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Current Annoyances

Posted by The Swollen Goi... on Friday, March 5, 2010

I will be updating this infrequently. I will sometimes repeat myself. Feel free to add your own current annoyances.

Corporal_Hicks
Location:
Posts: 1664
Posted: 9 years 31 weeks ago

Current annoyance:

John Pelphery.

Sent from Dalton's IPad.
Daltons chin dimple
Location:
Posts: 12800
Posted: 9 years 31 weeks ago

Basketball coach? Or work colleague?

....says "Kill Bond, NOW!"
Mal Shot First
Location:
Posts: 3180
Posted: 9 years 31 weeks ago

Daltons chin dimple wrote:

I am also unable to spell 'secretary' properly first time.

I have the same problem: Most of the time I end up spelling it M-I-S-T-R-E-S-S.

Daltons chin dimple
Location:
Posts: 12800
Posted: 9 years 31 weeks ago

Better that than N-O-N-C-O-M-M-I-T-A-L-F-U-C-K Mal, you would never hear the end of it matey!!!

....says "Kill Bond, NOW!"
atrejub
Location:
Posts: 739
Posted: 9 years 30 weeks ago

Current Annoyance
People who live in my apartment building who leave their clothes in the washing machines all day, but don't leave a basket or bag, so that there is no polite way for anyone else to take out those clothes and get their own laundry done.

Out of frustration, I just took some plastic that was in the laundry room, placed it on top of one of the dryers, and piled all of their clothes on top of that.

The Swollen Goi...
Location:
Posts: 14343
Posted: 9 years 30 weeks ago

If you had added a drop or two of your own urine in the armpit region of one of their shirts, they never would have noticed.

Silent Retribution: it's the gift that keeps on giving.

Daltons chin dimple
Location:
Posts: 12800
Posted: 9 years 30 weeks ago

Evil genius. I am much less subtle and therefore more likely to be caught taking a shit in a dryer.

....says "Kill Bond, NOW!"
The Swollen Goi...
Location:
Posts: 14343
Posted: 9 years 30 weeks ago

The Swollen Goi... wrote:

Silent Retribution: it's the gift that keeps on giving.

Wait. Is Silent Retribution the gift that keeps on giving, or is it the Jelly of the Month Club?

Clark Grizzwald would know.

The Swollen Goi...
Location:
Posts: 14343
Posted: 9 years 30 weeks ago

Cripes. Just checked out the Jelly of the Month Club's one-year subscription. It's $180. That's one jar a month. That's fifteen bucks a jar.

<joke mode=obvious>More like the gift that keeps on taking!<joke>

Daltons chin dimple
Location:
Posts: 12800
Posted: 9 years 30 weeks ago

Jelly is something different over there isn't it? It's what the rest of the world calls jam or marmalade.

....says "Kill Bond, NOW!"
HI MY NAME IS GUS
Location:
Posts: 357
Posted: 9 years 30 weeks ago

Daltons chin dimple wrote:

Jelly is something different over there isn't it? It's what the rest of the world calls jam or marmalade.

Yeah. (We do still use the word "marmalade," though.)

I'm not sure how that happened, either. Up until about 60 years ago, Americans still used the words "jelly" and "jam" the way the British do today. (Think Glenn Miller's "It must be jelly cuz jam don't shake like that.")

Think of me as a megaphone directed at God's eardrum, my child.
Daltons chin dimple
Location:
Posts: 12800
Posted: 9 years 30 weeks ago

HI MY NAME IS GUS wrote:

Think Glenn Miller's "It must be jelly cuz jam don't shake like that."

My jam does. And my milkshake also has this annoying habit of bringing all the boys to the yard.

....says "Kill Bond, NOW!"
Quasar
Location:
Posts: 7588
Posted: 9 years 30 weeks ago

Is this toe jam we're talking about?

Faster and faster, a nightmare we ride. Who'll take the reins when the miracle dies? Faster and faster till everything dies. Killing is our way of keeping alive. - Virgin Steele, Blood and Gasoline
Daltons chin dimple
Location:
Posts: 12800
Posted: 9 years 30 weeks ago

I am never eating toast in your house.

....says "Kill Bond, NOW!"
Jakester
Location:
Posts: 5753
Posted: 9 years 30 weeks ago

Why would you voluntarily be in his house?

Richard Gozinya, Harold Snatch and Wilbur Jizz. Together we are the law firm Gozinya, Snatch and Jizz.
Corporal_Hicks
Location:
Posts: 1664
Posted: 9 years 30 weeks ago

To get laid?

Sent from Dalton's IPad.
The Swollen Goi...
Location:
Posts: 14343
Posted: 9 years 30 weeks ago

HI MY NAME IS GUS wrote:

Yeah. (We do still use the word "marmalade," though.)I'm not sure how that happened, either. Up until about 60 years ago, Americans still used the words "jelly" and "jam" the way the British do today. (Think Glenn Miller's "It must be jelly cuz jam don't shake like that.")

Is it too obvious to respond to this with "I don't think you're ready for this jelly"?

It is?

Good thing I asked.

The Swollen Goi...
Location:
Posts: 14343
Posted: 9 years 30 weeks ago

The following video is a current annoyance:



It doesn't take much thought to counter the video poster's points with other examples from the Disney canon. In fact, the following video poster has done just that:



I'm a little annoyed with this person, too, for the video's ending. It's poor form to mock a guy after countering his argument. It weakens the counter.

Mal Shot First
Location:
Posts: 3180
Posted: 9 years 30 weeks ago

That first video is extremely annoying. I feel like I have to defend the sources he used, or at least Tough Guise because that's the one I've seen. It seems like the creator of the first video wanted scale down what Jackson Katz has done with American pop culture as a whole, by focusing only on Disney films. Unfortunately, he does a very poor job.

This is probably my favorite part of Tough Guise:

The Swollen Goi...
Location:
Posts: 14343
Posted: 9 years 30 weeks ago

Counter examples can be offered, of course. The He-Man figures of the early eighties had massive biceps, while the toys that followed in subsequent series had smaller biceps. The same basic body builds traced from the models rotoscoped for He-Man and the Masters of the Universe are used for She-Ra, but the action figures had smaller builds. In the cartoons, He-Man and Bow have the same build, but the action figures do not reflect this:

I realize that Bow was on a show being marketed to girls, and that different standards probably applied to action figures meant for girls. Let's look at the He-Man figure from The New Adventures of He-Man, then, to see how the build developed in the line meant more for boys:

This body looks more like Bow's body to me than the it looks like the original He-Man's body. The New Adventures of He-Man cartoons and figures premiered in 1990, so they are technically a nineties thing, despite having been conceived in the late eighties. The *cartoon's* He-Man from the 1990 series had a body closer to the cartoon body of the original He-Man--though I'd say it was a little smaller, and not as well-defined. It wasn't a Filmation show, though, so it seems a little unfair to compare the two. The toys for both series were produced by Mattel, so there is consistency on the toy manufacturer's level. The only post-nineties He-Man show so far has been the 2002 revamp. Here's how He-Man looked in the toy tie-in for that show (still made by Mattel):

He's certainly more muscular than the 1990 He-Man. I'm not sure how I'd say he stacks up to the earliest figure. He's definitely more "cut." He seems leaner, and his body seems longer (compare the legs of the two). I'm not sure how the biceps of the two would measure up if they were on humans with comparable measurements (or "real life equivalents," as Katz puts it).

Oddly enough, the only characters from the 1987 Lundgren He-Man movie that got figures were the more fantastic characters (that means no Courtney Cox figure) that didn't already have toys: Blade, Saurod, Gwildor. It would have been interesting to see how they translated Lundgren's body into an action figure. (The only humanoid among the new figures, Blade, is built more or less like the figures from the 1982 line. From this, my guess is that, had Mattel made an action figure for movie He-Man, his body would be made to look more like the 1982 figure's body than Lundgren's.)

If the action figures are meant to represent ideals for physiques contemporary to the time during which the figures were released (I am not saying they are), and if I were to look exclusively at He-Man figures, then I suppose that would mean the ideal shifted. When I look at the 2002 He-Man, I am reminded of Brad Pitt's body more than Arnold Schwarzenegger's. The muscles are more exaggerated than Pitt's, but I'd say the general body shape comes closer to his. If I were to wonder why such a change happened, based solely on the He-Man line, I might be led to look at the action stars most prominent in each era. The first He-Man figures came out in 1982, after the post-Pumping Iron bodybuilding boom and The Incredible Hulk. So for 1982 figures, I might come to the conclusion that Ferrigno and Schwarzenegger were the ideals.

Conan the Barbarian came out in 1982, but I'm not sure its release preceded the action figures by enough time to consider it an influence. It could have been an influence on the builds of the 1983 cartoon characters. Or, rather, they might have specifically sought out a model with an "Arnold-like" body. (The DVDs have documentaries that address the hiring of models, but I can't remember what exactly was said about them.) Arnold was still an action star by 1990, but his muscles were beginning to be less pronounced, and non-ripped folks like Bruce Willis were becoming action stars in their own right. Why shift from body builders to action stars, though (if, indeed, such a shift occurred)? It may be that the ridiculously huge muscles of modern body builders (think: Power Thirst Guy) are no longer seen as appealing, and we've had to look elsewhere for our ideal.

Again, though, I am not using the He-Man line to try to help me determine what the masculine muscular ideal was and is. It strikes me as exclusionary to focus on one or two toy lines. I can guess that the reasoning behind focusing on Star Wars and G.I. Figures is that they both sold well and spanned decades. There were, however, leagues of different action figures. The Batman toys for the Burton movies had the sculpted muscles seen in the movies, but I don't remember the bodies being as muscled up as the 1982 He-Man figures. Same goes for the Costner Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves figures, and the Hook figures. I remember the four Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles being fairly muscular, but they weren't human. The original Casey Jones figure was pretty muscular, but a good less than the 1982 He-Man figures. You'd need to compare all the major action figures for humanoids (including things like the Mego figures from the seventies and early eighties, the Super Powers and Secret Wars figures from the mid eighties, the ThunderCats figures from the mid-to-late eighties, the McFarlane toys from the nineties, et cetera) throughout the decades if you wanted to get a better picture than we get from focusing specifically on the change in Star Wars and G.I. Joe toys.

I'm also not sure action figures are the best place to look for the muscular ideal. What makes them a better focal point than comic books or action stars? I suppose it has to do with putting the toys in kid's hands. This would be the indoctrination argument, which would require that it first be established that toys are being marketed to boys in such a way as to make it known to them (transparently or subliminally) that they were supposed to hold action figures' bodies to be ideals for them to meet. Then it would need to be established that this is reflected elsewhere (say, in comics and action movies) and that the representation of the ideal elsewhere stays consistent with the representation by action figures. (It should be understood that it would need to be consistent across action figures, too.)

I'm similarly unsure how clear it is which figures are marketed to kids and which are not. My understanding of Kenner's (later, Hasbro's) revival of the 3 3/4" Star Wars action figures (with the Power of the Force line) was that they were marketed to nostalgic adults as much as to kids. This was in 1995. How into Star Wars were kids in 1995, anyway?

I don't think Katz is arguing that it has to do with indoctrinating kids, though. Is he? Do we still think of kids first when we think of action figures?

* * *

I don't think the Terminator is a good example of the ideal physique. It's a robot, after all, and the movie's villain. Why focus on Arnold's character and not Michael Biehn's character?

Mal Shot First
Location:
Posts: 3180
Posted: 9 years 30 weeks ago

I think that the main argument from the selected clip is that the perception of strong male characters has changed since the 1940s (epitomized by Humphrey Bogart) into a progressively more menacing physical image. I do find his examples of gun size and posture (and general demeanor of male characters) more convincing than his exploration of action figures.

I admit that it seems a bit like he's trying to make an indoctrination argument, but it also seems to me that it's an indoctrination of an entire society, not just of children. Who is the one conducting the indoctrination, and for what reasons, remains unclear.

The way I understand the progression of his argument about the image of masculinity in film, it ends with Arnold Schwarzenegger because the violence he commits on screen is nothing short of glorified. I don't think the movie misses any opportunity to show us the extent of the damage that the villain leaves behind and, in fact, in order to build up the myth surrounding the Terminator's sheer invulnerability the film has to glorify his ruthlessness and brutality. I'd say that the memory of the villain prevailed in the minds of most people after watching the movie. There's a reason that The Terminator launched Schwarzenegger's career into superstardom, while Michael Biehn, whose Kyle Reese is a much more nuanced and emotionally vulnerable character, remained relatively unknown.

The Swollen Goi...
Location:
Posts: 14343
Posted: 9 years 30 weeks ago

Mal Shot First wrote:

The way I understand the progression of his argument about the image of masculinity in film, it ends with Arnold Schwarzenegger because the violence he commits on screen is nothing short of glorified. I don't think the movie misses any opportunity to show us the extent of the damage that the villain leaves behind and, in fact, in order to build up the myth surrounding the Terminator's sheer invulnerability the film has to glorify his ruthlessness and brutality.

Using the Terminator as a standard for masculinity still seems faulty, to me. Schwarzenegger on the whole (outside of Terminator), yes. The Terminator? No. If it glorifies his ruthlessness, it is glorifying the ruthlessness of a machine/monster. The Predator is arguably the most ruthlessly brutal character in Predator, but we don't identify with the glorification of the Predator's violence. The difference may be in the look of the Terminator. Despite being a robot, it looks not only like a man, but like a man we recognize from earlier movies. I think Schwarzenegger was on the upward rise starting with Conan. There's no telling whether or not he would have made it into superstardom without The Terminator, but I'm not sold on the reason he became a superstar being that he was brutally violent in The Terminator, or that his role in the movie was exemplary of the contemporary standard for masculinity. (To be clear: I also don't think that Michael Biehn was exemplary of this.)

I think an actor like Humphrey Bogart could be more accepted as a "man's man" back in the forties for a number of reasons. He reigned during a time when a big war was going on, and back when Americans held more stock in the military-bred hero. These heroes (people like, say, Audie Murphy) were everymen, and almost everyone knew someone overseas. There wasn't as much of a "face" of war back then--just occasional pictures and newsreels (all edited to make the Allies look as competent and just in their actions as possible). The soldiers in those pictures looked like next-door neighbors. Bogart was a World War I veteran, and this was public knowledge. I don't know whether or not this public knowledge helped his career, but it probably didn't hurt. He also wound up in a real life relationship with costar Lauren Bacall, and there's a chance moderately attractive men lived vicariously through his conquest. He smoked and talked New York tough, too.

He also starred in a few films playing against type. He wasn't always the action hero. In fact, he was most often a villain or a patsy throughout the first phase of his career. Studios were initially reluctant to put him in the leading man roles, since he was seen as too old, and had a lisp. It's sort of a miracle of chance that he ended up being held up at all as a standard for masculinity.

After Viet Nam, people probably didn't want to use the soldier as the standard for masculinity. I would guess this forced the ideal to become abstracted, a bit. Why we ended up with muscle men is a good question that I think probably has a more complicated answer than is given in the clip you posted.

Katz makes the point of the earlier professional wrestlers being flabby, versus the muscle men we see today. (Though they're not all muscle men, and there have always been some who were not major muscle men wrestling alongside those who were. I'm sure you can think of as many counter examples as I can from the eighties and nineties.) I don't think it's right to think that flabby was the ideal back then. (To be fair, I don't think he actually says this.) My understanding of the backgrounds of earlier professional wrestlers was that they were typically people who had once been real Greco-Roman wrestlers, but had been injured or had gotten too old to wrestle. They could still manage theatrics, however, and that's just what they did. Once it really caught on with the public, and once younger fans got old enough to go out for professional wrestling, younger wrestlers entered the fold.

The wrestlers, bodybuilders, and athletes of today have access to more effective steroids than those guys did, too. I'm certain steroid advancements have had an impact on bodybuilding, and I'm guessing the shift in the average bodybuilder's physique in the steroid age has impacted how we look at bodies. Again, it's gotten ridiculous in recent years (POWERTHIRST Guy), and if we are no longer looking at bodybuilders as standard bearers for the look of masculinity, the absurdity of the modern bodybuilder's body might figure into it.

Katz might be better off saying it reached a head in the eighties, though I don't know that it seemed to be building all that much in the seventies. Muscle men seemed to be cast as freaks, comic figures, and background characters more often than not (look at David Prowse's, Lou Ferrigno's, and Arnold Schwarzenegger's seventies roles to see a mix of these--along with a heroic role or two) in the seventies. Since Katz used the example of Star Wars, I might as well, too: the movie's major humanoid heroes weren't muscle men. One was diminutive twenty-something playing a kid, one was an old man with a beer gut, one was Harrison Ford (who, if you ask me, was running full throttle on Bogart-like charm), and one was a young woman. Of course, Star Wars was unlike the average movie of its time. Who *was* the average masculine hero of seventies cinema? Was there even a hero type? Was the anti-hero getting more play than the hero, at the time? I am unprepared to answer these questions.

I don't think the muscle man epitomized masculinity for very long. By the nineties, it already seemed like muscles were out. When I think of major muscles in nineties cinema, I think of kitsch just as much as I think of action heroes. (Maybe that's just me. I am sure some folks were still clamoring for big muscles holding big guns, but it seemed to me there were fewer men with big muscles. Lots of martial artists with smaller muscles were coming on the scene. They were around in the eighties, too. Seems they were in B movies more often than big action movies, but they were there.) The two big guns (Stallone, Schwarzenegger) stayed around, but their audiences--at least in terms of ticket sales--were dwindling.

Mal Shot First
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Posted: 9 years 30 weeks ago

The Swollen Goi... wrote:

Who *was* the average masculine hero of seventies cinema? Was there even a hero type? Was the anti-hero getting more play than the hero, at the time?

Is it relevant whether the masculine ideal is represented by a hero or an anti-hero - or even a villain? If you're an average Joe sitting in a movie theater in the 1970s, watching Dirty Harry or Death Wish, and you're thinking "man, I wanna be as tough and bad-ass as Eastwood (or Bronson)," it doesn't matter what kind of character they're portraying. The same case could be made with Schwarzenegger in The Terminator.

If I understand Katz' argument correctly, the (male) viewers' identification with these characters doesn't stem from the characters' moral frameworks but from their positions within the presented power structures (*sigh* - there, I said it). It doesn't matter whether Schwarzenegger portrays a villain in the movie, or even whether this villain is supposed to be a machine: the allure of his character lies within the fact that he is able to assert dominance upon everyone and everything around him without appearing cowardly or deceitful (which are often attributes of villains). The Terminator's humanoid appearance might have something to do with it as well, like you said.

As far as the actors and characters in Star Wars are concerned, you are right: they certainly don't fit in this landscape of tough guys. That's what makes the second set of Star Wars action figures shown in the clip so perplexing. Why are Han's and Luke's action figures of the 1990s so cut?

One thing that always bothered me with the Ninja Turtles action figures was how grim they looked. Every Ninja Turtle figure I ever owned portrayed the characters with a scowl and their teeth clenched. They seemed much friendlier in the cartoons and movies. As with some of the other lines of action figures that were mentioned previously, it seems that the strategies in marketing the toys were different or separate from the strategies of marketing the TV shows and movies. An interesting question to ask oneself would be why this might be the case. I can't really think of an answer.

The Swollen Goi...
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Posted: 9 years 30 weeks ago

Mal Shot First wrote:

That's what makes the second set of Star Wars action figures shown in the clip so perplexing. Why are Han's and Luke's action figures of the 1990s so cut?

I'm going commando (no research) for the next few paragraphs. I will represent attitudes toward toys and claims about sales as I understood them to be at the time, and I won't be backing anything up with links. In some cases, I did see sales figures in the past, but haven't felt like trying to dig them up. (Also: I feel guilty enough, already, that I am letting this divert attention away from the dissertation.) Don't take any of the claims I am about to make as my representation of the gospel truth, and if you have any evidence about period fan response or sales figures, please feel free to add them to the discussion.

I meant to include some of the material in the last few posts, but it slipped my mind. Anyway, here goes:

I remember the fan community bitching about these figures. While most were happy to have new Star Wars figures to collect, many were unhappy with the unrepresentative musculature of the bodies. The general tenor, if I remember correctly, was that they thought the toys were more for adult collectors than for kids, and the adult collectors wanted toys more representative of the movie versions of the characters. Of course, they bought the shit out of the figures, so I don't know how inspired Kenner was to make a change. They did, though, and newer, more representative sculpts began to replace the old by the third wave of figures (before the nineties let out, and before Hasbro took over entirely and stopped using the Kenner name).

Even in the Star Wars line, then, these "cut" figures didn't last too long. The G.I. figures, too, began to revert back to less-muscled bodies. The giant figure Katz shows in the video was from a last-ditch line of Joes that didn't sell very well (i.e., the muscles seemed to be a last effort to get the toys selling again). G.I. Joe figures sold increasingly poorly after the straight-to-video movie in 1987, and it wasn't until the line returned to a semi-classic 3 3/4" size that the sales began to pick up. Also, it should be noted that different Joes have different body types. Some Joes, like Heavy Duty, are known to be bruisers, and have bodies to match this portrayal. Others, like Snake-Eyes, have sleeker bodies. I'd say Snake-Eyes has been the most popular Joe since his introduction in the cartoon. This has a lot to do with the popularity of martial arts cinema, I'm guessing. (An odd side note on the increasing bicep size on the 3 3/4" figures from the early-to-mid eighties: the biceps seemed to get larger while the torsos stayed pretty much the same. I noticed that as a kid, and thought it was weird. A side note question that doesn't really fit in anywhere, so I might as well work it into this parenthetical aside: is it fair to compare the twelve-inch Joes in the sixties and seventies to the 3 3/4 inch figures from the eighties? The toys were radically different from the sixties to the eighties. The sixties Joes were generic, often didn't have names, and came without the prepackaged personalities that set the eighties Joes apart. There were also far fewer Joes in the sixties. The sixties and eighties Joes are comparable pretty much in name only.)

Speaking of martial arts, it seems to me it has had more of an impact on both children and adults (but especially children). Martial arts schools are a dime a dozen, and I'd guess that more of the people who enroll in martial arts classes make it to an advanced stage of martial artistry than those who begin working out in a gym. Granted, young boys aren't really encouraged to do body building (it can be pretty dangerous, even for adults), so it's hard to compare the two. Young boys are encouraged to go into sports, though, and the body of athletes across sports is wholly inconsistent. Professional American footballers run the gamut. Some are cut, some are not. Some look outright fat. Baseballers can look pretty out of shape, too. In basketball, the players all tend to look like they are in good shape, but they rarely look like action movie stars from the eighties.

It's easy enough to say that a certain image is being put forward as a model for masculinity (though it's better to stick to one area; jumping from movie stars to action figures to sport stars presents immediate and obvious problems, as getting them all to line up as being consistently representative of the same masculine model is nearly impossible), but it's a lot harder to argue just how receptive people have been to this. We may have all been raised, as Tyler Durden says, to believe we would be famous and/or successful, but fame and success come in a number of forms. There are multiple options out there for us. One way to tell how well this model has "stuck" is to see how successful it has been at inspiring people to meet its example. (A psychoanalyst might suggest another way would be to check the same levels of those who have not met the example. If this were the case, I'd guess the result would be that men are generally less ashamed of not looking like bodybuilders than women are ashamed of not looking like super models. It would only be a guess, though.) I suppose people attend the gym. Gyms (outside of highschool) tend to be attended more by people of the upper middle class or higher. They're the ones who can afford to start and maintain a membership. How many of these people strive to create the bodies represented to them as the masculine ideal, and how many of them achieve them? Should they be considered representative of the majority? (I realize people work out places other than gyms, but that's a harder thing to gauge than gym attendance, since it might be said that the people who go to the gym go with physical fitness being at least one of the things on their mind.)

I don't want to suggest that what Katz has to say about the fostering of a masculine ideal through popular is unappealing or wrong, but I do think he needs to do a lot more work (or, if he has done a lot more work, so more and better evidence of it) before arriving at his conclusions.

I guess I need more hard evidence of the male's identification with these models of masculinity than I feel I have been given. I get it on some level when I am told by someone my age that Stallone is a "bad ass," but I am told that Bruce Lee is a bad ass, too. I was told that Michael Jordan was a bad ass all through the eighties. All sorts of people have told me that all sorts of people are bad asses.

* * *

It always bothered me a little that the Turtles were less like their cartoon counterparts than they could have been (especially with skin color), but I assumed the grimaces were nods to the grimaces as the characters were presented in the Eastman/Laird comic. That was pretty much the only visual nod to the Eastman/Laird comic (if, indeed, it was a nod).

Jakester
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Posted: 9 years 30 weeks ago

You guys write way too much. I expect when I have some free time and have spanked my monkey 'til it is bleeding, I will read your posts and be very, very interested.

Richard Gozinya, Harold Snatch and Wilbur Jizz. Together we are the law firm Gozinya, Snatch and Jizz.