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Category: politics

07/03/06 06:16 - 78ºF - ID#24649

Illustrations of Absurdity

Yep.

I said earlier that I wasn't going to make many, if any, political posts during the summer. After all, the good stuff won't start kicking up until late August/early September. However, the latest news cycle has forced me to address once again the gifts that keep on giving; the NYT and the Huffington Post. I'm going to illustrate why in the United States of America freedom of speech is NOT an absolute, nor should it be, in the context of the media.

Before I get into that however, I wanted to talk briefly about the emotional state of the American voter. I've had a theory that in general Americans are sick and tired of the animosity, the severe partisanship and the nastiness that has enveloped our politics since GWB got elected. At the 3's Company party I was talking with people about this and in general they agreed. After '04 I think we crossed a threshhold that many Americans find to be unacceptable.

What happened to the state of our discourse? 40 years ago William F. Buckley, one of the most brilliant and articulate political minds America has ever produced and the father of the Conservative movement, began a show called Firing Line on PBS. To this day I believe that it is the best politically oriented talk show that American television has ever produced. Why? Because Mr. Buckley constantly invited people he vehemently disagreed with politically, and *GASP* some incredible debates were produced as a result. No animosity - just people discussing their views, being challenged and arguing their points in a civilized manner. Our society over the past 30 years has become more and more willing to be hostile to one another over things we disagree on. Politics is emotional at times and people are going to have their disagreements, but what made it okay and socially acceptable to act like wild animals to each other? We shout at each other, we make things personal, we insult vast sections of American society. Its unexcusable. You can take this one to the bank - America is sick of it and in November the party that runs the most negative campaign will be severely punished by the voters. As a result, this is why I believe that the coming election will be more interesting than the last.

Ok - about freedom of speech and why it is not an absolute. Despite the media's constant whining about privacy and freedom of the press, the media consistently violates the privacy of others. Recently, NYT published a story with a picture of Don Rumsfeld's driveway and front door, and in addtion pointed out where the security camera is. The Huffington Post published the private information of several Swft Boat Vets, and eventually after pressure on the editor of the site the information was removed. Several moonbat fringe kooks actually called these guys and threatened their lives over "ruining the country" because John Fucking Kerry didn't get elected. One guy had to police his phone because he didn't want his grandkids to inadvertantly pick up the phone and hear that crap. The left's favorite bullseye, Rush Limbaugh, once again violated his privacy and attempted to damage him by publishing a story about him coming back from the Dominican Republic with a bottle of Viagra in his bag. I won't even bother with NYT's serial necessity to reveal classified information on the basis that something *might* be illegal - information and stories aren't vetted anymore precisely because the truth is less important than having the ends justify the means. Anybody with a brain understands that NYT and many other publications like it have attempted to undermine the current administration and even influence elections. I REALLY won't even bother about Rathergate - that pinata has been beat, broken and busted up.

So let me get this straight. Its okay to tell the world where Rumsfeld and Cheney live (Cindy Sheehan and Code Pink coming to a $1.5m home in Maryland soon), its okay to tell the world how we are fighting the war on terror and revealing classified information simply because of political objections of a few editors, its okay to knowingly publish false information, its okay to violate the privacy of private citizens. However, its definitely NOT okay to know who the sources of the false stories are and what goes on in the editorial room. The privacy of the NYT is untouchable and sacred. I'm still waiting for extensive photographs of Billary's property in Chappequa.

I've heard all the arguments that people who support NYT say in response. "If its illegal (big IF since all of the NYT's efforts have unmercilessly flopped), then the Times should expose it anyway," The recent disclosure of our government using financial databases to track and freeze assets of would-be terrorists? "Well, the terrorists already know that their money is tracked so this isn't big news." Oh really? Rathergate - "Well, the documents were false but the story is true." Freedom of speech - "the first thing that fascists do is try to control the media." This is why I love the platitudes that the media use to try to justify their immoral and techincally illegal behavior. In the end it doesn't change anything and exposes the fraudulent behavior that these people purport to be the behavior of legitimate journalists.

The plain truth of this sad story is that more journalists and politically involved individuals are going to be going to jail soon. The reason why freedom of speech is not absolute with respect to the media is because the media have abandoned journalistic integrity, as a result papers like the Times are knowingly committing felonies and in the end when you do commit felonies your ass is going to end up in prison like Judith Miller. People like Bill Keller believe that they are not subject to the law because, in their view, the media is the last check on government activities. Who is checking the journalists when its clear that they haven't been checking themselves? This is precisely why the freedom of speech argument will never hold up in a court if the Justice Department decides to prosecute. Nobody is above the law - ask Nixon.

If the government begins issuing subpoenas to members of the media, do not cry to me about how the media is being punished for conflicting political views - its absolutely farcical. Suggesting something so patently absurd only bolsters the arguments of those who say that the media are abandoning responsible journalism and shunning all responsibility for themselves. Crying about supposedly being punished rings hollow when you've commited a felony. If this happened during FDR's time, whatever you believe BushCo has in store for the liberal media would pale in comparison to what FDR was willing to do to people who knowingly acted against the government during a time of troop deployment.

Interestingly (and counterintuitively) members of the media in Europe are eating their own over the fictionalization of news stories - I never thought that Europe's media would be scrutinized before we began scrutinizing our own media. You all know how I am - I hate the word "progressive." However I'm compelled to note that it seems that Europe are in fact more progressive about keeping their own media in check. Print media is now vetted not by itself, like responsible journalists used to do. Print media is now vetted by online media, which of course is why the print media is constantly vilifying and questioning the journalistic integrity of online media. The irony is delicious.
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07/02/06 05:33 - 77ºF - ID#24648

Partay

I assume that everyone is like me, having woken up at 2:30pm... unless you are a responsible and dutiful person like a certain Ho sister!

I had a good time at the party - it was good to see everybody and see how things are going along. (e:decoyisryan), (e:ladycroft) and (e:nejifer) were gracious hosts to the end, despite the fatigue. That house has got to be a mess. You three are sexy bitches!

Anyway - see you all again at the next party. Until then you may catch the occasional Larson siting at Spot, Globe or the Co-Op, or perhaps the porch on the 4th.





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06/28/06 12:23 - 74ºF - ID#24647

Home Sweet Home

If you haven't been reading (e:maureen)'s journal relating to her two soon-to-be-if-not-already-former elderly neighbors and how she is helping them, you should check it out. You are a sweetheart! I wish you were my grandma's neighbor. My grandma is an absolute gem - just watch out for the occasional backhanded compliment. She has no inner monologue at all.

Before I get into my journal I wanted to also mention what I *just* saw on Channel 4 news (see, I watch your stuff when I can Jerry!). Friends and neighbors, in light of the recent upsurge in "vigilance" that our friends at the City of Buffalo Police Department have been displaying over the course of the past few months I know that this will warm you down to the depths of your souls. Apparently the downtown BPD HQ is completely infested with cockroaches - they are appearing everywhere in the building. I tried to tell you fucking guys! Karma is a boomerang, bitches!

I've been home this past week - not "home" as in being at the office for 40+ hours either. Home as in - take my sweet time waking up, grabbing coffee at Spot, walking to Globe for lunch, doing absolutely nothing that my heart doesn't desire kind of home. While there are times that I do bitch about my job (and who doesn't?) I do have to admit that there is no other job that would allow me to have a week off here and there, non-vacation related. As you might imagine, I'm very grateful because it allows me the opportunity to get centered and back in balance. You all well know that if you don't have the proper work/home/social balance it does damage.

I've mainly been acquiring some new music - I've been focusing mainly on the mid to late 60's, early 70's folk rock. I've also gotten a copy of the new Thom Yorke "don't-call-it-a-solo-album" thanks to somebody who leaked it, the new Red Hot Chili Peppers album and also a megaton of Oasis' backlog.

Anyhow, buh-bye now.
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06/21/06 10:37 - 69ºF - ID#24646

Survey

Sorry for the delay - I'm a busy guy. Greetings from New York - today I learned some Chinese and took the longest subway ride EVER. I'm watching Larry King; I want to vomit. My only regret this week is having three opportunities to see a Mets game and not doing it.

1. How did you find out about/why did you become of estrip?

(e:jason) was a member and I watched his participation, then decided that I wanted to. (e:jason) begged me not to because he thought my personality would be too gruff. While at times I am definitely an asshole, (e:jason) cannot sensor me. If he can't, nobody else has a shot in hell at it.

2. How "out" are you about having a publicly accessible online journal. Do your friends know? Does your family know? Do your co-workers know? Does your boss know? Do you use your real name? Do you use your real photo?

Friends know and occasionally lurk around here and read it. I use my real name and photo because I'm not shy about those things.

3. How many epeeps have you met real life?

Several - between 12 and 24 different 'strippers.

4. How has estrip changed the way that you meet people, on and/or off line?

Not in any measurable way. I consider my experience with (e:strip) to be an isolated instance of having met people from an online source. If y'all weren't my former, current or future neighbors (or friends of said neighbors) I probably wouldn't talk to you.

5. How has estrip affected you love life?

Um... not at all. While in general I'm a friendly and gregarious person, there are some things that I'm intensely private about.

6. How many of your friends have joined estrip because of your influence?

None. While I'm an influential person, for some reason my friends prefer MySpace.

7. Are you from Buffalo/do you live in Buffalo?

Not from Buffalo originally, although I'm in my 10th year of residence in the area.

1. What type of hardware or software purchases have you made as a result of using estrip?

Zero.

2. Have you used the mobile version of estrip? Why or why not?

No. Its an interesting concept, but at some point you really have to actually unplug from technology. Technology is great for documenting your life but much of what mobile tech has to offer is too extreme for any kind of mainstream use. I cite the unpopularity of the mobile (e:strip) site as evidence. Communication is good; constantly needing a mobile link to website is simply unhealthy. In the end, people have to use their own discretion with these things - whatever works for you.

1. In what way has estrip changed your Internet surfings habits? Describe the amount of time you spend on estrip, when you use it and about how long?

My participation on this site is more limited than it used to be. I read very few journals and most of my time on this site is spent constructing my posts.

1a. How many journals do you usually read per day?

5-10 per week. No idea how many per day. I usually check out Jason, the PMT love triangle, Ajay, the Ho sisters, and new people.

2. In what ways has estrip changed the way you perceive your local community?

If anything, it confirmed what I already thought about the community. I've always felt at home in the Elmwood Village. There is simply no other place in the Buffalo area that I would agree to live in. Far and away my experiences with my neighbors have been positive and in many ways we are as alike as we are different. I enjoy that aspect a great deal, and (e:strip) is definitely a reflection of that spirit.

3. How has journaling about your life affected the way you spend your free time?

My journal has definitely not affected my free time in any tangible way.

4. Has estrip changed your living situation in any way?

My first reaction to this was "What a stupid question." I then thought about Timika, Jen and Ryan. In other words, not for me.

5. Do you find that you mediate/document more of your experiences now that you share them with others?

Definitely, which is the biggest draw of this site for me.

6. Has publishing on estrip affected the way that write?

Not particularly. This journal gives me the opportunity to write informally, which I appreciate a great deal. However, its no different than how I would write e-mails to friends or dialogue with people I know.

7. Do you have other online journals? If so, with what service and has estrip affected your usage of that journal?

I have a MySpace page. My usage of MySpace hasn't affected my usage of (e:strip) - I keep in contact with old friends through one, and I rant and occasionally espouse my political views with the other.

8. Have you ever gotten in trouble for using estrip at work?

Absolutely not. I do as I please.

9. If you have stopped using estrip, why?

I haven't stopped so this question isn't relevant for me. My participation has waned a bit though, mainly because I'm usually preoccupied.
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Category: travel

06/19/06 11:12 - 68ºF - ID#24645

NY, NY

Today has been an extremely long day. I got up at 5am to shower up and head to the airport for my 7am flight to Providence, RI. I picked up what might be one of the most expensive car rentals ever (if you count per hour anyway) and drove to Fall River, MA. fallrivahmaaaashavahdyahdchowahwhydidyouthrowthesliddietojetah. No shit - you guys know I travel and meet different people from A to Z. The chowd accent is un-in-fucking-telligible. Seriously - I understand broken English spoken by Asians better.

I left work at about 1:45pm, drove back to return the rental and paid $9 to take a shuttle to the Amtrak station. Then I paid $64 for a one-way train trip to Penn Station in NYC. I arrived in NYC at about 8:15pm, took the 1 to the 7 line and went to the hotel. I got to the hotel at about 9:20pm.

I actually kind of enjoyed the subway ride - our usual hotel in Long Island City and the super secret boutique hotel in Manhattan were both booked, and there is hardly any availability in NYC, so I was forced to stay in Flushing, in the shadow of Shea Stadium. It isn't as bad as I thought it might be - the neighborhood is more or less a Chinatown. The Mets were playing tonight, and there was a great view of the full Shea Stadium during the game as we rode past in the subway.

Honestly I am just glad that I am getting a chance to relax. Right now I want to poke my eyes out - the Canes are celebrating winning the Stanley Cup. Nah, I like my eyes - time to watch something else.

I'm not going to time for anything while I'm here, which sucks. Plus, I'm going to miss the US World Cup match against Ghana. (e:jason) you better DVR that shit for me!
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06/16/06 04:58 - 78ºF - ID#24644

Thank You Timika

I wanted to thank (e:ladycroft) for her cake, square thingies and other stuff she gave to Jason and I for our birthday. I meant to go to the square but as usual I was dragging ass and never made it. We went to Hardware and had a great time - I had to leave early because my ride had to be at work in the morning, but I still probably drank more than I needed to.

Timika you are the most thoughtful person I think I've ever met - if I could be 25% as thoughtful as you are I would be a much better person for it. Unfortunately thoughtfulness isn't one of my strong suits, but the least I can do is tell you that I think you are an absolutely beautiful person. Thank you for the gifts! I'm going to share the cake with Jerry.
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06/08/06 08:02 - 74ºF - ID#24643

Heavenly Justice

First of all, I'd like to wish each and every one of you a Happy Al-Zarqawi Day!

Since I'm not staunchly anti-war by any means (there are some problems that can only be solved with a man and a gun) I've previously been falsely accused of making a "cry for death." Up until today that has been completely untrue.

As of right now, guilty as charged. I'm ecstatic, completely thrilled that this animal has been sent to Allah. This sub-human creature has gotten what we have been warning him about all along. This occured yesterday during a joint Iraqi-US raid in Barquba. Laughably, many Democrats are calling this a "stunt" and sprinkling their statements with caveats. My message to them is this - your careers will soon be over if you keep talking like that.

Of course, I've already heard today from various feeble-minded sources suggesting that killing him means nothing and that it won't stop the violence. While the violence may not stop at the moment, anyone that steps into his place now knows for absolute sure what the outcome is going to be - total and complete victory for the good guys. This, of course, is bad news for liberals, who desperately want America to fail simply to put egg on President Bush's face. Classy, baby. I want to believe otherwise but I'm waiting on the evidence that the left loves their country more than they hate the current elected leader.

On to the good stuff -

Before - an amazing view from an F-16

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After - rigor mortis baby

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Iraqi police celebrate in Barquba

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On a lighter note, I realized while going through some old pictures that I had some gems laying around. Check it out -

Coincidence?

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Some Jason-themed mancandy -

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See you in Allentown this weekend - time to find something relatively cheap with a high kitsch factor for Ye Olde Crib.

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06/07/06 08:14 - 78ºF - ID#24642

Economics, politics

I've not been talking much politics, mainly because I'm distracted with other things and the news cycle has been a yawner for a bit. Things are now heating up, and this summer its going to be very interesting since its an election year.

Its interesting to me that Mr. Bernanke, our new Fed chair, stated recently that he doesn't see the raising of interest rates to stop anytime soon, and as a result the market drops 200 points in one day. I think that secretly the Gov is listening to Greenspan still while nodding and smiling to Bernanke.

The terrorist thing in Toronto has got me thinking. We've needed to take more precautions at the border for a while - crossing the border is an absolute joke and on SEVERAL occasions anybody could sneak anything they wanted over, given that its not so large as to alarm anybody. Canadians are absolutely startled that "this" could happen to them - Canada has never supported the Iraq war so how could this happen to them? I'll tell you how.

Welcome to reality. Bin Laden stated very early on that Canada was on the list too, so I'm perplexed over Canada's seeming confusion.

Crossing the border is going to be a bitch now, but generally I'm glad that it will be that way. We've always had good intentions and have wanted the best, but just like 9/11 showed, Islamofascists are eager to take advantage of our good nature to cause extreme harm.

Anyhow - some news.

1. I know the anti-war crowd has been dying for this one - a commissioned officer in Washington has proclaimed that he refuses to go to Iraq. I'm sure that Lt. Ehren Watada is a fine person and I have no quarrel with his stance on the war, but unfortunately for Lt. Watada he will not be able to skirt his commitment without severe repercussions, regardless of what the ACLU and several anti-war and liberal activist groups that will try to defend him desire. Its beyond question that he will never win a legal battle over this - any takers on this guy NOT deserting? I feel sorry for him - this will end badly for him one way or another. Theres a link within this link that will lead you to a supporters web site - check it out.

2. Ann Coulter, the scourge of lefties everywhere, came out recently with some extremely scathing remarks about some wifes whose husbands were killed during 9/11. She accuses these women of dancing on their husbands graves for the sake of celebrity and political motivations - neither of which have anything to do with 9/11. Tragically, if what Ms. Coulter is saying is true (and I haven't even heard of these women until today) this is likely going to give them more publicity and exposure than they ever had. I don't completely buy what Ann Coulter is saying, but take a look at the evidence - whether or not it is true doesn't matter because a vast majority of America had no idea who these people were until recently. So they used their "victim" status in order to videostump for Kerry in '04. I'm not sure that there is anything wrong with that - Republicans have used 9/11 to their political benefit so how is this any different? I think most Americans reject what Coulter has to say. Oh, and Hilary lashed out at Coulter recently too, but who cares? Apparently there is a little catfight going on.

In the end, when people use victim status in order to advance political views they expect to be beyond reproach. Unfortunately for the victims they are not beyond criticism IF in fact they are truthfully using their victim status disgracefully. I'm talking to you, Cindy Sheehan.

Anyway - this is how Coulter responded to Clinton - 'Before criticizing others for being 'mean' to women, perhaps Hilary should talk to her husband who was accused of rape by Juanita Broaddrick and was groping Kathleen Willey at they very moment Willey's hasband was committing suicide.' Um, ouch. No link - you can't avoid this story if you go to any news site.

3. The problem with Kofi Annan is that he believes he should be accorded "head of state" status as an international civil servant, and its a grave and unfortunate mistake that many nations (except ours!) accords him this status. Apparently this delusion has bled to his personal bitch, Mr. Mark Malloch Brown. The problem, according to Mr. Brown, is that the US government is deliberately lowlighting the "good works" that the UN is doing and also blames Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. It would be hilarious if it wasn't so pathetic. There is nothing wrong with other countries criticizing our government, but to single out one segment of our society and suggesting some kind of government conspiracy in a scathing manner will be nothing other than detrimental to the UN, just as our ambassador is suggesting. I've always thought that we should revoke our portion of funding and kick them the fuck out of NYC - maybe this latest dispute will make my small dream come true. The UN has always been useless and is as much of a failure as the League of Nations was.

This has angered the US majorly and takes Mr. Brown's "Middle America" comment as a condescending and patronizing remark. I'm not so sure about Mr. Brown's intentions, but one thing is certain - this bureaucrat's international career is over. Mr. Annan and Mr. Brown's terms end Dec. 31 anyway - its a mystery as to why this guy just couldn't keep his fucking mouth shut for six more months. I'm sure some folks back in Britain are patting him on the back for sticking it to those toothless hicks in "Middle America" who don't know whats good for them, but this guy will be an absolute nobody from this point on.

My question to Mr. Brown is this - Where was the UN when Rwandans were being slaughtered en masse? Where was the UN when Saddam Hussein flipped the bird at their resolutions for nearly 15 years? Whose pockets were being lined with billions in blood money and oil to keep hush hush about Saddam? - The UN. Lets stop being silly about what good the UN has done.


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Category: travel

06/06/06 09:32 - 80ºF - ID#24641

No Name St.

Yeah, I actually did see a street today called "No Name St." Also another one called "Mad Anthony St." WTF?

During my travels I've been to a ton of Presidential birthplaces - this is something I've never talked about because I've never really pondered it before. Reagan, Nixon, Hayes, Jefferson, Harrison, Madison, Tyler, Grant, Polk, Garfield, McKinley, both Johnsons, T. Roosevelt, Fillmore (naturally), Eisenhower, Truman, Harding, Jackson, Buchanan, Washington, ... Nixon is the only native Left Coaster to have become President. I've yet to visit Hope, AR and to be honest I hope to avoid Arkansas in general.

Tonight I had an interesting and fairly atypical meal - German food! I've never really tried it, and since I am in Pittsburgh with my co-worker we decided to go to the place where he worked while he was in culinary school - Penn Brewery. The food was completely authentic. I had something called the "Butcher's Plate," or if you want to be fancy about it (and the people at Penn love their German language on the menu) its "schlachtplatte." Grilled bratwurst, a smoked 6 oz. porkchop and true weiner schnitzel, with mashed potatoes and sauerkraut. It was delicious but way too heavy. I ordered it because I didn't want to try to pronounce "malzmeistersteak mit schwarzbiersosse" or "HÜHNERBRUST mit johannisbiersosse." In any case, it was good but I don't see how anybody could eat that daily without feeling their arteries harden.

The beers there are very high grade and excellent - the Weizen is a former Great American Beer Festival Gold Medalist, as well as a 4-time consecutive Grand Champion at the United States Beer Tasting Championship, so you knows your boy Joshy picked up a 12er to go!

And finally - tech guys, I thought of something kind of cool that I wish I could implement and I want you to tell me level of impossibility with both ideas.

First idea - I thought it would be cool to be able to set up a webcam remotely and set the cam on the dash of my rental car as I drive during my travels. I'd also like to track remotely via GPS tech or something similar my movements real-time on a map on the site. This seems difficult and expensive. The remote live cam has been done before but I have yet to hear of something similar being done remotely all over the USA.

Second idea - I wanted to have a digital map of the USA on a web site and mark each place I've visited, my flight paths for all of my flights, and if possible, trace all the routes I've driven. I kind of like this idea better than the other. I suppose this could be drawn but I'd rather have something more interactive - hover over a place and a little info box pops up with names and dates. Same with the airports - hover over a city and see when and where I've flown in from and to from that airport.
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05/23/06 10:20 - 51ºF - ID#24640

Something to think about

Man, the strangest things happened to me today after I wrote my earlier journal entry.

I have been really stressed out about a ton of things, and since Lynchburg has a ton of green space I thought I'd find a place to just be by myself, maybe meditate in my own amateur way, maybe pray a little.

On the way back to the hotel, I drove by a sign that said, "Don't give up - Moses was once a basket case!" Just now, I found a chain with a cross attached to it on my bed.

Considering the circumstances, this is incredible. The sign thing is easy to understand but that AND the cross... I'm telling you all, I've got somebody looking out for me.

At least I've been relaxed more tonight.

I'm distraught about not being able to watch the Sabres play - none of these hotels spring for OLN. I think I'll have to find a sports bar or something. The other night I was truly without an option, so I sat in the hotel room and listened to Jeanneret and Lorentz do the call through WGR550's streaming audio. We're lucky to have such an electrifying and unique play-by-play guy. I don't give a damn what ANYBODY says... Rick is the best in the biz in any sport.


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mike said to grandma
I'm so glad you made it safely!...

mike said to grandma
I'm so glad you made it safely!...

joe said to grandma
OMG welcome!...

joe said to mike
New years resolution to top (e:strip)?...