Saturday, February 7, 2009

The International, Not To Be Confused with The Internationale

though I made that mistake.(though I guess it could be thought that both are against and exposing the dangers of a greedy capitalistic system.) sorry for the digression; it happens- i'm red.

Anyway I don't know if I want to see The International, it kind of reminds me of The Firm, but I do love Clive Owens. Here's the trailer

My questions- what bank in this climate has the money or power to be that devious and murderous? And couldn't they just wait out The International and wait for it to collapse? I mean in this economy it's bound to happen sooner rather than later. Though I think it's great timing to have a financial institution as a villain.

The amazing sound of the killing hordes
The day the banks collapse on us
Cease this endless chattering
Like everything is fine
When sorry is not good enough
Sit in the back while no-one drives

: Radiohead- The Amazing Sounds Of Orgy [mp3]

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But... I Don't Want To Have To Believe Jose Canseco!

Yet I'm finding it harder to dismiss him. I remember when he came out with I guess maybe his second book where he claimed that Alex Rodriguez a) tried to sleep with Jose's wife and b) was introduced to a steroids guy by Canseco and everyone laughed him off as a washed up guy looking for more and more attention.
But then Sports Illustrated breaks this this morning and it's like ugh

In 2003, when he won the American League home run title and the AL Most Valuable Player award as a shortstop for the Texas Rangers, Alex Rodriguez tested positive for two anabolic steroids, four sources have independently told Sports Illustrated.

Rodriguez's name appears on a list of 104 players who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball's '03 survey testing, SI's sources say.
The list of the 104 players whose urine samples tested positive is under seal in California. However, two sources familiar with the evidence that the government has gathered in its investigation of steroid use in baseball and two other sources with knowledge of the testing results have told Sports Illustrated that Rodriguez is one of the 104 players identified as having tested positive, in his case for testosterone and an anabolic steroid known by the brand name Primobolan. All four sources spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the evidence.

Primobolan, which is also known by the chemical name methenolone, is an injected or orally administered drug that is more expensive than most steroids. (A 12-week cycle can cost $500.) It improves strength and maintains lean muscle with minimal bulk development, according to steroid experts, and has relatively few side effects.
Rodriguez finished the 2003 season by winning his third straight league home run title (with 47) and the first of his three MVP awards.

I haven't really like A-Rod since he was in Seattle and/or those times he was rumoured to be coming to the Dodgers but, and maybe this is me being naive again, or believing the media about how he's always been clean but I never thought he used steroids, or maybe I just didn't care because he was the "white hatted knight" who would take back the home run record from B*rry Bonds.

But what now? Do I know have to believe Jose? I liked it so much better when he wasn't accorded, if not respect, than at least a grudging nod for being right. But he was right about everything in "Juiced" and now this.
Were the only clean superstars of the last 15 years Ken Griffey and Manny (Griffey and Lance Armstrong are the two athletes you will never be able to convince me used steroids, even if there was a video of me personally injecting both of them)

I don't know why I care; I guess it was just a little shocking. But is it weird that whenever I think of steroids being passed around I first think "that's so gay*" but then I wonder if the dealer tells the guy, in the immortal words of "Juice" "Yo, you got the juice now" because I think that would just be awesome.

*p.s. I really like those commercials but I hate that the made the message into a rhyme- i think the rhyming kind of makes it seem less serious and grown up, at least to me it makes it seem more playful and frivolous. I mean "when you say that's so gay/ do you realize what you say?" it sounds like a nursery rhyme. But I love in this commercial how the blonde girl says "why are you saying 'that's so Emma and Julie'?" the way she says the line is so queer and campy and fabulous and makes me laugh.

Also I know we now live in a 24 hour news cycle where it's all about getting the story out first but talk about a news dump! I mean you release a story on Saturday morning! What happened to Sunday night or Monday morning so it has a full news cycle and the attention of people bored in the office.

(image from and shows where to properly inject steroids into your glutes)

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So Many Memories

Of this when I was a little elementary school "it" laying on the floor too close to the t.v. watching perhaps age inappropriate movies. And I had the tune for this in my head for like months, a few months ago and I had no idea what it was until I remembered the visual of the circling lights and so I'm just going to post it here so I always remember where I can find.
Anyway it's the opening HBO showed before each movie and it says 1983 opening but that has to be just the first year they used it because I'm not that old and I remember it

The eighties weren't that awesome, were they? I mean no decade could actually be totally that sweet

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I Guess Spring Break in Baghdad Is a Bad Idea Then

I love Italians!

From the New York Times

Falluja’s first Western leisure visitor was in town.
Not for long, though. An Iraqi checkpoint guard spotted the traveler, Luca Marchio, among Iraqi passengers in a public minibus heading from Baghdad to the once notorious — and still tense — city and alerted his superiors.

Soon, Mr. Marchio, 33, a native of Como, Italy, found himself in the Falluja police headquarters surrounded by bewildered Iraqi officers trying to figure out why a Westerner would wander around this city without a translator or guards. Mr. Marchio may have worried the police, but his main concern was saving money.

In two telephone interviews he brushed away all concerns for his safety and offers of help.

“I am a tourist. I want to see the most important cities in the country. That is the reason why I am here now,” he said in heavily accented English. “I want to see and understand the reality because I have never been here before, and I think every country in the world must be seen.”

Aww; that's kind of so romantic; He's just like Christopher Columbus, except without the whole genocide thing. I really like his spirit- I wonder if he's cute

Italian Embassy in Baghdad established that Mr. Marchio had traveled from Italy to Egypt, then to Turkey, and from there to northern Iraq over land. A photocopy of his passport shows that he obtained a 10-day visa and crossed the border from Turkey to Kurdistan.

Then came a 200-mile journey by taxi from Erbil, the Kurdistan regional capital, to Baghdad, where a startled Bashar Yacoub, 31, reception manager at the Coral Palace — a hotel that had not had a casual Western visitor since the American invasion in 2003 — took his details.

A good Iraqi bureaucrat, Mr. Yacoub checked Mr. Marchio’s documents and despite qualms about hosting a foreigner found his papers in order and gave him a room key. “He told us he just wanted to see Baghdad,” Mr. Yacoub said.

Asked if he thought Iraq was ready for tourists, Mr. Yacoub said, “No.” When he was asked if he believed Falluja was safe for tourists, his emphatic “no” was echoed by staff members and guests standing within earshot.

I wouldn't blame them for saying "No;" I hate tourists, they annoy me....even when I'm obstensibly one. I prefer to walk like I've lived there for years and own the place. Moving on

But there was no stopping Mr. Marchio. For an extra $40, the hotel gave him a tour of Baghdad sights, driving him along the riverfront, where he could photograph a statue of Scheherazade, the narrator of “The Thousand and One Nights,” and see children playing in a riverside garden. He proceeded to the artificial lake near Baghdad University and then to the square named after Baghdad’s founder, Abu Jaafar al-Mansur, on the west bank of the Tigris.

He went on to Zawra’a Park, a family spot with a small zoo and rides. He finished his day in the affluent but bomb-scarred shopping district of Karada, where his guide for the day, Ramez Fa’eq, 23, said, “When it became dark, he got afraid and wanted to return home to the hotel.
The next morning he set out for Falluja despite the hotel staff’s efforts to dissuade him, insisting on taking a public bus to the city, 40 miles west of Baghdad.
For the eager Mr. Marchio, that was the end of his bella viaggio in Iraq.

"The Eager Mr. Marchio;" sounds like a good name for a series of books, kinda like Mr. Magoo where our naive/idealistic traveler volunteers for exciting adventures in places that are perhaps not that safe for the Mr. Marchio s of the world. Or he's like a war zone hitchhiker. That could work.

But in conclusion Luca rocked the casbah and Sharif (god I'm racist) don't like it.

The Clahs- Rock The Casbah [mp3]

(image from The Hitchhiker)

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Saturday Morning Cartoons

You know who sucked a lot? The Nazis.
Now that I've gone out on such a limb here is a propaganda cartoon by Walt Disney from 1943 called Education For Death: The Making of The Nazi

This film was released when Disney, fresh off the bomb that was Fantasia (at the time)needed more money and so, according to Wikipedia, "Nearing bankruptcy and faced with a strike that left less than half of his employees on the payroll, Walt Disney was forced to look for a solution to upturn the production of the studio. Because of the physical closeness to the military manufacturing giant, Lockheed Martin, it allowed for the U.S. government to offer Disney a contract for 32 short propaganda films at $4,500 each which would create work for his employees and in turn save the studio"

So we can thank this little gem for allowing us to have, Alice in Wonderland, Lady and The Tramp and Sleeping Beauty (I think after that point the ship would've righted itself) and it is kind of a gem. Even though the material and story are as grim as you can get (expectedly), the animation is superb and the Sleeping Beauty vignette is actually kind of funny. Though it always troubles me that in 1943, when everyone must've known about the concentration camps and atrocities and other cruelty that Hitler was portrayed as an object of farce and ridicule instead of an object of malevolence.
But from 1943 here's "Education for Death: The Making of the Nazi"

And I guess I'm just maybe a little naive or I'm of my time and place but it never made sense to me how a whole nation could hate so thoroughly and vitriolically...until I saw some of the propaganda the Nazis offered to the smallest and most impressionable of their citizens like this cartoon
or saw this 1940 film about Jewish Immigration

and read The Poisonous Mushroom

It still doesn't make sense to me, but I guess I understand if this is all you see and are raised on from the time you can think, well...there would be little hope.
Ugh; I feel sick and it is too early for this; I'm sorry.
So mommas don't let your kids grow up to hate

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Friday, February 6, 2009

Friday Night Flims

Hiroshima, Mon Amour concerns the experiences of a French actress (Emmanuelle Riva) who performs the role of a nurse in a film being shot in post-war Hiroshima. There she meets a Japanese man (Eiji Okada) and they become lovers. Using flashbacks intercut into the present day love story - the couple's meetings in hotel rooms, restaurants, etc. - the woman tells of her experiences during the Second World War in France, where she was involved with a young German soldier during the German occupation, and the consequences when the war came to an end. -Wikipedia

Directed by Alain Resnais

Bryan Ferry- Hiroshima [mp3]

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When Stars Explode

Such hilarious little supernovas (excepting the whole part about the star dying)

I also got a kick out of this parody;

I wonder, of course if the Gregg Alexander who came up with the concept is the same Gregg Alexander who came up with the New Radicals (but that is not really related at all; i'm random)

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I Need To Get Out More

I've been in this city what? like 8 months now? and I still have no idea what's going on.
Otherwise I hopefully would have heard about this before now; it's a gathering of my people*! BSG fan's! Every Friday at the Bagdad Theater (i have no idea where that is) there are Battlestar Galactica watch parties, and hopefully unlike in the pictures there are actually minorities and women in attendance. Carrying on
From the Oregonian

...sitting among a packed house of "Battlestar Galactica" fans who gather Friday nights at the Bagdad Theater & Pub to watch the latest episode of the Sci Fi channel show on the big screen. Each week in the series' final season, KUFO radio personalities Cort and Fatboy are hosting screenings at the Bagdad. And everyone in the crowd seems to revel in the experience of geeking out over a show they love.
Even if you've never watched it, there's no mistaking the passion of "BSG" fans who, on a recent Friday, line up around the block an hour or more before the show starts. Wrapped in hooded jackets, knit caps, scarves and gloves over jeans and sneakers, the fans -- mainly in their 20s and 30s -- jabber excitedly about the show and its intricate mythology. Once inside the theater, more long lines form, this time for beer and pizza.
Beyond that, watching in a crowd makes sense, Gross thinks. "Television at its best is a communal experience. Think of 'Who shot J.R.?' and the moon landing. These are the moments that bond people together. Why should we isolate ourselves to watch?"

Inside the theater, Cort and Fatboy take to the small stage in this charmingly historic theater, with its ornate arches, wrought iron and vaguely Moorish architectural details. After a boisterous, expletive-peppered intro, the pair lead the crowd in an oath climaxing in one of the show's catch-phrases, "So say we all!" Then the lights go down and eyes rise to the big screen.

Aaah; that sounds like so much fun. God; I'm a gigantic nerd.

But this has been a big week for me finding out things to do in this city. Man V. Food, which I have become a big fan of, broadcast their Portland episode this week and I have no idea how I've never heard of Salvador Molly's; I feel I would love that place, I just hope it's not so touristy and cheesy.
P.S. I would totally rock that Habenero Fritter "Great Balls of Fire"challenge, yo; it actually seemed like one of the weaker challenges but still

I guess I'll have to wait for one of my friends to visit me in the great white north(west). Seriously it's really white.

* not my real people; there are very few black celibate transsexual socialists

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"My B*tch N*gga; Buy Your Own Damn Fries!"

One of my friends on facebook quoted this on their status and..I'll just let the youtube description, um, describe it for you because it is brilliant

If you've ever read President Barack Obama's "Dreams from My Father", good for you. I couldn't get past the foreword.
I wish I had. Because today I discovered that there's a fairly juicy little subplot in the book, involving one of Obama's high school friends.
Ray, a fellow classmate of Obamas, was also bi-racial, and also trying to define himself. But what set him apart was his colorful manner of self-expression. Ray cursed like a motherfucker.
This would all be snickerworthy enough, but it turns out that Obama actually read the audiobook version of Dreams For My Father.
And that means he read Rays quotes.
And that means you're about to hear the President of United States using language that would finish Cheney off once and for all.

Ah Barack! Ha! In the words of Denzel as Alonzo Harris from Training Day

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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sprout and the Bean

I really like Joanna Newsom, you might not but I do but we can still be friends. Anyway I like Joanna Newsom but I don't remember haring her "Sprout and the Bean" until I saw The Strangers and it was featured in one of the better and creepier uses of music in film that I can recall. I recommend seeing it because while I didn't "like it" because it's not a "feel good movie" by any means it was really effective and scarier just because unlike most horror movies for almost half the movie I couldn't nitpick with any of their decisions as they did everything that I would've done in that situation (y'know, besides moving to a house in the middle of nowhere to begin with)
But anyway the reason this is here is because I've had the song stuck in my head all day (especially the chorus; it's kind of haunting) and thus so should you, have it stuck in your head that is. Here's the video

and the lyrics

I slept all day
awoke with distaste
and I railed,
and I raved

That the difference between
the sprout and the bean
is a golden ring,
it is a twisted string.
And you can ask the counselor;
you can ask the king;
and they'll say the same thing;
and it's a funny thing:

Should we go outside?
Should we go outside?
Should we break some bread?
Are y'interested?

And as I said,
I slept as though dead
dreaming seamless dreams of lead.

When you go away,
I am big-boned and fey
in the dust of the day,
in the dirt of the day.

and Danger! Danger! Drawing near them was a white coat,
and Danger! Danger! drawing near them was a broad boat,
And the water! water! running clear beneath a white throat,
and the hollow chatter of the talking of the Tadpoles,

who know th'outside!
Should we go outside?
Should we break some bread?
Are y'interested?

and your copy, for the taking
Sprout and The Bean [mp3]

And in answer to your question- don't go outside; it's probably nasty out there.

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Tinged With Envy

I'd Be Lying If I Said I Wasn't Jealous
From the Daily Mail

The pop singer Kim Petras - born Tim - is well known in Germany for having started hormone replacement therapy as part of her gender transition by the age of 12.

Now 16, she completed Gender Reassignment Surgery in November, according to a posting on her blog.

Dr Bernd Meyenburg who heads the Psychiatric Special Outpatient Clinic for Children and Adolescents with Identity Disorders at the University of Frankfurt Hospital said: 'Very few youth psychiatrists have any experience with transsexual developments. The families wander from one psychiatrist to the next.

'I was always against such operations on children so young but after seeing how happy one of my patients was and how well adjusted after returning from having the operation abroad while still a teenager – I realised that in some cases it is the right decision.

In Germany, such operations are not usually allowed until the patient is 18.

However Kim managed to convince doctors when she was just 12 that she should have the surgery.

By 14 she was officially registered as a girl - and was already famous for her choice.

The costs of her procedure were covered by health insurance as her condition was officially diagnosed as an illness.

Ok I think that's just incredible and good for her! She's gorgeous (though perhaps a little generic, which is what most trannies are going for, but also I've discovered most white girls look kinda the same to me.)
But I was thinking about myself because I am obviously the measure of all things and I'm not sure I could've handled anything of this, what I'm going through now, what she's done and is doing at her age. Even though I wanted it so badly and I prayed every night for god to change me (before I lost my faith) I don't think I was "ready" and maybe my family wouldn't have been ready ten years ago- the increase in visibility and acceptance in the last decade has been incredible- but even though I started this whole transition shebang pretty early I wish I had the courage to start earlier so a) I wouldn't feel so disfigured by testosterone but also so I would have been able to enjoy "growing up." One thing I've come to realize is it's pretty hard, maybe not "hard" but it's strange to go from boyhood to becoming a woman without that period of "girlhood" where you're supposed to make bad fashion choices and slip in your heels and be awkward around boys and like at my age I feel that women are supposed to be confident and mature and together and most of the time I don't feel I'm any of those things.
So yeah a part of me is jealous that she was able to start with the support of her family when she was so young, though I might not have gotten the support and the wonderful experiences I've gotten this way, but I should always keep in mind that for every younger tranny that I'm jealous of there are probably at least 4 older ones who transitioned in their 40s after being married and having kids who probably look at me with that same jealousy.
But we're all wonderful and it's great that there are varied experiences because if everyone transitioned at 13,well I don't think we'd be nearly as interesting people.

Anyway Kim is apparently a german pop star but I can't subject myself to european pop music unless I'm really really under some influence so I didn't include any here, but if you're so inclined- enjoy some here.

For everyone else here's some music that I guarantee is better
Gossip- Jealous Girls [mp3]
Tegan & Sara- So Jealous [mp3]

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25 Things About....Jerry Brown

So if you're on Facebook then you probably know all about this, but for those that aren't well there's been a thing going around where if you're tagged in a friend's "24 things" note then you're supposed to then write 25 random things about yourself. I've read some really interesting ones and some that are just "why bother" and though I really do like reading them I refuse to write one myslf, mostly because I don't think I'm that interesting and plus that would strip away some layers of my mystery (and a woman without some aura of mystery isn't really a woman...I'm not sure if someone famous said that before but if not I'm claiming it.)

Anyway I'm still registered to vote in California because I am a bit of an elitist and I feel that being a registered Californian automatically privileges me over those states that foreigners wouldn't recognize, and I don't really care about local nes, except for Mayor Sam who is kind of hot (though a little annoying and creepy) but that being the case and there being a gubernatorial election in 2010 I decided to become a supporter of Jerry Brown mainly because he's kooky (and he's not Gavin Newsom and Antonio Villaraigoisa hasn't announced yet) and so Jerry sent out his "25 Things" to his "facebook supporters" and I thought a lot of them were interesting enough so here they are:

I’ve seen lists of “25 Random Things About Me” that people are sending around Facebook. I thought I would share my own list with you. Feel free to share this with your friends and encourage them to become supporters.

You can invite your friends to become a supporter by going to my Facebook page and clicking on the Share button. You can invite up to 24 friends every day to become new supporters. The link to my Facebook page is below:

Now on to my list:

1. I got my first dog 13 years ago, a black Lab named Dharma.

2. At Yale, I took “Psychiatry and the Law” from Anna Freud, Sigmund’s daughter. I also studied Roman law.

3. In 1958, I took vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. Later, Pope John XXIII dispensed me from these obligations.

4. I took marriage vows for the first time 3 years ago.

5. I practiced Zen meditation under Yamada Roshi and Father Enomiya-Lassalle in Japan.

6. My official portrait as Governor was quite controversial and the legislature refused to hang it. My Father said if I didn’t get a new one, I could never run again. It is now hanging and I am still running.

7. I am not fond of Mediterranean fruit flies, or of Malathion. Both are bad.

8. I dislike shopping.

9. I started 2 charter schools in Oakland, the Oakland school for the Arts and the Oakland Military Institute.

10. When governor, I decided not to have an Inaugural ball and my inaugural speech was 7 ½ minutes. For the inaugural dinner, we went to Man Fook Lo, a Chinese restaurant in the produce district of Los Angeles. It was once a favorite of Mae West.

11. I am a part owner of a ranch in Colusa County. It belonged to my Great-grandfather.

12. I worked with Mother Theresa in India at the Home for the Dying.

13. I’ve been duck hunting with Chief Justice Warren, but not with Vice President Cheney.

14. I sued Richard Nixon’s lawyer for helping the President cheat on his income tax.

15. I like arugula and broccoli.

16. On my honeymoon, my wife and I canoed down the Russian river.

17. I was a cheerleader at St. Ignatius High School.

18. I knocked my opponent to the canvas in a 3 round boxing match at Senior Fight Night.

19. My favorite cereal is Flax Plus Multibran.

20. My first car was a 1941 green Plymouth. My most famous car was a 1974 blue Plymouth.

21. I own a colt 38, given to me by my father.

22. I went to Bangladesh as a CARE ambassador.

23. I hiked to the top of half dome. My first trip to Yosemite was when I was 4.

24. The first time I became Governor, I followed an Actor (Ronald Reagan).

25. My maternal grandfather was a San Francisco Police Captain. My paternal grandfather ran a poker club in the Tenderloin.

So remember in 2010 vote anyone except for a republican or Gavin Newsom

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What About Purple?

Purple's been my favorite color since I was like 5 (which probably should've been a tip off to my imperial queer nature)
Which really has nothing to do with the following article from the New York Times about red and blue, though lacking any research and study on their union did seem lacking and left me wanting, but really what doesn't?
Moving on, from the grey lady

the color red can make people’s work more accurate, but blue can make people more creative.
Participants performed tasks with words or images displayed against red, blue or neutral backgrounds on computer screens.

Red groups did better on tests of recall and attention to detail, like remembering words or checking spelling and punctuation. Blue groups did better on tests requiring imagination: inventing creative uses for a brick or creating toys from shapes.

“If you’re talking about wanting enhanced memory for something like proofreading skills, then a red color should be used,” said Juliet Zhu, an assistant professor of marketing at the university’s business school, who conducted the studies with Ravi Mehta, a doctoral student. For “a brainstorming session for a new product or coming up with a new solution to fight child obesity or teenage smoking, then you should get people into a blue room.”
anthropologists at Durham University in England found that athletes in the 2004 Olympics who wore red instead of blue in boxing, tae kwon do, Greco-Roman wrestling and freestyle wrestling won 60 percent of the time. The researchers suggested that red, for athletes, as for animals, subconsciously symbolizes dominance.

Perhaps similarly primal effects were revealed in a 2008 study led by Andrew Elliot at the University of Rochester, in which men considered women seen in photographs on red backgrounds or wearing red shirts more attractive than with other colors, although not necessarily more likeable or intelligent.

Then there was the cocktail party study, in which a group of interior designers, architects and corporate color scientists built makeshift bars in red, blue or yellow. They found that more people chose the yellow and red rooms over blue, but that blue partygoers stayed longer. Red and yellow guests were more social and active. And while red guests reported feeling hungry and thirsty, yellow guests ate twice as much.
The Science study’s conclusion that red makes people more cautious and detail-oriented coincides with Dr. Elliot’s finding that people shown red test covers before IQ tests did worse than those shown green or neutral colors, and also chose easier questions. IQ tests require more problem-solving than Dr. Zhu’s memory and proofreading questions.

When Dr. Zhu’s subjects were asked what red or blue made them think of, most said that red represented caution, danger or mistakes, while blue symbolized peace and openness. Subjects were quicker to unscramble anagrams of “avoidance related” words, like “danger,” when the anagrams were on red backgrounds, and quicker with anagrams of positive, “approach related” words, like “adventure,” when they were on blue backgrounds.

The study also tested responses to advertising, finding that ads listing product details or stressing “avoidance” qualities like cavity prevention appealed more on red backgrounds, while ads using creative designs or stressing optimistic qualities like “tooth whitening” appealed more on blue.

Does it matter what shade of red or blue? Does light blue spark some sort of more flighty creativity while a dark solid blue speaks to a more pragmatic vision? So many questions. Like "what about purple, yo"?
Anyway the walls in my office are different shades of brown and at my apartment they're (mostly) white- I'm not sure what that says about my creativity or accuracy. As for the colors high school featured red and Duke featured blue so I don't know if I can decide, though I do know I don't think I could handle a red room or a blue room...until I'm president of course.

[UPDATE: I'm not happy with this post, it kinda sucks, so here are some mp3s to make up for it; I'm a giver...and my therapist says I have an unhealthy and unrealistic need for everyone to like me, so there's that

Of Montreal- Purple Rain [mp3]
Tori Amos- Purple Rain [mp3]
The Cure Purple Haze [mp3]
Joni Mitchell- Blue Motel Room [mp3]
Cream- White Room [mp3]

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When Dick Was Good

i tried to make that title provocative, could you tell?

The Nww York Times had a really interesting blog post/article on The President Behind The Mask. Here's the lead because it sums up nicely what it's all about

In the political sense, Barack Obama came out of nowhere — and both his Democratic primary opponents and John McCain in the general election tried to persuade voters of the risks of electing someone with so sparse a past, telling them that “we don’t know who he is!”

This raises a bigger question: how well do we really “know” any politician, no matter how long he’s been in the public eye? History holds a cautionary lesson.

It's a great article and I suggest you read it but the reason I'm featuring it here is because of a mention of his first Inaugural
the new president’s speech, often forgotten in the tangled history that followed, was arguably the finest of his long career,

I never thought of Nixon as a great speaker or eloquent and no I imagine his voice as being muttering and dismissive and reeking of paranoia, not really anything that evokes soaring rhetoric but I then looked up the text of his first Inaugural given in 1969 (Janurary 20th to be exact_ and to be honest it might've been a better speech than the one given 40 years later by a much more "celebrated" orator.
Anyway here it is; I like it a lot (and like most great speeches it seems really relevant to today)

Senator Dirksen, Mr. Chief Justice, Mr. Vice President, President Johnson, Vice President Humphrey, my fellow Americans--and my fellow citizens of the world community:

I ask you to share with me today the majesty of this moment. In the orderly transfer of power, we celebrate the unity that keeps us free.

Each moment in history is a fleeting time, precious and unique. But some stand out as moments of beginning, in which courses are set that shape decades or centuries.

This can be such a moment.

Forces now are converging that make possible, for the first time, the hope that many of man's deepest aspirations can at last be realized. The spiraling pace of change allows us to contemplate, within our own lifetime, advances that once would have taken centuries.

In throwing wide the horizons of space, we have discovered new horizons on earth.

For the first time, because the people of the world want peace, and the leaders of the world are afraid of war, the times are on the side of peace.

Eight years from now America will celebrate its 200th anniversary as a nation. Within the lifetime of most people now living, mankind will celebrate that great new year which comes only once in a thousand years--the beginning of the third millennium.

What kind of nation we will be, what kind of world we will live in, whether we shape the future in the image of our hopes, is ours to determine by our actions and our choices.

The greatest honor history can bestow is the title of peacemaker. This honor now beckons America--the chance to help lead the world at last out of the valley of turmoil, and onto that high ground of peace that man has dreamed of since the dawn of civilization.

If we succeed, generations to come will say of us now living that we mastered our moment, that we helped make the world safe for mankind.

This is our summons to greatness.

I believe the American people are ready to answer this call.

The second third of this century has been a time of proud achievement. We have made enormous strides in science and industry and agriculture. We have shared our wealth more broadly than ever. We have learned at last to manage a modern economy to assure its continued growth.

We have given freedom new reach, and we have begun to make its promise real for black as well as for white.

We see the hope of tomorrow in the youth of today. I know America's youth. I believe in them. We can be proud that they are better educated, more committed, more passionately driven by conscience than any generation in our history.

No people has ever been so close to the achievement of a just and abundant society, or so possessed of the will to achieve it. Because our strengths are so great, we can afford to appraise our weaknesses with candor and to approach them with hope.

Standing in this same place a third of a century ago, Franklin Delano Roosevelt addressed a Nation ravaged by depression and gripped in fear. He could say in surveying the Nation's troubles: "They concern, thank God, only material things."

Our crisis today is the reverse.
We have found ourselves rich in goods, but ragged in spirit; reaching with magnificent precision for the moon, but falling into raucous discord on earth.
We are caught in war, wanting peace. We are torn by division, wanting unity. We see around us empty lives, wanting fulfillment. We see tasks that need doing, waiting for hands to do them.

To a crisis of the spirit, we need an answer of the spirit.

To find that answer, we need only look within ourselves.

When we listen to "the better angels of our nature," we find that they celebrate the simple things, the basic things--such as goodness, decency, love, kindness.

Greatness comes in simple trappings.

The simple things are the ones most needed today if we are to surmount what divides us, and cement what unites us.

To lower our voices would be a simple thing.

In these difficult years, America has suffered from a fever of words; from inflated rhetoric that promises more than it can deliver; from angry rhetoric that fans discontents into hatreds; from bombastic rhetoric that postures instead of persuading.

We cannot learn from one another until we stop shouting at one another--until we speak quietly enough so that our words can be heard as well as our voices.

For its part, government will listen. We will strive to listen in new ways--to the voices of quiet anguish, the voices that speak without words, the voices of the heart--to the injured voices, the anxious voices, the voices that have despaired of being heard.

Those who have been left out, we will try to bring in.

Those left behind, we will help to catch up.

For all of our people, we will set as our goal the decent order that makes progress possible and our lives secure.

As we reach toward our hopes, our task is to build on what has gone before--not turning away from the old, but turning toward the new.

In this past third of a century, government has passed more laws, spent more money, initiated more programs, than in all our previous history.

In pursuing our goals of full employment, better housing, excellence in education; in rebuilding our cities and improving our rural areas; in protecting our environment and enhancing the quality of life--in all these and more, we will and must press urgently forward.

We shall plan now for the day when our wealth can be transferred from the destruction of war abroad to the urgent needs of our people at home.

The American dream does not come to those who fall asleep.

But we are approaching the limits of what government alone can do.

Our greatest need now is to reach beyond government, and to enlist the legions of the concerned and the committed.

What has to be done, has to be done by government and people together or it will not be done at all. The lesson of past agony is that without the people we can do nothing; with the people we can do everything.

To match the magnitude of our tasks, we need the energies of our people--enlisted not only in grand enterprises, but more importantly in those small, splendid efforts that make headlines in the neighborhood newspaper instead of the national journal.

With these, we can build a great cathedral of the spirit--each of us raising it one stone at a time, as he reaches out to his neighbor, helping, caring, doing.

I do not offer a life of uninspiring ease. I do not call for a life of grim sacrifice. I ask you to join in a high adventure--one as rich as humanity itself, and as exciting as the times we live in.

The essence of freedom is that each of us shares in the shaping of his own destiny.

Until he has been part of a cause larger than himself, no man is truly whole.

The way to fulfillment is in the use of our talents; we achieve nobility in the spirit that inspires that use.

As we measure what can be done, we shall promise only what we know we can produce, but as we chart our goals we shall be lifted by our dreams.

No man can be fully free while his neighbor is not. To go forward at all is to go forward together.

This means black and white together, as one nation, not two. The laws have caught up with our conscience. What remains is to give life to what is in the law: to ensure at last that as all are born equal in dignity before God, all are born equal in dignity before man.

As we learn to go forward together at home, let us also seek to go forward together with all mankind.

Let us take as our goal: where peace is unknown, make it welcome; where peace is fragile, make it strong; where peace is temporary, make it permanent.

After a period of confrontation, we are entering an era of negotiation.

Let all nations know that during this administration our lines of communication will be open.

We seek an open world--open to ideas, open to the exchange of goods and people--a world in which no people, great or small, will live in angry isolation.

We cannot expect to make everyone our friend, but we can try to make no one our enemy.

Those who would be our adversaries, we invite to a peaceful competition--not in conquering territory or extending dominion, but in enriching the life of man.

As we explore the reaches of space, let us go to the new worlds together--not as new worlds to be conquered, but as a new adventure to be shared.

With those who are willing to join, let us cooperate to reduce the burden of arms, to strengthen the structure of peace, to lift up the poor and the hungry.

But to all those who would be tempted by weakness, let us leave no doubt that we will be as strong as we need to be for as long as we need to be.

Over the past twenty years, since I first came to this Capital as a freshman Congressman, I have visited most of the nations of the world.

I have come to know the leaders of the world, and the great forces, the hatreds, the fears that divide the world.

I know that peace does not come through wishing for it--that there is no substitute for days and even years of patient and prolonged diplomacy.

I also know the people of the world.

I have seen the hunger of a homeless child, the pain of a man wounded in battle, the grief of a mother who has lost her son. I know these have no ideology, no race.

I know America. I know the heart of America is good.

I speak from my own heart, and the heart of my country, the deep concern we have for those who suffer, and those who sorrow.

I have taken an oath today in the presence of God and my countrymen to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. To that oath I now add this sacred commitment: I shall consecrate my office, my energies, and all the wisdom I can summon, to the cause of peace among nations.

Let this message be heard by strong and weak alike:

The peace we seek to win is not victory over any other people, but the peace that comes "with healing in its wings"; with compassion for those who have suffered; with understanding for those who have opposed us; with the opportunity for all the peoples of this earth to choose their own destiny.

Only a few short weeks ago, we shared the glory of man's first sight of the world as God sees it, as a single sphere reflecting light in the darkness.

As the Apollo astronauts flew over the moon's gray surface on Christmas Eve, they spoke to us of the beauty of earth--and in that voice so clear across the lunar distance, we heard them invoke God's blessing on its goodness.

In that moment, their view from the moon moved poet Archibald MacLeish to write:

"To see the earth as it truly is, small and blue and beautiful in that eternal silence where it floats, is to see ourselves as riders on the earth together, brothers on that bright loveliness in the eternal cold--brothers who know now they are truly brothers."

In that moment of surpassing technological triumph, men turned their thoughts toward home and humanity--seeing in that far perspective that man's destiny on earth is not divisible; telling us that however far we reach into the cosmos, our destiny lies not in the stars but on Earth itself, in our own hands, in our own hearts.

We have endured a long night of the American spirit. But as our eyes catch the dimness of the first rays of dawn, let us not curse the remaining dark. Let us gather the light.

Our destiny offers, not the cup of despair, but the chalice of opportunity. So let us seize it, not in fear, but in gladness--and, "riders on the earth together," let us go forward, firm in our faith, steadfast in our purpose, cautious of the dangers; but sustained by our confidence in the will of God and the promise of man.

Here's the video if you either don't like reading or you just like the whole efect

And I know Nixon was racist, created the whole Southern Strategy, anti-semitic, secretive, bombed Cambodia, was perhaps criminal but I can never make myself hate him. First he's the only native Californinan to become President, secondly he's the only President with ties to Duke (damn you Ron Paul and Liddy Dole) but more importantly have you guys seen Dick? I love that movie. And anyone who "inspired" such a wonderfully fabulous and fun movie can't be all bad.
Plus i really want to start a punk/metal loud/fast band called NIXXIN; I don't even care about the music but I'd love the merchandise

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Don't Fear "The Fear"

I just really like the new song by Lily Allen " The Fear," I don't have much to add besides that. I will add that I love love love Lily and I kind of wish I could play around in this video (it looks like so much fun!)

Though I've started to wonder: do straight guys listen to Lily Allen? I wouldn't think so but I've realized I'm lacking in the straight boy department. No matter, no matter at all.


I want to be rich and I want lots of money
I don’t care about clever I don’t care about funny
I want loads of clothes and f***loads of diamonds
I heard people die while they are trying to find them

I’ll take my clothes off and it will be shameless
‘Cuz everyone knows that’s how you get famous
I’ll look at the sun and I’ll look in the mirror
I’m on the right track yeah I’m on to a winner

I don’t know what’s right and what’s real anymore
I don’t know how I’m meant to feel anymore
When we think it will all become clear
‘Cuz I’m being taken over by The Fear

Life’s about film stars and less about mothers
It’s all about fast cars and passing each other
But it doesn’t matter cause I’m packing plastic
and that’s what makes my life so f***ing fantastic

And I am a weapon of massive consumption
and its not my fault it’s how I’m program to function
I’ll look at the sun and I’ll look in the mirror
I’m on the right track yeah I’m on to a winner

I don’t know what’s right and what’s real anymore
I don’t know how I’m meant to feel anymore
When we think it will all become clear
‘Cuz I’m being taken over by The Fear

Forget about guns and forget ammunition
Cause I’m killing them all on my own little mission
Now I’m not a saint but I’m not a sinner
Now everything is cool as long as I’m getting thinner

I don’t know what’s right and what’s real anymore
I don’t know how I’m meant to feel anymore
When we think it will all become clear
‘Cause I’m being taken over by fear

and yeah I still am not sure what "The Fear" exactly is though i know it's probably not to be confused with The Fear by Travis.

Travis- The Fear [mp3]
Smashing Pumpkins- Where Boys Fear To Tread [mp3]

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Maybe Change Has Actually Come

to me at least; I've stopped caring about the greater world.
But anyway when I heard the news that Justice Ginsburg just underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer my first thought (I hope actually) was "oh I hope she's alright."
But my second thought was "if she has t leave the court for whatever reason at least we have the right type of person in office to replace her." (my third thought was "and hopefully he can find a qualified woman to be seated, and not just as a token gesture.)

Because like most of you who would read this blog (I'd hope, though I think people misconstrued my anti-Obama screeds, y'know like comparing him to Hitler or GWeeb, as a sign that I'm a conservative. No, not at all.) for the last eight years everytime I would think about how old some of the justices were, or one would retire or die or even get sick, I would get sick a little myself because really the most lasting thing a president can do is his (or hopefully in the future her) Supreme Court Appointment and know I don't have to worry about that for hopefully the next 4 years.
So even though I still don't like Barack (I've tried to try) he at least may serve my purposes over the next few years and so there might be some worth in him after all. (b

But most importantly get well soon Ruth! and good luck

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Tips For Boys

(or for anyone really)

1)If you ever meet this girl

her name is Dominique Fisher and DO NOT HOOK UP WITH HER! She's crazy and not only will she cut you, but she'll carve her name into you

from the Daily Mail

A drunken fling ended in disaster for a man who woke up to find his lover's name carved into his arm.
Dominique Fisher, 22, used a Stanley knife to write her name on Wayne Robinson's upper arm.
She inflicted the injuries on the 24-year-old at her home in Blackburn, Lancashire.*
Mr Robinson woke to find his body decorated with a star on his back, 'Dominique' written on his upper right arm, and numerous slash marks on his left arm and shoulder.
He told police he had drunk vodka and taken Valium and was not awake during the incident on the night of June 14 last year.

Ow; it's like a cross between The Business of Strangers and American Psycho. *And please no jokes about there being a few more than 10 thousand holes in Blackburn Lancashire now...after that one. moving on

2) Guys if you think it might be safer just handle yourself then brave the Dominique Fishers of the world and you have to...ahem...release yourself at work, find out which company this is and try your darndest to get hired there. From Slate's "Dear Prudence"
Dear Prudence,
I work in an office that I share with two other people. The desks are in a triangle with short partitions between us, but it is possible to see one another through the gaps. One co-worker is part-time, so I am frequently alone with the third. Lately, I have been hearing and then seeing him participating in a solo activity usually done in the bedroom. Once I figured out for sure what he was doing, I went to human resources. The manager told me that as she has only my word about this, I should go find her when he does it again so she can know for herself. The problem is, she is never around when it happens. He stops if I get up to go out the door and starts when I sit down again. I feel violated, abused, and totally grossed out. What should I do?

3. Failing to find that company might lead you to one other option, but it's a good one and it doesn't seem like your bosses would care. Work in Peru! Drink in Peru! Drink while working in Peru!
From Lemondrop
You don't have to worry about hiding that bottle of Hennessy in your desk anymore. At least not if you work in Peru, where the nation's top court has ruled that workers can't be fired for being drunk on the job. Woo-hoo!

Peru's Constitutional Tribunal has said that you can't get fired for being a little tipsy at work, as long as you're not hurting or offending anybody.

So to make sure you don't offend anyone with either you're drinking or your masturbating just be sure to pass around the Pisco, yo.

You're welcome

Guns n' Roses- You're Crazy [mp3]
The Beatles- A Day In The Life [mp3]
Talking Heads- Psycho Killer [mp3]

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Ad Dishin': Super!

And here are my favorite Super Bowl commercials (and no i don't care if this is "so old;" i like to have things in their right and proper places)

I adore Alec Baldwin and I think Hulu's ad "Alec in Huluwood" might've been my favorite...mostly because of Alec (i'd probably even watch The Shadow again just for him, though young thin Alec somehow less appealing)
From "Tips" (I feel like the woman in the car at least twice a week)

I just thought this ad "Need a New Job?" was so simple and so well done (the name of the commercial, however, might be a little too simple and generic? isn't the whole point of your company people "need[ing] a new job?"

I liked the Teleflora (I company I had never even heard of so, good job actually using tha 3 million dollars for good) "Talking Flowers" because it reminded me of Harry Potter and his Howler mail, plus that line "no one wants to see you naked" was just mondo killer. and yes I'm trying to bring back the word "mondo"'s"David Abernathy" i really liked a lot, except for the end when I guess the commercial actually had to advertise something; i was just kind of hoping it would go on telling about his life. I'd watch that movie...or at least the extended trailer

and finally Coke's "Heist" i just thought was really pretty and cute and almost imaginative (the deal was sealed when the butterflies, fluttered by.) Plus it reminds me that spring is actually coming...I hate winter, or at least winter in large doses

ahhh, awww, ahh; that made me happy.

Ones I didn't like? Those e-trade babies are really over now, and anything where guys were getting hit with bowling balls and other random stuff (like buses) though I have to admit I laughed at this Doritos commercial, but can you blame me? I mean football in the groin had football in the groin.
But one commerical i absolutely detested to my core and made me vomit a little in my mouth was the Pepsi commercial that seemed to connect, and imply that Will.i.Am. [not] is this generation's Bob Dylan. And I know I hate but he manages to ruin everything he touches, in my eyes and it sudddenly becomes anathema to me but also intellectually the ad is disingenuoius though you don't have to listen to me (though you should, in all things) the New York Times said so too (but more, y'know, factually)

A commercial by TBWA/Chiat/Day, featuring Mr. Dylan and, rewrites history by presenting Pepsi-Cola as the choice of peaceniks, hippies and other youthful rebels. In reality, the Pepsi-Cola parent, PepsiCo, was led at the time by Donald Kendall, a friend of Richard M. Nixon’s, and the soft drink was considered the Republican soda.

In conclusion, drink more Coke (or actually, just drink more water; all that high fructose corn syrup and other junk isn't good for you.)

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Ad Dishin': Cue The Stereotypes

(firstly i can't believe it took me a year and a half to think of a more coherent/catchy name than Ad Diction. ad dishin'... a dishin'.... addition... it works in my mind)
So I originally wanted to use this space to discuss the new ubiqutous Verizon commercial, I'm sure you know the one (i couldn't find the video online.) A pretty (stereo)typical Italian guy is grilling and what looks like a family barbeque. He introduces his best friend who's "like a brother to [him]", he introduces his brother who;s "more like a cousin" and this is where the commercial gets if not interesting at least mention worthy. In the original version that aired as recently as last week he then introduces his uncle "who doesn't owe [him] money so he's a keeper" but in the revised commercial that I first noticed this weekend and didn't know if it was just a attempt to shorten (by a second) the commercial, but in the new version the italian griller guido just introduces his "uncle...he's a keeper." And like I said before i didn't know if it was just me, but I've seen this version exclusively and so I began to think that the Italiam American lobby or anti defamation league was offended, or believed that the mention of someone owing an italian money would bring up old mafia/ loan shark stereotypes and imagery. (and apparently there's already been a lot of huffing and puffing and rigmarole over this) But at what point are you secure enough "as a people" to laugh off such things and instead take it for what it is, a meaningless bad commercial. I don't think Verizon will be able to tip someone over the age into anti- italian bigotry, or that any of the stereotypes brought up are new (and to be honest some of the best achievements in our visual culture have rested on such stereotypes)
If any commercial should offend them I'd think that new Denny's "eat a serious grown up breakfast" commercial where three "wiseguys" are basically planning a hit

I mean really? At least the verizon commercial shows a family having a good time. Plus that breakfast offends me. Umbrage has been taken!

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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Q.R.T.: Quick Random Thought

Do you think the people who sell their gold for cash use that cash to buy more snuggies?

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Pardon My Melodrama

I've just a had really awful time of it the last 5 days and when I throw myself pity parties (and no ones invited! i cry alone) i tend to think of this poem by Dorothy Parker; it always speaks to me, except for the last line- I can't do love.

"Symptom Recital"

I do not like my state of mind;
I'm bitter, querulous, unkind.
I hate my legs, I hate my hands,
I do not yearn for lovelier lands.
I dread the dawn's recurrent light;
I hate to go to bed at night.
I snoot at simple, earnest folk.
I cannot take the gentlest joke.
I find no peace in paint or type.
My world is but a lot of tripe.
I'm disillusioned, empty-breasted.
For what I think, I'd be arrested.
I am not sick, I am not well.
My quondam dreams are shot to hell.
My soul is crushed, my spirit sore;
I do not like me any more.
I cavil, quarrel, grumble, grouse.
I ponder on the narrow house.
I shudder at the thought of men....
I'm due to fall in love again.
Oh Ms. Parker- I do love you.

Prince- The Ballad of Dorothy Parker [mp3]
The Real Tuesday Weld- Dorothy Parker Blue [mp3]

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And So It Begins

Sorry fans of humanity, and freedom, and the freedom of humanity; the machines have learned to evolve.
(i mean i seriously can't be the only person who has any sci fi movie of the last 30 years)

we know that robots are now made to look like us, and to think (and of course who can forget the sex robots) but now...
from the New Scientist

Unnatural selection: Robots start to evolve

LIVING creatures took millions of years to evolve from amphibians to four-legged mammals - with larger, more complex brains to match. Now an evolving robot has performed a similar trick in hours, thanks to a software "brain" that automatically grows in size and complexity as its physical body develops.
The robot is controlled by a neural network - software that mimics the brain's learning process. This comprises a set of interconnected processing nodes which can be trained to produce desired actions. For example, if the goal is to remain balanced and the robot receives inputs from sensors that it is tipping over, it will move its limbs in an attempt to right itself. Such actions are shaped by adjusting the importance, or weighting, of the input signals to each node. Certain combinations of these sensor inputs cause the node to fire a signal - to drive a motor, for example. If this action works, the combination is kept. If it fails, and the robot falls over, the robot will make adjustments and try something different next time."
awesome. I'll admit I didn't understand most of this article (science...head....owww) but I think i picked up the salient points, aka: "humanity will soon be enslaved and destroyed by robots, our own creations."
But seriously, when will people (scientists, mostly scientists) learn: robots are not our friends*. Ugh I sound like Lt. Gaeta.
screw it, i'm moving to mongolia; i've always wanted to and plus that has to be like the last places the robots will attempt to conquer.

*except for Wall-E. Wall-E is awesome. oh and Johnny 5 is pretty cool too; i wonder if they're related

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A Literal LOL

This actually made me laugh out loud, something which was exceedingly difficult today and that i thought might be impossible.

Brief setup: David, son to be internet superstar, just went to the dentist to hvae a tooth pulled and hilarity ensues

Ha! I mean, poor poor kid; in 15 years he's going to have to pay for that kind of high.

PJ Harvey- When Under Ether [mp3]

P.S. I love how words uttered the influence of pain meds can sometimes seem so profound. Y'know like the last words of Dutch Schultz; they're a bizarre and thus beautiful read

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