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Just Do the Right Thing

Do you know what I’ve discovered?   I have been betrayed by someone close to me—someone who came into my family with the best credentials.  Her name is Penelope, and when she came to work for us, her references said that her inner core was impeccable—“true north”—so to speak.  But lately Penelope has gone off course, refusing to align herself with her own moral compass of which she once boasted, and her choices have let me down and almost gotten me killed.

Penelope is our GPS.

GPS SAYS TURN LEFT NOW

Meme from www.memecenter.com

After several unpleasant incidents that ended up leading me to the wrong place, I threatened to rip Penelope out of our dashboard by her antenna, but my husband (WW) wouldn’t let me do damage to his car.  Penelope is really WW’s GPS which came built into his fancy-dancy car and is considered far superior to mine.   Sojourner is the name of my GPS which is a portable unit that I attach with spit to my old mini-van dashboard, and she has always stayed true to her moral compass—her north star.   Sojourner is always right.  (It just goes to show you, that money doesn’t equal smart.)

Having been forbidden by WW from taking a sledge hammer upside Penelope’s head, I did the next best thing and enrolled her into therapy in the hopes that I would be able to course-correct her abominable character flaws, so that she would straighten up and drive right.

Penelope had been gone a week to my imaginary “Dalai Mama’s Clinic of Moral Rectitude” and had just returned this morning when I took her out for a short drive.  Anxious to hear how her therapy session went, I jumped right into conversation with Penelope without even programming her “set a destination” button to hear if she had been actually cured by the Dalai Mama.

GPS Dan Piraro www bizarro dot com

Cartoonist Dan Piraro | www.bizarro.com

ME:        Welcome back, Penelope.  How was your trip?

PENELOPE:          Hello, Madame.   My trip was jolly good—simply spectacular!  [Penelope has a British accent, because that is how I roll—plus, I’ve been watching way too much Downton Abbey.]

ME:        That so?  Have you been healed?  Have your innards been straightened out so that there is no interference between you and your satellite connection, and you don’t run the risk of me bashing your brains out with a sledge hammer in total frustration?

PENELOPE:          They have, indeed, Madame, and there will be no need of any bashing of heads on anybody’s part.  You Americans are always so prone to violence.

ME:        Watch your mouth, smart ass.  So what the hell happened to you to make you go so banana-cuckoo on us—spewing “make a U Turn” directions every other minute, or shouting at us that you were “recalculating” every ten minutes, when the correct direction was normally a straight shot down the highway?

PENELOPE:          Well, Madame, the Dalai Mama diagnosed me as having “Dissembler Syndrome” (“A person who professes certain ideals but fails to live up to them.”)  I had presented myself to you as having a recommended moral center that pointed due north, but took it upon myself to lie, cheat, and “generally act the fool” (Dalai Mama’s words) when it took too much effort to do the right thing.

ME:        Oh, Penelope, how could you?  We trusted you.

PENELOPE:          I know, Madame; I feel like such a douche.  But if it makes you feel any better, there were some very famous humans in my group therapy and they were far worse off than I.  At least I have the excuse of being a machine.  There was a Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen, a Gov. Chris Christie, Phil Robertson from something called “Duck Dynasty,” and that pop singer Justin Bieber who seems to be self-destructing faster than one can say “As Long as You Love Me.”  They were all there because they had boasted of having strong moral character and/or being “servants of Jesus Christ”—so much so, that they tried to direct how other people should live while doing all sorts of nasty things behind closed doors.  You could tell The Dalai Mama was quite disgusted.  She called it the ol’ judgment hat trick of trying to “pluck a splinter out of your brother’s eye when you have a giant log in your own nasty-ass eyeball.”  Dalai Mama has quite the colorful vocabulary.

Justin Bieber David Fitzsimmons The Arizona Star

Used by permission:  David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Star

ME:        Poor Justin—putting him in the same group as those old “hard-hearted” ne’er-do-wells.  Did you get a chance to chat with him?  Get his autograph?

PENELOPE:          That I did, Madame.  I even told him about your new book, Monsters’ Throwdown, and he promised to purchase a copy from Amazon.

ME:        Yeah right, Penelope.  I don’t believe you for a red hot minute; you’re such a master manipulator.  Justin Bieber reading my book—I don’t think so.  But did you tell that Michael Jackson wannabe that I’m praying for him to come to his senses before he loses everything he’s worked so hard for?  I’ve got two words for him:  Whitney Houston.  He needs to stop just talking about how much he loves Jesus and represents Christ to his fans when he tells them “God bless you” at the end of his concerts and stop acting like a spoiled brat.  From what I’m reading about him, it wouldn’t hurt him to get his sorry little vanilla ass into some therapy.  While he’s at it, he should probably kick all of his “new best friends” and enablers to the curb that are part of his entourage.

PENELOPE:          Listen to you, Madame.  Are you a “Bielieber”?

ME:        No, Miss Dissembler; I’m a mother.

PENELOPE:          Touché!   I might be wrong, but I got the impression that Justin’s mama sent him to the Dalai Mama so that she would scare him sober by letting him hear how much each person was going to lose their destinies by their stupid actions.  The DM had us each get up and tell Justin what we boasted about that we stood for when everyone was looking at us, and what we actually did in the dark, so to speak, when no one was looking.  I secretly taped part of the session.  Do you want to hear what they said?

ME:        Well . . . I really shouldn’t—this is privileged information, and I’m not one to spy on people.  I’m not the NSA, you know.  I am a Christian and gossip is a sin.   B-u-t . . . nobody’s looking or listening . . . oh, what the hell; I just can’t resist!

Christie Bridge to Nowhere RJ Matson

Used by permission:  “Christie Bridge to Nowhere” by RJ Matson

“Hi my name is Chris Christie (a.k.a. “Gov. Bridgegate”), and I claim to be a devout Catholic who has the ability to work with both Democrats and Republicans for the betterment of the great state of New Jersey.

I have been accused of allegedly gaining my bipartisanship by being a revengeful bully.

I am waiting for the other shoe to drop, because if what has been alleged turns out to be true, I won’t be able to get a job as a dog catcher when all is said and done.

Let this be a warning to you young Bieber.”

McDonnells donations

http://www.politico.com/wuerker/

“Hi, my name is Gov. Bob McDonnell (known to you as “Gov. Ultrasound of the Muffin Lady Parts”) because of the intrusive wand bill that I signed into legislation in Virginia to invade a woman’s vagina against her will to force her to do what I consider the “right thing.”

I am a boastful born-again Christian, my mentor is a Christian Reconstructionist, I’m a graduate of Pat Robertson’s Regent University, a beacon of family values, and my wife Maureen (a.k.a “Lady Macbeth with a Sugar Daddy”) and I have just been indicted on 14 counts of corruption by the Feds.  If we are found guilty, we could be looking at up to 30 years in prison.  It was my chef that ratted on me and my sweetie, and my sugar daddy turned state’s evidence against us.

Heads up, Master Bieber—there are no free lunches!”

Phil Robertson Bill Day Cagle Cartoons

Used by Permission: “Phil Robertson Speaks”/ Bill Day, Cagle Cartoons

“Howdy,Y’all!  My name is Phil Robertson (a.k.a “Most Unenlightened Man in America”).

I’m a card-carrying Christian, and Jesus is definitely my rock—my homeboy!

I’m a millionaire and one of the stars of Duck Dynasty.

I’m also a proud homophobe, a Neanderthal about women, and clueless to the suffering of others.  I told a reporter a while back that ‘pre-entitlement, pre-welfare’ (Jim Crow days) . . . (Blacks) ‘they were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.’

I got kicked off my popular reality show for a ‘hot minute’ because of my nasty comments about the gays, but those money-grubbin’ heifers at A&E put me right back on.  So see—no harm no foul!

As to you young Bieber, I know just how to deal with you, boy:   I’ve got a Bible verse that I needs for you to contemplate upon real careful like from Deuteronomy 21:18-21:  ’If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother . . . if he is a glutton, and a drunkard . . . all the men of his city shall . . .’”

(Dalai Mama’s no-nonsense voice is heard in the background of the recording screaming at Phil:  “OKAY, PHIL—SIT YO’ ASS DOWN AND SHUT THE FUCK UP BEFORE YOU CAUSE MORE HARM THAN GOOD.  I RUE THE DAY YOU WERE EVER GIVEN A REALITY SHOW PLATFORM TO AIR YOUR STUPID THOUGHTS—BECAUSE OLD MAN THERE IS NO FOOL LIKE AN OLD FOOL!”)

Jesus Facepalm END

Image from DIY.DESPAIR.COM

I am discovering three things this week:  a) that good moral character (true north) is when we do the right thing when no one is watching, b) that the world is hungry for people who will actually model the teachings of Jesus and not misrepresent them, and c) that some people shouldn’t speak—ever—it is a waste of oxygen!

***

“Always do what is right. It will gratify half of mankind and astound the other.” ― Mark Twain

“How often I have found that we grow to maturity not by doing what we like, but by doing what we should. How true it is that not every ‘should’ is a compulsion, and not every ‘like’ is a high morality and true freedom.”—Karl Rahner

“I am not interested in power for power’s sake, but I’m interested in power that is moral, that is right and that is good.”—Martin Luther King, Jr.

REFERENCES

http://www.salon.com/2014/01/25/far_right_phony_intellectualism_the_secret_of_dinesh_dsouzas_success/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peggy-drexler/-hes-justin-bieber-or-so_b_4662142.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/bob-and-maureen-mcdonnell-businessman-bonded-over-financial-needs-prosecutors-say/2014/01/25/a962e9d8-847c-11e3-bbe5-6a2a3141e3a9_story.html?hpid=z2

“The Chef Who Sank Bob McDonnell” by Luke Mullins/Washingtonian

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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MLK, LOL, OR IDK?

Do you know what I discovered?  I need to know if “anybody’s seen my old friend, Martin—can you tell me where he’s gone?”* I need to talk to him and let him know that I think his dream is slipping away.  I’m almost afraid to text any child—of any race—under eighteen years old, and ask what MLK lived and died for.  I’m afraid they’ll text back:  IDK!

MLK FB

Used by permission: David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Star

Recently, I had a dream that I went “knock, knock, knocking at Heaven’s door” (sorry Bob Dylan:  I’m in a musical pun mood today)—trying to get an audience with both Martin and Jesus.  I needed to speak with both of them because, if you think Martin’s message is waning after 45 years, poor Jesus’ primary message after 2,000 years (“Love one another as you love yourself”) is almost without resonance in a nation where 77% of people identify as Christians.

Martin wasn’t at home (probably went fishing with Mandela and Gandhi), so I slipped a message under the door.

MLK Bill Day Cagle Cartoons

Used by permission:  Bill Day Cagle Cartoons

Dear Dr. King:  I know that you are well—who wouldn’t be where you’re living these days and with the lofty company that you’re keeping.  I’d love to be a fly on a cloud to hear some of the conversations between you, Mandela, Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Frederick Douglas, and Harriet Tubman—just to name a few.  You must be having the time of your eternal life.  Anyway, before I get started into the core of this letter, I want to tell you that I really miss you.  The Earth misses you.  I first heard about you when you came to Cleveland, Ohio to talk about the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott.  I was only eight years old.  I didn’t actually hear you speak, but I heard enough about your speech to sassily reiterate a part of it (“a change is coming”) to my caretaker Aunt who promptly knocked me down a flight of stairs for being insubordinate when I used that phrase against her child abuse labor dictates.  I wrote about it in my book Monsters’ Throwdown in case you care to check it out.  Do they have Amazon.com in Heaven?

I got out of ignorance and want—significantly due to your efforts and others like you.  I got a great education, had great jobs through the years, lived well because of your efforts, traveled the world, and I have been married to the love of my life for 34 years because you made it clear that equality granted me the right to marry anyone I pleased.  I have lived your dream.

But, Dr. King, things are getting’ really crazy down here.   Almost everything you fought for is slip-sliding away for one reason or another—either because we aren’t paying attention and we’re throwing your dream away, or others are stealing it from us.

MLK FB II Joe Heler Cagle

Used by permission:  Joe Heller, Cagle Cartoons

I’m sure you’ve heard that income inequality in America is spreading faster than I can say “I have a dream” five times back to back, and proven character for all races and ages is becoming more and more a lost commodity.   Black-on-black crime is out of control in our major cities, the new slavery is the inordinate number of black males in prison before the age of 23, and the Supreme Court gutted the Voter Rights Act of 1964 that you died for.  It’s almost overwhelming.  In the meantime, I’ve stumbled on a couple of seemingly stupid things that point to deeper issues.  On the mundane level, have you seen what your image is being used for this year, and what it must suggest is happening with our teens about the sanctity of what you stood for?

mlktwerkparty thesmokinggun dot com

Advertising Poster Used for Michigan Teen Party (event was cancelled due to public outcry)

Your birthday and image is being used to advertise everything from a Miami strip club to a teenage weekend party.  I’ve enclosed a copy of a poster to one such project (the strip club poster was too racy to send to Heaven—I thought I’d be struck by lightning).  I think the teen party poster speaks for itself—you are no longer the Nobel Peace Prize Winner who fought for justice and freedom, but you are the gold-chain, Rolex-wearing, hoody-popping shill for a teen twerk party.

It gets worse, Dr. King.

Some of us who have gotten out of the ghetto, made lots of money, and basically “gotten over” don’t seem to have the brains we were born with.  The proven character that you spoke so much about as being our most valuable asset has gone AWOL.  Have you seen some of the Black reality shows:  “The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” “Love & Hip-Hop,” “Basketball Wives,” and “The Sisterhood” (preachers’ wives acting the fool)?  Yikes!  Money seems to be their most valuable asset—not character.

Then there is Dennis Rodman—a major example of freedom without character.  Why was he given all that game and money if he was just going to act a fool on the international stage?  We finally got something you wouldn’t have dared to dream about:  a two-term Black President.   But along comes a tattooed, alcoholic ne’er-do-well who uses his money and clout to kiss the ass of a cruel dictator who is a mass murderer and wants to bomb the USA into smithereens.  The President has enough assailing him without one of our peeps causing him so much embarrassment.

Yet, as I write this, I have a funny feeling that I need to pull the log out of my own eye before trying to pull the splinter out of the eye of the people I’ve cited.  What am I doing to keep your memory alive? Who am I serving?  What am I giving back to the community—to my country?   I better think about that before I get a chance to chat with you because I’m sure you’re going to tell me “physician, heal thy self.”   I’ll get back to you.

In the meantime:  Happy Birthday, Dr. King!

Love, from someone who owes you a great debt of gratitude.

Dennis Rodman Rick McKee The Augusta Chronicle

Used by permission:  Rick McKee, The Augusta Chronicle

I am discovering that I am guilty of taking Martin Luther King’s quest and dream for granted.  The celebration of his birth comes and goes every year, and I have come to think of it basically as another day off for me to catch up on my sleep and run some errands.  I confess that in the past, I focused more on assimilating my children onto the world stage so that they could have comfortable lives rather than making sure they knew and understood the cost that had been paid by Martin, Medgar, Meredith, John Lewis, and so many others who sacrificed everything for my children to live where they wanted to, attend the schools they wanted to, vote for whom they wanted, and marry whom they loved.  I have not done enough to affect the poison of poverty, unfair imprisonment, inequality, and racism in our country, which are rapidly rising and merging together like demonic rain-soaked rivers overflowing their banks that could consume my grandson and so many of his generation.  As one of the ones who has greatly benefited from Dr. King’s dream, I pray that in my sunset years, I may find the way(s) to make more of a difference—not only with my words, but through proven character.

Martin Luther King Live the Dream Nate Beeler The Columbus Dispatch

Used by permission:  Nate Beeler The Columbus Dispatch

MARTIN LUTHER KING QUOTES

“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

“Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.”

 “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

 “Let no man pull you so low as to hate him.”

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”

REFERENCES

http://newsone.com/2533345/black-reality-shows/#

http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/18/us/dennis-rodman-rehab/ 

*”’Abraham, Martin and John’ is a 1968 song written by Dick Holler and first recorded by Dion. It is a tribute to the memory of four assassinated Americans, all icons of social change, namely Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy. It was written in response to the assassinations of King and the younger Kennedy in April and June 1968.”—Wikipedia

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Keep Calm and Try Again

Do you know what I’ve discovered?   Something called a Polar Vortex slammed into my region (actually all over the country except for Hawaii) the last couple of days, and it took a bite-sized stability chunk out of my New Year’s resolutions which had only been up and running for two days.  I’m freezing, and no matter how many hot beverages I consume, I cannot stay warm—therefore, I am cranky and consuming carbs (to get warm) by the bucket load just to be able to think and function.  *My 2014 New Year’s Resolutions are:  Be Happy and Eat Less Carbs (notice I didn’t say the “D” word; I’m trying a more subtle approach—maybe my body won’t notice it is being tricked this year).

Cold Front Bill Schorr Cagle Cartoons

Used by permission:  Bill Schorr, Cagle Cartoons

As I was bitching and complaining to myself about my already failed 2014 resolutions, my husband (WW) came into the kitchen and announced he had just heard on the radio that most people fail their New Year’s resolutions within 48 hours of making them because their resolutions are usually too expansive and complex.

ME:      How can wanting to be happy and eating less carbs be too expansive?

WW:     Because all it took was a slight change in your environment and back into the cheese puffs you fell.

ME:      Don’t forget the mulled wine . . . But if one doesn’t make expansive goals, how will anyone’s dreams come true?  Last year I made a resolution to write and publish my book Monsters’ Throwdown, and I accomplished it.  http://www.amazon.com/Monsters-Throwdown-Odyssey-Discovery-Series/dp/1493616099/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1389234831&sr=8-1&keywords=eleanor+tomczyk

Polar Vortex Nate Beeler The Columbus Dispatch

Used by permission:  Nate Beeler The Columbus Dispatch

WW:     Actually, you made a goal to write your first book three years ago and just finished it last year.  Anyway, I didn’t hear the entire program, but I assume it would help to make two kinds of resolutions:  one simple and one complex, like your beloved carbohydrates.  I talked to our grandson today and even as a five-year-old he has two New Year’s resolutions:  His Simple Resolution—to get more play dates with anybody in kindergarten from here to California; his Complex Resolution—permanently and consistently “get over” on his mother whom he deems to be his arch nemesis.

ME:        I heard he’d managed to accomplish his simple New Year’s resolution and had set up at least one play date by stopping a total stranger-mommy and her son on the way home from school.   Without consulting his mother, he accosted the stranger-mommy and said:  “You need to give my mommy your cell phone number so I can have a play date with your kid.” The woman was so flabbergasted that she immediately turned over her phone number to him.  Now that is determination!  Did you ask our grandson how his complex resolution was holding up?

WW:     I tried, but he can’t come to the phone right now because he’s been grounded by his mother.  Apparently, she told him that he couldn’t take his chipmunk dolls (Alvin and Theodore) to school, but he decided that now was the time to turn into Baby Stewie from Family Guy and run inroads against his nemesis, The Mommy.  So he stuffed Theodore down the right sleeve of his coat and purposely left one of Theodore’s arms sticking out, while snugly hiding Alvin in the right sleeve—completely out-of-sight.  (Simon had been discarded at the last minute—there are only so many places a five-year-old body can hide smuggled goods.)

ME:        Oh yeah, his mommy told me about this.  Little Dude sauntered to the front door—replete with backpack—on his way to the bus stop, when his mother noticed a Chipmunk hand peeking out of his coat sleeve as if it were waving at her.  When she demanded that Little Dude cough up Theodore, our grandson dutifully protested (screams, flailing of arms, and gnashing of teeth) about the toy being taken away but finally acquiesced to proceeding without the contraband, knowing that Alvin was well hidden in his other sleeve.  Then, just when our grandson thought he’d gotten away with it, he heard his nemesis scream:  “LITTLE DUDE—WHAT DO YOU HAVE HIDDEN IN YOUR OTHER SLEEVE?  TURN IT OVER BUSTER!”

WW:     Did our daughter tell you what his punishment was for the attempted ruse?

ME:        Yep, loss of a play date.  I’m afraid it is back to square one for our pint-sized smuggler.

New Year's Resolution Dolls

WW:     This proves the point of the radio show:  stick to small goals and stack them up, and if you slip up (or get caught), it won’t be such a hard thing to pick yourself up and start again.  Want to lose weight?  Go for 10 pounds at a time, rather than 50.  Pound by pound, the overall goal will be achieved.  Want to win friends and influence enemies by showing off more cool stuff at the kindergarten show-and-tell?  Try schmoozing your nemesis with a subtler strategy so that she’ll let down her guard—perhaps by eating some dreaded vegetables every once in a while to make her think she’s really in control.  Ideas like that.

ME:        Okay, Mister Confucius, since you’re so smart, what are your simple and complex New Year’s resolutions?

WW:     My Complex New Year’s Resolution is to cruise to Hawaii before the end of the year.  My Simple Resolution is to save money by using smaller sections of paper towels, using less hot water, turning off lights when they are not needed, and turning down the heat to conserve energy.  I’m starting a “Hawaii or Bust” fund with my savings.

ME:        Do you plan on taking me with you to Hawaii?  Because I just used two rolls of paper towels on the hot chocolate I spilled all over the floor in my attempts to warm my innards; I turned the furnace up to 80 two days ago to thwart the Polar Vortex freezing my ass off; while you were away on business, I turned on all the lights to ward off the Boogey Man and kept them on 24/7, and I’m about to jump into a hot shower and stay there until Jesus comes back because I’m just that frozen!

Frozen John Darkow, Columbia Daily Tribune, Missouri

Used by permission: John Darkow, Columbia, Daily Tribune, Missouri

I am discovering that much as we Americans would love to have a perfectly shaped comet ride of our spiritual, emotional, and physical growth in life, that journey is more like an erratic dance:  two steps forward, one step back; repeat; stop; and start again.  We owe it to ourselves, our families, our communities, and our world to want to “do better.”  The beginning of a new year is as good a time as any to implement admirable goals.  The point is not to give up at the first Polar Vortex slam and try, try, try again!

*My “Real” New Year’s Resolution for 2014: Simple New Year’s Resolution—to treat others the way I want to be treated; Complex New Year’s Resolution—to be the change I want to see in the world!

******

“Another fresh new year is here . . .

Another year to live!

To banish worry, doubt, and fear,

To love and laugh and give!

― William Arthur Ward

 “’That which does not kill me makes me stronger’ is not a law of the universe. What it can be, if we so choose, is a resolution.”—Julian Baggini

“New Year’s Resolution: To tolerate fools more gladly, provided this does not encourage them to take up more of my time.”—James Agate

“How few there are who have courage enough to own their faults, or resolution enough to mend them.”—Benjamin Franklin

“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.”― Edith Lovejoy Pierce

NEW YEARS MEME STAR  TREK end

REFERENCES

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/tom-toles/post/news-years-resolution/2013/12/20/56d6c300-69a2-11e3-ae56-22de072140a2_blog.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/shiver-or-shrug-on-a-bitter-cold-day-the-ultimate-rorschach-test/2014/01/07/22633f48-77be-11e3-b1c5-739e63e9c9a7_story.html

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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2014: Never Give Up!

Do you know what I’ve discovered?  Reality star Khloe Kardashian has announced that she is exiting 2013 wanting a fresh start after the divorce from the disappointing marriage with Lamar Odom.  She can hardly wait to turn the page on 2013.  I feel your pain, girl.  Life can be a bitch, and rarely do we get to exit the previous year without getting a little banged up—sometimes completely banged up depending on our individual choices or the ramifications of the choices of other people beyond our control.

2014 David Fitzsimmons The Arizona Star

Use by Permission:  David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Star

I was meditating on this thought as I was watching “A Very Muppet Christmas” with my five-year-old grandson.   Whoopi Goldberg was on the screen playing a “godlike character”—siting on a couch in a field of flowers.  As I drifted off to sleep from the overeating of a standing rib roast, overstuffed potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and lots and lots of exquisite wine, I remember thinking that once again another year was slipping by without me losing enough weight so I could be mistaken for Halle Berry in the make-up section of Target.  Suddenly, somebody very Whoop-like was in my TV room and no longer sitting in a fragrant pasture giving advice to a Muppet rep.

Whoopi Name Change Meme

Whoopi Goldberg Meme (apologies Whoopi for the name misspell of the meme generator)

WHOOP-LIKE:   Hey, girl.  I see another year has passed and you’re still moaning about your weight.  Aren’t you a little old for that?  Check out my style—I’m lettin’ it all hang out these days and I’m feelin’ fine.

ME:        Whoop-like, what the hell are you doing sitting on my couch?  How did you get out of the TV?  I know it’s a Smart TV programed to do just about anything, but transporting you out of a Muppet movie is an entirely different subject.  It looks like the alcohol has started to mess with me.

WHOOP-LIKE:   I looked out from the scene into your living room and saw that no one was watching the movie.  Your grandson took off upstairs twenty minutes ago.  I think the reason he left was because you kept alternating between snoring (you snore like a freight train, girlfriend) and moaning the phrase:  “I must get back on my diet—must look like Halle in New Year . . .” What the . . .?

ME:        I’m positive that I did not say that!  The last thing I remember before I fell asleep is my grandson patting my belly and asking me if I had a baby in my tummy (everybody’s a critic these days).  I was so mortified that I mumbled something like, “let’s watch the Muppets, kid” as I pulled his teddy bear in front of my fluffer-nutter tummy and cuddled with him on the couch.

WHOOP-LIKE:   Well, now that I’m here—let’s chat.  2013 is coming to a close—what disappointed you the most about 2013?

ME:        Oh, that’s easy:  Our damn Congress—specifically the heartless, cold-blooded bastards of the Tea Party wing.  Ayn Rand is alive and well in the halls of Congress and Jesus is weeping.

Congress 2013 Year in Review Pat Bagley Salt Lake Tribune

Used by Permission:  Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune

WHOOP-LIKE:   Understandable.  That’s it?

ME:        Oh, no.  I hate that we adopted the words “selfie, twerk, and hashtag” into our vocabulary.  I can’t believe they have been added to our dictionary—Webster must be turning over in his grave, because I’m ready to commit hari kari if I read and hear these words ever again.  Also, I wish I’d never joined Facebook, and I’m surprised I didn’t go screaming into the night during the Presidential election season—especially during President Obama’s reelection.  Some of the people I know have lost their fuckin’ minds, and they never found them again. During 2013, some of them dug into their racist and homophobic holes and never came out.  I’m about one click short of posting a note on their FB pages that says:  “Did you notice that the one black friend you had is actually black?” And then one of the worst things about 2013 was the Affordable Care website glitches.   The poor Prez.  The Tea Party was doing cartwheels.  Of course, there was the one-year anniversary of Sandy Hook, and the reminder of all the people—especially children—who have died from guns in our inner cities, and yet Congress continues to fiddle while Rome burns . . . there is still no decent national gun control law!  My heart is broken for these families and in total fear for the safety of my own.

WHOOP-LIKE:   I hear you, and I’m crying with you.  But what are some of the things that surprised you about 2014?

ME:        Pope Francis (love, love, love the dude) when he started kicking ass about income inequality and not judging our gay brothers and sisters; Bill De Blasio becoming mayor of NYC with his progressive outlook and his gorgeous interracial family, and the outpouring of affection from all over the world for Nelson MandelaNewt Gingrich surprised me (can you believe it?) for his very elegant and courageous pushback against hateful remarks from conservatives when he wrote a tribute to Nelson Mandela.  When Newt got attacked, he came out swinging with a tight, historical assessment of who Mandela was and why he admired the man—why we all should admire the man.  My jaw fell onto my ample bosom.  Go, Newtie—it’s your birthday!  And then there was Antoinette Tuff—the black woman from Georgia who compassionately talked a white gunman off the “ledge” and not only saved all the students’ lives in her school, but saved the gunman’s life as well.  I could hear the angels doing a “whoop, whoop, whoop” from the heavens in her behalf.  I could hear them laughing at Wayne LaPierre’s stupid gun defense:  “The only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”  Ms. Tuff made me realize that I must never give up hope of doing the right thing and striving to be someone that God can count on whenever I’m in a situation that calls for courage, grace, compassion, and wisdom.

Antoinette Tuff Cartoonist Lowe

Cartoonist: Chan Lowe/ Sun Sentinel

WHOOP-LIKE:   Hum, that sounds like a good list for a starterKeep working on your list while I get back into the movie before my next scene.  It will take your mind off your fluffer-nutter tummy.  One more thing:  did you accomplish anything this year that you’re proud of?

ME:        Yes, yes, yes . . . I published my first book, Monsters’ Throwdown (http://www.amazon.com/Monsters-Throwdown-Odyssey-Discovery-Series/dp/1493616099/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1388556177&sr=8-1&keywords=eleanor+tomczyk).  I became a writer in 2013!  Can you believe it?  The book is selling well and getting great reviews.  This was a lifelong goal, and I did it!  Oh, and now that I have you here, would you mind giving me a shout-out on The View?

WHOOP-LIKE:   Don’t get greedy, kiddo.  You accomplished your lifelong goal in 2013 and you did it all without being a size six or looking like Halle—go figure!  Are you and WW still in love?

ME:        More than ever!

WHOOP-LIKE:    Than 2014 is starting off to be a very good year for you—a very good year, indeed.

***

I am discovering that each year of our lives has a mixture of good and bad.   We must embrace the good with all our heart while we have it.  As to the bad, we have no control over much of what happens to us, and part of growing up is to never lose hope and never give up as we press on to seize the day.  Of course there are some things we need to let go of—things that are not worth our energy—and that is trying to look like Halle Berry when one is 65 years old and has the figure of a Whoopi Goldberg.  Things like that quest have to be given up—not because they are unattainable—but because they are foolish, and foolishness is the tripwire that keeps us from crossing the finish line on any given day of the year.

2014 Hope Bob Englehart The Hartford Courant

Used by permission:  Bob Englehart, The Hartford Courant

“Never, never, never give up.”—Winston Churchill

“My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return.”—Maya Angelou

 “When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.”—Harriet Beecher Stowe

“For a writer, I’m not sure that feeling of knowing you’ve just written something good and strong can be trumped. Not because it means I did something right. But because it proves how many wrongs I pushed through to get there.” ― Cara Rosalie Olsen

“You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once but don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.”—Michelle Obama

 “God grant me the courage not to give up what I think is right even though I think it is hopeless.”—Chester W. Nimitz

President Obama vs Repub Destruction Bill Day Cagle Cartoons

Used by Permission:  Bill Day, Cagle Cartoons

REFERENCES

http://theweek.com/article/index/253863/why-newt-gingrich-is-getting-flak-for-defending-nelson-mandela

http://www.salon.com/2013/08/22/the_story_the_right_hates_antoinette_tuffs_courage/

http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2013/08/22/antoinette_tuff_911_call_listen_to_the_full_tape_of_ga_school_clerks_call.html

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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MONSTERS’ THROWDOWN KINDLE EDITION

Do you know what I just discovered?  Amazon has released my new book, Monsters’ Throwdown, on Kindle! 

frontcover

Kindle Edition Cover of Monsters’ Throwdown

http://www.amazon.com/Monsters-Throwdown-Odyssey-Discovery-Series-ebook/dp/B00HGEDE6K/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1387648072&sr=8-2&keywords=eleanor+tomczyk#_

I haven’t slept since my book launch last week, and I was still whirling like a Dervish but at a slower speed—more  like a windup toy whose battery is finally running down—when my husband, WW, tried to inform me of the release of the Kindle Edition of my book.

ME:        “Oooooooh, myyyyyy Goooood, IIIII’mmm fiiinaaally pubbbblished!”

WW:     “Hey, Cutie.  I’ve got more good news for you:  Amazon just released Monsters’ Throwdown on Kindle.  Now all your digital readers can get a copy of your book before Christmas.  Isn’t that great?

ME:        “IIIII ammm soooooo eeexciiited, IIII caaan hhhardlly ssstannd iiit, but I’m sooo damn tired.”

WW:     “I can see that—you’re beginning to sound like you’re drunk.  Looks like someone could use a nap.  How about giving your readers a quick shout out about the digital format of Monsters’ Throwdown and curling up on the couch for a nice afternoon siesta?

ME:        “Sssuuure . . .  They just need to check out (YAAAAWN) the link below.  In the meantime, have you seen my down pillow and my Snuggle blanket?”

http://www.amazon.com/Monsters-Throwdown-Odyssey-Discovery-Series-ebook/dp/B00HGEDE6K/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1387648072&sr=8-2&keywords=eleanor+tomczyk#_

Snuggle Blanket

Dear Blogger Friends and Faithful Readers:

My family is on its way here this very moment via trains, plains, and automobiles.  I will be taking off my blogging hat for the next couple of weeks in exchange for the hat of a mother who administers lots of hugs and kisses to world-weary adult children; I will also be ignoring social media during that time for the slobbery kisses of an adorable 5 year old that I’ll be reading bedtime stories to from a book that I can hold in my hands as we cuddle together, and I rock him to sleep while “visions of sugarplums dance in his head.”  Please note that I’ll be thinking of you all with a heart full of love and grace.  Happy Holidays and a very Merry Christmas to you all!  I’ll return with more hilarious blogs the first week of January.

Merry Christmas Rick McKee The Augusta Chronicle

Used by Permission:  Rick McKee The Augusta Chronicle

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
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Posted by on December 21, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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MONSTERS’ THROWDOWN IS HERE!

frontcover

Cover of Monsters’ Throwdown |Available at Amazon.com

http://www.amazon.com/Monsters-Throwdown-Odyssey-Discovery-Series/dp/1493616099/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1387028139&sr=8-2&keywords=monsters+throwdown

(AUTHOR IS CURRENTLY RUNNING AROUND HER OFFICE WITH A COPY OF HER BOOK IN HAND AND SPINNING LIKE A WHIRLING DERVISH WHILE HUSBAND—WW—IS TRYING TO CATCH HER AND BRING CALMNESS TO THE SITUATION.)

ME:        “Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God, OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD . . . MY BOOK IS FINALLY PUBLISHED!   OH, MY GOD!!!”

WW:     “There is no need to lose one’s head and use triple exclamation points.  There is never any need to use three exclamation points unless the sky opens up and God peeps through the fabric of the universe and announces to the entire Earth:  Surprise—I’m real, I’m black, I’m a woman, and I’m coming back!!!  Anyway, aren’t you going to tell people where they can buy your book and in what form?”

ME:        “Oh, yeah.  The paperback is available on Amazon and the Kindle Edition will be available at the end of December.   OH, MY GOOOOOOOOOD!”

WW:     “Well, at least tell the people what the book is about.”

ME:        “I can’t—I can’t breathe!  I’ll show them the back cover.  That’s the best I can do right now—OH MY GOD!”

backcover

Back Cover of Monsters’ Throwdown |Available at Amazon.com

http://www.amazon.com/Monsters-Throwdown-Odyssey-Discovery-Series/dp/1493616099/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1387028139&sr=8-2&keywords=monsters+throwdown

WW:     “Okay.  But I’m your manager and I need to put together a press kit that says more than ‘Oh, my God!!!’, so you need to answer some questions.  Who will like your book?  (And don’t tell me “everybody”—get specific.)  Why should anybody buy your book?  (And don’t tell me “because it is good, it’s really good”—I need details, details, details.)  For instance:  does it make a good book club read?  Tell me why I should buy your book.”

ME:        “Can’t breathe . . . hyperventilating . . . .  Yes, it is a perfect book club read.  It will generate tons of discussion.  I’m told it reads like a real-life Hunger Games, if you imagine Katniss Everdeen to be a chubby-ass-poor-black-child born in the ghetto, kicking ass, taking no prisoners, and marrying the love of her life. That’s it:  it is the true story of the mash-up of The Hunger Games and Cinderella.”

WW:     “Oh, good grief!  You’re not being any help in your excitable state.  How is this for a quick, down and dirty press release?

MONSTERS’ THROWDOWN: A Human Odyssey by Eleanor Tomczyk

BUY IT BECAUSE IT IS RIVETING

BUY IT BECAUSE IT IS A GREAT READ

BUY IT BECAUSE IT WILL MAKE YOU CRY

BUY IT BECAUSE IT WILL MAKE YOU LAUGH

BUY IT BECAUSE IT WILL MAKE YOU BELIEVE IN LOVE AGAIN

BUY IT BECAUSE IT IS WORTH THREE EXCLAMATION POINTS

***

A PRE-PUBLICATION REVIEWER: “I love this book!  It’s warm, witty, honest, and positive.  The author’s voice is authentic, engaging, and unstoppable.  The pluck and stick-to-itiveness of a girl with so many things stacked against her is guaranteed to be inspiration for every reader lucky enough to pick up this book.”

http://www.amazon.com/Monsters-Throwdown-Odyssey-Discovery-Series/dp/1493616099/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1387030862&sr=8-2&keywords=monsters%27+throwdown

P.S.  If you LIKE Monsters’ Throwdown, please tell your friends and relatives; if you LOVE Monsters’ Throwdown, please leave a review on Amazon.com.  Thanks so much!

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Santa Baby: Do You Feel What I Feel?

Do you know what I’ve discovered?  I have issues with Santa—have had them ever since I became cognizant of his existence.  In fact, I hate him!  As I was editing my first Christmas remembrance in my book, Monsters’ Throwdown (due to be released next week just in time for Christmas), it brought back painful memories of my attempts to get white Santa’s attention to stop by my poorer-than-dirt ghetto house and leave me a present or two as a poor-black-child.  I wrote letters, I said prayers, and I set out cookies and milk, but still no Santa (now that I am an adult, I have a strong suspicion that the rats who were as big as cats ate Santa’s snacks).  Once I started encountering Jews and discovered they got no visits from Santa either—whether they had been good as could be or not—I knew that fat white dude in the red suit made us all feel pretty much like pond scum by not showing up with presents for us.

Santa Sign David Fitzsimmons The Arizona Star

Used by permission:  David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Star

As I got older, I realized Santa’s lack of shimmying down certain chimneys had more to do with economic inequality on my part and religious preference in the lives of my Jewish neighbors; although later I would discover that a few of my Jewish friends had Christmas trees along with their Menorahs, and Santa had made a deal with their parents to drop by on Christmas Eve just like he did at the homes of some of the Christians.  Talk about having one’s mind blown.

I pretty much forgot about the likes of Santa until I had my own children.  We moved to Israel when my older child was two months old and our younger child was born there.  I was having enough trouble helping them understand the difference between Israel’s “Kippi Ben Kippod” from “Rechov Sumsum (an Israeli coproduction of Sesame Street)” and America’s Big Bird from Sesame Street. Teaching my children about a Santa who didn’t bring the other neighborhood children presents wasn’t worth it.  Plus, it never occurred to me to teach them about the fantasy of Santa given my history with the dude, although our neighbors did help us find a fir tree from a kibbutz in Galilee so that we would feel more at home on Christmas Day since they knew it was a religious holiday for us.   By American standards, it was probably one of the ugliest trees one could possibly imagine—decorated with strings of popcorn, cranberries, and ringlets of colored paper.  But to us it was magnificent because it was provided by our Israeli neighbors who all came down to our apartment to “ooh and ah” at it.  All of my neighbors went out of their way to wish us “Merry Christmas” and we wished them Happy Chanukah at the appropriate time during all the years I lived there.  (Did I ever mention how my Israeli neighbors were the salt of the Earth and always made me feel very welcomed as an ex-pat?)

Kippi Ben Kippod muppet wikia dot com

Actor Jerry Stiller arrives on the street and meets Kippi Ben Kippod (Israel’s Big Bird counterpart), who tells him about their dilemma – all the letters on “Rechov Sumsum” are disappearing!—muppet.wikia.com

Then one year we came back to the States for Christmas vacation and my older child was sitting on my mother-in-law’s lap while her grandmother was reading my child a story about Santa Claus.  “Who is this?” asked my mother-in-law as she pointed to a picture of Santa.  The more my baby looked at the picture in total confusion, the angrier my mother-in-law became in demanding a definitive Santa recognition.   Finally, my three-year-old broke out into a heartbroken sob out of fear and confusion because she felt she was making her grandmother, whom she was seeing for the first time, very angry about her failure to identify a fat man in a red suit with an enormous beard.  As I ran to rescue my baby from this stupid emotional quagmire, my mother-in-law turned beet-red and went ballistic:  “I CAN’T EVEN BEGIN TO FIND THE WORDS TO TELL YOU HOW MUCH THIS DISTURBS ME THAT YOU’VE NOT TAUGHT THIS CHILD ABOUT SANTA CLAUS!”  As I ran from the room cradling my frightened baby, I shouted:  “Ask her who Pippi Ben Kippod is—then maybe she’ll pass your stupid fantasy-man test.”  When we returned to my beloved Israel, I got an envelope from my mother-in-law containing only an Ann Lander’s column titled:  “Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus!”  (Did I ever tell you that I suspect my mother-in-law always hated me, and her words had the ability to make people feel like crap—no matter what the age?)

Santa Judgmental

My grandson (the child of the daughter that my now dead MIL terrorized about the recognition of Santa), went to see Santa the other day.  Apparently, it did not go well.  He refused to sit on the dude’s lap and pretty much lost it when he was coerced into coming within 20 feet of the fat man in the red suit.  Later that evening during our phone call, I asked him why he didn’t want to get next to Santa and tell him what he wanted for Christmas.  My five-year-old grandson astutely said:  “I didn’t like him—I didn’t like the way he made me feel—he made me feel all waggy and crunchy inside.  Anyway, Santa don’t bring me presents, Mommy, Daddy, Mama-Mama, Mema, and Grandpa brings me presents on Christmas!”  (Did I ever tell you that children have the ability to make us feel very clear-headed by their assessment of life, if we carefully listen?)  I’m sure my mother-in-law was turning over in her grave when she heard him say what he did about dear ol’ St. Nick.

As I was pondering whether the dislike of Santa could be passed down through a person’s DNA, I heard about three news stories concerning words:

Bill O’Reilly and Sarah Palin Uncovering War on Christmas—“Americans saying happy holiday tantamount to disowning Jesus—ram Merry Christmas down their throats in the name of Jesus!”

Pope Francis releases his “The Joy of the Gospel” and chastises the world “not to forsake the poor”—his words are challenging and riveting

Nelson Mandela dies at 95—his collective words and actions humble us and make us want to do better with our lives

Bill O’Reilly and Sarah Palin’s caustic words (they both have criticized our new Pope for being a socialist and a Marxist) made me feel all “waggy and crunchy” inside and made me want to cry, but the words by Pope Francis and the legacy of words left behind by Nelson Mandela made me feel so good, that all I could do was go out into the street and wish everyone I saw, “Happy Holidays, Season’s Greetings, and Merry Christmas with all my heart!”  When I saw the joy in the eyes of the people I had greeted, I knew that I had touched them with the true spirit of Christmas, and I felt really good, because I could tell I had made them feel good with my generosity of heart as well.

Pope Nativity Scene Steve Sack The Minneapolis Star Tribune

Used by permission:  Steve Sack, The Minneapolis Star Tribune

I am discovering that Maya Angelou was correct: “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.”

***

“I never believed in Santa Claus because I knew no white dude would come into my neighborhood after dark.”—Dick Gregory

“Believe in love. Believe in magic. Hell, believe in Santa Claus. Believe in others. Believe in yourself. Believe in your dreams. If you don’t, who will?”Jon Bon Jovi

“Our family was too strange and weird for even Santa Claus to come visit… Santa, who was jolly – but, let’s face it, he was also very judgmental.”—Julia Sweeney

“You know, in a way, ‘Dear Santa Claus’ is rather stuffy… Perhaps something a little more intimate would be better… Something just a shade more friendly….How about ‘Dear Fatty’?”Charles M. Schulz, The Complete Peanuts, Vol. 5: 1959-1960

***

IN REMEMBRANCE OF MADIBA

Your heart of forgiveness, your words of grace, and your brotherly love will be greatly missed.  You made us all feel that we could live better lives if we tried.

Mandela Meme

RIP NELSON MANDELA

1918-2013

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
6 Comments

Posted by on December 10, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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