war against drugs, elements of the Army were already facing charges of arbitrary detentions, torture, sexual abuse and rape. It would not be the last time. That was just the beginning. On the day of the scream, Independence Day, criminals would throw hand grenades at a crowd in the center of Morelia, Michoacán in 2008. Almost a dozen dead and more than 100 injured would be the figures for the violent episode. In 2009, Calderón captured dozens of Michoacán officials for alleged ties to drug traffickers. Most were released months later. Ciudad Juarez, resist Hell broke loose on this site. When Felipe Calderón came to power, in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, two people were killed a day. In 2008, the average rose to five, and in 2009 there were already seven daily deaths. It was enough just to look out to the city to see that many of the victims were young people captured by some criminal organization and killed in retaliation by a rival cartel. But also, it was easy to find a good number of lawyers, policemen, engineers, doctors, journalists turned into corpses and suspects. In 2010, at least 60 student students were celebrating a party at number 1,310 Viñas del Portal street, when a group of hitmen arrived at the site aboard seven vans. Without a word, the hooded men shot at the teenagers. Sixteen died. That same year, Luis Freddy Lala Pomavilla, 18, a bleeding and badly wounded Ecuadorian, arrived at an Army checkpoint on Highway 101 in Tamaulipas —on the border between Mexico and the United States— announcing: "they were all killed." Before dying in a clinic, the man accompanied the soldiers to a ranch in San Fernando where the horror was found: 72 migrants lying on the ground and killed. The massacre also included another piece of information: the kidnapping of undocumented immigrants was a new item in the dirty business of the cartels. As they explained, the drama began when members of Los Zetas forced him to work for them. By rejecting the proposal, they were killed one by one, with shots in the back and the head. The corpses passed like this for hours until Luis Freddy gave the warning. The cruelty of the massacre and the calm with which it was carried out stunned the country. A year later, 2011, the misfortune was called Casino Royal. The attack on the gambling business in Monterrey, Nuevo León, lasted only an instant, but it was enough to leave 52 dead and dismay an entire city. With the crime, the people of Monterrey lived a day with a mixture of anger, indignation, sadness, and frustration due to the insecurity and the wave of violence that escalated in recent years. The macabre events continued to shake Mexico. In May 2012, the mutilated bodies of 49 people were found on a road near the town of Cadereyta, in Nuevo Léon. The killers left only the torsos of the victims in plastic bags. The massacre was added to the one that occurred in Jalisco, where 18 bodies were found, some of them beheaded. By December of that year, the government changed, but not the legacy of the war. In 2013, the epicenter of the pain moved to Tierra Caliente - a region that includes the states of Guerrero and Michoacán. There, the challenge of the self-defense groups escalated. The intention of this group of civilians up in arms was to rid the neighbors of the harassment of the Knights Templar cartel. During the six-year terms of Enrique Peña Nieto and Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the declared war against drugs was no longer explicit, but in the facts disappearances and confrontations continued. From Ayotzinapa to Culiacanazo and the LeBarón massacre, tragic events linked to organized crime squeezed the entire country.
I remember my daughter's drowning death in the 1800s
I have had a series of very vivid dreams about "my" daughter's death over the course of about 5 years. I'm 32, so they started in my late 20s. Some backstory: I have ALWAYS had an irrational fear of drowning in a confined space. It is my only phobia. You may not notice it if you don't share my phobia, but a LOT of popular media contains this trope. Characters stuck in a submarine or ship that's slowly filling with water, etc. Sometimes a scene like his will materialize out of nowhere in a movie where I was not expecting it, like Casino Royale or San Andreas. There was recently a film called The Old Guard with Charlize Theron where one of the characters, who is physically immortal, is thrown into the ocean in an iron cage. Once she hits the ocean floor, she drowns, briefly dies, then wakes up again, inhaling water, drowning, dying, etc in an infinite loop for eternity. The idea of this was SO upsetting to me that I started crying, and it's just a stupid popcorn flick. Anyway, I have no experiences with nearly drowning in my current life at all. In fact, I love being in the water and swimming, and have even gone scuba diving on several different occasions. I would just never go cave diving, or go on a submarine (not that I can imagine a situation where I'd have the opportunity to). Anyway, all of that is to say that in my dreams, I'm a man in his late 30s (I'm a woman right now), who is an American homesteader. Kind of down-and-out, but I don't really know it. My life is very hard, but I take everything in stride because I have very little else to compare it to. I have a farm, or a ranch, or something. It's not on the East Coast--it feels like the frontier, like I'm trying to build a life for myself out of nothing but my own blood and sweat. It's hard to describe the mental state that this past life me is in--it's just completely different from my current life of luxury and modern conveniences. I perceive danger and death totally differently--they are simply part of my life and I am used to loss and hardship, but I am not depressed or unhappy. The moment in the dream that sticks with me, is that my homestead is flooding due to an overfull river nearby. I have ascertained information about the flooding somehow in advance, maybe from other farmers, or maybe just from knowing the weather patterns. There has been a MASSIVE storm, washing out my property, but in the aftermath pretty much everything is okay, except for the fact that my best horse is outside of her pasture, in the river, stuck in the water up to almost her neck. I have a teenage daughter, she is about 13 years old. She is my only family. I don't have a wife, and I don't have any other children. She is a strong and capable farmhand and my partner managing my homestead. She wears pants and shirts, not skirts or dresses. She has light brown hair and a dirty face. I love her, but am not physically affectionate toward her. The work of running our ranch is all-consuming and it's all we talk or think about. We are standing on a fence with water all around us, trying to hatch a plan to lasso this horse and bring it back to the farm. Words cannot describe how important this is to me. I need this horse to come back--it is one of my most valuable belongings and if it dies or washes away I will not be able to recover financially. My daughter makes several unsuccessful attempts to lasso the horse, who is shying and may lose its foothold in the riverbed at any second. She curses, then dives off the fence, into the river water, and swims capably over to the horse, who is getting more and more nervous. She is able to attach the lasso to its neck, but gets caught in the current, and is swept behind the horse, who promptly kicks her in the head and she goes under the water. I see that there is tension on the rope implying that it is tied around her wrist or something, and the current is pushing her under like a fish caught on a fishing line. I watch in dismay as the horse panics, loses its foothold, and both my daughter and the horse are swept away. The crazy thing is that, despite how big of a life event this is, I am still thinking about money and the future as my own daughter is dying before my eyes. I have had this dream 8-10 times in the past 5 years.
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James Bond Shows His Softer Side (Casino Royale Shower ...
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