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Browsing articles in "Here We Are Now, Entertain Us or Are We Not Entertained?"
Sep
16

Robin Thicke’s a Dick by John M. Ellison IV

Hey folks, it’s been awhile since I’ve written much on here. So, I thought I’d get a little abrasive and share my two cents on the whole Robin Thicke vs Estate of Marvin Gaye Family scenario.

So…it’s coming out that Pharrell wrote the 2013 hit “Blurred Lines” whereas Robin Thicke contributed little to nothing except for vocals. Robin Thicke feat. Pharell and rapper T.I.’s “Blurred Lines” ended up being a summer smash that recollected the feel of Marvin Gaye’s 1977 hit “Got to Give it Up.” Personally, the song was a reminder of Marvin Gaye but also Eddy Grant’s “Electric Avenue”, Sly and the Family Stone’s “Dance to the Music” and a vocal ad lib off of Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough”. Well, the proverbial “Soul Train Line” stopped when the family of Marvin Gaye felt that they were owed royalties or at least some kind of songwriter’s credit due to the similarities. Pharrell Williams, Robin Thicke and Clifford “T.I.” Harris then did a preemptive suit to protect them from a law suit. Or in other words, they sucker punched the Gaye family. In an interesting twist, the depositions of Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams have been leaked to the public via The Hollywood Reporter.
Here are a few highlights.

For example, when Richard Busch, attorney for the Gayes, attempted to play the mash-up for Thicke’s ears, the singer begged him to stop. “It’s so hard to listen to it,” said Thicke, referencing a clash between major and minor chords. “It’s like nails on a f—ing chalkboard… This is [like] Stanley Kubrick’s movie Clockwork Orange. Where he has to sit there and watch… Mozart would be rolling in his grave right now.”

This probably isn’t the mash-up that they used…but here’s a video using a creepy picture of Marvin Gaye overlooking T.I., Robin Thicke and Pharrell.

Q: When the rhythm track was being created, were you there with Pharrell?
Thicke: To be honest, that’s the only part where — I was high on vicodin and alcohol when I showed up at the studio. So my recollection is when we made the song, I thought I wanted — I — I wanted to be more involved than I actually was by the time, nine months later, it became a huge hit and I wanted credit. So I started kind of convincing myself that I was a little more part of it than I was and I — because I didn’t want him — I wanted some credit for this big hit. But the reality is, is that Pharrell had the beat and he wrote almost every single part of the song.”

For some reason I can just imagine Pharrell hunched over a keyboard figuring out chord progressions and Robin Thicke being an overall nuisance in the studio by rolling around on an office chair going “Wheee!” and getting into other antics like Jim Carrey as the Background Guy on In Living Color.

Pharrell wasn’t any better.

Williams’ own testimony also got off to a belligerent start. At one point during the examination, Williams says he can read music, but then is shown a transcription of a song, and asked to identify notes and durations. “I’m not comfortable,” Williams responds eight times as Busch presses to figure out whether he really can read music.

*shrugs* I have sight reading issues too…but at least I can read ‘em.

The producer is evasive in other ways. Asked whether Marvin Gaye has influenced him, Williams says , “He’s an Aries. I respect him.” After that question, Pharrell was probably thinking. “You know how old I really am? I wrote that song for Marvin Gaye!” Okay, probably not that but you have to admit Pharrell has been looking the same way since 1899—uh 1992. Don’t believe me? Check this out!

Obviously I’m joking here…but you get the point I’m trying to make.

Then it gets a bit more serious…

“Q: In your view, what holds ‘Blurred Lines’ together throughout the different sections?
Williams: What holds it together?
Q: Yeah.
Williams: Robin Thicke’s voice.
Q: Does the bass line and the keyboard hold the songs together through the different sections?
A: No
Q: Why not?
A: Because it’s the white man singing soulfully and we, unfortunately, in this country don’t get enough — we don’t get to hear that as often, so we get excited by it when the mainstream gives that a shot. But there’s a lot of incredibly talented white folk with really soulful vocals, so when we’re able to give them a shot — and when I say ‘we,’ I mean like as in the public gives them a shot to be heard, then you hear the Justin Timberlakes and you hear the Christina Aguileras and you hear, you know, all of these masterful voices that have just been given, you know, an opportunity to be heard because they’re doing something different.”
Williams then adds that if he had sang the song, “It wouldn’t be what it was — what it is today.”

Jokes aside…Pharrell has a point.

“Thicke, for his part, now claims he made all of his statements while drunk or on drugs, none of them true, and he mentioned Marvin Gaye only to sell records,”states the counter-claimants’ court papers. “He also actually testified that he is not an honest person. This complete contempt for the judicial system, and their obligations to tell the truth, can best be summed up by Thicke’s ultimate admission, while under oath, that he ‘[does not] give a f–k’ about this litigation.”

Actually…with all the drinking, drugs and pilfering of black music he was doing…Thicke should have name dropped Eric Clapton instead of Marvin Gaye.
In closing, I just think it’s interesting that Robin Thicke is giving Pharrell all the credit now when the heat’s on him.

Credit: http://www.billboard.com/articles/business/6251515/robin-thicke-drug-abuse-lying-media-blurred-lines-marvin-gaye?facebook_20140915 but originally published on http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/robin-thicke-admits-drug-abuse-732783



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Aug
8

Brooklyn Sessions

Every time I listen to this it’s hard to get through it. Mainly because I ask myself “WHY DIDN’T THIS GET PAST THE DEMO STAGE!!! THIS IS AWESOME!!!”

Vocals – Adam Yauch (Beastie Boys)
Guitar – Tom Cushman
Bass – Darryl Jenifer (Bad Brains)
Drums – Doug E Beans (Murphys Law)

Original Source: Demo Tape

1. Woke Up This Morning
2. Flying High
3. Instrumental 1
4. Running Out of Time
5. Instrumental 2
6. Instrumental 3
7. Home
8. Goodbye
9. Down
10. I Don’t Know (Ask for Gratitude)
11. I Don’t Need You
12. Goodbye (Version 2.0)
13. Gone Crazy
14. I Don’t Need You (Version 2.0)
15. I Don’t Know (Ask for Gratitude) (Version 2.0)

source: beastiemania.com

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May
6

Full Circle: Big Tony’s 40th Birthday Bash with Special Guest Foo Fighters by John M. Ellison IV

Full Circle: Big Tony’s 40th Birthday Bash with Special Guest Foo Fighters by John M. Ellison IV

“John…you’re more than reclusive than an agoraphobic Sly Stone and Axl Rose…but a bit more charming. HOW THE FUCK DID YOU SEE THE FOO FIGHTERS AT 9:30 CLUB?!” Simple, around April 3rd Darryl Jenifer of seminal D.C. punk band Bad Brains posted a flyer on his Facebook page about an event he was doing on May 5th. It was 80’s Go-Go mainstay “Big Tony’s Birthday Bash” hosted by former Scream, Nirvana drummer and current Foo Fighters front man Dave Grohl. With this this included guests such as one time only punk rock super group Dr. Know, Daryl Jenifer, Pete Stahl and Dave Grohl on drums and a special guest. The special guest part intrigued me. Who could it be? Could it have been new indie go-go band RDGLDGRN, Could it be “State of Alert” reforming? Could it be Ian MacKaye dusting off Minor Threat? Bad Brains, Taylor Hawkinks new side project Birds of Satan or…Foo Fighters? Wait…the Foo Fighters? Nah, why would they be at 9:30 Club? I mean, why would the almighty Dave Grohl who built his chops in the D.C. hardcore scene want his band to play with his idols and fulfilling a lifelong dream at a legendary venue such as the 9:30 Club? Oh yeah, those are all damn good reasons for him to do it. In fact, it was rumored it was the Foo Fighters because it the logo from “The Colour and the Shape” album next to “Special Guest.” So, I hustled on down to 9:30 Club box office and get tickets so the missus and I can check this out. I usually get press passes but I wanted to make sure I got there. Anyway, a month later the missus and I end up in line at 9:30 Club. I was kind of nervous because of two fire engines at the building. So, amidst the crowd, the missus and I get there just when it’s starting.

The Don't Need It's

Dr. Know, Daryl Jennifer, Pete Stahl and Dave Grohl hit the stage and just go into a furious set of Bad Brains covers including “How Low Can a Punk Get” with guest vocals from Scream bass player Skeeter Thompson and a saxophone player whose name escapes me. Okay, I’m 29 years old…I was like 3 or 4 when Bad Brains was in their prime…this was a damn good replacement. Pete Stahl and Dave Grohl were the fire that Bad Brains needed. Grohl was pounding the fuck out of his kit like he had something to prove. Pete Stahl was no slouch either; dude has a good voice and a good blend between hardcore shouts and legit singing. Dr. Know and Darryl Jenifer were like a “punk-fusion” version of the Brothers Johnson. If you know music, you know that’s an honor that isn’t bantered around lightly. I found myself and about two fists of the crowd shouting along to Bad Brains classics such as “Sailing On”, “Attitude”, Pay to Cum and “Don’t Need It” where Pete Stahl playfully changed the lyric “Don’t Need No Afro Sheen” to refer to his folic challenged state…*sigh* HE’S BALD GUYS! Doc Knight came out on Sax to help out with Scream’s “Still Screaming” and he also played sax on the Bad Brains B-Side “Stay Close to Me” …the sax was a nice touch. My only gripe was that the crowd was kind of stiff during this set. By stiff, I mean no moshing but still enthusiastic and when Pete Stahl jumped off stage into the audience he was dropped after a few seconds. Needless to say, it didn’t bother him and he took it like a “G” and finished the set off with “I Against I.” I spoke with another gentleman who looked familiar, a black dude with a septum piercing and beard. Very friendly guy…apparently we knew of another D.C. music scene mainstay Rodd-ney Butinelli. It was hard to make out what we were saying. Talking at shows sometimes is like the Cone of Silence bit in Get Smart. Later on, when I got home I spoke with Rodd and he helped me realize dude was the lead singer in a hardcore punk band in D.C. called “Supreme Commander”…I was like “I DIG THOSE GUYS!”

For those who aren’t familiar, Trouble Funk is like a 13 member go-go band that along with Junkyard, E.U. put their stamp on the 80’s Go-Go sound. Big Tony comes out, thanks Dave Grohl for introducing him. Then Trouble Funk kicked off the set with “Start This Thing off Right” and played Go-Go classics such as Freaky Deek Groove, Don’t Touch That Stereo, Drop da Bomb and tons of other hits. The place was grooving I even caught Doc Knight getting down near the exit. Another awesome moment during the set was when 9:30 Club owner Seth Hurwitz sat in on drums with “Play That Funky Music White Boy.” The club sang “Happy Birthday” to Big Tony and he was moved. Then a friendly guitar vs bass battle happened between Big Tony and his guitar player Dave Gussom. Who won? The audience won. Then guitarist Anthony Nelson got a piece of the funk. After Trouble Funk’s set was over…there’s a long pause and long setup time. Apparently, the special guest was up next. I usually have a good sense for stuff like this but my “Sketch Senses” weren’t tingling. Who could the special guest be? Would it be Ian MacKaye dusting off Minor Threat? Taylor Hawkins new side project Birds of Satan? Well, the Hawkins theory got nixed because I saw the crew putting set lists out and they had a ton of songs on there. There were other clues as well, the white amps, the orange drum kit…an accordion, keyboards…what was being planned? To be honest, when I saw the keyboard, I thought “They use an accordion on Skin and Bones…maybe?” Dave Grohl comes back out with a guitar, spotlight on him and waxing poetic about the D.C. scene and go-go…kind of a similar to the monologue in Sound City. While playing the chords to “Learn to Live Again” the audience five other guys walk up…Next thing I know, I’m channeling my inner (former WWE commentator) Jim Ross and yelling “FOO FIGHTERS ARE THE SPECIAL GUEST!” or something of that ilk. I admit, whenever I go on shows like this I stay as professional yet enthusiastic as possible. But, sometimes you have to go full fan boy. It’s a good thing I’ve been doing vocal warm ups over the last few days because the way I was shouting along to a good amount of the songs. The Foos stuck to the hits mainly 2 hours of songs I didn’t even realize I liked or knew the lyrics to! Let me tell you, the Foo Fighters were louder than both previous bands. Like the Beatles if they cut their teeth in the New York punk scene. They’re true students on their influences. The Foos were an awesome mix of pop melodies, Little Richard like shouts from Grohl at times and intense dynamics that damn near overdrove the sound system. Lest we forget, most of the current line-up cut their teeth in the punk scene…if this was a time to remind people. This was the night to do so. Since it was a two hour set, I’m going to stick to the highlights. From when they dedicated “My Hero” to Big Tony to the band goes into Monkey Wrench. He mentions something about the last time he was here they let him walk on the bar, do shots of jager while playing blues licks like a boss. Video coming soon.

Dave Grohl

The set ends…but the lights aren’t up. Grohl and co. come back out for an encore that included Skin and Bones and he mentions that the band’s almost finished with the new album. He said that this was a dry run, a taste of what’s to come and they will be back soon and then ended the set with “Everlong.”

Shows over, crowd disperses. The missus and I head home. My voice is shot, our ears were ringing. Probably the best show of this year. But don’t fret guys, this concert was documented by Dave Grohl. So, you never know.



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Jun
18

Kanye West-Black Skinhead review by John M. Ellison IV

Hey folks! Want hear the result of a Depeche Mode and Nine Inch Nails bender written by an egomaniac? Me too!
At first listen to Kanye West’s “Black Skinhead” I kept waiting to hear Dave Gahan go “REACH OUT AND TOUCH FAITH!” At first listen, “Black Skinhead” felt like a sideways remake of Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus.” With I guess for lack of better word “Industrial-tinges?” The first thing I cringed about was the song’s title. I’m like “Black Skinhead? If anything it should’ve been called “Black Rivet Head.” Trust me, anybody that knows their proverbial shit about rap or industrial should know that this isn’t anything new at all. Off of the top of my head, I can think of previous industrial/hip-hop incarnations that include Marilyn Manson’s The Way I Am (Danny Lohner mix), Puff Daddy’s Victory (Nine Inch Nails mix) Saul Williams “The Rise and Fall of Niggy Tardust”, Tackhead, Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy and pretty much everything the Bomb Squad produced for Public Enemy.

Depeche Mode-Personal Jesus

Actually, the more I listen to “Personal Jesus” and “Black Skinhead” back to back…it became more apparent that it’s pretty much a lift concept-wise. The difference between the two is that Kanye includes references to interracial relationships and the movie based off the graphic novel “300″ to allude to sexual prowess. For that, the song goes into a self-centered direction in comparison to the Depeche Mode song “Personal Jesus” which was more or less about being somebody’s personal savior. This incarnation of Kanye is kind of like a smoothed out/materialstic version of Saul Williams…even though some would call Saul materialistic for licensing out his song “List of Demands” to Nike. I’m not really surprised that Kanye West would go in a heavier direction. This is the same dude that sample Daft Punk’s Harder, Better, Faster Stronger…which Daft Punk actually sampled “Cola Bottle Baby” by Edwin Birdsong.

In conclusion, it took a second to grow on me but I’m feeling Kanye West’s “Black Rivet–Uh Skinhead.”

Oh yeah, for anybody calling what Kanye West does “white boy music” Martin Gore of Depeche Mode is half black…so yeah.



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Apr
19

Cat Scratch Fever Symptoms Include Diarrhea of the Mouth Right? by John M Ellison IV

I Done Goofed!

Here are the facts of life. Grass is green, dog shit is brown and Ted Nugent will say something stupid before the year’s through. For those who don’t know rocker/conservative radio host Ted Nugent was at the 2012 National Rifle Association Convention in St. Louis in support for republican candidate Mitt Romney. During an interview, he told a crowd of NRA convention attendees “if Barack Obama becomes the president in November, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.” Later on, Andrea Saul, a spokeswoman for the Romney campaign stated “Divisive language is offensive no matter what side of the political aisle it comes from. Mitt Romney believes everyone needs to be civil.” Or in other words, “Think before you speak, Nuge…but on the other hand you wouldn’t be Ted Nugent.”

When first hearing about this, I wasn’t that surprised because this isn’t the first time Nugent has made similar comments regarding the Obama administration.

Ted Nugent Rant in California back in ‘08
Ted Nugent in Concert Rant

…Yeah.

When I first heard about this, it reminded me of a similar incident with another controversial artist from Detroit. Who’s the artist? It was Eminem. The incident regarding Eminem was in 2003 on the track “We As Americans” that had a lyric that was construed as a threat to President Bush and was called in by the Secret Service for questioning. The song has been back masked but you can find an unedited one here.

“We As Americans”

Later on Eminem was deemed not a threat.

In closing, I’m not surprised that Ted Nugent would slip up. In fact, this proves a big mouth and a small mind are never a good combination.

photo courtesy of Eonline



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Mar
19

Limp Bizkit and Lil Wayne Walk into a Studio…No, I’m Serious by John M. Ellison IV

On Februrary 24th 2012, DeWayne Carter better known Lil Wayne signed rap rock group Limp Bizkit to Cash Money Records. A “collabo” track between Limp Bizkit and Lil Wayne titled “Ready to Go” is set to be released next week. Don’t get me wrong, Limp Bizkit was great…but so was America Online. I don’t hate Limp Bizkit, in fact I’m still fond of their albums “Chocolate Starfish and Hot Dog Flavored Water”, “Three Dollar Bill, Y’all” and “Significant Other” was cool too. In fact, I respect how Fred Durst supported file sharing program Napster when the music industry was against file sharing.

This all started earlier on 3/1/2012 where I tweeted out “Limp Bizkit with Lil Wayne…talk about mixing “shit” and “vomit.” The response was varied, from “Say what you mean” to people agreeing with me. To clarify, I also stated “Don’t get me wrong, Limp Bizkit was cool…until you discovered Bio-Hazard, Orange 9mm etc.”

Honestly, my inner 16 year old is hoping that this will be something great. But I can think of five good reasons why it shouldn’t be done.

Those reasons being…

“Red Light Green Light” feat. Snoop Dogg


Turn Me Loose feat. Eminem

Rollin (Urban Assault Vehicle remix) feat. Method Man, Redman, DMX and Swizz Beatz on production.

Getcha Groove On Feat. Xzibit

N 2 Gether Now feat. Method Man

Lil Wayne…where do I start with the only dude off of Cash Money that actually made something of himself? Okay, it’s a known fact that Wayne’sa Nirvana fan…well he likes that song Smells Like Teen Spirit…well he liked the video for “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” That’s all well and good but Jason Aldean admitted to liking some Snoop Dogg growing up, that doesn’t exactly make him a hip-hopper.

With proclaiming his fondness for Nirvana for the sake of rocker credibility, notice that Lil Wayne has rapped over rock tinged or rock tracks in the past.

Knockout feat. Nicki Minaj.

Prom Queen

Best Rapper Alive

I’m Not a Human Being

In closing, maybe both acts can have enough chemistry to create something that I and others would find noteworthy…but it’s up for you to decide.

photo courtesy of Prefix magazine


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Feb
14

Suck My Big Black Ass, Charlie Brown!

Hey folks, The Most Offensive Video Crew is at it again with this internet gem. Oh yeah, I wouldn’t recommend you watching this at work or anywhere in the proximity of anyone who’s easily offended.



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Feb
13

My Thoughts on the Grammys…*shrugs* by John M. Ellison IV

This year’s Grammys had a somber tone due to the passing of now R&B legend Whitney Houston. I’m not going to act like I was a humongous fan of hers but a true talent was lost. In fact, my dad interviewed her back in ‘85. My thoughts are with her family. A common theme throughout the show was recognizing the loss of musical icons such as Jimmy Castor, Don Cornelius, Etta James and countless others.

The performances were okay…here a few that stick out in my mind at the moment. These aren’t in sequential order, just what stuck out memory wise

Bruno Mars attempt at a 60’s soul pastiche had him looking like the illegitimate love child of GWAR character Sleazy P. Martini and James Brown. From the reaction of the crowd, it went over okay. At this point, you have to take what you get.

Chris Brown and his backup dancers performance looked like a great homage to the classic arcade game Q*bert.

Alicia Keys and Bonnie Raitt performing a tribute to Etta James by playing “Sunday Kind of Love” was dignified. I noticed Bonnie Raitt got a bigger reaction than Alicia Keys though.

A vignette with Jack Black outside of the Grammys with a crowd where he touted up indie cred was an amusing lead in to The Foo Fighters playing in an outside tent. Oddly enough The Foo Fighters consists of former members of Scream, The Germs and Sunny Day Real Estate. It was cool to see Dave Grohl for wearing a “Slayer” band tee during his performance.

Rihanna and Coldplay performed together…it wasn’t bad. Rihanna reminds me of a digital Donna Summers nowadays.

Bon Iver (real name Justin Vernon) won for best new artist over Nicki Minaj, The Band Perry, J. Cole and Skrillex. I’m not really a fan of Bon Iver, in fact I’m more of a Skrillex guy but honestly, it was like choosing between how can I put this eloquently…garbage, bile and feces. Actually I’ve been mispronouncing Bon Iver’s name, I’ve been referring to him as Bon eye-ver… my mistake.

Jennifer Hudson’s tribute to Whitney Houston was well done and respectful. You could feel the emotion in the room.

Naturally Adele cleaned up award-wise winning Best Song of the Year, Best Pop Performance, Best Pop Vocal album. Also who doesn’t like a great comeback story and soulful vocals?

The Beach Boys homage was okay. The lead dude from Foster the People looked nervous but pulled it off. That’s no disrespect intended, honestly if I had to do a tribute to Funkadelic, Alice in Chains or any band I’d admired I’d probably be in the bathroom blasting Nestle Quik!

The Glen Campbell homage was great, knowing that he’s fighting Alzheimer’s (not All Timer’s) and performing that well is something to respect.

The moment of attempted controversy was Nicki Minaj live exorcism bit. Some were shocked, some were offended I just felt it’s been done. Sorry folks I grew up on Alice Cooper, Marilyn Manson, Three Six Mafia, Robert Johnson, The Misfits and the rap subgenre horrorcore. I’ve seen it done better.

Joe Walsh, Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen and Dave Grohl playing guitar at the same time was…well reminiscent of too many guys trying to rap onstage. It sounded like a cluster of badly played stock licks played over a backing vamp that you would hear in a car commercial.

Honestly, I can’t really act like I was that excited or really hyped up over the Grammys this year.

Image courtesy of

http://idolator.com/6097162/2012-grammy-nominations

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Feb
2

It’s Been a Long Time…by John M. Ellison IV

Hey folks,

I know the updates on the site have been scarce to almost nonexistent. I’ve been busy as of late and kind of in the midst of well pretty much being burnt out writing wise. Seriously, you have any idea how difficult it is to write out a well thought out article on a daily basis for almost three years? It’s exhausting! I’m not trying to complain but I just needed a break. I’m in the midst of trying experiment with this podcast thing and also a few other projects that I’ll keep you guys posted on. Anyway, thanks for checking out my articles even when I’m on break.

-John M. Ellison IV

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Dec
14

A Charlie Brown Moshpit video feature by John M. Ellison IV

Let’s face it folks, it just isn’t Christmas without a Charlie Brown special…and it just isn’t punk rock without Bad Brains. We live in an era where we can bring the best of both worlds and create something unique…or total garbage. In this case, it’s the former and not the latter. This isn’t the first time somebody has mashed up the dance sequence from A Charlie Brown Christmas to a song though. For example, the scene has been mashed up with “Hey Ya” by Outkast, “Sexyback” by Justin Timberlake and also there has been a heavy metal version by Torniquet that used their song “Good Night for a Hanging.” But in this case, you have somebody using “Pay to Cum” by Bad Brains. So, enjoy what I call “A Charlie Brown Moshpit.” Peace!



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