Archive for the 'futility' Category

Oscar Movie #3: Ides of March

Solid all around and Clooney has potential as a director. I know I’m going to get flack from lots of ladies for saying this, but the thing that stood out most was Gosling’s terrible accent: why? No need for one.

Clooney. Clooney totally wins.

I’m usually pretty good with my Eastern seaboard regionals. It might be a small thing, but it stuck out. Not Morgan-Freeman-in-Invictus-distracting, but at least that was necessary.

Full disclosure: While watching “Rescue Dawn” I noticed Christian Bale had a tinge of Lower East Side with his German- American. Turns out the guy he was playing stowed away to lower Manhattan when he turned 18 (yeah, I looked it up), so I’m thinking on that kind of level.

I know, I know: “nerd” doesn’t quite capture it.

Also, I know my reviews are calling out kind of specific things so far: that’s because the movies have been solid, good even (well not so much with Young Adult), but not extraordinary. Except in very specific ways. To a clearly specific critic (virtual air quotes!).

Yoink! Stolen from the email archives of CS Lewis in honor of her Birthday

I spent this morning and early afternoon at our local DMV.   Since I have been meaning to become a legal citizen of this metropolis for some time now, I thought that I would take advantage of this free time so generously mandated by puppet company for which I work and change my Virginia license to a New York one. Also, I sort of had to renew it, because technically my license expired 8 months ago.   As is normally the case whenever I go to well populated areas, chaos ensued.

I rolled into the DMV at what I thought was on the early side, 9:30am.  Clearly the rest of Manhattan had the same idea, because when I got off of the elevator, the line just to get in line was wrapped around the waiting room.  In fact, it took a full five minutes just to step out of the elevator, as the end of the line had wound itself over to us.  We all took turns holding the door open and cursing the banner which hung over our heads, mocking us with its slogan, “Don’t stand IN LINE!  Visit us ON LINE!”

Finally I get off of the elevator and stand patiently in line to get in line.  To set the scene, basically there is a line to get into the door, and through the door there is another line, where you tell the trusty DMV employees your situation.  They direct you to another line, where you get your picture taken and hand over your necessary paperwork.  And then yes, there is yet another line, and this one is the doozy; this is the line where they give you a number and lure you with the false promise of actually getting your laminated license in your hot little hand.  You don’t. They mail it to you in 10-15 business days.  I waited 2 hours just to hear that. Oh, and to be accused of having a warrant out for my arrest.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

And so I begin to wait.  My number, might you ask, was B308.  It did not bode well for me that they were on A60.  I notice a lady nearby who is having trouble with her written test.  She caught my eye and whispered, “Hey!  What do you do if your tires break down n’ shit?” I stared blankly at her, because I don’t know how a tire, per se, would break down.  So I asked her, “You mean, if it pops or something?”  At this point, the security guard notices our exchange and comes over.  I’m thinking in my head that I am going to DMV jail for aiding and abetting a cheater.  Turns out that he was a nice fellow and just wanted to clarify the question for her.  He ended up giving her the answer as well, thankfully allowing this clearly competent driver out on the streets.  Well done!  I wish I had a copy of that test, because I wondered on the way home what feasible multiple choice solutions there could have been to confuse her. A.) Keep driving?  B:) Paint your car?  C:) Go back in time to when you had a normal tire?  Anyway, her new nickname shall be Cheater McPumpkineater.

I’ll skip ahead through the next few hours, which I spent running up my cell phone bill by answering “Beetlejuice” whenever someone called.  I thought, perhaps, that after a second or two I could explain that I felt like Beetlejuice in that last scene of the movie when he is in the waiting room.  Unfortunately I confused my grandmother who, when hearing “Beetlejuice,” promptly said, “Oh, sorry, wrong number” and hung up the phone. That killed me.

Finally, the heavens opened up and B308 was called.  I ran over to the counter and handed over my paperwork and my passport. The employee entered in my info, asked me my middle name (it’s Susie*) and then began staring intently at the screen.  All of the sudden, she says dramatically to me, “You have a NDR!”  Now, I have no clue what an NDR is, but my stomach dropped as I thought about the unpaid parking tickets that are still sitting on my desk.  I also thought that perhaps my name ended up on some sort of watchdog list after the whole jewelry box/bomb fiasco, proving once again that I am persecuted for having impeccable taste.   She called over a fellow employee with a very professional, “Boo! Get yo’ ass ova’ here!”  Boo came over and began pounding on the Control key several times.  This highly technical maneuver revealed the following inflammatory information: C.S. Lewis has a warrant out for her arrest in Kentucky.

Now, I have been to Kentucky several times because I have family there, and to my recollection, I have never broken any law in my travels.  Sure, there was the time that I crashed my cousin’s dirt bike into the side of their barn after mowing down several rows of ripened corn.  But that was when I was eleven.  I have been a model citizen ever since then, at least in Kentucky.   So surely there had to be some sort of mistake that even the infallible Control key move might not catch.  We finally figured out that my middle name is “Susie,” and the other C.S.’s middle name is “Suzy.”  So C. Suzy Lewis of Kentucky is a badass.  I never did learn what poor CS II is wanted for, but hopefully she has learned that if you do the crime, you or someone else with relatively the same name as you will do the time.

As I waited for Boo and company to process my paperwork, I saw Cheater McPumpkineater next to me, arguing with the DMV clerk over what type of credit card they take.  Apparently at that counter, they could only take the Discover Card.  So she yells at the clerk, “Who in the hell only takes Discover?  Is that that crazy one with the bald headed guy?”  The clerk and myself were baffled at this question, until I realized that she must be talking about The Diners Club card, which used to be pitched by the late, great Telly Savalas*.  The reason I think this is funny is not because she was confused about the names. I mean, in her defense, they do both start with “D.”  I just find it hilarious that she is referencing a commercial that has to be at least fifteen years old.

So, 4 hours later, I headed out of the DMV.  And in 10-15 business days, I shall have a license of my very own that I will undoubtedly misplace soon.

* Not really, but you know, keeps the pseudonym working…

**Who loves ya’, baby?

the other kind of social disease

The Meriam Webster Dictionary defines the term “social disease” as the following:

Main Entry:  social disease

Function: noun

Date: 1891

1: venereal disease.

I’d like to respectfully submit a second meaning:

2:any disease or condition that significantly impacts ones social life, friendships, relationships, and general interaction with society…

I was recently diagnosed with CFIDS or Chronic Fatigue Immune Deficiency Syndrome.  I have seen doctor after doctor after doctor.  I take medication for anxiety disorder and an inability to manufacture enough GABA (the stuff your brain makes that allows you to physically relax) and have for more than ten years.  These are realities I’ve come to deal with and are, for me, not terribly debilitating.  Sure, I don’t sleep well, but I’m I don’t have agoraphobia or claustrophobia or any other phobia that keeps me from fully enjoying my life- having several large circles of friends, enjoying the blessing of living in NYC and all that it brings, traveling the world over for business and pleasure, finding absolute nirvana being a stranger in a strange land.

I have been sick and tired over the years, suffering bouts of exhaustion and increased pain that left me cranky, sleepless and with an intense desire to hibernate.  Some attributed this to a latent depression or the aftermath of being hit by a van whilst crossing the street almost 20 years ago.  The accident did a good bit of damage to my body, the effects of which are felt more intensely and impact my life more acutely at times.  Spoken or not, most people assume the former, not having been in my life for the accident and all that followed. 

By people, I mean my friends and acquaintances.

I’m not going to lie.  I found this to be frustrating.  I have seen internists, orthopedists, physiatrists, therapists (physical and emotional), psychiatrists, neurologists, accupuncturists, every kind of “-ist” one can think of.  I’m very proactive about my health.  I don’t despair.  I have rare moments of sadness over the some of the tougher aspects of my childhood/ young adulthood.  I always pull through and I’m always OK. 

The last six months, however, have been out of control.  I was out of work for months, for what I thought was some crazy-mutant evil sinus infection.  I’ve had surgery, taken steroids, exhausted supplies of anti-biotics, changed my diet, everything.  I just couldn’t get better.  And I didn’t know what to do.  Staying home all the time because I was too tired or dizzy or fuzzy to go out didn’t leave me with much to talk about other than what was wrong with me.   Naturally, this affected my relationships with people.  I mean, how many times can a person listen to someone complain about the awful smell or electric mucus or fatigue or headaches, or whatever.  It’s a drag. 

You see, just because you’re anxious or tired doesn’t mean you’re depressed.  And even if one IS depressed, it doesn’t mean you’re not physically ill.  My affect has always been positive, regardless of my circumstances, and I’ve yet to meet any one of the “ists” that felt differently.

Continue reading ‘the other kind of social disease’

it has come to this.

whilst having drinks with my recently engaged best friend in from the left coast for the holidays, we got to talking about relationships.  he’d been lucky enough to find a girl that was not only beautiful, but honestly enjoys his entirely warped sense of humor and world view.

with us were two fellow single gals, both friends of my friend, both young, attractive, smart, kind.  we are of varying interests and temperaments, but share roman ancestry and cooking skills.  together, we agreed on the following list of criteria that must be shared by possible male suitors:

1. not creepy

2. does not like the movie the notebook, publicly or privately

3. reads

4. is nice

5. likes sports. 

n.b. you just cannot trust a man who does not understand and enjoy sports- be they the american past-times of baseball and football or foreigner friendly fare like soccer or rugby or hurling.  i think tyler durden would agree with us on this point.

it should be noted that, sadly, despite my new knee high black leather boots and witty repartee, none of the three men that have hit on me since the creation of these commandments has even come close to passing.  lo, they’ve actually failed on more than one count.

the only real question left to ask is this: how low will our standards sink by the time we reach 35?  or 40?  i mean, some of these ladies want kids.  to raise, not date.  i believe that actually needs to be pointed out.

ladies, for the love of all that is holy, do NOT make your man watch this film.  just pressing the play button on your remote automatically lowers testosterone by 38% and shrinks testicles up to 3 millimeters in diameter (each!). 

it’s science.

who would snoop on the internet?

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well, everyone, really.  google is a gateway to information about people you know, want to know, or need to know to avoid.  i don’t think there’s a single one of us that hasn’t googled a number or a person or a place, seeking out information that would otherwise be unavailable.

it seems that word has gotten out, friends, that i have a blog, this generations version of a locked diary.  you can disguise the names to protect the innocent (or guilty), and give yourself a modicum of anonymity, but that cheap little lock can still be picked with a bobby pin, dupe key you pick up at a five and dime or sheer will.  One doesn’t have to be a genius to find someone they’re looking for using combinations of words, especially if they’re looking for a unique phrase or name.

the thing is, you can drive yourself crazy.  people put all kinds of thoughts out there these days- the near infinite number of thoughts, rants, raves, opinions, etc., are mindboggling.  it’s the nearest thing we have to being able to read minds.

but, what you have to think about is this: would you want that ability?  i mean, really want it?  would you want to know absolutely everything everyone was thinking about you all the time?  you could drive yourself crazy that way.  hell, you can drive yourself crazy imagining it, or just thinking about it. 

there isn’t anything i would put on here that i wouldn’t tell someone to their face; i have no problem with confrontation and i know that anonymous is a disappearing concept. however, not every blogger realizes that.  so, in general, i guess my advice is this: if you don’t think you’re going to find something positive, don’t look for it.  and if you find it, deal with it.  you don’t know what the context is (the mood of the author, the tone of their writing, the intent in putting it in black and white).  And despite one’s ability to find something, it doesn’t mean it’s their business.

i hope you’ll excuse me while i go off to try and find out if my new imaginary boyfriend has a criminal record.

homage to catalan(ia)

y’all, life was rough on saturday.  we got up around noon and decided to suck it up get some fucking french toast.  really, tortilla and cafe, but it helped sober us up.  it was time to sight see.

we wandered over to the picasso museum and surveyed its massive line and opted for the gift shop instead.  it was way too hot to stand there and since i’d already been, cs thought we should do some more wandering and head towards sagrada familia.  what i didn’t know until that moment is that ‘wandering’ means ‘buy lots of bags’ where cs lewis comes from, which is viriginia beach in case you were wondering (holla saltdogs and navy seals).  our long, scenic and scorching hot walk was broken by the comic relief of calling home to talk to cs lewis’s mother, ma weber.  she’s a lovely woman, and quite fun to party with, but she’s out of her mind.  i literally spit water all over the sidewalk listening to just cs’s half of the conversation.  which reminds me, if you have the means, hop on down to club web in vb, it’s a great experience.  book ahead, though, that place fills up.  especially when there’s a steel drum band scheduled for the weekend.

i digress.  in an unbelievable turn of events, there was no line to get into the cathedral, so we gladly pay the 8 euro to go inside.  i was pleased to see cs was as blown away as i am by this sublime monument and we took our time soaking in the beauty and divinity.  it truly is amazing.  i was also impressed by how much had been done in the ten years since i was first blessed by the sight of it.  putting it into context, it was started in 1883, so that much progress in a single decade was remarkable.  i can’t wait to attend a sunday service there one day, and have hope and faith i will have the opportunity in my lifetime.

we walked back by heading down calle mallorca towards casa mila or la pedrera, where the line equalled that of picassos museum.  knowing we had time tomorrow, we opted to come back and enjoy a stroll down la passeig de gracia. 

we hooked a left at plaza catalunya and headed back to the hostel, where my duty as the “official arbiter of cs’s spending habits on souvenirs” was put to its strongest test yet.

we relaxed, showered, and headed to bar gaudi for dinner, which is located two doors from our hostel.  knowing cs and me, going somewhere so close is shocking, absolutely shocking, but it’s true. 

the reason this is relevant is because the guy that stands outside and solicits patrons had been trying to get us to eat there for the last 36 hours.  he was pleased to lead us to a table where we enjoyed an amazing dinner, as well as the company of our waiter, tomate (i’ll explain later) who was quite taken with my face and language abilities.  i was too taken with my artichokes from the oven to notice, so his asking me out later went totally unnoticed.  i’m spastic, yes, but i blame this stupidity on these artichokes.  i was seriously picturing me in a wedding dress and las alcochofas in a tux and cummerbun.

leaving, we told the guy outside that it was great and i said “si podria casarme con las alcochofas, lo hare.”  it took me at least a half hour to put the subjunctive for that together correctly.  instead of applause at my proper tenses, he said “que bueno.  me llamo alcochofa.  do you want to be married and live here or in new york.”  he then told us he got off at two.

we smiled and wandered off for another pub crawl, which ended you’llneverguesswhere: the temple bar.  the scene of last night’s crime.  or the inception and planning of the crime, anyway.  we didn’t return in the hopes of meeting up with johhny b good’s stag do, so we weren’t disappointed to not see them there.  in short order, cs was chatting up a pack of scots and i was talking to maurizio (a venetian phd student in town to study) and david (tall, dark, handsome, catalan).  love. at. first. sight.

we were contentedly talking to our prospective prospects when the next thing i know, plan b is back and dressed like a school boy.  following closely behind was the rest of the crew in identical ensembles, replete with johnny in full harry potter costumes.  hilarious.  i didn’t see rio grande at first, which was fine, because david was a piece of pixie dust combined with a dream and i was happy as a clam where i was.  eventually, cs got folded into the stag do once again, but i resisted, excepting a brief interaction with justin timberlake junior (where was that guy last night???).  i finally noticed rio, who was squarely ignoring me (boo! bad form!).  we made eye contact later, i waved, he mouthed that he was really drunk and that was pretty much that.

after a few more hours of this, cs’s new paramour had talked her into going to port olympic and the disco baja beach with the whole do.  when they were throwing us out at last call, she was in the street yelling past the bouncer, “come on, come on, we’re going to the disco.”  i asked david if he and maurizio would come with and he said he’d love to, but we had to wait until m came back from los aseos.  i waved off cs lewis and waited.  when m came back, david disappeared.  I was like “what the? i thought you guys were coming with?”  m said yes, they would come.  i told him where we were going and to meet us there since i had to go out to cs before she popped an anuerysm.  they had my card and email, so we were insured.

 i got into one of the cabs and headed down to port olympic with the rest.  once there, i realized i’d been before and we didn’t have to pay the 18 euro cover to get in.  all we had to do was go downstairs to the beach level and grab an outside table at the disco, no cover at all.  only darren had the sense to listen to me and we scored a large table right by the doors to wait for the rest to figure it out.  eventually, herbs, jt jr, johnny, rio and plan b caught on and came to sit down.  we ordered a round, which i paid for (what the?) and still rio did not acknowledge me.  not a thanks, nothing.  i really didn’t want to be there, and was already cursing my seperation from david, so when they got up to go to the strip club down the way and asked me to join them, i begged off.  i was ready for home.  i found cs inside (still didn’t pay) and she was still chatting up the same guy.  i told her i was off and would see her later.

i got into a cab upstairs when i realized i had exactly 8 euro to my name and no idea how far i was from las ramblas, which means i had no idea how far i was going to have to trudge home.  the cabbie agreed to take me as far as the 8 would get me, which was exactly to my street, thank you jesus, st. george and the traffic-less streets of late night barcelona.

cs got home later with the guy (tim, i believe), who’d been chatting her up the whole time and planting soft, tongueless kisses on her all night.  when she asked what his hesitation was he replied “because i have a girlfriend.”  zunh.  i mean, zunh?

apparently, he kept chatting her up after that, took her home, and then asked if he could come up.  what the?  is this pretty woman?  what the fuck?

anyway, i was gutted about losing david and maurizio, but pretty annoyed by rio as well.  i didn’t go there to see him, and didn’t expect him to chat me up (though he did look disturbingly hot in his uniform) or not go home with a different girl, but some manners, please. 

luckily, david has my email.  fingers crossed.  i’ve already constructed a whirlwind trans-atlantic IM-based romance in my mind and i don’t mind telling you it’s fantastico. sigh.

the canary islands contain neither canaries nor spaniards. discuss.

it´s true.  to be honest, i have seen three or four spaniards.  no canaries and no seagulls, though, not a one.

we left girona for england del sur yesterday at four in the morning on the most uncomfortable flight ever (damn your low prices, ryan air!!).  the seats don´t recline and they don´t stop selling you things.  loudly.

anyway, here we are.  it´s british after british after scottish after british.  the only spaniard i´ve talked to was the cleaning lady.  i´m so grateful to cs lewis and her nanny for treating me with the free place, but i think we learned a valuable lesson here, which is: if you want to go to spain, don´t go anywhere in the southern third. 

 we went for a great spanish dinner last night, which sadly, shocked me. 

then we went for a walk and on to legends scottish bar where we enjoyed karaoke and ¨cabaret¨by an elton john/tom jones impersonator.  basically, it was all out of that scene in the first office christmas special when david brent goes to the bar in sussex or whatever and plays the dating game dressed as austin powers.  once again, i got down on my knees and thanked god that he made me so easily amused.

 we´ve decided to find an irish bar tonight, even if it means taking a cab.  if we´re going to be surrounded by pasty english speakers, we prefer to be amongst those that have always shown us the most kindness (read: are most likely to make out with us.  i keed.  i keed.)

actually, we´re hoping to find a pub.  all these british joints have too much of a propensity for ¨¨talent¨¨, hosts, karaoke, schtick.  we´d just like to drink with some fun people with bad house music in the background.

 fingers crossed, people, fingers crossed.

turns out the world isn’t watching

abughraib.jpg

i got through security at laguardia pretty quickly this morning and headed to gate 4 for my 9:48 flight to the cleve for another day of marathon meetings.  i grabbed a couple of bananas and water at au bon pain and settled into my seat at the gate.i looked around and noticed that it wasn’t overly crowded, which isn’t exceptional, but i did see a rather large family traveling together- about 8 to 10 people in all, clearly muslim and clearly traditional.  now, i know what you might be thinking, but that isn’t where this going. 

also at the gate?  a soccer mom-esque forty-something with her yappy, yippy lap dog.  she laid a diaper and a toy or two on the floor, put her doggy down and held the leash down with her foot to keep the dog nearby. 

now, gate 4 in the continental terminal is not that big, not that that fact should have given license to soccermom to be so oblivious.  her dog was roaming about as dogs do- exploring, sniffing, nipping.  now, i don’t like lapdogs much, but this is nothing you can fault the dog for; it’s what they do. 

what can be faulted here is that this was making the family very, very uncomfortable.  a couple of the younger women quickly got up and moved as far away as possible within the confines of the gate, while the father sat quietly, if warily, across from me.  seeing that soccermom (let’s just shorten that to “sm.”) was not taking note of the fact that her dog was causing several people genuine distress, i clicked my tongue and snapped my fingers and called the dog over to me before she could reach dad.

i leaned over and got sm’s attention, hoping she’d raise her head and take some heed of her charge, and asked the puppy’s name.  “aria” she replied.  “very cute” i said and petted her white, nappy head.

now, i love dogs, but not yippy little poodles, and certainly not before i’ve had a cup of coffee.  but i was uncomfortable and facing a ridiculous dilemma.  does sm not know that letting aria roam about is inappropriate regardless of the deep religious objection of several of her fellow passengers?  do i stay out of it as it’s none of my business?  is it really not a big deal and i’m being overly culturally sensitive? 

not wanting to be a condescending jerk and assume that sm is ignorant and needs to have the situation explained to her and convinced that the family was sincerely uncomfortable, i encouraged aria to keep chewing on my laptop.  after a couple of minutes more, i leaned over to sm and said “excuse me.  i’m not sure if you know this, but dogs make muslims uncomfortable and there are several people in this gate that would probably appreciate it greatly if you kept aria a little closer to you.” 

she said “whaaaat?”  i replied “yes, in islam dogs are considered very unclean, somewhat like pigs in judiasm and your dog is making some people very uncomfortable.  i’m not sure where you’re sitting or if it matters, but it might be a good idea to rein in the leash a bit out of courtesy.” 

sm “oh, yes.  i had no idea.  thank you.”

a beat.

she puts her head back down, goes back to the paper and does nothing about anything.  i saw aria approaching the man across from me yet again, so i hooked her collar and pulled her over to me.  the man said to me “i’m sorry, but in my religion….”  i said “i know, i’m sorry.”  he said ” i saw you trying to have a conversation.” i said “yes, i understand how you feel and i tried to explain.  i’m sorry.  i’ll do what i can to keep her over here.”  he nodded and said “thank you,” both of us completely uncomfortable and neither of us sure why we felt weird for a situation that was neither of our doing.

finally, boarding was called and “mommy” gathered her baby up to board.

i’m no cultural guru and i’ve never read the koran.  but i know that dogs are anathema to islam.  i grew up with several muslims, but didn’t know this until the disgrace that was abu ghraib.  wasn’t everyone, regardless of their hawk-like outward disposition, at least fleetingly, momentarily, humanely and humanly embarassed by the events and photos that came of that iraqi prison?  even for a second?  did that not command attention, even away from britney (sp??) and k-fed’s divorce, or whatever other sensational nonsense was absorbing the lion’s share of the nation’s consciousness at the time? 

i hate being embarassed by my nationality.  liberal guilt is patronizing and ignorant.  but this hit something home: a lot of people are ignorant, selfish assholes. 

i like to think that’s a universal trait, rather than an arena in which america corners the market.  and deep down i know that to be so.  but some days it’s hard. really, really hard to believe. 

it happened again.

i had another desperately sad deja vu this week when a wonderful,  gorgeous, funny, nice guy i work with asked about my boyfriend and when i said  i had nothing, he couldn’t believe it.  he was shocked that i’m single and told me that all the guys on his team think i’m the coolest.  he couldn’t imagine a world in which i was single.  if he wasn’t engaged…

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
 
it wasn’t sleazy, and i know he meant it as a compliment, but i really hate it when they say that.

but, it’s not just me. 

a lovely, fun and beautiful friend of mine, ms. savory, has had her share of troubles.  she was telling me just last night that she met this funny, nice guy who was pursuing her.  they had talked about maybe taking a next step towards exclusivity and after spending a few fun and margarita filled hours with me at our hell’s kitchen local discussing rimmers with our flirty, friendly, irish bartender, she went off to meet him so they could make the advances they’d discussed.

fast forward to this morning.  i receive a text from ms. savory:

last night he asked me if i wanted to be exclusive and take the next step.  i said yes.  then he said his ex moved back on tuesday and they’re giving it another shot.

no shit.

i mean what the?  why’d he ask? 

me confused.

Protected: names have been changed to protect the clinically insane

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truth

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

truth

Upon common theatres, indeed, the applause of the audience is of more importance to the actors than their own approbation. But upon the stage of life, while conscience claps, let the world hiss! On the contrary if conscience disapproves, the loudest applauses of the world are of little value - john adams
July 2017
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from the man who taught me everything:

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.”

bygones