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An 18th century guide to sex positions
04.28.2016
09:58 am

Topics:
Amusing
Art
Books
Sex

Tags:
pornography
I Modi
sex guide

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I Modi or The Ways was a book of engravings depicting sixteen sexual positions. Think of it as The Joy of Sex for Renaissance times. The book, also known as The Sixteen Pleasures, was published by the engraver Marcantonio Raimondi in 1524. Raimondi based his explicit illustrations on a series of erotic privately owned paintings by Giulio Romano. The book was widely circulated. It led to the first prosecution for pornography by the Catholic church. Raimondi was imprisoned by Pope Clement VII. All copies of the book were destroyed.

Our story doesn’t end there, as the poet and satirist Pietro Aretino heard of the book and wished to see Romano’s original paintings. Interestingly, Romano was not prosecuted by the Pope as his paintings (unlike Raimondi’s book) were not meant for public consumption. Aretino decided to write a series of erotic sonnets to accompany the paintings. He also successfully campaigned to have Raimondi released from prison.

In 1527, a second edition of I Modi was published with Aretino’s sonnets. Once again the Pope banned the book and all copies were destroyed—only a few small fragments of I Modi or Aretino’s Postures survive which are held at the British Museum.

In 1798 a completely new version of I Modi was published in France under the title L’Arétin d’Augustin Carrache ou Recueil de Postures Érotiques, d’Après les Gravures à l’Eau-Forte par cet Artiste Célèbre, Avec le Texte Explicatif des Sujets (The ‘Aretino’ of Agostino Carracci, or a collection of erotic poses, after Carracci’s engravings, by this famous artist, with the explicit texts on the subject) based on engravings by Baroque painter Agostini Carracci was published.

These 18th century engravings mixed classical myth and history within a contemporary setting—though their intention is still the same—to arouse and “educate” users to the joys of sex.
 
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The frontispiece to the book the goddess of love, sex, beauty and fertility Venus descending on a chariot.
 
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Husband and wife Paris and Oenone try out penetration side-by-side.
 
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Angelique and Medor—two characters from the opera ‘Roland’—perform the ‘reverse cowgirl,’ although they probably had a different name for it back then.
 
More sex positions of the 18th century, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
That time Jack Kerouac asked Marlon Brando to make a movie of ‘On the Road’ 1957
04.27.2016
11:55 am

Topics:
Books
Heroes
Literature
Movies

Tags:
Jack Kerouac
Marlon Brando

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It’s fair to say most writers would like a movie made of their books—it’s a way of reaching a far greater audience and pegging a stake on fame, fortune and celluloid immortality. To this end, some writers often dream up a cast list of their favorite actors who they think are best suited to play the fictional characters they’ve created. Though of course this rarely happens as box office clout always beats artistic sensibilities when it comes to casting.

In September 1957, Jack Kerouac’s novel On the Road was published to great and immediate acclaim. Film studios clamored to option the book. Warner Brothers expressed an interest as did Paramount, but Kerouac had his own ideas.

The Beat author wanted Marlon Brando to make a movie of On the Road. He thought Method actor Brando was perfect for the central role of Dean Moriarty. Kerouac was ambitious enough to consider himself for the role of his fictional alter ego and Moriarty’s sidekick Sal Paradise. Brando was a hot property. He was considered perhaps the greatest actor of his generation and had been nominated five times for an Academy Award—winning one for his performance in On the Waterfront in 1954. It was a big ask, but Kerouac was hopeful.

“Dear Marlon,” his letter began:

I’m praying that you’ll buy ON THE ROAD and make a movie of it. Don’t worry about the structure, I know to compress and re-arrange the plot a bit to give a perfectly acceptable movie-type structure: making it into one all-inclusive trip instead of the several voyages coast-to-coast in the book, one vast round trip from New York to Denver to Frisco to Mexico to New Orleans to New York again. I visualize the beautiful shots could be made with the camera on the front seat of the car showing the road (day and night) unwinding into the windshield, as Sal and Dean yak. I wanted you to play the part because Dean (as you know) is no dopey hotrodder but a real intelligent (in fact Jesuit) Irishman. You play Dean and I’ll play Sal (Warner Bros. mentioned I play Sal) and I’ll show you how Dean acts in real life, you couldn’t possibly imagine it without seeing a good imitation. Fact, we can go visit him in Frisco, or have him come down to L.A. still a real frantic cat but nowadays settled down with his final wife saying the Lord’s Prayer with his kiddies at night… as you’ll see when you read the play BEAT GENERATION. All I want out of this is to be able to establish myself and by mother a trust fund for life, so I can really go roaming around the world writing about Japan, India, France etc… I Want to be free to write what comes out of my head & free to feed my buddies when they’re hungry & not worry about my mother.

Incidentally, my next novel is THE SUBTERRANEANS coming out in N.Y. next March and is about a love affair between a white guy and a colored girl and is a very hep story. Some of the characters in it you know in the Village (Stanley Gould etc.) It easily could be turned into a play, easier than ON THE ROAD.

What I wanta do is re-do the theater and the cinema in America, give it a spontaneous dash, remove pre-conceptions of “situation” and let people rave on as they do in real life. That’s what the play is: no plot in particular, no “meaning” in particular, just the way people are. Everything I write I do in the spirit where I imagine myself an Angel returned to the earth seeing it with sad eyes as it is. I know you approve of these ideas, & incidentally the new Frank Sinatra show is based on “spontaneous” too, which is the only way to come on anyway, whether in business or life. The French movies of the 30’s are still far superior to ours because the French really let their actors come on and the writers didn’t quibble with some preconceived notion of how intelligent the movie audience is, they talked soul from soul and everybody understood at once. I want to make great French Movies in America, finally, when I’m rich… American theater & Cinema at present is an outmoded dinosaur that ain’t mutated along with the best in American Literature.

If you really want to go ahead, make arrangements to see me in New York when next you come, or if you’re going to FLorida here I am, but what we should do is talk about this because I prophesy that it’s going to be the beginning of something real great. I’m bored nowadays and I’m looking around for something to do in the world, anyway — writing novels is getting too easy, same with plays, I wrote the play in 24 hours.

Come on now, Marlon, put up your dukes and write!

Sincerely, later, Jack Kerouac

 
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This letter was only discovered after Brando died in July 2004. Helen Hall was tasked by auction house Christie’s to visit the actor’s home on Mulholland Drive in Los Angeles and select property to include in an auction of his estate.

Hall spent around ten days at Brando’s house sifting through his personal effects “with a fine tooth comb.”  The most valuable thing she had found was an annotated copy of Brando’s script for The Godfather tucked away with all his other movie memorabilia in a bunker in the garden. Hall thought this was the best she would find. On her tenth day at the house, Hall and her team searched through the very last room on their list—Brando’s office.

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘The Criterion of shit movies’: Arrow Video’s lionization of lowbrow


“Take a little piece of my heart”—Still from “Bride of Reanimator”
 
My primary job here at Dangerous Minds is to essentially say “Here, look at this cool thing”—a job I’m well-suited for because it’s something I generally find myself doing anyway. Lately, I find that when I’m telling friends about whatever cool new thing that’s fascinating me at the moment, more and more often it’s some cool new thing that came down the pike from Arrow Films.

The U.K.‘s Arrow Films has been making a name for itself the past few years with their tricked-out DVD and Blu-Ray issues of cult horror films, westerns, science fiction, sex comedies, yakuza epics and neo-noirs.  Arrow sits alongside Grindhouse Releasing and Mondo Macabro as the holy trinity of digital video companies specializing in genre films. All three companies go above and beyond the call of duty with attention to detail in their transfers and bonus materials. Arrow has very quickly become my favorite, though, and I recently described them in conversation as “The Criterion of Shit Movies.”

To be perfectly honest, some of their packages put Criterion’s fine work to shame.

I wrote here recently about one of my favorite ‘80s slasher movies, The Mutilator, which just got the deluxe treatment from Arrow. For a relatively unknown (outside of cult horror-fan circles) low-budget splatter film, Arrow went totally balls-out on the double-disc release with a beautiful 2K restoration of the unrated version of the film (from the only surviving intact print that they managed to track down at the Library of Congress) and a slew of extras, including a feature-length documentary on the making of the film. The amount of love poured into this single release is remarkable when you consider that fans of the film (which had been previously unreleased on a digital format) would have bought the thing whether or not they had produced a documentary or recorded audio commentaries, or loaded it up with behind-the-scenes footage. They didn’t have to go the extra-mile, but they DID.
 
Much more on Arrow Films after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
J.G. Ballard: The first published profile of the author as a young student in 1951

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J.G. Ballard was a 20-year-old medical student in his second year at Cambridge University when he jointly won a crime story competition organized by the local student newspaper Varsity.

Ballard’s story “The Violent Noon” recounted the events of a violent and gory terrorist attack on a British officer and his family during the Malayan War. It has been described as a “Hemingwayesque pastiche” allegedly written to please the judges. According to “an an unsigned summary of the judges’ reasons for picking” Ballard’s story:

‘Violent Noon’ was the most mature story; it contains patches of high tension, the characters come to life, and the ending is brilliant in its cynicism. The author should, however, avoid a tendency to preach.

The Violent Noon” was Ballard’s first published work. When it appeared in Varsity on Saturday 26th May, 1951, the paper printed a profile of the author—which included Ballard’s first ever published interview:

J. Graham Ballard who shares the first prize of ten pounds with D. S. Birley in the “Varsity” Crime Story Competition is now in his second year at King’s and immersed in the less literary process of reading medicine.

He admitted to our reporter yesterday that he had in fact entered the competition more for the prize than anything else, although he had been encouraged to go on writing because of his success.

The idea for his short story which deals with the problem of Malayan terrorism, he informs us, he had been thinking over for some time before hearing of the competition.

He had, in addition to writing short stories, also planned “mammoth novels” which “never get beyond the first page.”

 
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What these “mammoth novels” were about one can now only imagine. It was four years since Ballard had returned to England from internment at a Japanese P.O.W. camp—the horrors of which were filtered through his work as he later said:

The experience of war is deeply corrupting. Anybody who witnesses years of brutality can’t help but lose a sense of the tragedy and mystery of death. I’m sure that happened to me. The 16-year-old who came to England after the war carried this freight of ‘matter-of-factness about death’. So spending two years dissecting cadavers was a way of reminding me of the reality of death itself, and gave me back a respect for life.

Ballard harbored plans to become a psychiatrist. But this was quickly dropped after his success with “The Violent Noon.” He quit his medical studies at Cambridge and enrolled at Queen Mary University, London to study English Literature.
 
More on young Ballard plus full documentary, after the jump….

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Peter Max’s groovy pop art paper airplanes
04.11.2016
12:58 pm

Topics:
Art
Books

Tags:
Peter Max


 
I take it as a given that the work of Peter Max isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, but I’ve always been a fan. When I was a kid, this nifty green coffee pot was a fixture in my family’s kitchen, and what can I say, that insidious infiltration of my psyche must have left some residue, because I usually find that Max’s colorful, playful psychedelia has the effect of raising my spirits. I like his stuff.

I learned recently that Max published a book of paper airplanes in 1971 for Pyramid Books. What a marvelous idea! The cover of the book features a plea to treat the environment with care, and Max’s infectious positivity makes its way into the design of the planes, which are emblazoned with cute messages like “HA HA” or “I’M A BIRD” or “I CAN’T TALK, ‘CAUSE I’M LAUGHING.” The book sold for $1.50 at the time.
 

 
If you want to try making these at home, obviously a good color printer will help, but the used editions of the books are surprisingly affordable.

I haven’t seen any pictures of completed planes yet—I’m dying to see some examples!

Some of the images here will spawn a larger version if you click on them.
 

 

 
More groovy airplanes after the jump…....

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The dictionary where Jerry Garcia got the phrase ‘Grateful Dead’
04.08.2016
03:50 pm

Topics:
Books
Music

Tags:
folklore
The Grateful Dead
dictionaries


 
In 1965, Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir and Ron “Pigpen” McKernan and Phil Lesh were in a Bay Area outfit called the Warlocks. (Quite astonishingly, the band that would become the Velvet Underground was also operating as the Warlocks at that exact same juncture.) The first show where the band performed as the Grateful Dead occurred on December 4, 1965, in San Jose, at one of Ken Kesey’s Acid Tests.

The story of Jerry seeing the words “Grateful Dead” in a dictionary is a well-established part of Deadhead lore. Jerry saw the words in a dictionary and a sunbeam splashed on the page and the words on the page glowed in a beatific halo or whatnot.

Actually, here’s the story, as recounted in Blair Jackson’s Garcia: An American Life:
 

It was sometime in November 1965, while the band and a few friends were sitting around Phil’s apartment on High Street [Seriously, people? High Street??] in Palo Alto, smoking DMT and thumbing through a gargantuan Funk and Wagnalls dictionary, that the group’s name was revealed (cue biblical trumpets!). As Jerry said in his oft-quoted 1969 description of the episode, “There was ‘grateful dead,’ those words juxtaposed. It was one of those moments, y’know, like everything else on the page went blank, diffuse, just sort of oozed away, and there was grateful dead. Big black letters edged all around in gold, man, blasting out at me, such a stunning combination. So I said, ‘How about Grateful Dead?’ And that was it.” Later, he noted, “Nobody in the band liked it. I didn’t like it, either, but it got around that that was one of the candidates for our new name and everyone else said, “Yeah, that’s great.” It turned out to be tremendously lucky. It’s just repellent enough to filter curious onlookers and just quirky enough that parents don’t like it,” he added with a laugh.

 
But haven’t you ever wondered just what kind of dictionary has an entry for “Grateful Dead,” anyway? It seems like an awfully weird term to stick in on the same page as gravel.
 

The Warlocks in action, 1965
 
There’s a pretty solid piece of reporting on the Grateful Dead’s official website that does a good job of explaining how this came about. It’s not a straightforward story, and (as befits the mindset of, say, a lexicographer) the details matter.

Some Grateful Dead fans did spend significant time trying to track down the dictionary that Jerry might have been perusing, but to no avail. And in fact the lack of any such dictionary popping up in these searches may have led to the rise of an alternate theory about The Egyptian Book of the Dead, which does in fact feature the phrase “grateful dead” as well—but had nothing to do with Jerry’s idea for the name, at least not directly.

As the Dead’s website tells it, a Deadhead named Kimball Jones finally found the elusive dictionary, which turned out to be the 1955 edition of The Funk and Wagnalls New Practical Standard Dictionary, Britannica World Language Edition:
 

Jones contacted the band’s office, providing photocopies of the entry and title page; images of those pages would eventually appear in The Official Book of the Deadheads, finally laying the question to rest. Jones donated his copy of the dictionary to the Grateful Dead Archive, where it is currently on display.

 
As the article asks later, “The esoteric nature of the entry, and its rarity, raise an interesting question: how did such a specialized entry come to appear in a popular dictionary?”

The reason “Grateful Dead” was in the dictionary derives from a woman named Maria Leach, who worked for Funk and Wagnalls and had made lexicographical contributions “in the fields of folklore and mythology” and was also “the editor of the company’s Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology, and Legend, which has the other appearance of the grateful dead as an entry. ... in a real way, Maria Leach can be considered the godmother of the Grateful Dead.”

One wonders if Maria Leach ever even heard of the Grateful Dead before her death in 1977, when she was in her eighties. It seems quite likely that a lexicographer who was publishing books in 1949 (the year that Funk and Wagnalls came out with Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology, and Legend) would almost certainly, twenty years later, not even be aware of all those “younguns” with their loud guitars and such. In fact, Maria Leach was born in 1892 and attended Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, whose curriculum was largely shaped by the teachings of the Quakers, so you know, it doesn’t seem too probable.

Even more interestingly, her (quite substantial) bio on Wikipedia does not mention her considerable role in the naming of one of the biggest acts in rock and roll history. Her Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology, and Legend, which sounds utterly fascinating, can be acquired on Amazon for a surprisingly reasonable sum.) 

Here’s a scan of the 1955 edition of the dictionary, followed by the text of the entry (click on the image for a larger view):
 

 

GRATEFUL DEAD: The motif of a cycle of folk tales which begin with the hero coming upon a group of people ill-treating or refusing to bury the corpse of a man who had died without paying his debts. He gives his last penny, either to pay the man’s debts or to give him a decent burial. Within a few hours he meets with a travelling companion who aids him in some impossible task, gets him a fortune or saves his life. The story ends with the companion disclosing himself as the man whose corpse the hero had befriended.(Funk & Wagnall’s Dictionary).

 
There’s a book that was written in 1908 by Gordon Hall Gerould under the title The Grateful Dead: The History of a Folk Story that relates to this myth—occasionally people buy it with the idea that it’s about the band, but it still is probably a rewarding read.
 
via Little Hippie
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
LSD Orgy Exposé: Have an acid flashback with these psychedelic book covers
04.08.2016
12:09 pm

Topics:
Books
Design
Drugs

Tags:
LSD
pulp fiction

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Contrary to that hoary old adage, a book is often judged by its cover. Whether that’s right or wrong, is unimportant, that’s just how it is. Indeed, it’s far easier to dismiss a book by its cover because so many books today look stupid.

Once book covers were discussed, considered and only then created by a team of whizz kid artists and designers. Nowadays, it’s easy to find three or four books by different authors on different genres with exactly the same black & white or color stock photo. It’s bad economics and lazy design.

Even at their worst though, pulp covers are aesthetically interesting. Some artist has invested time and effort into creating a cover that would (hopefully) bring readers to the pages. Not all pulp covers work—but at least they show some intelligence at play rather than just an editor indifferently picking a stock pic of a snowy street out of a catalog to save money.

This selection of covers for pulp fiction and nonfiction books on LSD and other psychedelic drugs give some idea to the variation in style book designers once had. Not all of these covers hit the spot—but at best they suggest that the reader could possibly get a contact high with just a flick through their pages.
 
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Many more acid flashback paperback book covers after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Gentle Giant: Rosey Grier’s ‘Needlepoint for Men,’ 1973
04.08.2016
09:49 am

Topics:
Books
Heroes
History
Sports

Tags:
Rosey Grier


 
I never realized what an awesome role model Rosey Grier was to kids—and to full grown men who enjoy needlepoint—in the 1970s. Really Rosey? (See what I did there? No?) I mean, how many former NFL players can you name who wrote books on needlepoint and sang songs like “It’s Alright To Cry”? None probably.

More than anything, Grier was showing that it was okay for young males to be in touch with their softer side and that there was nothin’ shameful about expressing emotions like crying. What a stellar message to get across, especially in the early 1970s when I’d imagine it was a lot tougher for even a former NFL tackle to get that message out without laughter and ridicule.

Rosey Grier is 83 years old now, and an ordained minister who keeps up a brisk pace of public service. He is the last surviving member of the Fearsome Foursome. As a bodyguard for Ethyl Kennedy during the 1968 presidential primaries, when RFK was assassinated, it was Rosey Grier who took control of the gun and subdued, Sirhan Sirhan.

Let’s also not forget his guest star turns on Dora Hall specials or his co-starring role in 1972’s The Thing With Two Heads (Ray Milland plays a rich white racist who has his head transplanted onto the body of a death-row inmate played by Grier.)
 

 

 
More Rosey after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Boyd Rice biographer’s NON-disclosure: ‘He doesn’t seem to give a shit what most people think’
04.06.2016
10:10 am

Topics:
Books
Pop Culture

Tags:
Boyd Rice


 
“Boyd Rice is one of the most influential and controversial figures of modern American counterculture,” begins Brian M. Clark’s Boyd Rice: A Biography. While that grandiose statement may oversell Rice’s cultural importance, it’s certainly true that Boyd Rice is a household name in a lot of weird households.

Rice is a prolific American sound experimentalist, author, artist, actor, archivist, and prankster. He also tends to be a polarizing figure in countercultural circles.
 

Boyd Rice a.k.a. “NON”—breaking records
 
I became familiar with Boyd Rice beginning in the late ‘80s and throughout the ‘90s. It seemed for a time that any esoteric interest I began exploring, Boyd Rice’s name would pop up as someone who had been there to document it or be associated with it first. My initial exposure to Rice was his work on the Incredibly Strange Films book released by RE/Search in 1985. In the late ‘80s, this was perhaps the most-thumbed reference book on my shelf. Rice turned up again on my radar in 1988 as a talking head on Geraldo Rivera’s sensationalist Exposing Satan’s Underground TV special. I was deeply interested in Satanism at the time, and here was Rice as one of its chief defenders and spokesmen. As I became interested in the bizarre records I was finding at thrift stores, particularly fake Hawaiian recordings, I began finding articles written by Rice about his love of “exotica” music. When RE/Search’s Pranks book came out, I became obsessed with that volume, particularly Rice’s chapter. I got the accompanying video as soon as it was released and found the interviews with Rice quite charming. Around this same time I was starting to get heavily into noise and industrial music and there was Rice too—at the forefront with his ground-breaking work as NON. And there was Rice on Current 93 records. And there was Rice in Lisa Carver’s fantastic Rollerderby magazine. And then there were the hysterical tapes of his appearances on evangelical minister Bob Larson’s radio call-in show, which were de rigueur tour van tapes while playing in bands in the ‘90s. Rice was seemingly everywhere, all over everything I found fascinating in the ‘90s—and he was always there a few years ahead of me as its champion. Who was this industrial man of mystery?

More on this contentious character after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Around the world with Modesty Blaise, ‘England’s fabulous, feminine answer to James Bond’
04.06.2016
09:13 am

Topics:
Art
Books

Tags:
Modesty Blaise
Peter O'Donnell


Doubleday hardcover, 1965
 
The 1960s were rife with super-duper-glamorous spies, weren’t they? James Bond was one of the earliest and also the best-known. Ian Fleming published Casino Royale in 1953, and the movie series started in 1962 with Dr. No. But there were many others: The Avengers, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., I Spy, Mission: Impossible, James Coburn’s Derek Flint, Dean Martin’s Matt Helm—they were all over the place.

Emma Peel notwithstanding, the general arena was a bit heavy on the testosterone, so Peter O’Donnell invented “England’s fabulous, feminine answer to James Bond,” as one of the first published editions had it. (In Pulp Fiction, Vincent Vega is reading the edition at the top of this post on the toilet just before he meets his untimely demise.)

In 1966 Joseph Losey directed Modesty Blaise starring Monica Vitti and Terence Stamp and Dirk Bogarde. Some of the book covers below use images of Vitti in the role.

Modesty Blaise never had the sales that James Bond enjoyed, but she was quite popular through the 1970s and 1980s, and Souvenir Press was publishing several Modesty Blaise titles as late as 2006. As you can see below, O’Donnell’s handful of Modesty Blaise titles (Modesty Blaise, Sabre-Tooth, I, Lucifer, The Impossible Virgin) were translated in many countries, including France, Germany, Israel, South Africa, Finland, and Brazil.

The Modesty Blaise Book Covers website is obviously indispensable for a post like this—alas, many of the images are a bit too small for use here, but I was often able to find reasonable facsimiles elsewhere on the internet. In some cases I liked the cover so much and couldn’t find a larger image so I just lived with the mild graininess, sue me!
 

Souvenir Press hardcover, 1965
 

Fawcett Crest, 1965
 

Doubleday, 1966
 
More ‘Modesty’ after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
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