Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Could We Trade Carlos Delgado for the 'Wall'?

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Among the biggest regrets I have for not growing up during the 70's (aside from missing out on the last remnants of disco, a crime ridden NYC, carefree unprotected sex, and the Summer of Sam) missing out on the wonder that is "the Electric Company" has to be one of them.

Morgan Freeman and Spider-Man at a Met game in Shea Stadium fighting the villainous "Wall"?


Via

The seven year-old inside of me just blew his fucking mind.

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Friday, May 23, 2008

Things to Do Other Than Kill Yourself: Memorial Day Edition


It's been a while since I've done one of these, and seeing as how relatively few will be taking this long weekend off to think, reflect, and pray for soldiers past and present (not like people are doing that everyday or anything) here's a rundown of things to occupy one's time other, than...well, you know, offing yourself. Cause killing yourself in honor of people who were supposedly killed in the name of protecting your right to bear arms and stuff kinda defeats the purpose, no?

Spend that Mutha*Ucking Stimulus Check


There are hundreds of smart, long term minded, financially beneficial manners in which to spend the check to jump start our stagnant economy. But this is Memorial Day, and what true, blue American would stand idly by awaiting growth potential and interest rates on a stimulus investment when you can simply blow that bad boy now? Fuck the future, the world's going to shit, people are horrible and we're all going to burn up and die cause of Al Gore.

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Peliculas:

While everyone's out getting their "Crystal Skull" on (as will I, though I abhor Shia LaBeouf, abhor!) here's some films to catch at your local pretentious art house theatre, or awful shameful films to add to your NetFlix queue:


"Reprise"

A Norwegian film that's been floating around for the better part of two years finally gets it's stateside release, and thank fucking God. Perfectly encapsulating the maddening uncertainty of the constant fluctuating nature of twentysomething-hood in manner that doesn't sink to idiotic teenage melodramatic idealism is a difficult chore for many, yet first time director Joachim Trier tackles the subject with a deft touch. Wonderfully acted and directed with beautifully rich, emotional touch, "Reprise" finds the right balance of darkness and humor without overwhelming the senses, while still maintaining a tension that leaves one entranced by the specter of simplicity.

Oscar Wilde's once noted, "Friendship is more tragic than love; It lasts longer," and "Reprise" conveys that sentiment-in a deeply affecting exploration of friendship, competition, love, and psychosis.




"Iron Man"

Now obviously, everyone who was going to see this movie has already seen it, and those that haven't just won't, but I just want an excuse to give props to my beloved RDJ and besides, maybe we should all consider seeing it again, if not for Gwyneth Paltrow's most bearable work since, uh, never, but for director Jon Favreau, who hopefully parlays this massive wad of dinero coming his way into a new season of "Dinner for Five," cause who misses seeing Favreau wax poetic with the likes of Rod Steiger comparing "On the Waterfront" with the emotional complexity of "Made" ? I know I do.




"Hors de Prix (Priceless)"

Seeking a rom-com reprieve from the insultingly inept "Made of Honor" and the disappointingly predictable "Baby Mama," here's the simple and delightful "Hors de Prix (Priceless)," a light French take on the old "Breakfast at Tiffany's" standard that does a commendable job layering the saccharine sweets. Audrey Tautou makes a surprisingly effective femme fatale and Moroccan comic Gad Elmaleh more than holds his own as the love struck john. All in all, "Priceless" is a nice cherry on top you don't mind saving the stem for tongue twisting later.




Go Go Gadget Godard

While I've always been in the minority in considering "Breathless" to be slightly overrated, I can't hide my glee in the amount of joy I derive from Godard's dalliances with experimental colors, sounds, conventional narrative structure, dialogue, and of course, beautiful women in beautiful places. A retrospective of Godard's 60's period is currently at the Film Forum: for cinephiles, it's a chance to rediscover an intriguing artist having some genuine fun with form, and for the uninitiated, it's adulterated fun immersing yourself in the foreign sexy nostalgia of Godard's 60s.

Definitely try catching:


"Une Femme est une femme (A Woman is a Woman)" -Anna Karina is magic.

"Le Mépris (Contempt)"- Bardot is Bardot, and Jack Palance is hilarious.

"Week End" -Discombobulated, dark, and delightfully dystopian.

"Bande à part (Band of Outsiders)" - Fun with Anna Karina, nuff said.

"Masculin, féminin" - I like Chantal Goya, and you should too.


Laugh it up.

Louis C.K. plays the Comedy Cellar this weekend. Pound for pound best stand up around. And it doesn't cost $100s+ (like some people) to see him live.

Tearing the Veil of Maya- Sunday Stand up show in Park Slope, BK hosted by Eugene Mirman and Michael Showalter. Act like you don't wanna go. UPDATE: Apparently they're on summer vaca, but Mike Birbiglia's on this week, and he's a fine, funny, friendly fellow.

Gravid Water- Definitely one of the best improv shows around, taking Broadway actors with memorized scripts and dumping improvisers into scenes from different plays with no prior knowledge of the scene, whether it be dramatic or musical. Always a fun adventure through scene work.


Via

This isn't an event this weekend but taken from an indie rock trivia comedy extravaganza this past week hosted by the illustrious Zach Galifianakis. Here's "so indie he's indie, indie rocker" Michael Showalter, conspicuously wearing the exact outfit I saw him rocking in class this past week. And yes, he is indeed awesome.


Actually 'Buying' Music

I may be one of the few dinosaurs who enjoy record shopping, but for my fellow anti-social brethren, one can only download so much without missing the smell of disgruntled record shop pretension.


Alex Cuba

Seeing this shy Cuban by way of Canada guy onstage at a Cody ChesnuTT show in BK several years ago, Alex Cuba has carved out a nice niche for himself with mellow, innocuous rhythms. His new album, "Agua Del Pozo" may lack some of the pop sensibility that his previous "Humo de Tabaco" carried, but it still goes well with a mojito on a warm, sunny Sunday afternoon just the same.




She & Him

I don't want to like her. I didn't want to like her. But sadly I do. And in light of the flat floppery of the supposedly raspy voiced one, maybe we needed Zooey to balance out the oftentimes misguided world of celebrity musicianship. Either way, "Volume One" is a nice, sweet pop album with a more than adequate female voice. Oh yeah, and she's cute or something. I don't know; I don't see superficial beauty. (Yes I do.)




The Black Keys

The Black Keys are one of those bands that you rarely name check as a favorite, then see live and remember, "oh yes, they are that good." Their new "Attack and Release" carries with it all the hype a Danger Mouse production customarily creates, and following the somewhat complacent "Magic Potion" is a welcome return to free form funkafied goodness.




Scarface

Definitely one of the most slept on albums of the past few months, Houston based Scarface's "MADE" is beautifully taut, powerful hip hop of the highest order. While lacking the bravado of Hova's "American Gangster" or the pomp and circumstance of the hype event that is "Tha Carter III", Scarface follows the pinpoint perfect production of "The Fix" with a low key, somber "MADE" that easily equals its predecessor in depth and replayablity. Touted as his last album, may we continue to celebrate classics such as this:




GO. OUT. SIDE. Seriously.

The weather's projected to be in the nice 70s, relatively warm, sunny; perfect weather for a run through the park, a pickup basketball game, drunken emasculating softball, or a stroke inducing pickup soccer game with the Sunday Latin/Italian soccer league.

An afternoon of embarrassing flop sweating
+ binge drinking with friends at the corner pub
= fun had by all.

Now go forth and BBQ, booze, ball it up and celebrate the summer coming upon us. Fire those aerosols into the sky. Global warming, Schmobal warming.


And enjoy.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Random Thoughts From a Random Guy # 11: 'BizzarObama' or Fear of a Not So Black, Black President


It was about eight o’ clock in the morning.

The only people in the office were my boss and I. I wasn’t trying to be a brown nose; I just couldn’t fall asleep the night before. This, in combination with my complete lack of interest in trying to field foolish questions from my customers about the state of their portfolios, led my mind to wander.


I slowly started to daydream about things, strange things such as what would the world be like today if Alan Keyes had defeated Obama in 2004. One can only speculate, and so I shall.


First of all, with a staunch pro-life advocate in the Senate, there would be a decent chance of anti-abortion legislature being passed.

Teenagers, fearing that they might get pregnant, would abstain from sexual intercourse. This would cause the already irritable species known as the teenage girl to become even more irritable.

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Their road rage would multiply, accidents would triple, and companies like Geico would become immensely wealthy thus making the insurance business the most lucrative profession outside of investment banking and prostitution.


With Keyes gaining momentum in the Senate he would then push for a complete stop to affirmative action, which in his own words “is merely another government patronage program.” If he were able to survive the inevitable assassination attempt that would follow, his eyes would light up like a kid in a candy store as the economic disparities between Blacks and Whites became even greater.


However, on a positive note, due to the greater influx of Whites into American colleges, and hence fewer African-Americans playing college hoops, Duke University, the masters of recruiting talented Caucasian hoopsters, would once again be a basketball powerhouse like they were during the days of Christian Laettner. At least some good would come of this.


Mr. Keyes, oblivious to the destruction he would be causing, would then proceed to abolish income tax. Without the wealthiest 5 percent pumping money back into the economy, it would collapse.

Rioting and pillaging would sweep the country; those who used to make fun of people named “Kunal” and “Abdel”, would have wished they hadn’t as India and Angola become economic powerhouses and "Kunal and Abdel" are now our bosses as we work at the only white collar job available: the call center.


Thank you for saving us from that one, Illinois.

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Monday, May 19, 2008

Journalism 101 with Lou Grant


For some inexplicable reason, I've been going through an unintentional journalism movie run lately, seeing the idealistic All the President's Men, the well-intentioned though greatly flawed Absence of Malice (did we really need the obligatory Paul Newman/Sally Field love scene?), and the surprisingly effective Shattered Glass (quite possibly the only role known to man best suited to accentuate Hayden Christensen's whining talents) on various twlight hours of the past week.

Maybe it was random coincidence, maybe it was a cosmic ethereal sign meant to ignite the dormant, disgruntled flames of my journalistic heart, or maybe I just need to stop watching random movies at dawn and double my dose of Ambien.

Either way, I stumbled upon the curiously overlooked and well written series, "Lou Grant," the Mary Tyler Moore spin-off that ditched the cheeky silliness of its predecessor in favor of a serious drama that did a pretty damn good job of showing what journalism is (or at least is supposed to be) all about.

In light of old media's quickening demise and the depressing state of today's aspiring 'journalistas' ala :



It's nice to harken back to a fonder day, when Happy Hour was spent bitching about how a source was a massive tool, why covering that 11am press conference always seems to be a total waste of fucking time, how editorial and production staff meetings feel like a scene from "the Outsiders" or why tape recorders are as a reliable as a free condom on Spring Break...



...oh Ed Asner, how I love you so.

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Oh Yeah...That's Why I'm Pro-Choice Part Deux

I know this has been making the rounds and been the subject of much humor, but am I being a bit over-sympathetic or is this just really kinda sad?

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Um...That's Not My Porn


ICYMI - Inside Edition Reporter Get Girls Gone Wild Videos to His Home

As a good friend of mine once said, "If you have to pay for porn, you're doing something wrong."

Perfectly encapsulated by LD:

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Friday, May 9, 2008

Do You Lykke Li?


Last night's El Perro Del Mar/Lykke Li show at the Bowery Ballroom reaffirmed a standard drunken frat boy belief I've long ignored till now : Swedish girls are, in fact, pretty freakin' awesome.

The triple female Swede bill was a showcase of sullen valleys and frenetic, neck breaking peaks. Unheralded Swedish opener Anna Ternheim kicked things off on a rather somber, if not surprisingly mediocre note with an innocuous cover of Bowie's "China Girl" (taking a bow every other song; really?)



For most of the crowd, the main event was blogosphere It Girl and soon-to-be-whored-out-by-some-commercial-that-will-drive-us-to-disown-her-cause-she's-so-fucking-catchy-good, Lykke Li owned the night with boundless energy, enthusiasm, and cute as a button goodness. (She was also the subject of a spirited debate amongst hipsters: "It's not 'Like-Lee,' it's 'Leak-e-Lee." "No, I definitely heard it pronounced, 'Lick-a-Lie.'")

One of my favorite singles of the year so far, "I'm Good, I'm Gone" closed her set nicely, invigorating the crowd with an energy that appeared to ignite them towards the flaming youthful wilderness of night (as evidenced by the mass exodus of spectators that left the Bowery nearly half empty by the time El Perro Del Mar took the stage).



The half empty house that remained got a nice, quaint, and glaringly stark drop off in energy courtesy of the Sea Dog, who quickly followed Lykke Li's set with a shy, reserved performance. Unlike her young, interactive counterpart, Sarah Assbring kept her words terse and minimal, at times allowing momentary guitar tuning breaks to drown in awkward silence. Although her performance was as beautiful and calculated as it always is, it was disappointing to see her surprisingly nervous energy translate to boredom by concertgoers, who loudly talked over much of her set.



Gradually, Assbring relaxed onstage as Lykke Li joined her for several songs as well as the encore, closing out the evening with a satisfying, though uneven performance by a soft spoken veteran somewhat upstage by her charming young counterpart.


(Via baonguyen)

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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Not So Random Thoughts From a Non-Degenerate Gambling, Nor Casual Celebrity Publicity Whore But Actual, Real Everyday Horse Racing Fan


Ever since I saw the great filly Go for Wand tragically breakdown in the stretch at Belmont Park as she was about to collar the Argentine filly Bayakoa and stamp her place into horse racing immortality, my heart fills with anxiety over any filly that enters the starting gates. I don’t feel this way when I’m in my T-shirt and jeans watching races in California, but I do feel this way when I’m not watching horse racing in California.


This is because California uses a surface called Cushion Track. This surface is basically similar to Polytrack, a track made of polypropylene fibers, rubber and silica sand covered with wax coating. The surface has more bounce to it. This means that the horse doesn’t really have to pull her hooves up as she would if she ran over a conventional dirt surface. The track basically acts like a springboard, thus reducing wear and tear. The end result is fewer breakdowns.


In its initial season at Turfway Park in Florence, KY, there were 250 races run on Polytrack and 3 breakdowns. The previous year, Turfway Park used conventional dirt. There were 24 breakdowns in 250 races. Polytrack caused a dramatic reduction in breakdowns. The results weren’t a fluke. Though I don’t have complete statistical information I have noticed a dramatic reduction in the amount of breakdowns I have witnessed.

A hotly debated topic amongst railbirds, the debate over whether or not to switch over to Polytrack or its sister surface Cushion track has gained some level of national prominence. The conventional dirt surfaces are unforgiving, especially Churchill Downs, however the surface cannot be totally blamed for what happened at this year’s Kentucky Derby.


Eight Belles was a very talented filly that dominated her rivals with an air of cockiness reminiscent of her father Unbridled Song. However, what most stands out in my mind about the filly is her morning workouts. You see, most horses gallop in the mornings with a professional jockey who usually weighs around 115 pounds on board. Eight Belles used to gallop with her 170-pound trainer Larry Jones on board. In horse racing, whether or not a horse can carry weight is an accepted benchmark of her sturdiness; this dominating grey filly could carry weight.


What this all adds up to is yes, the death of some horses is attributable to the dirt tracks they run on, but not Eight Belles. I understand that the public loves a salacious story, but there is just no evidence to support the claim that Eight Belles was a victim of cruel mismanagement. She was probably more a victim of fate. If there is a silver lining to all of this, it’s that more tracks will make the switch that California has made. The trendsetters of American horse racing, the California Horse Racing Board, will one day be seen as compassionate caretakers of the sport rather that rogues.

The amount of breakdowns that the sport has seen over the years will drastically be reduced, and perhaps one day the sport will be returned to its former glory.


Yet in the end, there will always be an occasional Go for Wand or an Eight Belles. This is fate; there is no governing that.

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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

That Ed Norton Kid's Alright, But He Ain't No Bill Bixby


Marvel may be salivating at its recent stock uptick due to the universally lauded "Iron Man's" success, but boy, their second feature from Marvel Studios has to have some stockholders nervous in anticipation.

I love Edward Norton as much as the next guy, if not more so. ("25th Hour" and yes, even "Keeping the Faith") But trailers for his most recent directorial turn leave a lot to be desired.



Granted, the first trailer of "the Incredible Hulk" was laughably awful, and this new trailer is an improvement, if your definition of improvement means shamelessly trading upon the cache of a once beloved television series, that lo and behold continues to trump modern day CGI-ed attempts at success (Note the television theme song "Lonely Man" callback at the end).

I know I'll probably see it (as my unabashed faith in Norton compels me so) and till then, I'll be reminiscing about the nights of my childhood captivated by a pre-"King of Queens" Lou Ferrigno who scared me shitless, yet somehow kept the idea of indestructible purple dress pants completely plausible.

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Pinpoint Passing, Precision Circumcising


Nothing warms the heart more than hearing about your place of ethnic heritage being discussed in the mainstream media for something besides participating in crappy reality shows, terrorist ties, or just being plain third world broke ass.

But having prospective NFL quarterback All Star college player Tim Tebow saving your homeland via circumcision?

Mabuhay Pilipinas indeed.

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PEHDTSCKJMBA! : Glitter and Doom Tour

The words "YouTube press conference" have never incited any semblance of excitement within me, until this came through...



Is it sad that I'm actually contemplating traveling all the way from NYC to Atlanta just to see him live? I think not. And you should too.

Chinatown bus, here I come.

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Monday, May 5, 2008

Out-Shallowing the Shallowest: Deal Breakers


A recent article in the NYT Book Review had an interesting essay on the issue of literary taste dictating romantic 'deal breakers' (as well as a sweet blog full of embittered, pretentious reader comments) which made me contemplate my own demons of Seinfeld-ian superficiality.

Most discussion of 'deal breakers' reside predominantly within the sphere of female analysis, with books dedicated to the topic advising women of the warning signs of "deal breakers" that may make or break one's idealized dream boat. And as Ms. Donadio alludes to in her article, the male species is of course ill-equipped for such discourse, what with us being all illiterate, insensitive, and what not. (I'm not trying to sound sarcastic; I'm actually with her on that point.)

Now as a self-serving service to one's personal social defects (as well as a counterbalance to the burgeoning masculinity of the Brown Cary Grant's recent post) here's a rundown of my favorite deal breakers I've accumulated through first, second, and hell even thirdhand experience:


Faux Literary Ability :
Nothing warmed the heart and precipitously cooled the jets faster than my ill-fated "she's cute + she's a writer = therefore, she must be a good writer" syllogism. We're all victims of our respective idealized projection from time to time, but thinking someone must be a great writer just because they have a decent taste in books, write in their private journals religiously, and aspire to write 'the next Great American Novel' does not defend their penchant for pompous IM/Twitter messages or an unflinching devotion to all things Samantha from "Sex and the City."


Constantly Questioning One's Blackness:
I'm presuming this is not a common deal breaker for many, but having one's 'blackness' or urban cred constantly called into question can be quite the turner offer. When the one testing your "streetness" attends an elite predominately white educational institution, has less melanin in 'em than you, and then proceeds to bag on your "straight hair and shit," you too may be questioning why you went through a Huey Newton period in your life.

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Empowered Independence Undermined by Dependence on Daddy Warbucks:
I love strong, opinionated women. And not in that bullshit manner in which a lot of guys claim to want an independent woman, but in reality just want a cute Rosie the Riveter wannabe to parade around and a June Cleaver to come home to. No, I LOVE in your face, fight with you till-the -cows-come-home women, with a strong point of view, and thoughtful arguments to back it up. Which is why it pains me to come across really bright, intensely introspective personalities who are brought down in a hail-fire of "oh crap, female empowerment can't afford that, but Daddy sure can," rationale.


Fetishizing Your Ethnicity:
It's perfectly fine to be attracted to people of a certain tone or ethnicity (Outside the bounds of rigid ethnocentricity and out and out racism). But to date a person primarily because "I've never had one of you" or to proceed to go so far as to proclaim "I totally love (Enter Here) culture and only date your people, cause you know, it's not like you're allowed to fuck me over or anything" is a sure way to end the night's festivities and further proliferate the hatred of one's own fetishized culture.


Genuinely Enjoying a Heinously Awful Guilty Pleasure Band, then Making You Feel Guilty for Making Them Feel Guilty for Liking Said Band:
Okay, obviously this is aimed toward my pretentious hipster brethren, but that being said, Christopher Cross and Steve Perry do not qualify as music you may blast in my room post coitus the morning after. (And obviously I'm referring to Perry's solo work and not Journey, because that would just make me an asshole.) And no, my admiration of Hall & Oates and ELO is not the same. It's like comparing apples and Steve Perry - not the fucking same.


Seasonal Social Awareness:
I'll admit it; I've faked supporting a social cause or two in my youth (damn Catholic guilt) but nothing burns the loins more than someone who seems really pro-active about something. Maybe there's just something attractive about someone with drive, determination, selflessness...or maybe it's a total fucking lark and you're doomed to evenings spent with pseudo-revolutionaries who plan on saving the world, all while resting on the security of the trust funds their yuppie parents have awaiting the passing of their rebellious stage. Either way, save the world, and shut the fuck up.


Inability to Have Serious Conversation Without Invoking "Like" Every Fourth or Fifth Word:
I know this is nitpicky, but it blows my mind how many people approaching the age of 30 (or over) are incapable of consciously editing out the word "like" during even the most sobering discussion. Most horrific example: "I was just, like shocked, you know? Like, he was dying there right in front of me, on like, the subway platform, like totally fucking bleeding to death, and like, no one was like, um, like doing anything. It was like, crazy. Like, this was guy totally stabbed to death." (And this person is currently working on a Masters in English Lit. =\ )


Invoking "Like" in an Intentionally Ironic Manner:
Yes, haha, I get it, they sound stupid. Seriously though. Stop it. Please? And does it really warrant an ironic T-shirt?

In the end, lists like these only serve to entertain, antagonize, and hell, maybe ignite monotonous gender divided debate and discussion till we all finally settle in, with our own respective dream guy/gal who of course meets absolutely none of the aforementioned criteria.


Such is the hypocrisy and wonder of life. Love, love, love it up. Till you hate anew, of course.

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Random Notes From a Random Guy: Deal Breakers


While Mr. Editor-in-Chief rambles on above, about his wussy idiosyncrasies, you can always rely on yours truly, the Brown Cary Grant, to impart my own brand of old-fashioned manly wisdom.

Everyone has his own "deal breakers"; things so detestable that even if the woman were perfect in every other way you still wouldn’t touch her with a ten foot pole.

Here are some of mine (in no particular order, though numbered cause I'm nice like that) :


1. A propensity for dying her hair purple or orange: You are not a Smurf or a character on Sesame Street.


2. Fanatical devotion to magazine tips: Just because Cosmo Girl told you it was okay to shave that off doesn’t mean it actually was.


3. A big forehead: I guess I’m just as superficial as the next guy.


4. A passionate hatred for soccer: I just won’t tolerate that type of prejudice; I just won’t.


5. A belief that that all Democrats are crazy Liberals sissies: We’ll see who’s a crazy Liberal sissy when Hill-Rod lays the smackdown on all those McCainiacs.


6. A woman who doesn’t love world music: Would you really be with a girl like that?


7. A woman who's...well, she's a midget: No offense to short women, I just don’t want to look like a pedophile, that’s all.

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