Tag Archives: this is NOT me

Cleanup Detail

SouthIndian mothers are all the same

When Jenny McCarthy was on Oprah recently, she had a funny story about posing for Playboy for the first time – the Bunny-to-be had just stripped down for the shoot when she noticed everybody else was struck dumb. The cause? Her hairy hoo ha.

(Honestly, the things you read on this blog! While you’re at work too, you naughty thing!)

McCarthy didn’t know this was a big deal because, well, why should she? Maybe little girls these days are logging on to the internet and learning that their vajayjays are supposed to look a certain way i.e. the way it used to look before they hit puberty (God, I hope not!) but back in the day, the only person likely to tell you what to do with your bush when growing up was your mom and she was unlikely to hold up porn stars as preferred grooming idols.

Well, those days are over. Behold, the concerned parent of the 21st century: bikini waxing her toddlers for their own good. There’s even a term for this handy service that’s ideally supposed to permanently damage follicles in just a few sessions, eradicating the need for any pesky waxing, shaving or trimming as an adult – Virgin Waxing. The “virgin” in this case apparently refers to the hair growth… you know what? Excuse me a moment while I ask of the universe:

Are you fucking kidding me?!

I admit, I’m fairly conservative when it comes to things like children and their upbringing. I don’t have any but this doesn’t stop me from having opinions all the same. It is the last remnant of my conservative childhood and I hang on to it, because nothing I’ve seen out there has really challenged it or made me even come close to changing my mind.

In the way of tweens, I wanted to get my legs waxed the moment I saw a schoolmate sashay down the hall in her short skirt at age thirteen. I had the skirt all right, but I wanted those legs. Those shiny, shiny legs that looked so very adult.

“I think I’m ready,” I told my mother as she got a manicure at our salon.

“Girls are doing it very early these days,” agreed the man who usually waxed her legs, sizing me up.

Ma looked me in the face and laughed and laughed and laughed. When she finally caught her breath, she said one word: “Chee!” And that was the end of that.

In fact, I’d graduated high school before my mother would let me wax anything at all. And when I got my eyebrows done for the first time as a special treat at age sixteen for my cousin’s wedding, it was a family affair with one of my aunties standing over the poor parlor assistant’s shoulder and loudly whispering, “Don’t cry! Remember not to cry!” as my eyes watered copiously.

Of course, being a good mother, we did have talks about personal grooming. From manicure to shaving sets, cosmetics to creams, the best part of growing up with a mother who has sisters is that there’s no dearth of advice on everything from acne treatments to what is the correct amount of toilet paper.

And we eventually talked about pubic hair – but the emphasis was always on hygiene, not sexuality. In our house, grooming wasn’t just about being attractive. It sounds very corporate sloganish but every summer my grandmother would repeatedly remind me (in case my mother wasn’t doing it enough) that good grooming is about having pride in oneself. You take care of yourself because you deserve it, not to impress other people.

“This is not the way for good girls to walk around the house before the first lamp is lit in the evening,” my grandmother would say. “You should first wash, then powder your face, put on a bindi, comb and tie your hair neatly, change into freshly pressed clothes, and then come downstairs to see the first lamp. That’s what a lady looks like.”

Deep in my rebellious phase when I refused to comb my hair and adopted a hobo style (quite an ingenious feat considering my mother was still buying my clothes), I wasn’t ready to listen. But nobody pulled me down and forcibly combed my hair, nor did anybody force me to change my clothes. At the time, I thought it a victory over the Establishment. Later, I was quite puzzled because the Establishment at our home is quite capable of breaking the backs of little guerrilla efforts like that.

It took me years before I realized that part of the lesson my grandmother and mother were trying to teach me was that self-worth is something only you can determine for yourself. If they’d forced me to look presentable according to their stringent standards, as they well could have at the time, it would only have appeased their sense of worth, their image of a family member, not mine.

I don’t even want to imagine what lesson those little girls with their permanently waxed genitalia are receiving right now.

[Thanks (?), Jan!]


Posted by on September 29, 2010 in Life, Newsmakers


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What Ho, Man Ho

“The first time I had sex,” he said, “it was so amazing we had to do it again! But I only had one condom on me, so I decided to reuse it. That didn’t go well.”

The problem with dating when you’re a mere child is that you don’t know it’s perfectly acceptable to stop your boyfriend right in his tracks and say: Gross! Nast! Shut it! etc. Instead, I listened to the whole thing in icked-out silence that didn’t deter him one bit and then proceeded to take out the full virulence of my feelings by passive aggressively mocking him about it, time without end. That, by the way, didn’t go well either.

Now why, you might wonder as I often have, would he tell me this story? Were we exchanging horror stories, first time faux pas, etc? No. As far as I remember, this was an anecdote that presented itself completely without context in the middle of a coffee shop. Polite cappuccino conversation for the 21st century.

In retrospect, I feel a bit of regret at having unleashed the full weight of my Mean Girl skills on him for this strange foray into intimacy – not because he wasn’t asking for it, but because age has made me realize that he was simply indulging in a strange-yet-common phenomenon of Indian dating:

Boy: Girl, I really like you.
Girl: *giggle*
Boy: In fact *blushes* I lub you.
Girl: I wuv you too! *starry eyes*
Boy: So. Did I ever tell you about this other girl I loved?
Girl: Er.
Boy: Okay! Let me describe her and our relationship in extreme detail.
Girl: o_O

Sometimes you don’t even have to be dating. You could simply be flirting. And all of a sudden you’re listening to some guy you met five minutes ago recount the tawdry nitty-gritties of his encounter with his neighbor, the widow, the girl he met at the club, his senior in high school, the highly inventive list is quite long.

What is. UP. with that?

I mean, what is the thinking there? Ha-ha, I told my guy friends about this totally fictional woman who can’t keep her hands off me and it went over really well; now let me repeat the story to this non-fictional girl expressing interest so she’ll… what? Be impressed? “Woo! I’m dating a certified manwhore!” Gratified? “Awww! This slut could have had any old auntie in his neighborhood but he chose me instead.” Awed? “Oooh! His DNA is like a substitute for Viagra.”

I must be missing some essential chip of Indian womanhood because I’ve only ever had two reactions to these stories: skepticism and “eww”. I need a bottle of wine and a degree of friendship to even care, much less participate in this game. “Oh, you’re jealous!” cooed one person with some delight when I mentioned that maybe he should save his war stories for some other time.

Uh, no. I don’t expect the men I find attractive to have lived their lives wrapped in protective plastic sheeting, waiting for that mystical One like a human-sized touch-me-not and I don’t know why any reasonable man would expect that of me. I know it works for some people (hey there, freakazoids! happy you screwed up the curve for the rest of us? hmmm?) but the very thought of ending up married to the first boy who ever asked me out makes me shudder – and not just because I’ve seen his Facebook page.

I just don’t understand why I must be regaled with tales of sexual prowess when I haven’t even hinted at anything resembling interest. Everybody has these stories, of course. Girls and boys. Some of them flattering, some of them cringe-worthy, all of them kind of hilarious in hindsight with the right company at the right time.

So the next time you feel the need to share, remember what your mother taught you and speak when you’re spoken to. Take it from a girl: The Excellent Adventures of Little You is not the icebreaker you imagine it to be.


Posted by on September 16, 2010 in Life, Personal


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Future Overlord

Fantasy is not fiction. It’s life in India.

After Phase I in which loads of clever kids went to the original IITs and grew up to become New India’s success stories, came Phase II in which loads of parents programmed their kids at special indoctrination camps tuition classes to become the New Indian’s successful employees. And now we’re entering Phase III where parents are building customized children to train the ever increasing vast blob of Phase II applicants.

Rejoice, parents of substandard children! Manipulating a fetus is no longer something restricted to villains in science fiction novels and Hitler. My favoritest tabloid in everty ever brings joyful tidings:

Prof Tulsi Narayan Prasad, an advocate at the Supreme Court and a serious practitioner of astro-genetics, had to fight the world around him when he proposed that the sex of a to-be-born child could be manipulated.
“It’s a science called eugenics,” Tulsi Prasad said, explaining the way his genius child was conceived. “By employing it, we can ensure that the child achieves the desired traits. As I knew what we wanted, we followed the prescription for a genius mind…I and my wife had to plan everything in the process of having the child, right from our diet to our mood to the sex itself.”

Oooo-kay. A little reminiscent of the sex scene from Rosemary’s Baby, perhaps, but genius and deals with the Devil both demand a certain amount of sacrifice.

It’s all worth it in the end:

Hailed as a child prodigy, he finished high school when he was just nine, B.Sc by the time he was 10 and M.Sc before he turned 12. “It wasn’t surprising at all as my parents had told me that I was programmed before birth to be genius. I knew I was different when I discovered that I was more fascinated by physics while the others my age were into sports and games,” he said.
“But now I have learnt the art of pretending to be ‘normal’,” he added. “I finished reading A Brief History of Time (by Stephen Hawking) when I was six. I loved it even though I didn’t understand everything there,” he said, giving glimpses of what it was like to grow up as a programmed child.

I hope all those people freaked out by Indians’ Hitler obsession are reading this. :mrgreen: Astro-Eugenics is the way real Aryans do it, baby.

PS: Hey buddy, when the revolution comes, just remember it was all fun and games! Seriously. Please don’t eat me or preserve me in a slime pod or whatever it is that advanced specimens do. Thanks!


Posted by on July 29, 2010 in Life, News


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If ever a picture was worth a 1000 words… A 1000 Sully words. So awesome on so many levels.

Oh crap, I need to find a new avatar.


Posted by on May 28, 2010 in Newsmakers, Personal, Politics


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Trippin’ on Sheesha

Trippin’ on <i>Sheesha</i>

Friends, wimminz, people of the world – I have seen a thing of great delight and now I bring you word. About five years too late but still. It is Sheesha, brimming with passion and insight; an artistic venture in which actors regularly stare over each other’s shoulders instead of looking at each other, their side profiles a searing indictment of the missed connections of modern life.

Okay, so no – it’s terrible. And not in a “Maybe the French will like it!” way. More of a “oooh, Amrita’s gonna laugh herself sick” kind of way. Greatness comes in many forms, after all. Sample its delights:

We R Family: Twinsies must rhyme! So meet Ria and Sia (Neha Dhupia), sisters who’re absolutely identical except for one thing – Ria is not only deaf but can’t speak either thanks to some mysterious fetal disorder that vanishes with some kind of magic Bollywood “operashun” once she finds some motivation to hear and speak. The motivation part comes from the ever sensitive hottie Raj (Sonu Sood) who thinks they’re both groovy and tells Ria he’d have totally fallen for her, if only her equally hot but communication-enabled sister wasn’t around. Hmmm. I wonder where this story goes.

Nymphomania: Wow, that was quick. Once Ria gets a burning eyeful of Raj and Sia’s adventurous wedding night, no doubt faightfully cribbed from some Cosmopolitan-inspired “Top Ten Things to Dislocate Your Back on Your Wedding Night in Foreplay Alone”, she knows how to play this game. All she needs is a bikini top and some liquid – any liquid – and she’s all set!

Nahiiiiiin: Now Sia didn’t marry Raj for his looks! She married him because she needed a manny for her poor sister while she was out making piles of money. Raj was all down with that coz Sia’s really hot but he didn’t know her sister was the devil incarnate! Not only did she sabotage their wedding night but she’s now molesting his car – and probably leaving giant boob-shaped wet spots on it! God, don’t you just hate when that happens? A man’s car is sacred!

Mistaken Identities: Once poor, dumb, horny Raj figures out that his evil sister-in-law wants to do all sorts of creepy sexy times with his hot bod, he tells her what’s what – he’ll never mistake her for Sia! He knows what Sia is like on the inside! Of course, by the time he tells her all this, he also pretty much knows what Ria is like on the inside. (Yes, I went there.) But hey! at least he knows the important stuff like the impossibility of Sia putting in a call for a helicopter to beat traffic.

Shrinkology: Did you know disabled people build up vast shores of mysterious energy within themselves? Unlike the exalted “normal” folk, their lifeforce is all blocked. Denied a timely release, when that stuff comes tumbling out, you want to watch out. Sometimes, it’s all love and happiness. Sometimes, though, all that blocked up energy is stone cold nuts. Guess which category Ria falls into? That’s right, she’s a disabled psychopath. Me? I think that particular movie shrink has been thinking hard (heh) about virginity and masturbation.

Logic: Or Why I Love Psychos
SIA – Why didn’t you just tell me you wanted Raj? I love you so much, I’d have given him to you if only you asked.
RIA – Fine, I’m asking now.
SIA – *blink* *blink* Um, really?
RIA – Bullshit walks, sis.
SIA – How dare you, you cheap ho? He’s my husband! I can’t hand him over like a ripe plum even though that’s exactly what I offered to do two seconds ago.
RIA – And this is why you must die, bitch!
And whack goes the cricket bat! Sigh. So great.

Ka Boom – Is it really a catfight if one woman has a habit of walking up to the other woman and slamming her repeatedly in the face until she passes out? Where is the hair-pulling, the mud-rolling, the screaming, the good stuff? FAIL. And then suddenly Raj remembers he’s an Bollywood hero and he hasn’t hit anybody yet. That purse snatcher he Jackie Chan-ed to impress Sia was hardly a proper villain and all his other superhero lifesaver moments basically involved rolling around on the ground with a cushy armful of Neha Dhupia. (Note: in case your brakes fail, please do not try to escape the fast-moving vehicle by jumping onto a busy highway and rolling under an 18-wheeler. Your mother – and the driver of the 18-wheeler – thanks you.)  So he lets Ria have it to the face. Pow to the left, pow to the right. And then he and Sia bash her right off a helipad and cry about it.

The Sex: For a grand finale, Sheesha winds up with an item number. Why? Who knows! Because it’s just as good a way to end things as any? It begins explosively with a duck-billed platypus in a jumpsuit culled from Kalpana Iyer’s donations to the Salvation Army. Roofied out of its mind, it starts to bounce around with a lot of unhappy backup dancers, periodically stretching open its maw to emit godless yowls of mad desire for flesh, sweet flesh. On closer inspection, my eyes told me this was none other than the star of this wretched enterprise: Neha Dhupia. My brain refused to believe it because it’s seen Neha Dhupia and she’s very pretty. She doesn’t have a maw and isn’t as wide as she is tall. I don’t know what that creature was, but it needs to be slain before it starts impregnating the menfolk. Youtube agrees with me that this abomination did not exist, so I’m going to say this was some kind of cruel hallucination brought on by indigestion (damn you, cheese pakoras!).

Congratulations: To the cast and crew of Sheesha and us as a culture for getting past this watershed.


Posted by on May 2, 2010 in Entertainment, Movies, Review


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Kirkit Kirkit Kirkit

Kirkit Kirkit Kirkit

What’s up with all this kirkit business? Everyone seems to have lost their mind.

The way everybody and their father’s newspaper is weeping and wailing, you’d think they thought the IPL stood for the Indian Prayer League and it was a charitable institution built to eradicate India’s poverty problem by harnessing the power of cricket. How can you have sat through three years of the cheese-laden spectacle of the IPL and not known there was massive amounts of money at play? And that eventually it was going to go down in flames of Biblical proportions? I have a rule: the moment an entity’s success becomes evident enough for the mainstream media to take note, scandal must be right around the corner. Like night follows day.

And really, what exactly is the scandal here? That a cabinet minister has a social-climbing girlfriend and the new czar of mega-bucks cricket is a crookish brat? Good Golly, Miss Molly, say I, clutching my pearls.

Let’s talk Shashi Tharoor for a second: a man less suited to be a politician in India, especially of the Congress kind, I’ve seldom seen. I’m too young to remember when Amitabh Bachchan flamed out of Parliament, but I suspect even he was a more competent Congressman than Tharoor, who’s apparently never heard the Congress motto – “Lie low and prosper long.”

So you’re smart, funny and like the ladies? Throw discreet little dinner parties and show off in front of your friends. Word will eventually trickle down to the hoi polloi that you’re awesome and they’ll never know it’s because you and your girlfriend do an amazingly caliente mambo when the booze is at full flow. Does that suck? Is it a terrible system designed to hide the real face of our beloved leaders from the public? Not to mention their twinkle toes and mad moves? You betcha. But if you want to be a cabinet minister, then them’s the breaks.

Remember how you and your friends at the UN used to bitch about the member countries being such pains-in-the-ass? Well, guess what? Now you’re part and parcel of the circus that runs the memberiest of those member countries. I bet it sounded like a sweet career move on paper, but you just signed on to a pit of vipers.

And then there’s Lalit Modi. Is he a crook? Probably. I can’t think of even a handful of business people anywhere in the world who got to be successes at Modi’s level without getting their hands dirty at some point. And that saintly handful who float above the rest probably hire people who’ll roll in the dirt on their behalf for the right amount.

The problem with Modi is either hubris or idiocy. Did he really think he wouldn’t get audited at some point? With the kind of cash he was presiding over? Or that he could pick a fight with a cabinet minister and not get raided? If I’d been him, I’d have kept my nose cleaner than surgical tools just in case. My accounts would have been a thing of beauty, worthy of preservation in the Museum of Chartered Accountancy. What’s that you say? There’s no such thing? Well, they’d have built one to house my records once they got a look at them.

[Digression: why is that, do you think, that crooks don’t think of a CA as their primary investment? I’m assuming the motive to be a crook would be A) Money, which leads to B) Power, which leads to even more money. The kind of vicious cycle every crookster dreams of. But it’s the dough that brings you down, fool. I’d think a fantastic CA is worth even more than an amazing enforcer because you need the former to safeguard the moolah to pay off your gang of bad guys. Sigh. Crime would have totally been my game if only it wasn’t such a lot of hard work. I’ve never understood why they call it Easy Street. As if.]

But apart from possible financial improprieties, the whole notion of which are a joke given nobody really knows what the hell is going on in BCCI proper (let me guess, politicians are keen on cricket because they’re great sportspeople as the stellar state of our national sport, hockey, proves), what exactly is the song and dance about? Some serious looking people say this is all very sad because it brings “the game’s name into disrepute”. If match-fixing and lame-ass cheerleaders shaking their ass to Bollywood numbers didn’t do it, sweetheart, I don’t think you have anything to worry. And yet, everybody from the paati cheering Dhoni to the munna egging on Sachin is having hysterics – but why?

Going by the similar Modi bios in sources as diverse as Outlook and The Mumbai Mirror, which also arrive at pretty much the same conclusion, it appears Modi’s greatest crime is that he’s a rich brat who got even richer and didn’t even have the grace to be humble about it. Well, that’s never happened before. Cry me a river.

Perhaps more than any other country, India is quite well-acquainted with the Girl Scout model of business. You know what I mean: when the scouts have (delicious) cookies to sell, the first stop is always friends and family and then the neighborhood. Obviously, there is a difference between the Girl Scout economy and the IPL one. A vast one. But the point is, in a country where family-owned business are still the norm, where politics is a dynastic exercise, it is beyond hypocritical to act as though Modi invented the whole sell to your family system. The richest .01% of India who own every stone on every pavement from Leh to Kanyakumari are an incredibly incestuous lot.

Read the various Modi bios, and you’d come away thinking he was the only rich brat to enter the hallowed halls of cricket in India. Hooey. Take a look at the BCCI: it’s where industrialists go to practice their power moves. From AC Muthiah (currently suing Modi’s reported bete noir and his own arch rival N. Srinivasan of India Cements for his allegedly unethical ownership of Chennai Super Kings. His cousin and Home Minister P. Chidambaram has reportedly been tasked with untangling the IPL mess) to Jagmohan Dalmiya to Sharad Pawar, each of them is “connected” up the wazoo.

Consider, for instance, Modi’s interim replacement: Chiriyu Amin. From their super-rich industrialist fathers to their privileged upbringing, there’s little to choose between the two. The only son of Ramanbhai Amin of Alembic pharmaceuticals is not exactly an inoffensive wonk who plodded his way up the ladder.

The only real difference between them is that Modi, younger and infinitely more flamboyant, is the perfect product of the brash 80s, combining cocaine, assault, an Ivy League education, and general uselessness with elan and doing it right in the open. Meanwhile Amin is the kid from the 60s who sneaks off to deserted balconies of posh hotels in the middle of parties to discreetly down tumblers of Scotch and mutton kebabs so that his vegetarian teetotaller parents don’t catch him.

This is why Modi is an enfant terrible, while Amin is a gentleman. India might make noises about young blood and change and blah blah, but there is a System and you’d have to pry it out of the cold dead hands of aged uncle-jis before they let you mess with it. And then beware the wrath of their minions, racing to take up where their mentors left off.

The funny thing about this whole brouhaha is that Modi and Tharoor are really two sides of the same coin (here’re their statements after getting kicked in the nuts: Tharoor, Modi. Boil it down and what do you see? They’re just two misunderstood patriots, y’all!). Both of them were brought down by their hubris; their conviction that they were unique enough and valuable enough that they could skate on consequences. That’s the problem with both: the Golden Kid and the Kid with Gold. Neither of them has any real understanding of their place.

The plus factor, of course, is that nothing bad ever happens to them. Tharoor will be back and he’ll have learned enough to mind his girlfriends. Modi will be back too and he’ll have learned enough to mind his tweets.

Meanwhile, there is this whole country full of pressing problems and all sorts of crookery emanating from the highest levels of government and nobody cares because the biggest problem facing India today is apparently Lalit Modi’s outrageous spa habit.

Cricketainment. Needs a fucking rest.


Posted by on April 26, 2010 in Entertainment, Life, News, Newsmakers, Politics


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I’d Do Anything For The Blog

… but I won’t do this.

It’s not like I don’t get the impulse. I do. I’ll chance upon something that is totally doable like these tips for homemade skin care products, etc and I think, “Hey! Maybe I should try that. And then I can write about it because it promises to be at least mildly soul-destroying in an unspecified sort of way.”

And that’s always interesting, isn’t it? Those guys at Jackass made an entire career for themselves by destroying their bodies – I could maybe burn the skin off my face so I could write about it. And since I’m not making a penny off the experience, I could even call it Art. With a capital A and everything.

But not even for snob value would I agree to live on a mix of cayenne pepper, maple syrup and lemon a.k.a. The Master Cleanse for a week much less her Coconut Cleanse which apparently involves “fresh-squeezed carrot, apple and ginger juice blended with heaping tablespoons of forest-green Enerfood powder, coconut milk powder and Meta Cleanse colon declogger” with a little side of lettuce if you feel peckish.

There are just so many things wrong with description. First off: carrot juice. I have really bad eyesight and ever since I turned eight my health-nut uncle has been trying to hypnotize me into thinking I’m part bunny rabbit (for my own good, of course). Now I don’t mind chowing down on a carrot or two once in a while (especially when it tastes like this) but I once made the mistake of thinking that carrots might be easier on the palate if they were consumed in juice form rather than whole. Oooo nooooo! Big mistake. You could use that to punish children.

The apple juice isn’t so bad, although I must say I prefer apple cider or, at a pinch, apple brandy. What? An apple is an apple is an apple, the way I look at it. Keeps the doctor away. And it doesn’t need to be all sloshed up with carrots and ginger. My stomach is not a pork roast.

Then there is the ginger juice. Really? Ginger “juice”? That’s what you’re going to drink? Let me remind you all of the original ginger juice that’s super yummy to drink, especially when it’s cold and raining outside – adrak ki chai. Make it whole milk, double on the cream. I mean, milk and ginger with a dash of tea? That has to be a cleanse in somebody’s language.

And I don’t even know what an “Enerfood powder” is, forest green or mountain blue or field yell0w or whatever its color might be. All I know is that it sounds like one of those futuristic food-like substances that humanoids eat in science fiction movies once the earth has been reduced to a barren wasteland on which nothing grows but giant radio-active sunflowers that like to snack on people and employ an army of gigantic attack bumblebees to herd the human food source its way. I suppose I could start eating it and think of it as being “in training” for that inevitable day, but merely considering it makes me want to eat a nine course meal at my favorite Italian restaurant, drowning in meat and butter and cream and chockfull of carbohydrates and fat.

Mmm, fat.

Which brings me to the “colon de-clogger”. Do you know what happens to people with a clogged colon? Their bodies fucking de-clog! So if you think I’m going to swallow lemon water mixed with chilli powder or stick a hose up my bum-bum so I can have a clean colon, you’re out of your mind. And I don’t care which freak in Hollywood thinks this is a great idea.


Posted by on May 4, 2009 in Life, Personal, Video


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It’s Never Too Late

… to remember: Read a book, read a book, read a motherfucking book!

And then write a goddamned review. I used to have those on this blog.


Posted by on February 17, 2009 in Books, Personal, Video


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