Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Growing up

This morning: The mouse said, "Why can't we (in the USA) spend more money curing cancer? Why do we spend so much money on war?"
Is there an answer to that that I can contain in the three-five minutes before I drop him off at school?

This afternoon: The mouse me said he has to avoid saying words with "C" in them because they make his voice squeak. "I can't say "Ameri-c-a" or "se-c-ond" he worries.
 Perhaps it is a fluke," I point out, "not so much the word as the fact that you are thirteen now."
"Maybe. But it's weird to just say something and have it come out like that."
And there's no answers to that either really-- it's just being thirteen

Monday, November 29, 2010



into the night
followed by another 
and another until the ground 
is dappled with a winter sheet and finally smothered in a comforter of stifling white
 The hold of darkness is released as the earth glows, 
producing an ethereal beauty that can be felt in the silence of the soul. 
Artists and poets attempt to capture the somber beauty 
but their efforts fall short and result in a copy of very poor relief 
It is, however, a temporal beauty, that is there to be appreciated for what it is in that moment... 

Saturday, November 27, 2010


If you read the entry for today the moment it posted, you might have seen a picture of KMart, saw a quick post on Black Friday and a bit about what I am planning on buying my son. But then I visited 'Coffee Rings Everywhere' and read Rayna's post "You are what you decide to be" and got a bit of inspiration and thought I might put my response to her story here.

Some years ago I was at an author reading with a friend and we were standing around waiting for the event to begin when some of her friends from work walked up. I was taking a few classes and taking care of kids at home but I had begun writing and had begun to "find my voice." When she introduced me, her friends said, "What do you do?" (an uncommon incident among women) I didn't even breathe before I opened my mouth and said with confidence I didn't know I had, "I'm a writer." Did you just say that?  My internal voice went into full blown diatribe. I did.  You haven't even gotten a check yet! I have for nonfiction. You haven't even finished what you're writing. I write everyday....

And on it went for some moments until I calmed the little nagging voice that wanted me to doubt that I could write and that there was some line you had to cross in order to call yourself a writer... I was a writer and whatever I had to do in order to be a good writer, well it would be done.

So thanks once again, Rayna!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Christmas story blogfest!

Sign up begins today! Sign up in the comments and let me know when you will post your Christmas short story (and help yourself to the badge also!). I'll link to your blog in my blog roll and feature it on the particular day you've chosen and then everyone who participates will vote for the winner by voting 1-5 here on the day you were featured (this is on the honor system I guess- ). Your story can be as short or as long as you desire... 

And the prize will be!! a set of a television show called Key West. If your wondering why you would be interested in winning a set- it's a show about a guy who aspires to be a writer, a young Hemingway and moves to Key West to get go where the writers go and get the energy they had. There's more info about it on my other blog http://keywesttv.tumblr.com/

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

Reading habit

"Sound this word out" the teacher pointed at the blackboard pointedly. 
"Dog" the little girl read.
"You didn't sound it out first," bad habits are so hard to break the teacher concluded inwardly.
"I don't know how to sound it out. I know what the word says so I read it," responds baffled girl.
"Then you don't know how to read." The teacher sniffed and moved on to explain the method of Phonics. 

The child learned the mysteries of Phonics but she also knew that she had known how to read all along, that it was merely the sillyness (she didn't yet know what narrow-mindedness was) of the teacher that made her think that only her way was reading. So the girl learned phonics... 

and she learned to love to read in spite of the teacher's belittling gaze. And one day she volunteered to help in the school library where she shelved the books and gazed over the wondrous titles that were kept there. She learned the Dewey Decimal system and she even made spine labels for her own little library at home. (organization is important, damn it!)
So that when she grew up and needed a job, it seemed natural that she would look for a job at the library. But she never expected to work at the Big City Library. And when she first laid eyes on the library it hardly seemed like a library with it's marble floors and oak desks, and nary a book to be seen. 

If you turned the right corner you might find a helpful soul to tell you where the books are...

And you might spot a person put a book in a slot here. Although at first she thought the people were simply kept in cages to model Work but after some moments, it was shown to be a return machine. But this machine meant that fewer people were needed (of course!) and the woman wonders if she will get a job here after all. The machine returns the books so they can cut the cost of the library further and eliminate jobs. Seems like a good thing at first - except she learns later that most of the time if people's books are not returned properly it is computer error not people error. 

As she tours the building there is a crowd of people whom she guesses are customers but none of them have books... they are staring at computers! and there are no books on the floor by the computers, just table after table of computers. Jobs are found on computers these days and the public needs jobs but what is it that they do here? she wonders. 

More wandering, she finds places she cannot enter because they are doing construction because the library is now 15 years old, and apparently it now needs a makeover! Maybe there are more machines for this part of the library. There are fewer books, she feels sure.   

At the end of the day, she leaves the library and looks back at the tall brick building. The architect had 
designed a building that would be sure to impress and astound...  
But she wonders if anyone gave any thought to less ostentatiousness, less boldness, less gaudiness...
and any consideration at all to what a building that held books for booklovers would look like?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Time to say thanks!

Forty-#*$*@ (I used to proudly state my age- as I get older I find that I am not quite so generous with those numbers) years ago today I was born in Podunkstown, Oklahoma-- also known as Nowheresville or Smalltown. Fortunately escape was in the stars and I wound up in Denver. Had I stayed in Nowheresville...well, let me just say that the life of many of my kinfolk has not turned out anything like mine. So that is the first thing I am grateful for on my birthday and on this week of Thanksgiving. In spite of my grumbling about the weather and the conservative politics here I'd rather be here... 
than there! (not pictured)

It's been quite a year. Maybe the best year in the last five years which has been the best five years of my life. So many things are settling down-- just less turmoil! My relationship with my daughters continues to improve which I am grateful for. They show signs of maturity which I am most thankful for!

I'm grateful to have a pretty great kid! He's doing well in school, he's polite and everybody who meets him speaks highly of him! 
He and his friend Rudy (in front) from his birthday two weeks ago.
I am thankful for my job in an economy that is as uncertain as this one.

I enjoy my coworkers and I have a nice boss which I have not always been able to say and though I don't make tons of money at my job, I don't dread walking in the door in the morning which is really nice. A few of my coworkers are great friends (Amanda, Jan, Robert, Noel) which is really great. Amanda, the honoree of my post in October will be leaving us for a better job and I am very happy for her but I am also sad about that. She painted me a lovely picture some time ago which I always cherish. 

I have found some terrific friends online! Some time ago-- last year? I found Conchscooter's blog. It's his picture diary on living in the Keys all year round with great pictures, and interesting comments as well. I began commenting on his blog and he became an occasional commenter here. Though he's not listed as my "Blogging Friend" his comments made blogging fun at a time when comments were few and far between. Last summer when passing through Denver on a lengthy road trip it was he and Layne's intention to stop and have dinner with Maurice and I. It didn't work out as I was working when he drove through but we did wind up meeting up in Key West when we were there on vacation in August. We had lunch with he and his wife and had a very enjoyable time! 
(I didn't take any photos of for some strange reason! but he did)

and another day we went out taking pictures of Key West. He and his dog Cheyenne were most hospitable.
note his trademark pink crocs
We also visited him at the police station where he works. It is most enjoyable to find friends in places you visit and I am very glad we got to meet each other on our blogs. Thanks for your friendship Michael

I have met other friends blogging via NaWribloMo-- and I should, in mentioning, NaWriBloMo, thank Amy Kalinchuk who began the crazy month long blogging thing. Three years ago I had no idea what the whole thing was about and I certainly didn't get into the spirit of it, but I did start blogging as a way of working on writing when I couldn't write at home. So thanks Amy! And thanks Heather for keeping it going!

And thanks to all my new "Blogging Friends" that I met this year- Sarah, Roland, clp333, Aleta, Rayna, Cruella, Jen, Patricia, & Alexandra . It has been so interesting to read of your lives and nice to have your comments! And I have run into other interesting blogs as a result of your blogs!
A special thank you to Rayna who linked to me from her blog and so many of her readers popped over to view my "Perspectives" blog. It has become my fourth most viewed post as a result of your mention!!!!  

As for my birthday day! I had a wonderful day and had lots of great gifts--- Shelly at work made me a delicious brownie pizza to celebrate. A brownie pizza is a brownie (made from your favorite brownie mix) baked in a pizza pan then topped with M&Ms and Caramel drizzled on top. Sound ridiculously decadent? It is! You can also add marshmallow and peanuts if you really want to pile on the toppings. Thanks so much to Shelly!!! (I have a picture of her elsewhere but I won't post it here as it is rather silly and she was embarrassed by it.)

I received a lovely antique table cloth from my wonderful friend Jan (she is also pictured elsewhere). She knows how much I love Key West and combined it with her love of buying antiques and found this tablecloth of Florida after she heard about them on Martha Stewart. Too fun!  
You'll note Key West is at the end of the Keys there and marked with a Sea Turtle. There are tablecloths like these of other states and if anyone knows more about them, I'm interested now that I have one!

I spent a wonderful day with Maurice, antique shopping (no pictures??? what was I thinking!?!?!?) and a little Christmas browsing (not shopping for others) then we had family time with a fun game and cheesecake (my fav!)
My son, Mack, ready to eat
Here we are dishing it up... Nisa on the left next to my son is Aubrey's girlfriend (I caught her completely unaware). Aubrey is Maurice's son. And Maurice is on the right serving cake.  
and gifts! Cuddly warm socks for the woman whose feet are always cold ~from Maurice!

Beautiful earrings from Nisa and Aubrey that are from the Museum of Nature and Science

A favorite TV show (I am completely mad about Mad Men-- if you haven't seen it yet, you HAVE to! It is quality television! ) from Maurice's other son who is away at college and Books for the Bibliophile (from Maurice and Mack)

So a wonderful day all round! 
Special thanks to Mo for making it a marvelous day!!! For that matter Thank you always to Mo for making life fun, full of  adventure and reading and writing and laughter! 

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thank you Dr. Moon!

In July, I went to see a neurologist about my migraines with the insane hope that he might help me. I have had migraines for years, at least 15 years and by this time I was taking migraine meds at least once a week and sometimes more. (Many of these walks I take, the trips to the zoo, etc. would not have happened because many days I was simply worn out from the meds or the pain) Sometimes I required so many meds that I had to beg the pharmacist to give me more than my premium #1 healthcare would allow and they had to fool the insurance company into allowing it (Yay! American health insurance!!!!--yup, sarcasm). A low point was when I actually broke down crying when the pharmacist told me it would be $200 dollars for 6 pills if I needed them right then (which I did). It's lovely crying at the grocery store. 
Four months later, I have not been bedridden with one...  So in a final homage to my migraines I will simply post a migraine... (at least I hope they are finally really gone!) 

My head oscillates on my neck- each ending point producing a tiny jolt in the back of my skull. I lean back onto the bench and close my eyes, hoping to ease the ache that is settling in behind my eyes.  My interiors bob.  The pinprick of a thousand needles interferes with the faces of the chorus before me. Lunging into my bag I seek relief before I’m overwhelmed with misery, swallowing like it’s my final gulp of water before succumbing to death, then adjust back and neck so that they align or at least lie in conjunction to each other. My eyelids close out of self-preservation rather than lingering weariness. If I caught it in time…
Time… metronomic and precise, calculated and mathematical. Suddenly suspended. Interminable. Endless. Only slogging on to the next fraction with the reluctance of a child returning home for punishment.  
Tick, the nerve throbbing behind my eye, 
tock, veins pulse behind my left nostril, 
tick, ache at the top of the left eyeball, 
tock, light ray penetrating cornea, 
tick, head seems to expand- hostile takeover of the senses, 
Sounds, colors and dimensions rotate, echo, and slide off one another into a kaleidoscopic reality that defies attempts to focus. Lights and angling surfaces lose focus, an antagonizing back-drop to my universe of frayed nerves, tumbling intestines and pulsing eyeballs.
I need to get home...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Before Winter came

November's nip has set in. The first snow has fallen and I with my lack of appreciation for the chill in the wind and the first flakes fluttering in the air look longingly backwards to the namesakes of the Romans emperors and no less so that period of days named in celebration of Augustus's defeat of Queen Cleopatra of Egypt. Because even though I love Christmas (as it will soon become apparent to all) I have simply always hated the cold and the older I get, the less tolerance I have for the Jack the Frosty One. So, in nostalgia for those warmer days, let us meander to a warmer time...    
Thirty minutes drive gets me to the foot of the Rocky Mountains

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A mother's gift

This story was told to me incompletely by my grandmother (the picture of the doll is not a real likeness but I image that it might have been like it- simple and possibly faceless or just button eyes) but when she was in her 70s perhaps even 80s it was still something she spoke of. I have weaved a story together that may be fiction but contains the realities of how she was raised and what her life was like. I hope you enjoy it...  

"Thou must the doll leave, Evelyn. Thou art too old for puppets now and thou must a bag hold" The man's workworn hand rested heavily on the young girl's shoulder while he eagle-eyed his family's earthly belongings a few feet away.      

"It was a gift from Mama," Beseeching eyes sought the employed eyes well above her own. She train whistles his sleeve in a last ditch effort to drag his gaze down to meet her silent petition. "Please, please, please, let me take her... please, please, papa, pleeeease..." the prayer flutters through the air, an unnoticed gnat flying past his head and off into the clouds. 

The straight-as-an-arrow-back moves purposefully away from his youngest child, pleased that the difficulty of the extra bag was solved without extra charges. He musters his sons and offers the play-by-play of what to do with the luggage, the whos, whats, and wheres given out in short order. The command to move is indicated with a nod and the boys jostle off, tossing bags like balls, laughing and calling to each other, a center ring show for the passengers waiting to board as the stern patriarch overseas, his disapproving glare an attempt to remind them they are God's Chosen not wild bucks fresh from the plains but he remains silent allowing for boyish exuberance- time enough for them to grow up. 

The child stands watching her older brothers, a silent stream flowing down her cheeks. She strangles a sob in her throat, fearful of the sound that will erupt, afraid of drawing attention to her grief. She clings to the doll fiercely as though it were the blurred edges of memory, the fading image of her mother's grip on hers. She plants her feet and studies the platform for possible escape. A cool gust of wind blows through the gates, recalling the bitter Saskatchewan winter they'd just survived. She thrust the doll under her hand-me-down coat in defiant possession of the remnant of her childhood... of her mother. 

The train's deafening call for boarding finally sounds and her brothers and father wave that the rest of the family should follow them aboard where the bags will be divvied up and they will travel for days to the new place in America. The hustle and bustle is at a peak and the young girl is hopeful that her deceit will work. She heads up the stair and buries her head, snuggling her bulky middle so that it is less noticeable. 

"Evelyn," the woman's hand landed on her shoulder as if descending of the heavens. "Thine father hath told thee that the doll must be left. Give it to me." 

"Please Miss... I mean, Mother. He won't notice. I'll hide Miss Margaret and he'll never see her again. Please, can't I just... she was a gift, my moth---" the words faded into murmured nothingness as the child understood futility, the eternal "No" in her eyes. 

"Give it to me." The doll was dislodged from her hiding place next to the child's heart and taken into the woman's lanky fingers. The woman stepped quickly down the steps and glanced around for a quick place to dispose of the ragged toy and spotting nothing close by, she dropped the doll to the ground next to the wheels of the train.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Come one, come all! Christmas Story writing contest!!!

I was going to wait until the day after Thanksgiving but I wanted to give everyone enough time to think about ideas so...
I am hosting a Christmas Story Writing Blogfest!

We'll do this NaWriBloMo style-- tell me you want to participate and I'll link to your blog in my list of blogs. Then on the day you post it I'll feature your blog here, tell people about you, bloddity, bloddity. The judges will be all the participants who will then give their vote here on this blog by voting a 1-5 on the day you are featured (it seems like the easiest way to do it and have a standard way to count the winner) and whoever winds up with the most points wins the prize!  And the prize will be... (drum roll please!!! where is Vanna White when you need her?)
a set of an old TV show that I still make for fans called Key West. It's a great show for writers and if you want to know more about it, then you can see more about it on my other blog KeyWestTV .

So good luck and good writing!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The writer and I

She studied the elderly gentleman, pecking his keyboard as patiently as a hen finding her dinner from the grass beneath her. In one fluid motion, he yanked the paper from the roller, basketed it with one hand into the wicker basket, got up from his chair and stretched in front of the window, irritation set in his shoulders. 

"Why do you let it get you so upset? Why don't you just type away, get the words down and worry about changing it later? You're just writing a rough draft..."

The etch in his brow was deep so that it nearly knit two into one. "You don't just "type away."" The words tripped in his throat and he coughed on the flem that came up with his disgust. "Typing away... anyone can do that... you'll never be a great writer... You didn't come here to be Anyone. You came here to learn how to be a great writer, you said, to learn from me! And I'm telling you, you have to write from your Truth and writing from your truth isn't always easy. It doesn't, that word you young people say, "flow." Sometimes it means writing the same sentence over and over again until you've got it... Perfect, the way you want it." He gathered himself up and marched out of the sunlit room his disgust still articulated in my hearing "young people... write from truth... not about rules about writing, words on the page... about Truth." 

I stood back watching as the door slowly closed, leaving me alone with the echo of his relicked ideals... 

My truth? 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Book Nerd strikes again & A Visit to Fahrenheit Books

By the time I was in third grade I was a good reader. And I read vociferously. I got a book each month from the book of the month club but that was hardly enough to keep me satisfied as I often had that read before the weekend had ended. Reading was my whole world and my greatest memories from my childhood are of the books I read, most often deep into the night, long after a ten or eleven year old should have been tucked safely between sheets with the lights long out.  
Driving downtown to a favorite bookstore
Typically girl, I read about horses and dreamt of horses and wanted to own a horse. A friend of mine had a horse and she loved reading about horses so once in a while we got together at my house had a sleepover so that we could read out loud to each other, late into the night. 
Fahrenheit Books is on Broadway-- just north of Alameda. 
As I grew older, my fantasy of owning a horse lessened but reading still played a central part in my life, 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Send in the Clowns

She basks in the light as though the moon has turned it's eye on her alone and left the rest of the world unlit. Her face is rent with sadness and a waterfall of tears has gathered at her feet. Words pour forth as she shares her heart's brokenness with the few hundred who spectate on her sorrow and she moves forward to gather them into her grief. Her woe moves into agonies that stir the hardened beholder to near tears themselves as the soliloquy reaches its desolate orgasm. A pin dropping would be ashamed to have broken the stillness and the actress bends forward to weep in the fading spotlight...

The silence is deep and profound and appreciative of the moment so the actress doesn't move, patiently awaiting the bone crushing response such performance is due.


She peers up from her pose on the wooden floor out into the dim faces of her audience to find their gaze intently on her, yet mute and motionless.

The curtain lowers, slowly hiding their watchful stares and the stillness of the nearly full auditorium continues as the chains and actress hit the floor as one. "Don't they get it?" Rising, she moves quickly to where she can fix her stare on the stage manager who tiptoes back into the darkness, abandoning curtain and call for safety. "Don't they understand what they saw? Can't they acknowledge it and show some appreciation?" She spins toward her fellow cast members. "That was great." No questions asked. "Don't they get IT?" As a group, the thespians scuttled back to their dressing rooms to avoid the possibility of flying props or tossed tools. They knew their leading lady too well...

As they scamper from view, the diva pivots in uncertainty then pauses, pregnant with idea. She walks to the corner of the curtain, yanks it back and thrusts herself back out onto the lip of the stage, the crowd restlessly poised for departure.

"What is your problem?" Her voice is perfectly trained to reach the uppermost seats under the balcony. "Don't you understand what you saw here tonight? Don't you get it?" A few faces turn toward her, smirking slightly, then turned to follow the rest of the exiting crowd. "Are you so stupid?" At her full voice the windows rattle threateningly. "I am fucking good and That..." she gestured back towards her final moment. "deserved a standing ovation, I think. Don't you think?" The crowd moves more quickly with each word, pouring through narrow doors with an urgency that speaks volumes. "God damn it, would someone answer me? Don't you get it? The silence is killing me! Was I really that bad?"

The final question, overflowing with insecurity and fear, catches a young man's attention just before he herds out of the building. He pauses and looks back at the wannabe starlet exposed as a child longing for attention. "You're the one who doesn't get it," he steps a foot or so forward so he will be heard. "We were moved beyond words... beyond applause. It seemed we had been allowed into the privacy of your soul... clapping seemed a mundane response to the moment. We didn't respond because we didn't want to intrude. You were wonderful, you stupid cow. And now you've ruined it all by screaming for applause." Then he turned and walked swiftly out the door as she puddled to the floor...

Monday, November 8, 2010

The alien

For months you were an alien inside me
unfurling and moving of your own accord
indifferent to the space you'd invaded
taking over as though it were 
your kidney to recline upon
your lungs to kick
your stomach to raid
expanding as though 
into the eternal
heedless of the limits of time...
or space 
-my space-
And you dwelt there
all at once 
and not mine
in the sacred dark of my womb
Until the day arrived
-was it really so many years ago?-
that it was time to awaken unto the world
to find your humanness
You were wrinkled and pink
bent and battered
a Mr MaGoo face
angelic to a new mother's embattled gaze
At first it seemed you still belonged there
in the warm cocoon of my center
I held your smallness and recall
that strange oneness
Yet quickly you gain your foreignness
your otherness
You roll away from me
so that you can crawl off
and walk into the next room
and run outside
and peddle to your friend's home
where you will get in a car and drive off to meet your friends
and steal your first kiss in the backseat of your new car
then fly off to see the world
In a blink of an eye you are an alien outside of me
with a life that has little to do with me
Yet still you are the alien
whose nose I blew
whose vomit I washed off myself
that I held in the dark nights in the hospital
that I fretted over when the oxygen wouldn't flow
that I frowned at when your words were too cheeky
whose grades I fussed over each report card
that I yelled at when you sauntered in late
that I love

Friday, November 5, 2010

Ode to Fall

Delicately dancing in, the fall began with colors splashed about like a child had spilled bits of paint.
One can almost imagine the imp dancing about, a bucket in one hand and paint brush in another. While bending over to quietly paint a leaf at the top of the tree, turning to and fro, angling this way and that, the bucket wobbles and bobbles, tips and tilts, and with each jolt a dollop of paint slops over the edge of the pot and onto the nearest leaf so that soona leaf here, a limb there, reds and ambers, gold, mustard and maize begin to appear amidst the lush green growth that have been with us for for the breath of a time called spring and summer.
 The days are yet temperate and we take advantage of the lingering sunlight for lengthy walks. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Ruminations on Freedom Day & I had to open my Big FAT Mouth

Freedom Day
Five years ago yesterday was the anniversary of the signing of papers that ended my marriage of eighteen years. For some it might represent promises broken, a stage in life filled with happiness, fond memories, and love, ending. Without going into too many details let me simply say, that this was not the case for me. My marriage had begun as union of obligation and duty and had probably never really altered much beyond that in eighteen years. So I celebrate it-- not because it was the day of any actual freedom but as a symbol of something that actually began some years before...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

walking bones

It was a creature from the past come to life, parading in front of the museum as though he'd escaped without consequence. The little boy clung to his mother's hand, uncertain of what to think of the monster without skin, and by the look on his face I was certain he thought he should flee while he had the chance. But he stood his ground and stared into the eyes without socket and gazed at the skeleton waggling in front of him, a certain thrill at the idea that he might be eaten at any moment. After all, if he were gobbled up by the monstrous jaws, he could probably escape through the hollow neck or past the bare ribs.     

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

It says it all...

 At work yesterday, I (as I often do) had to explain Colorado state law concerning privacy to a customer and most particularly the right of privacy where the child is concerned. I was informed by said customer that I would in fact tell her what was on her children's card because "My children don't have any rights in my home."

"Well, in fact they do according to state law and if you want information from your child's card then you will need to have their cards when you come to the library if your children are not with you," I told her firmly for the third or fourth time.

"Just one more way the government is trying to take over our lives," was her in-congruency.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Tiger imagination

Dinner lies hidden in the bramble, quietly napping in solitude spotted only by Ace Hunter of the Jungle also known as mighty Prince Balaji the Bengal Tiger. I creep up, stealth and clandestine as though my very feet are made of feather, behind my prey until a rustle in the brush on my left causes the deer to jump very nearly ending my ambush. I pause, statuesque, a crackerjack stalker, until the unsuspecting mark reclines back and closes his eyes. I step forward allowing my foot to break a limb causing a panicked response but I know just which way he will go. He doesn't stand a chance...          


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