Category Archives: politics

Complaining for the Sake of Complaining

Sometimes you just need to vent for the relief you get from releasing all that extra fart-gas that builds up in the brain from too much politics and environmental stress.

Have you noticed that there seem to be certain pests that you just can’t seem to get rid of? Mosquitoes? Rats in the attic? Fairies in the garden? In-laws who need money?

The St. Louis Cardinals seemed to be poised, based on late-season improvements, to make a bid for a World-Series surge in the playoffs. But they were taken out by the Los Angeles Dodgers in a one-game wild-card playoff. Wait till next year again.

We find out more and more bad stuff and crimes from Trump’s Presidential Administration (Prexydental Apeynation?) every single week. And the criminal is still not in prison yet? If this were a true banana republic, he would’ve been executed after the coup failed.

I keep taking careful steps to improve my health and become physically fit enough to stay alive. And yet, I can’t seem to get healthy enough to visit the Bluebonnet Nudist Park for a second time. I called them and found out that they are very willing to take Covid precautions and help me out. But blood sugar balance and a number of small wounds that won’t heal keep me from going au naturel.

I am too old and irritated to go for very long without ranting about the general unfairness of the universe. I am mindful that people like me can easily become annoying and are no fun to be around. So, I try hard to limit the Mr. Grumpy vibes I give off in this blog to only a day or two per week. But I often fail. So, dang it! I just have to spout out a little more today. That fart-gas in the old brain cavity really builds up fast.

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Where We Now Stand

Where we now stand, if you are going by the picture, is out in the Texas sunshine and heat. We should be standing, if we were smart, under the shade of the mushrooms that grew up quickly as a result of so much unseasonable rain. Of course, that would be assuming that Mickey is currently a pixie with dragonfly wings, which he probably is not… at least, not right at this moment. Climate change is turning Texas into a giant pressure-cooker with enough leftover hurricane moisture in it to reach an explosive boil by the end of July.

We are being manipulated now by the crafty, vile servants of the deposed idiot-king, treating the righteously-installed successor as an illegitimate usurper.

We are hearing now the testimony of the castle guards as they detail the failed assault of orcs and other monstrosities as they tried to dethrone the legitimate ruler. And one wonders why there are not more beheadings going on in the currently secure castle courtyard. The villains apparently have gained more rights than they deserve.

Still, in a kingdom beset by many ill omens and partisan Republicans, there are good things happening too in the sunshine.

Mickey’s latest free-book promotion only gave away two e-book copies of The Boy… Forever. But one of those resulted in a positive review.

And my mother, still in the hospital, is stabilized and getting the treatments she needs for her old heart.

So, we stand together tentatively now, worried about what tomorrow and the next election may bring. But holding the high ground, a good defensive position.

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Mr. Grumpy Holds Forth

(This is an idea that comes from Bruce the Bottle Imp, so, don’t blame me if this humor blog-post isn’t really very funny.)

The thing I am grumpy about today, besides the dog chewing up last night’s pizza box and spreading the shreds all over the kitchen before I had a chance to take it to the trash barrel, is the fact that it seems like the world is ending.

I know, the “How can you say that?” crowd are going to argue with me if I say it’s because we let Adam Sandler get away with making too damn many movies. But in spite of the existence of Jack and Jill, I actually kinda like the cartoons where he plays Dracula and Selena Gomez plays his daughter. So, Sandler doesn’t give me the feelings of existential dread his movies used to provide.

No, I think the reason is because when I went out to walk the dog this morning on a sunshiny and blue-skyed dawn, and took a deep breath of fresh air, I nearly coughed up a lung thanks to that yellow-gray patina delicately painting the horizon.

We are running out of time.

President Grandpa Joe, the mildly confused one, is proposing a huge infrastructure bill that is even larger than the one he rammed through congress without a single Republican vote in order to keep the poor and the middle class from starving and becoming homeless… and potential fuel for the zombie apocalypse. The infrastructure bill will provide a starting point for building green-energy projects, providing thousands of green-energy jobs to an ailing economy, bullet trains and healthcare improvements, and life-changing transformations to rival FDR’s New Deal, which Republicans will also vote against. And he might actually do it if Senator Turtle McConnell doesn’t convince Senator Grumbly-Grampa Joe Manchin to vote against his own party in dismantling the foofy filibuster and then voting down the infrastructure bill both to fully insure the extinction of the human race.

For some reason, probably involving dark money, Republicans want so badly to see all middle class and poor people die a horrible death that they are willing to sacrifice the lives of their own grandchildren and great grandchildren. After all, they will mostly all be undead and undying critters by that time, and they won’t want pesky younger generations to support using money from their treasure hordes that they are planning to swim in like Scrooge McDuck for eternity.

I am also deeply grumpified by the whole Congressman Eddy Munster… er, I mean… Matt Gaetz thing (seen pictured in the Vampyr Paffooney above.) That happy-go-lucky blood-sucker is facing child sex-trafficking charges involving a 17-year-old girl, and the investigation was started under Attorney General Bill Barr, Trump’s Fred-Flintstone-impersonating, Yabba-dabba-doo collusion-denier. Senator Al Franken(berry) of Minnesota, a leading Democrat, had to resign from the Senate over a picture where he wasn’t actually touching the sleeping Republican-lady’s boobs, just making a crude joke-photo the way former Saturday Night Live comedians will often do… er, well… doo doo. But Eddy Matt Gaetz doesn’t have to resign, or even give up his assignment to the Judiciary Committee. And that’s because we’re okay with unindicted criminals running our country, just not Democrats.

I hate to say it, but, now that we have gotten rid of the Orange Prexydent at long last, if we still can’t prevent human extinction, we deserve what’s coming to us. We have work to do…. and things to grumble about… and Republicans have acts of vampire-evil to commit.

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“Oh, no! Not Dr. Seuss!”

“And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” “The Cat’s Quizzer,” “If I Ran the Zoo,” “McElligot’s Pool,” “On Beyond Zebra!” and “Scrambled Eggs Super!”

Apparently, according to conservative-minded friends and cousins on Facebook, evil liberal Democrats are out to cancel and get rid of Dr. Seuss. They are taking seriously the warnings of the good-hearted, common-sense broadcasters at OAN and Fox News and rushing out to buy copies of Cat in the Hat, Horton Hears a Who, Green Eggs and Ham, and Oh, the Places You’ll Go before the communist-leaning book-burning enemies of the people get ahold of them.

I say to this dire warning, “Okay! Great! Buy every wonderful Dr. Seuss book you can get your hands on! That’s the right thing to do!”

But I would be remiss in my duty not to also say, “Don’t spend a thousand dollars on e-Bay to get a copy of And to Think that I Saw It on Mulberry Street.

Let me say this, as a teacher who taught reading skills in all of my thirty-one years as a public school teacher, I always made use of Dr. Seuss books whenever and wherever possible, even reading Fox in Sox aloud to gifted students (and reading those tongue-tying tongue-twizzlers as fast as it is possible to read aloud without wrapping my tongue around my eye teeth and crashing into my molars because I couldn’t see what I was saying.) (Which the kids always found profoundly entertaining.) And I celebrated Dr. Seuss’s birthday every March since that became a thing in 1988.

But I also think that we have to recognize that Theodore Seuss Geisel, Dr. Seuss, is a man from a different time. Some of the tropes and techniques he learned and employed in the 1940s as a political cartoonist and ad illustrator are no longer appropriate in the time of George Floyd and Asians being attacked over the “Wuhan Kung Flu.”

Remember, his cartoon skills were developed back when America was fighting propaganda wars with the Axis powers.

So, in some of his works, he may have been guilty of some outdated thinking and is unintentionally racist in some of the things he cartooned and thought were funny.

And of the books that will no longer be published, I admit that I read and enjoyed If I Ran the Zoo while I was learning to read in the first grade. And I think I read McElligot’s Pool in school in 1965, but I don’t really remember what was down there at the bottom under the protagonist’s fishhook. I looked up a hard-to-find copy of And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street in 2009, and saw that it was not really right for my ESL class at that time. The other three controversial books I haven’t even heard of before this whole thing first outraged Fox News reporters. These six books were not available for purchase from either Barnes and Noble or the Dr. Seuss website before the controversy.

So, I love Dr. Seuss. But I am not worried. Democrats and liberals like me are not trying to do away with Dr. Seuss. In fact, Random House publishers are not even the ones who decided. Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the business that preserves and protects the author’s legacy, announced it would cease sales of these books. So, this is purely editorial in nature and certainly within the rights of Dr. Seuss’s family, friends, and promoters to do.

But by all means, buy up more Dr. Seuss books! Give them to kids you care about! I can’t think of anything I would rather have conservatives, Republicans, and Fox News viewers doing than reading about Horton, the Grinch, Sam-I-Am. and Daisy-head Maisy.

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Polly Ticks!!!

Yes, I am really, really tired of politics. The crappiest of crappy people always seem to win. And everything I learn about them in the news makes me more and more disgusted with them. They don’t tell the truth. But I can’t call them liars. I tell lies all the time because I write fiction. My lies are wrapped in creative ideas, perceived underlying truths, and jokes. (Okay, maybe not always good jokes, but I am not guilty of machinational prevarications like they are.) They use propaganda tactics to twist and tear people’s understanding of what is real and what is important. They are actively seeking to take power in order to enrich themselves and let us bear the consequences. They are cutting out and going to Cancun with their daughters and rich neighbors while the rest of Texans are freezing to death and going without electricity and water.

And now that the orange one is no longer Prexidense, I was looking forward to never having to say his name in this blog again.

But even though the monster himself is now exiled to Mar-a-Lago Goolf Courses, we still have to deal with the nuclear fallout from his four-year rampage, and all the other monsters the radioactive ideas have mutated 70-some million Americans into.

You see, the real problem is what the radioactivity has morphed the American experience into. Since the Prexidensity of Ronald Reagan, the shift has been from doing what is right for the nation as a whole into doing what most benefits the privileged and wealthy elite. This they do by convincing the unthinking that they need to fear the “other,” whether that be black people, Black Lives Matter, Antifa, Muslims, Jews, or retired school teachers… you know, all them communist badguys. And they dangle policies in front of stupid people’s eyes that say, “Through trickle-down economics you can one day be rich like us and all the people that we hate will be punished and America will be Great Again” And all of those run-on, mangled incentives are prevarications. Snake oil. A con game that leaves the listener broke and exploited.

And in a mean-spirited way, they try to deny us anything that will help everybody, to the point that we will no longer have any air to breathe and the planet will boil itself to death.

Is there a way out? Is there a chance that it will get better now that the orange one is, at least temporarily gone from the main stage? Probably not. But the dance of the rich folks on the radical right (The horse’s rear end in that last cartoon) will stop when they reach the point where they are forced to eat their own feet because all the people that work for them on less than a living wage will have starved to death.

But not everything in politics is bad all the time. Sometimes our better angels do make a difference. And there is hope. At least until the Republicans manage to vote it all down again… with electoral-type votes where somehow you don’t have to have more votes to win.

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Toxic Politics

Yesterday I thought the nightmare was going to be over with the confirmation of Biden’s victory. I wrote a post lamenting that it appeared Donald Trump would get out of the office without ever being repudiated or convicted of any of the crimes we have been witnessing for four years.

I posted it before the insurrection began.

I know some of my friends and relatives get their political fixes by mainlining Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Ann Coulter. Some of them even believe that Mark Levin is an honorable and intelligent human being. I was disappointed to see how some of them have concluded that the insurrection was justified. Or blame it on Antifa.

I don’t give up on them. I don’t hate them. But they are wrong.

The best way to explain all of this is to review what made my politics what they are.

I was born in 1956, during the Eisenhower Administration. Quite naturally, I was part of a family that identified as Eisenhower Republicans. I learned to believe that the hero of WWII was what a president should be.

About Labor he said in 1956, “Labor is the United States. The men and women, who with their minds, their hearts and hands, create the wealth that is shared in this country—they are America.”

About Business he said, “Beginning with our creation of the very successful Small Business Administration, and continuing through the recently completed studies and recommendations of the Cabinet Committee on Small Business, which we strongly endorse, we have focused our attention on positive measures to help small businesses get started and grow.”

These are statements from the Republican Party platform.

President John F. Kennedy took over as President in 1956. He was far from a perfect man. But he was an idealist, and had the potential to be one of our best Presidents ever. He stared down Soviet leaders during the Cuban Missile Crisis and peacefully resolved what had the potential to be the beginning of a thermonuclear war. He took on the issue of racial inequality when the Emmit Till murder opened the eyes of both him and his younger brother Robert.

He took on Jimmy Hoffa and organized crime, and that was probably one of the most important factors in getting him assassinated. His potential greatness was cut off at the pass.

My political awareness really began with the Lyndon B. Johnson Administration and the Viet Nam War. My father voted for a Democrat the very first time because Kennedy won him over and he feared the outcome of a radical like Barry Goldwater becoming President.

Here is where you are most welome to debate me.

LBJ was an evil man, whom I believe had a hand in the assassination of JFK. I also believe he was a very effective President, but mostly because he felt guilty and instituted the Great Society reforms JFK had planned, as well as the Civil Rights Act. Much of the good he did meshed well with the goals of the Eisenhower Republicans.

But his Achilles Heel was the Viet Nam War.

Richard Nixon took advantage of the chaos in the Democratic party caused by LBJ’s resignation from the campaign and RFK’s assassination. He was almost as evil as LBJ (not quite as guilty of ordering murders as LBJ.) He undid the gains in Civil Rights with the toxic “Southern Strategy” by using dog-whistles like “bussing” and “law and order” to lure racists like Jesse Helms and Strom Thurmond into leaving the Democratic Party and becoming Republicans. And he tried to cheat in the 1972 election even though he didn’t need that to beat the excessively liberal George McGovern. He did do one good thing, he founded the EPA.

My father voted for him, but regretted doing so for the rest of his life.

I am skipping over President Gerald R. Ford because he was never elected. So, we as voters, bear no responsibility for any evil he may have done.

Jimmy Carter was the first President I ever voted for. He is the second to last moral man we ever elected President. Although he was a very good man, he was not an effective President.

He did broker a historic deal between Egypt and Israel for Middle East peace that lasted at least until President Sadat of Egypt was assassinated.

And this is where the really toxic problems began. You are certainly welcome to call me out for my opinions here.

President Ronnie “Dutch” Reagan, cowboy and movie star, was not an evil man. But he was not a good man either. He was wealthy, entitled, and basically willing to continue Nixon’s worst practices for the benefit of rich guys, and the disadvantage of poor people, especially poor people of color.

He began rolling back environmental regulations and the rights of unions to bargain for the betterment of workers. Here is where Reagan Republicans became a completely different thing than Eisenhower Republicans.

Then the George HW Bush years began. Bush who may have participated in the CIA’s part in the JFK assassination. Who definitely had a part in the Iran Contra Affair. He was more evil than Reagan, though still less so than Nixon or LBJ.

He flubbed up the “Read my lips, NO NEW TAXES!” thing that lost him the backing of the wealthy elite.

That, of course, leads us to this toxic and evil man. Seriously, he styled himself as the New JFK, but he had more in common with the old LBJ.

His Presidency is the start of the Neo-Liberal Toxicity. What is a neo-liberal, you ask? A Republican in a Democrat suit… or a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He turned on the Democratic agenda, making the policy goals all about business and money. He cracked down on minorities with crime bills, and sent jobs overseas with free trade policies. He might be a pedophile (though he deserves to be presumed innocent until someone actually releases the Epstein records.) He was not a good husband, a good role model, or even a good man. But he was a good President, and brought the economy back for at least the wealthy and the middle class. He is also a good speaker and can explain really well as he tells you how his administration is going to screw you.

And as the backlash to Bill Clinton being too nice to the middle class, we got Lonesome George W. Bush, the rodeo-clown President. His grin and flubs and political oopsies were all good cover for the evil he did. Again, after the Democratic administration made the economy better, he thoroughly broke it again. Bank deregulation became the new way to become an infamous pirate (like Carl Icahn, T, Boone Pickens, and numerous other big-bucks buccaneers.) Remember Enron?

And you can certainly argue this too, but somebody made an awful lot of money during 9-11. And where were the anti-hijack aircraft from the forces that normally protect the airways?

And they then needed a black man to clean up the mess.

They chose a very well-spoken man. They picked a very good man. A good husband. A good family man. A man who could do for the Presidency what Jackie Robinson did for baseball, break the color barrier and endure a lot of horse poop for his trouble.

He improbably brought the economy back to life. He conducted eight years of leadership without significant scandal. And he was a very good man.

Although it would’ve been good if he had not used drones to kill children, and if he had pardoned Edward Snowden.

And in the end, we were left with a government that fosters the worst income inequality the world has ever seen. The environment has been abused for profit at levels that none of us will survive. And the backlash for eight relatively good years with Obama was four years of… yeah, that. We saw it in action yesterday. I am ashamed to be an American. I have hope for the future, but also a lot of anxiety to temper it with. And my confidence in good government is at all-time low.

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Pumpernickel Is More Than Just a Silly Word!

pumpernickel

We descendants of Germans  all understand something you all probably don’t know, and might have a hard time actually accepting.  Germans and German Americans like to simply call things what they are… but we do it with remarkably silly words so you don’t take things as seriously as you probably should.

Seriously…  Pumpernickel bread looks an awful lot like a cow pie.  Don’t know what a cow pie is?  That’s because you don’t speak Iowegian. Remember that post?  A cow eats grass, digests it for a while, bakes it in the secret methane chambers embedded secretly within every living cow, and then the old garbage shoot plops out the cow pie.  Flies love to eat it.  The grass grows fiercely after absorbing what the flies and maggots leave behind.  Yeah, that.

The bread originated in Germany where, as I have so graciously pointed out to you, they call things simply what it is.  Pumpern in German means to break wind. Nickel is a variant of Nicholas or Nick, which is the name der Teufel, err…the Devil often goes by.  So the bread is called, in its simplest translation, “Devil’s fart bread”.  Isn’t that rich?  And it tastes good too.

But what’s the point of praising pumpernickel?  Well, it brings to mind in Mickey’s mangled mish-mash of a mind an old Daffy Duck cartoon.

220px-The_Scarlet_Pumpernickel_Title

Yes, the tale of the Scarlet Pumpernickel has been playing out in Monkey Town where the Great Orange Buffoon in charge of it all is busy making Nixon noises.

the-scarlet-pumpernickel-c2a9-warner-brothers

 

 

 

“Yes, my lord, there is an investigation  into the Russian connection between your henchmen and Vladimir Putin,” said Director Comey.

“Hmmm…  Fake News!  Very Sad!” moaned the Buffoon.  “Comey, I appreciate you smearing Clinton and all you did to help the greatest most historic election ever… but you’re fired!

scarlet

“Aha!” says Comey, revealing himself to be the infamous hero, the Scarlet Pumpernickel “…now I have you, my lord! But, wait! Fired, you say?  Um, you do have the authority to fire me, don’t you.”

“Now, clear out your desk, loser!”

“Ah, but this action makes you look guilty, my lord.  Perhaps the sting of my sword of justice will prick you in the behind yet!”

“Sessions!  Defeat this loser for me!  Very sad, sick man!”

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“Me thinks you have not heard the last of the Scarlet Pumpernickel!” cried Comey as he leaped out the tower window into the chasm with a river at the bottom far below.

What happens in the next episode of the saga of the hero named after devil fart bread?  Only time will tell.

thescarletpumpernickel (22)

Interesting way to introduce my latest Monkey President cartoon attempt to depict Trump… no?  You do realize he’s a German American too?

C360aaa

 

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Only Bad Guys Seize the Moment?

Political opinions are like dead fish…

You have to use them while they’re fresh because they quickly start to smell bad, and they then can make you ill.

He never should’ve won in the first place. He lost the popular vote. FBI Director Comey and the Russians gave him boosts over the finish line that he didn’t deserve. And after he got away with stealing the election, he went on a crime spree that went completely unchallenged by his own party. In fact, as the party totally in power, they supported some of the very worst offenses he committed against the average people of the United States. He took away environmental regulations to hurry along the killing of our atmosphere, and eventually the biosphere of the whole planet. He struck damage into renewable energy initiatives, pulled out of the Climate Accords, and championed polluting coal over anything sensible in the name of bringing back coal industry jobs, which he promptly failed to bring back.

He undercut farmers by taking away Chinese markets with tariffs, thereby contributing to hunger in China, bankruptcy for family farms, and a boom in China sales by Brazilian farmers.

He then screwed over DACA recipients who are basically raised to be Americans, kidnapped children from asylum seekers at the Southern border, and spewed hate-and-fear rhetoric all over the American media mindset.

He has subverted the basic values of not only the Republican Party, but the whole of the United States as well.

So, we used our voting power. And a record number of votes were cast to bring him his karmic reward.

But my question now is simple. Are we really gonna let him run again in 2024? He committed high crimes and misdemeanors. Shouldn’t we lock him up rather then let him continue to steal money from Republican donors, throw anti-election tantrums, and produce the touring company of the Rudy Giuliani Clown Show?

Pat Bagley / Salt Lake Tribune

Any other worker fired for total incompetence would immediately be shown the door and the replacement would immediately get the chance to start fixing the damage his incompetence caused.

Can’t we do that now? Why does this cat get to poop in the government sandbox for another month and a half? Do we really have a shortage of turds in Washington? Flush him already!!! If he were anything but a Republican, he would’ve been down the toilet hole after his first year.

They say you don’t get the government you vote for; you get the government you deserve. But what did I ever do wrong to deserve this?

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A Welcome Dawn

After the night I had, with Parkinson’s symptoms, chest pain, fainting, and loss of both perception and short-term-memory abilities I was happy to record this sunrise.

I thought around midnight that I was having a stroke. I lost about an hour’s worth of time, not with passing out or with sleep, but with unwanted time travel. I remember checking the clock and seeing 3:25 a.m. and then, after my next dizzy-stepping trip to the bathroom, my stupid, lying eyes saw 2:20 a.m. So, I doubled-checked, even resetting my phone to be sure, and all three time displays agreed that I had traveled back in time. Of course, maybe it was me misreading the earlier time. Yet, I am in the habit of double-checking every trip, once upstairs and once downstairs, and I distinctly remembered the 3:25 blinking on my phone. So, my mini-stroke may have been unwanted anomalous time-travel instead.

Never-the-less, I did not die in my sleep as per expectation. I was glad to see that Biden was ahead of Trump and only not the official winner because the Trumpalump and his terrible Trumpkins would act like trolls and break stuff if the victory in the election went to Biden only on the basis of… you know, more votes, both ballots and electoral college electors, and the math that proves it.

Anyway… I am still here. And with luck, tomorrow too.

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Up and Over the Hard Hill

I made it there. I voted. I am a pessimist and fully expect the pumpkin-head prexydink to win reelection and then succeed in dooming planet Earth. But I got my one little vote against him cast and counted. I no longer have to feel like our collective ultimate doom is all my fault. And I probably didn’t even catch COVID.

The polling precinct I was assigned to is in the middle of white-racist suburbia where threatening Ilhan Omar with deportation or death is a favorite sport watched nightly on Fox News. I fully expected an hours-long wait to vote, since there are black and Hispanic voters not far from here that have to take a day of work (if they are lucky enough to still have a job) to wait seven to eleven hours just to get in the door. And last time Trump supporters were riotous and jubilant in voting en mass, intent on sticking it to Hillary. It was crowded.

This time… no lines and very subdued. I voted in less than ten minutes after arriving.

I wonder. Are they ashamed to vote for him again? Or are they all on ventilators after the last Trump rally?

I am not gloating. I fully expect to lose again. Nothing gets you a political victory faster than corruptly giving the keys to the kingdom to your rich donors with unlimited dark money. But it is important to be on the right side even if you are doomed to lose the war.

Anyway, I did it. As hard as it was to climb that hill and vote at the top, it was a pleasant stroll on the way back home.

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