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Frank Mahony

…and brief smoking

12/17/2008   Comment on This

I heard a radio commercial for a movie the other day. I don’t remember what the movie was but at the end of the commercial, they gave the movie's rating. It was something like this:
This movie is rated “R” for adult language, nudity, drug use and brief smoking…

At first, I thought I heard it wrong. Brief smoking?

I replayed it in my head and decided I DID hear “brief smoking” as one of the reasons why the movie was rated “R”. I couldn’t believe it, so I googled “smoking rated R” – and up came pages and pages of articles that discuss how the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) is expected to use smoking as a factor in determining if a movie is rated “R”.

Apparently, I didn't get the memo on this.

So far, it seems that no movie has been rated “R” just because of smoking. The American Medical Association (AMA) is mad about this. They argue that movies glamorize smoking which causes kids to start smoking. Yeah, yeah, yeah. This is the same agrument about movies and video games causing kids to perform violent crimes. Never mind the fact that the most violent times in history were before movies or video games.

I sat puzzled upon thinking about this. I understand all the “good intentions” but where do political correctness, personal accountability and parental guidance intersect. I really think this whole line of reasoning is heading off the deep end. It kind of makes you wonder where this trend will lead as the people of the future try to shield and protect everyone from every potentially bad thing in the world.

Imagine this promo in the year 2109:
This summer, from director Duplicitous Spielberg (cloned from the toe-nail of legendary movie maker Steven Spielberg)
Unnecessary Unsightliness – a hologram-movie staring Brad Jolie and Angelina Pitt about a young man and woman that encounter things they were never prepared to see.

This hologram-movie is rated “XXX” as it contains ugly and/or overweight people, fast food, moments of unproductiveness, complicated words, cloudy weather and brief smoking…


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Frank Mahony

Where Do Old Television Careers Go to Die?

12/11/2008   Comment on This

Have you ever heard the myth/story about elephants being drawn to an elephants graveyard when they’re about to die.

I think I found an even more mythical destination; it’s the place where fairly successful former television actors go when their career has been over for a while. When they get there someone talks them into doing a bad television or radio commercial.

I have nothing against commercials or informercials featuring celebrities. They are a valid advertising and infotainment medium.

What’s really funny and awful is the low points some of the commercials have hit lately. Paul Michael Glazer from Starsky and Hutch fame is on a “late night” television commercials with possibly the worst video quality I’ve ever seen. It’s so bad that I cannot remember what he’s hawking – some get out of debt thing I think.

A few years back, Tom Bosley, from Happy Days was selling some home business catalog company. When he was doing Glad Garbage bag commercials – I was ok with that. But I don’t get why he got involved with a catalog company. He was a pretty big star in his day. Maybe he has a piece of the action.

Recently, I heard a radio commercial featuring the professor from Gilligans Island and in the background was an "elevator music" version of the Gilligans island theme. Just like with Starsky, I don’t remember what he’s pitching because I couldn’t stop laughing long enough to listen to what he’s saying.

When he said, “you don’t have to be a Professor to know …” I lost it.

Bottom line – beware of a commercial that features an old sitcom theme song.

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Frank Mahony

The Guardian Angel of Parking Lots

12/4/2008   Comment on This

I’m sure I’m not alone on this. I’ve developed a case of “Parking Rage” and I need to vent verbally before I do something physically that I’ll regret. Driving in parking lots has become like driving through an enemy territory gauntlet – especially now that the “Holiday Shoppers” have landed.

My biggest issue is backing out of my parking space…

When you’re trying to back out of a space, idiots come flying past and around you, even if half your car is already out of the parking spot. You are a reasonable person and understand that you are driving a large dangerous vehicle while many people act like we’re all driving bumper cars – where anything goes.

All the Mario Andretti antics are usually to get to some “closer” parking spot so they don’t need to transport their fat ass an extra 20 yards on foot.

Sometimes, the truest of morons walks behind your car while you’re backing out. Your white reverse lights are on, your car is in motion, you are already backed several feet out of the parking space, but they walk behind your car with no concern – eyes forward in a glazed trance.

I believe that based on Darwin’s theory, they are supposed to get hit, which would help end a lineage of subspecies that escaped natural selection. But surprisingly – I don’t see that happening.

Darwin didn’t factor the guardian angel of parking lots into his theory.

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Frank Mahony

Toaster Pizza

11/23/2008   Comment on This

When I was a kid, I remember that when mom and dad went “out on the town,” we would frequently be rewarded with a pizza, delivered from the local pizza joint, to enjoy with the baby sitter. Time spent with the babysitter is a whole ‘nother topic for a different blog.

Anyway…

toaster pizzaI’m sure we were less difficult to handle after a pizza carb overloading. Pizza delivery was a special treat back then. This was before the Chicago deep dish was widely available in our neighborhood – so we’re talking thin crust.

As a kid with Italian blood and a fat future ahead of me, that “left over” pizza was calling my name from the fridge the minute I woke up on Saturday morning. There was nothing better than cold pizza and cartoons.

Eventually, we realized it would taste better if it wasn’t 40 degree cold pizza, but we were too young to be permitted to touch the oven. To my own kids’ dismay, this was all in the pre-microwave days. When I tell my kids about life before microwave ovens, they look at me like I’m talking about the cave paintings of Altamira.

Thus, an invention based on necessity: toaster pizza

Being the smart kids that we were, we determined you could put two squares of cold pizza in the toaster to warm them up. You had to watch it though, if you let it heat too long without forcing them to pop up, the cheese got overly melted and the downside was significant. It did leave an unmistakable scent in and around the toaster but by the time mom and dad made it downstairs, we had the evidence squirreled away.

It was “toasty good” until we got caught one time – which put an end to toaster pizza.

You know the drill - We could have started the house on fire… The toaster could have been ruined… and blah, blah, blah…

Sadly, I firmly believe an entire new genre of kitchen appliance went extinct on that day.

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Frank Mahony

Boycott Kentucky?

11/10/2008   Comment on This

Ok, I admit when I first heard this story, I thought to myself - Do I really even need a good reason to boycott Kentucky? I’d do it because it sounds funny.

Well it turns out there is a good reason to Boycott Kentucky.

The recently elected governor of Kentucky came up with a plan to increase revenue through gambling taxes. But first, he needed to get rid of the competition. If this plan sounds like a mob takeover - it kind of is.

How do you “get rid of” all other online gambling all over the world?

You just seize their websites.

He got a judge to go along with his plan and now, 141 website domains like pokerstars.com face being confiscated by the state of Kentucky. Some of these websites do significant business worldwide and Kentucky probably accounts for a negligible portion of their business. Even better – they left a Kentucky based online gambling site off the list because the site pays Kentucky taxes.

You may not care about online gambling but is it reasonable that a state can take your domain away if they pass a law to make your business illegal?

What if the city of Gooberville USA (or the government of China) passes a local law that declares your business illegal and they are allowed to take your domain name? What if they pass a law requiring you to pay a $500,000 permit to do business or they’ll take your domain name? What jurisdiction does Kentucky have for a website used in other states or internationally?

If this ridiculous decision is not overturned, no domain name is safe from government extortion.

The best way to get the governor’s attention is a boycott of all products and services from Kentucky to let his citizens know he’s overstepped the bounds of reasonability. Follow this link to see how you can Boycott Kentucky.

10 Ways to Boycott Kentucky

I don’t like Kentucky Whiskey that much anyway.

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Frank Mahony

The Price of Hollywood Egos

10/26/2008   Comment on This

You want to talk about gouging in a bad economy? Let’s talk about Hollywood! Gas prices are going down, food prices are going down, and real estate prices are going down. But the price to go see Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie isn’t going down.

In these difficult times, people are expecting oil companies to reduce their profits. Why not Hollywood? $10-$11 per person to see a movie is insane.

Do these actors really need $20 million to do a movie? Do theaters need $8 for popcorn? Are the movie theaters and Hollywood taking advantage of the fact that during hard economic times, people spend more of their dwindling money on entertainment?

No, No, and you bet they are.

For some reason, nobody is calling it un-American – so, I will.

If it is obscene for an oil company to make 8% profit then it is “like clubbing a baby seal to death” for ONE actor to make $20 million for ONE movie that grosses $186 million (Mr. & Mrs. Smith) – that’s 10.8% for Brad.

I am very entertained by Brad Pitt as an actor and he is entitled to his political opinion – I just think it’s important to note how ridiculously hypocritical Hollywood has become.

If they just made their millions and shut up, it would be one thing. Instead, their heads get warped and they misguidedly think their popularity translates to knowledge of world economics. Some of these Hollywood folks are so juiced on their own ego that they’ve lost touch. Here’s a funny example - they even irritate fellow liberals:
Brad's entourage vs. the Senator

How can they complain, with a straight face, about corporate greed while at the same time earning at the top of the food chain?

I think we need a “windfall popularity tax” on liberal actors and people in the entertainment business earning over $250k a year. Let’s take 80-90% of anything over $250k and split it up amongst us hard working people.

They better watch out. If they complain too loudly, the oil companies will just raise the price of gas so high that you’ll be unable to afford to drive to the movies.

That will shut them up.

What do you think? Tell me!

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Frank Mahony

Saturday Morning

10/24/2008   Comment on This

Remember when you were a little kid and Saturday Morning cartoons were the best programming on television. I remember it as a weekly ritual. We would finish off a box (or two) of breakfast cereal while watching our favorite shows - Tom & Jerry, Road Runner, Bugs Bunny, Tweetie & Sylvester…

Photo Credit: Warner Brothers

These days, if you flip around the channels, cartoons are on more often during the day and they’ve evolved into some sort of japanimation craziness I don’t get. Some of the newer cartoons were ok - like Ren & Stimpy. But the latest ones mostly look the same and they’re all about kids with super powers battling against other kids with super powers and pet monsters.

I think it all started to go downhill with Speed Racer. I’m no expert, but I think that was the first mainstream Japanese Style animation (japanimation).

How is this holding kids’ attention?

Recently, my youngest son was home from school (was it institute day? Columbus Day? Whatever…). It was morning, and he was watching Cartoon Network. They were playing an “old school” Tom and Jerry episode. It was like a flashback.

Why would those EVER go off the air? They are timeless and funny in the simplest way.

Everyone is invited to my house next Saturday morning. Wear your PJs (but not the kind with the footies please) and we’ll sit in front of a 14 inch (barely color) screen watching Road Runner while eating Cap’n Crunch right out of the box.

The good ole’ days…

What do you think? Tell me!

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Frank Mahony

Shower Time

10/4/2008   Comment on This

I’m taking a shower and I find none of my normal, 99¢ per bottle, shampoo; so I’ll have to improvise. There are lots of choices here – maybe 15 or more bottles, jars and tubes of stuff. Something will do the trick - right?

As you can see, I’m a big greasy Italian guy (with enough Irish DNA to irritate you senseless). I need a strong shampoo, on the scale of Tide or even Drano to cut through the oily coating.

Hmm… Lots of bottles but not too many things call shampoo. Instead, there are “hair systems.” What is all this crap? There are color enhancers, moisturizers, conditioners, revitalizers, protectors, cleansers, and other weirder stuff that’s all written in french but manufactured and distributed out of places like Franklin Park, IL.

Even better, I can choose from poppy, french lavender, mango or vanilla. This will be perfect. I’ll smell like a flower shop dipped in ice cream and then cotton candy.

I also don’t get the moisturizer thing. My hair starts getting greasy again 14 seconds after I step out of the shower. The LAST thing I need is to rub additional grease into my hair right after I've just cleaned it.

Now, the inane steps... Why does everything have 2-3 steps: rinse, work into hair, wait, rinse, add more, wait more, rinse again, thoroughly. This is going to take 45 minutes.

Forget it – I’ll just use soap.

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Frank Mahony

I’ll have “The Special”

9/13/2008   Comment on This

If you’re a big guy like me, it may mean that you eat at restaurants more than the average person. Smart restaurants know that serving portions big enough to require a survey team are the way to pack in customers. You normally can’t (or at least shouldn’t) eat all that food; but they put it in front of you and finishing it seems like a good idea at the time.

Here are some other restaurant oddities that I find funny and/or sad:

double bacon cheeseburger with everything“I’ll have a double bacon cheeseburger with everything, large fries and a Diet Coke.”
I’ve placed that order myself (too many times). We’re now so conditioned to ordering a diet drink that we forget how ridiculous it sounds along with the other 3000 calories we’ll be eating. A diet drink also goes good with one of those 2000 calorie monster salads. Those are great with all the ham, bacon, steak, eggs, cheese, creamy dressing and anything else they find in the fridge. I'm at the point where I'm so conditioned to the taste of diet drinks that I don't like regular soda anymore.
My conclusion: Keep ordering the cheeseburgers but drink water. It accomplishes the same objective and sounds less diety.

“Would you like hash browns with that?”
What’s the problem here? Some breakfast places serve egg dishes with hash browns, others charge extra. We’re talking about 14¢ worth of food. Just charge me 25¢ more and let’s get on with it. Otherwise you look cheap and I look irritated.
My conclusion: Skip restaurants that charge extra for hash browns.

“Welcome to Billy Bob’s Food Shack – let me tell you about our Specials…”
What the hell are "The Specials?” When you go to a place often and the specials are the same crap every time, what is so special about it? The price usually isn’t so special. The food isn’t any more special than everything else on the menu. More than likely, it’s food they are stuck with or with really good profit margin.
My conclusion: Don’t order anything called “The Special”

Got a favorite restaurant annoyance? Tell me about it: comments@geoffpinkus.com

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Frank Mahony

Bloggin Without a Noggin

7/31/2008   Comment on This

Everyone knows that having a blog has become huge on the internet. It allows every genius an outlet for his or her creativity. Put another way:
“Every idiot now has a village.”

To me, there are two types of bloggers:


  • People who are passionate about something and want to persuade you towards their way of thinking
  • People who “think” they could have been writers (mainly comedy) and end up writing mindless crap that nobody cares about.

Guess which one I am.

I suppose I am excluding pros that really write for a living but somehow, I think I can jam anybody that writes a blog into one of the above two categories.

In a technical sense, I write for a living. All day long I write emails, programs, specifications, proposals, letters, marketing materials, etc... My entire day is spent mouse clicking and typing while simultaneously on the phone. By the time the day is done, I’m usually out of steam to write some more.

Some people have more than one blog and post new entries every day. I cannot imagine the time that must take. I can hardly think of something worth blogging about once a month. The bigger problem is: once you get on that roller coaster, how do you get off? If your daily blog changes to weekly or monthly, it’s kind of admitting you aren’t as smart or creative as you thought. You don’t have as much to say as you’d like to think. Basically, you ARE the loser everyone thinks you are.

Inevitably, people want to keep cranking out the text and they resort to a brand of drivel that sounds like the family newsletters that I’m sure you’ve seen.


Little Timmy lost a tooth while we were on vacation near the worlds largest garbage dump. Next week, Ed starts his new job testing and categorizing cow manure. And, our cat “Pickles” is going to have kittens again…

I’m sticking with low expectations so I don’t hurt myself.

Photo Credit: bcfools.com


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Frank Mahony

The Chef Has No Clothes

6/15/2008   Comment on This

If you’ve read my blog, you know that I am a chronic complainer. Like my old philosopher pal René Descartes used to say, “I complain, therefore I am” (or something like that).

You may have heard me express my dissatisfaction about a recent dinner at Alinea – voted the Best Restaurant in America in 2006. I had Grant’s food at other restaurants before, so I knew what to expect. I have no “issue” with the chef, Grant Achatz. He’s doing his thing – making food he “believes in” which reflects his tastes and style. I know all about his battle against cancer and how he is a very dedicated and hard working guy. I can’t give him a hard time for following his vision; I just don’t like his food.

My problem is the “ass kissing” critics. Nobody has anything negative to say except me. I cannot be the “only” one who didn’t love it.

I’ve had all types of far out food at all types of far out places that I sometimes liked and sometimes disliked. You can’t like everything. Yet, I can’t find any negative “professional” critique of Alinea. It’s the opposite; critics describe the food as if some kind of perfection has been achieved. In my opinion, the courses don’t flow well and I didn’t like many of the ingredient combinations that oddly jumped back and forth between sweet/bitter/savory until my palate felt like an ashtray after 20+ courses. One entrée featured a pasty sauce called “burnt bread” that tasted like a puree of the crap that falls to the bottom of your toaster. I’ll concur that the food is plated more artistically than at any other place I’ve been but I would not vote Alinea the best restaurant in America or even Chicago.

As I said, I cannot be the only one who had this thought - but obviously, I’m the only one speaking up and/or being honest. It’s not that I don’t appreciate unusual foods and flavor combinations. During a recent meal at Schwa, we had pickled crab in a slightly-sweet banana sauce and a dessert of sweetbreads (thymus glad) in a sweet rutabaga sauce. Both were unusually different and awesome.

These days, chefs are celebrities and it seems nobody wants to be the one to say, “The Chef Has No Clothes.” In the June issue of Chicago Magazine, writer Dennis Ray Wheaton laid it on so thick I can see the brown stain on his nose. You wonder if he is just positioning himself to get a table any time he wants (always be wary of guys with three names).

Come on critics! You’re like little kids in the big city for the first time, amazed by the bright lights. You're not supposed to be drinking the Kool-aid. We read your “professional” opinions to hear real pros and the cons. There should always be some of both or you’re not being honest to us or yourself and you don’t sound credible.

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Frank Mahony

All You Can Eat Foie Gras Bar

5/26/2008   Comment on This

The Chicago City Council officially ended the ban on Foie Gras that was enacted in 2006. Once they had their toe in the door with with Foie Gras, the “nut jobs” could take us down the same slippery slope with any food that is objectionable to any fringe group for any reason.

  • Cheeseburgers banned because they are too fattening
  • Pork banned because pigs are smart animals
  • Plants as food banned because they are injured as they are harvested

    If you think I’m kidding, read these:
    Plant's Rights
    treehugger

    Not so long ago, if you spouted this silliness, men in white coats would show up at your door with a straitjacket to take you away for your sanity evaluation. Now we have governments evaluating the merits of absolutely kooky ideas. I know, I know… We’re talking about the Swiss Government. I think the Swiss government buildings are rectangular and yellow with random holes that you climb in and out of rather than doors and windows. Possibly, the entire country needs an evaluation at Bellevue, but I do dig the Swiss Miss chick sprinkling mini-marshmallows in my hot chocolate.

    Anyway…

    On a not very recent dinner in the kitchen at Charlie Trotters (years ago, he was a Foie Gras fan, not a protester), my wife told Charlie that the Foie Gras course was outstanding and that he should open an “All You Can Eat Foie Gras Bar.” He leaned back towards her, arms folded, and with an almost Groucho Marx delivery said, “That might significantly shorten the life expectancy of the diners.” I think he lost that fun lovin attitude after his divorce.

    If chefs or diners don’t approve of a food, that’s their choice but don’t try to legislate my food based on your whacky opinions. Geoff and I are both members of (PETA) People that Eat Tasty Animals (I stole that from some comic). When the animals (or plants) evolve to the point that they are picketing my favorite restaurants, maybe I’ll hear their argument.

    Until then, let’s keep the government out of our food and cigars. They have enough other important issues to solve.

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    Frank Mahony

    Shopping Your Dump

    5/15/2008   Comment on This

    Sorry in advance. This blog entry is going to be a little disgusting, but this phenomenon really irritates me. It just happened to me again today, so it is fresh in my mind. If you work in a building with many floors, you will know what I am talking about.

    You walk into the restroom on your floor and see somebody you've never seen before who is either about to "stink up" the bathroom or has just done so. When he's finished, he heads for the stairs or the elevator to go back to where he came from. He knew he was going to cause a Level 5 Hazard Zone, so he located a floor where he could be more anonymous. A guy from the 2nd floor comes up to the 7th floor. A guy from the 7th floor goes down to the 4th floor, and so on and so on... You've got people wandering the building picking their spot.

    It's what I call - "Shopping Your Dump"

    I really want to tell these migrant dumpers that I need to see some form of ID that associates them with this floor or I'll have to ask them to leave. Get the hell outa here! You don't belong on this floor - move along...

    Am I alone here?

    I suspect this is a guy thing - I don't know for sure though. I haven't spent enough time in women's restrooms to get the facts. I'll put that on my list for future research.

    If you are one of these wandering dumpers, be aware that I'm on to your scheme. I'll be snapping pictures of you with my cell phone and posting your picture to warn people on the other floors.

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    Frank Mahony

    You’ve been Rick Rolled!

    4/1/2008   Comment on This

    The people at YouTube have a good sense of humor. Today, in honor of April Fools Day, YouTube spoofed everyone who clicked on a “Featured Video” and Rick Rolled them.

    What does it mean to be Rick Rolled?

    Being Rick Rolled is when you click on a link that says something like

    hot pictures of Britney Spears

    and instead of being directed to what you expected, you are taken to a Music Video of Rick Astley singing his 1980’s hit “Never Gonna Give you Up”. This started with kids playing pranks on each other in chat forums about video games. Why they picked this song, nobody knows for sure.

    Wikipedia on Rickrolling

    Way to go YouTube!




    Featured Videos:















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    Frank Mahony

    World Gone Legal!

    2/19/2008   Comment on This

    Have you noticed that the whole world has gone legal crazy? Everybody is suing somebody about something in 2008. There is always someone “at fault” for everything that doesn’t work out the way we planned and it can all be settled with huge sums of money. Everyone remembers the woman who initially won millions because she spilled hot coffee on herself.

    Since then, the whole world has taken up the new pastime of “legal posturing” to minimize liability. An example of this stupidity is right on the keyboard I’m using where it says:

    WARNING: To reduce the risk of serious injury to hand, wrists or other joints, read Safety & Comfort Guide.

    I don’t happen to remember where I left my Safety & Comfort Guide so I searched for it on the internet. It was easy to find on the company’s website. This ridiculous document contains 58 pages translated into 32 languages to tell me how to sit in front of a computer and type on a keyboard - safely and comfortably. I can guarantee this exists because somebody sued some computer company.

    This kind of thing isn’t just on machinery. I just cracked open a box of snack bars and the packaging is like a legal contract and disclaimer between me and the manufacturer with:

    • A warning about freshness dates
    • A warning for people that may be allergic to nuts
    • A disclaimer of what is meant by “100% natural” and “a good source of fiber.”
    • A warning by the picture of the snack bar that “the image has been enlarged to show detail.”
    • Helpful tips to teach me how to open and close a box

    Years ago the product package gave us “the pitch” and a few facts (size, weight. etc…) without a legal team standing by. I found this cool website that shows what food packaging looked like in the good old days. http://www.theimaginaryworld.com/page4.html

    Everything was simpler back then and nobody was legally liable if you were too stupid to know that the picture on the box was a little bigger than the actual food inside or that coffee is hot.

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  • Recent Blogs

    DateSubject
    12/17/2008 …and brief smoking
    12/11/2008 Where Do Old Television Careers Go to Die?
    12/4/2008 The Guardian Angel of Parking Lots
    11/23/2008 Toaster Pizza
    11/10/2008 Boycott Kentucky?
    10/26/2008 The Price of Hollywood Egos
    10/24/2008 Saturday Morning
    10/4/2008 Shower Time
    9/13/2008 I’ll have “The Special”
    7/31/2008 Bloggin Without a Noggin
    6/15/2008 The Chef Has No Clothes
    5/26/2008 All You Can Eat Foie Gras Bar
    5/15/2008 Shopping Your Dump
    4/1/2008 You’ve been Rick Rolled!
    2/19/2008 World Gone Legal!

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