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Klovn: Watch one of the funniest—and most outrageous—TV shows in the entire world. Ever
07.29.2014
08:14 pm

Topics:
Television

Tags:
Klown
Klovn
Frank Hvam
Casper Christensen

 
In 2012, Klown, a Danish comedy made in 2010, was given a limited release in movie theaters and on VOD by Drafthouse Films. It’s one of the funniest, raunchiest and just plain wrong comedies to come along in… well, years, really. The outrageous Klown was marketed like it was a Danish version of The Hangover and that seems about right. Todd Phillips and Danny McBride are said to be planning a Hollywood remake.

I saw the movie then, loved it, but didn’t really think that much more about it until a few months ago, when I picked up the Klovn DVD box set used for twenty bucks at Amoeba. [Klown was the “film of the TV show” that aired for six series between 2005 and 2009, but that’s spelled Klovn and how I will spell it from here on out.]

Of late, with the summer TV doldrums, the wife and I have been watching several episodes of Klovn a week. I think it’s safe to assume that people who come to this blog regularly do so because they trust our tastes and recommendation of fun stuff to get stoned and watch. Well listen up then, because if the idea of a Danish TV comedy, a sitcom for fuck’s sake, where you’d be expected to read subtitles, doesn’t immediately seem like something you might like, give Klovn a chance, because in the five years of doing this blog (we turned five two weeks ago) this is one of the top things that I am the most enthusiastic about recommending to our high IQ, good-looking readers, ever.

And no, I’m not suggesting that you go out and spend $100 for an imported DVD box set that your DVD player probably won’t even play based on my say so, because every episode of Klovn is on HULU. Who knew? (And who knows what other great shit lurks there if this gem of genius comedy is any indication?)
 

 
Klovn is the product of two of the most devious comedic minds on the entire planet, Frank Hvam and Casper Christensen. Imagine a Danish buddy version of Curb Your Enthusiasm. As with Larry David in the American sitcom, Christensen and Hvam play fictionalized versions of themselves, two middle-aged comedians in a sort of docu-comedy meets Dogme 95 kind of thing, which makes sense as Lars von Trier’s Zentropa produced it. He even makes a cameo appearance, playing himself, as do other internationally notable Danes like Oscar-winning director Bille August and actor Mads Mikkelsen. Co-star Iben Hjejle (who plays herself playing Caspar’s often exasperated girlfriend, as she once was in real life) will be familiar to American audiences for her role as John Cusack’s girlfriend in High Fidelity.

Casper and Frank were already well-known in Denmark prior to Klovn, having appeared previously in Langt fra Las Vegas (“Far from Las Vegas” where Christensen played himself in a behind the scenes of a morning show situation comedy and Hvam played his geeky best friend, a sportscaster) and a sketch show, Casper og Madrilaftalen. Both of them, but especially Christensen—who has been a household name since he was nineteen—have also hosted mainstream television variety shows and radio programs.

Which is why it’s so extraordinary just how far they are willing to go. Casual racism. AIDs. Political refugees. Drug overdoses. The handicapped. Sexual harassment. Abortion. Men made to look like total fucking idiots while the female characters (Hjejle and Mia Lyhne who plays Frank’s girlfriend “Mia” but who is not playing “herself”) just look on in utter, befuddled amazement.


 
They go there. Oh do they got there. Christensen and Hvam do not give a fuck about portraying themselves as complete assholes (“Alan Partridge” is a character after all, his name isn’t Steve Coogan!). It’s about the laugh and the laughs are HUGE in this show. The writing, by Hvam and Christensen, is as sharp as an informercial knife and they manage to employ a charming formula of laying a long fuse near the start of each episode that explodes in the face of one or the other of our hapless, but thoroughly immoral protagonists. Apparently when they first sat down to write the series, they challenged themselves to come up with a list of the most troublesome and politically incorrect topics they could think of and then wrote an episode around each of these offensive themes. If I tell you that during the course of the series that one of them gets caught shitting in a litter box and flirts with a high school girl who has a colostomy bag by telling her that he has one, too (and getting caught in this lie), I’m not giving away much, just a bit of the flava.

But don’t take my word for it. Just hit play and smoke one if you’ve got one. It’s worth noting that the jaunty music played in the Danish version of the series—it’s played incessantly—has been swapped out for different music here. That’s too bad because it really adds to the show’s unique personality, but it’s not like anyone would know the difference outside of Denmark anyway.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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‘Boomerang Kids’: Images of college graduates with huge debts who live with their parents
07.29.2014
11:42 am

Topics:
Current Events
Economy

Tags:
debt crisis


Annie Kasinecz, 27, Downers Grove, Ill.
Degree: B.A., Advertising and public relations, Loyola University, Chicago
Student Loans: $75,000

Los Angeles-based photographer Damon Casarez‘s series titled “Boomerang Kids” portrays the bleak reality that 1 in 5 Americans in their 20s and early 30s live at home with their parents. According to the New York Times, “60 percent of all young adults receive financial support from them.” That’s staggering, isn’t? Of course there are a plethora reasons why Millennials are still at home with mom and dad, but the main reason is… crushing student debt loans.

In effect, children move out, go through the standard rite of passage of American life—getting a highly valued “higher education”—and then end up dependent on their parents again (if there was ever a break in the first place) a day or two after graduation because there are no decent paying jobs anymore.

Saddling themselves up to their eyeballs in student loan debts—whether they attended classes or attended to their hangovers—that they will then be paying off to Wall Street capitalists for much, perhaps most, of their productive lives seems like a raw deal. Who benefits from this equation? It’s becoming more and more obvious every day what a scam colleges are.

In the case of Damon Casarez, he was in the very same situation that his subjects are in—lots of debt and living at home—and “Boomerang Kids” was a way of connecting with young people in similar financial straights, an entire generation with a “failure to launch” crisis not of their own making.

Here’s a bit more from the New York Times:

The common explanation for the shift is that people born in the late 1980s and early 1990s came of age amid several unfortunate and overlapping economic trends. Those who graduated college as the housing market and financial system were imploding faced the highest debt burden of any graduating class in history. Nearly 45 percent of 25-year-olds, for instance, have outstanding loans, with an average debt above $20,000. And more than half of recent college graduates are unemployed or underemployed, meaning they make substandard wages in jobs that don’t require a college degree.

snip~

For most of American history, it was natural for each generation to become richer than the previous one. Now that’s no longer true. These changes created a new, far less predictable dynamic — some people would do much better than their parents could have ever dreamed; others would fall permanently behind. Given the volatility of the changes, the idea of an “average” worker was becoming obsolete. And while much of the discussion about economic inequality has centered on the top 1 percent, it’s the gap between the top 20 percent and the rest that’s more salient to young people. “That is a dividing point,” says Mark Rank, a professor at Washington University in St. Louis. People in the top 20 percent of income — roughly $100,000 in 2013 — have taken nearly all the economic gains of the past 40 years. (Of course, the top 1 percent and, even more so, the top 0.01 percent, has taken a far more disproportionate share.)

The series “Boomerang Kids” was shot in “8 states and over 14 cities, the work is a revealing and compassionate story of Millennials in the United States.”


Monica Navarro, 24, Escondido, Calif.
Degree: B.A., Literature and writing, University of California, San Diego.
Career Goal: Librarian
Current Job: Library volunteer, Home Depot Worker
Student Loans: $44,000

 

Gabriel Gonzalez, 22, Suffern, N.Y.
Degree: B.F.A., Graphic design, School of Visual Arts
Career goal: Graphic designer
Current job: Graphic designer and production assistant
Student Loans: $130,000

 

Alexandria Romo, 28, Austin, Tex.
Degree: B.A., Economics, Loyola University, Chicago
Career goal: Environmentalist
Current Job: Working at a corporate-security firm
Student Loans: $90,000

 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Buy your own DEVO Booji Boy mask
07.29.2014
08:59 am

Topics:
Fashion
Music

Tags:
Booji Boy
DEVO

Booji Boy
 
You can “pre-order” an authentic Booji Boy mask direct from DEVO, for a cool $125. I’m not sure why it’s pre-ordering when it says on the same page that the item is “in stock,” but whatever.
 
Booji Boy
Booji Boy indulging his curiosity in the “Satisfaction” video
 
Here’s DEVO’s sales pitch:
 

Official Booji Boy mask! Now you can assume the role of the infantile spirit of DEVO as you spread the truth about Devolution. This high-quality latex mask was lovingly crafted by SikRik Masks in Akron, Ohio under the supervision of DEVO, Inc. and Booji Boy. This is the 2nd Version Sculpt Circa 2014. First Version was in a limited edition of 100 and sold out in 2012. Each original mask design is hand sculpted, hand molded, hand poured, hand trimmed and hand painted by SikRik Studios using only the finest materials to deliver the finest independent mask available.

 
The thing I want to do is to buy about twenty of them and mount a really peculiar production of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town.......

Booji Boy in the video for “Beautiful World”:
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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President Lyndon B. Johnson informs his tailor that his new pants must respect his ‘bunghole’
07.29.2014
08:23 am

Topics:
Fashion
History
Politics

Tags:
Lyndon Johnson

Lyndon B. Johnson
 
On August 9, 1964, President Lyndon Baines Johnson decided that he needed some new pants, so he got on the horn and called the Haggar Clothing Co. based in Dallas, Texas, and ordered himself up a new set, along with some shirts and jackets. That call has become something of a classic among presidential archive fans, for entirely obvious reasons: in his colorful, home-spun style, Johnson uses vivid language in describing “the crotch, down where your nuts hang” as well as describing an area we would today call “the taint”: “where the zipper ends, round under my ... back to my bunghole.” (Hilariously, LBJ belches right in the middle of that last description.)

Johnson lets on that his weight varies by “10 or 15 pounds a month”; add in the fact that Johnson nicknamed his penis “Jumbo” and it’s quite clear that the man needed a fair amount of space down there, lest the pants “cut” him “just like riding a wire fence.” Ouch. Any guy who has worn pants that are a bit too tight can relate.

Here’s a full transcript, from American RadioWorks:
 

Operator: Go ahead sir

LBJ: Mr. Haggar?

JH: Yes this is Joe Haggar

LBJ: Joe, is your father the one that makes clothes?

JH: Yes sir—we’re all together

LBJ: Uh huh. You all made me some real lightweight slacks, uh, that he just made up on his own and sent to me 3 or 4 months ago. There’s a light brown and a light green, a rather soft green, a soft brown.

JH: Yes sir

LBJ: and they’re real lightweight now and I need about six pairs for summer wear.

JH: yes sir

LBJ: I want a couple, maybe three of the light brown kind of a almost powder color like a powder on a ladies face. Then they were some green and some light pair, if you had a blue in that or a black, then I’d have one blue and one black. I need about six pairs to wear around in the evening when I come in from work

JH: yes sir

LBJ: I need…they’re about a half a inch too tight in the waist.

JH: Do you recall sir the exact size, I just want to make sure we get them right for you

LBJ: No, I don’t know—you all just guessed at ‘em I think, some—wouldn’t you the measurement there?

JH: we can find it for you

LBJ: well I can send you a pair. I want them half a inch larger in the waist than they were before except I want two or three inches of stuff left back in there so I can take them up. I vary ten or 15 pounds a month.

JH: alright sir

LBJ: So leave me at least two and a half, three inches in the back where I can let them out or take them up. And make these a half an inch bigger in the waist. And make the pockets at least an inch longer, my money, my knife, everything falls out—wait just a minute.

Operator: Would you hold on a minute please?

[conversation on hold for two minutes]

LBJ: Now the pockets, when you sit down, everything falls out, your money, your knife, everything, so I need at least another inch in the pockets. And another thing—the crotch, down where your nuts hang—is always a little too tight, so when you make them up, give me an inch that I can let out there, uh because they cut me, it’s just like riding a wire fence. These are almost, these are the best I’ve had anywhere in the United States,

JH: Fine

LBJ: But, uh when I gain a little weight they cut me under there. So, leave me , you never do have much of margin there. See if you can’t leave me an inch from where the zipper (burps) ends, round, under my, back to my bunghole, so I can let it out there if I need to.

JH: Right

LBJ: Now be sure you have the best zippers in them. These are good that I have. If you get those to me I would sure be grateful

JH: Fine, Now where would you like them sent please?

LBJ: White House.

JH: Fine

LBJ: Now, uh, I don’t guess there is any chance of getting a very lightweight shirt, sport shirt to go with that slack, is there? That same color?

JH: We don’t make them, but we can have them made up for you.

LBJ: If you might look around, I wear about a 17, extra long.

JH: Would you like in the same fabric?

LBJ: Yeah I sure would, I don’t know whether that’s too heavy for a shirt.

JH: I think it’d be too heavy for a shirt.

LBJ: I sure want the lightest I can, in the same color or matching it. If you don’t mind, find me somebody up there who makes good shirts and make a shirt to match each one of them and if they’re good, we’ll order some more.

JH: Fine

LBJ: I just sure will appreciate this, I need it more than anything. And uh, now that’s a..about it. I guess I could get a jacket made outta that if I wanted to, couldn’t I?

JH: I think that—didn’t Sam Haggar have some jackets made?

LBJ: Yeah you sent me some jackets some earlier, but they were way too short. They hit me about halfway down my belly. I have a much longer waist. But I thought if they had material like that and somebody could make me a jacket, I’d sent them a sample to copy from.

JH: Well I tell you what, you send us this, we’ll find someone to make it

LBJ:ok

JH: We’ll supply the material to match it

LBJ: Ok, I’ll do that. Uh now, how do I—can you give this boy the address because I’m running to a funeral and give this boy the address to where we can send the trousers—don’t worry, you’ll get the measurements out of them and add a half an inch to the back and an give us couple of an inch to the pockets and a inch underneath to we can let them out.

JH: What you ‘d like is a little more stride in the crotch

LBJ: Yeah that’s right. What I’d like is to give me a half a inch more then leave me some more. Ok here he is.

JH: Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed the others

 
Here’s a cute animation of the call by Tawd Dorenfeld for Jesse Thorn’s Put This On:
 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Going Underground: Inside Melbourne’s storm drains
07.29.2014
08:19 am

Topics:
Environment

Tags:
urban exploration
storm drains

amapdrain.jpg
 
The “Maze” storm drain in Melbourne, Australia, may not be the city’s longest drain, but it is “perhaps the hardest and most confusing to navigate. The clue here is in the name.”

The drain twists and turns for approximately four miles, traveling across the city and out into the River Yarra. This drainage system ranges from large tunnels to passages the width and size of crawl spaces. A perfect setting for a horror movie, the waterway is also home to a number of venomous spiders (Red Backs, Funnel Web) and snakes. The fine for trespassing into this subterranean netherworld is $20,000 AUSD.

One urban explorer who has traveled through the perilous “Maze” drain is writer, musician and photographer, Darmon Richter, who documented his journey here.
 
7walkingdrain.jpg
 
1step.jpg
 
2downstep.jpg
 
3darknessdrain.jpg
 
5timetoheadback.jpg
 
Via The Bohemian Blog
 
More claustrophobic pictures of the ‘Maze’ drain, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Baseball general manager gets prostate exam (during game) singing ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame’
07.29.2014
07:27 am

Topics:
Amusing
Sports

Tags:
baseball
medicine

prostate exam
 
You’ve got to, er, hand it to Myrtle Beach Pelicans general manager Andy Milovich. Last month it was Prostate Cancer Awareness Night at Pelicans Ballpark, and true to the evening’s awareness-promoting events, he took to the mic during the 7th inning stretch and sang “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” while a grinning MD, dressed in surgical scrubs, investigated his prostate, as is the custom, from the rear entrance.
 
prostate exam
 
Under the circumstances, Milovich held it together admirably. He passed the exam without any problems, and the Pelicans, an Advanced-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers in the Carolina League, managed to put together a rousing comeback 5-4 victory against the hated (?) Frederick Keys, an Orioles affiliate.

We note without comment that this coming Sunday is Breast Cancer Awareness Night at Pelicans Ballpark.
 

 
via Ken Levine’s blog
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Reverend Horton Heat’s new video ‘Mad Mad Heart,’ a Dangerous Minds exclusive
07.29.2014
07:12 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
rockabilly
Reverend Horton Heat


 
When his 1990 debut Smoke Em If You Got Em arrived on Sub Pop records, Jim “The Reverend Horton Heat” Heath forged an unlikely audience comprised of tat-sleeved rockabilly fans, people on the front guard of the nascent swing revival, and fans of heavy rock. The tours for the subsequent Full Custom Gospel and Liquor in the Front cemented Heat’s rep for amazing live shows, and he’s been a favorite racket-kicker-upper of the pomade brigade ever since. He functions as a kind of mischievous evil twin to Brian Setzer—like the ex-Stray Cat, Heat draws inspiration from rockabilly, country, surf-rock, and the swing/big-band era, but he’s decidedly and unapologetically less NPR-friendly about it, preferring a raucous, humorous presentation that’s derived as much from punk as honky-tonk. Heat rocks out hard, and is just a metric shitload of fun.
 

 
Heat’s new LP, REV, was released in January to become his highest charting release yet in 25 years, and has been getting generally favorable press, including from Dangerous Minds. His latest video from the album is “Mad Mad Heart,” and we’re pleased to be the first to show it to you.
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Portraits from Rome’s ‘dark movement’ scene of the 1980s
07.29.2014
07:04 am

Topics:
Art
Fashion

Tags:
nightlife


Diamanda Galás
 
There are all kinds of fashion movements that didn’t really have the presence in the US that they did in Europe, but the Italian “dark movement” is such a cool collection of looks I’m pushing for a second wave of it here in the States. You can see echoes of the British New Romantics, but a gothier version of that. Photographer Dino Ignani‘s “Dark” portraiture shows several shades of gray of the dark dandies, who often sport looks that are kind of Jesus and Mary Chain-meets-early-Madonna-chic.

The “Dark” collection, taken primarily in Rome between ‘83 and ‘85, showcases the patrons of clubs, movies, concerts and theater events associated with the dark movement. Of course nothing stays non-commodified in the modern world, and Ignani is quick to point out how rapidly the look was appropriated by high-end fashion. From his site, loosely translated:

Unfortunately, the elements that the youth of the “dark movement” had chosen to oppose the dominant aesthetic and stand out from the conformist crowd (excessive makeup, predominant use of black clothing, necklaces and other jewelry in abundance, hairstyles showy and exaggerated) were later absorbed, processed, emptied of sense of rebellion and re-presented as harmless, “fashionable” symbols.

Ah yes, from hippies to punk to grunge, nothing stays inimitable when there’s a buck to be made, but Ignani’s gallery shows some great looks from an innovative crowd of folks with naught but a frilly collar, shit tons of of eyeliner and hairspray and sulky expressions. The top photo is of avant garde diva Diamanda Galás—surely a style icon for the wee dark ones of that era (and beyond). Check her live performance of “The Litanies of Satan” at the end, should you feel inclined to commune with the dark forces.
 

Olimpo
 

Chiara and Mauro
 

Klaus
 

Luisa
 

Maurice
 

Massimo
 

Londra

Ellen
 

From the Black Out Rock Club
 

Esteban
 

Alberto
 

At the Piper club in Rome
 

At the Piper club in Piper
 

From the Black Out Rock Club
 

At the Firenze club in Rome
 

 
Via It’s Nice That

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Men in black: The Stranglers’ BBC documentary about the color black, 1982
07.29.2014
06:42 am

Topics:
Music
Punk
Television

Tags:
The Stranglers


 
In 1982, BBC Southwest aired a short documentary about the color black made by two members of the Stranglers. Singer/guitarist Hugh Cornwell and drummer Jet Black
“were asked to put together a piece about the colour black for an arts programme called RPM,” according to Cornwell’s autobiography.

Around this time, the Stranglers were obsessed with the sinister Meninblack (as they stylized it) legends of UFO lore. They had released their great concept album, The Gospel According to the Meninblack, and changed their names to Hughinblack, JJinblack, Daveinblack and Jetinblack; they were even thinking about changing the band’s name to the Men in Black. Ultimately, these pursuits scared the band shitless.

“We were unearthing very curious connections between UFOs and dark forces,” Cornwell writes in his autobiography, characterizing the period as “disastrous.” “It wasn’t until after we had finished on The Meninblack album and had moved on to working on La Folie, that the misfortunes stopped.”
 

 
Cornwell touches on the BBC documentary in The Stranglers: Song by Song: “Jet and I made a television programme about how the colour black has always been associated with authority. We were doing a lot of research into the Meninblack, but there were certain crucial books that we couldn’t get hold of at the National Library. It just so happened to be the books that related to the connection between the Meninblack, religion and civilisation.”
 

Posted by Oliver Hall | Discussion
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‘The 10th Victim’: Violent, campy 1965 battle of the sexes satirizes reality TV decades in advance


 
For reasons I cannot fully articulate, even to myself, one of my favorite things ever in life is the (relatively) little-known 1965 French-Italian film, The 10th Victim (La decima vittima) starring Ursula Andress and Marcello Mastroianni and directed by Elio Petri. I have movie posters, lobby cards and various pulp paperback books with different great covers (Part of my fascination with the film, obviously, has to do with Ursula Andress—at the absolute height of her considerable beauty here—that much I do know…)
 

 
The plot (clearly the “inspiration” for The Running Man) revolves around the reality show assassins of “The Big Hunt,” a wildly popular futuristic TV spectacle sponsored by the Ming Tea Company of Japan. For five hunts you are the killer, for five hunts the victim.
 

 
To win the tournament, the assassins must complete ten kills, but they never know if they are the hunter or the victim. The Andress character’s kills are elaborate—one of them was even ripped-off for an Austin Powers movie—and she becomes the most popular of the contestants. Her kills are used as TV advertisements for the Ming Tea Company and she wants her tenth killer to be a spectacular one.
 

 
Next up is Mastroianni’s character, Polletti… or is he? You can’t kill the wrong victim, you see, or else you lose.
 

 
You can’t kill the wrong killer in preemptive self-defense, either, or else you lose. What if she is to be his victim? Neither of them know for sure, so of course they have an affair!
 

 
The SpyVibe blog calls The 10th Victim a “cocktail of groovy music, op art, pop art, space-age fashion, and modern design.” It’s not even that The 10th Victim is all that good of a film (say, a “six” out of a possible “ten”) but man does it LOOK GREAT. If you’re into things like Danger Diabolik, Fathom, Modesty Blaise or the “Matt Helm” or “Flint” movies, this might be for you. Although not an over the top “funny ha ha” kind of comedy, The 10th Victim is a fun, campy feast for the eyes that was a decades-before-its-time satire of reality TV and our violence-obsessed mass media.

You could also see it was an elaborate metaphor for male-female relationships and the battle of the sexes. I’m pretty sure that part was intentional, especially when Marcello’s mistress helps Ursula’s character—who is fucking him—to stalk her philandering lover. How dare he three-time her!
 

 
The soundtrack to The 10th Victim was one of my “Holy Grail” records for many years before I was generously gifted with a copy by Pizzicato 5‘s Yasuharu Konishi when I was visiting Tokyo back in 1994. The score by Piero Piccioni is one of my favorite film scores of all time, consisting as it does of an incessantly repeated loopy organ motif and “la la la la” scat singing by the great Italian singer Mina. Piccioni thought this would sound like jazz in the future. I think the maestro was right:
 

 

 
Below, the original trailer for The 10th Victim.
 

 
The entire film is online at Daily Motion. Blue Underground have released The 10th Victim on Blu-ray which is the way you really want to want this puppy…
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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