Posts Tagged ‘respect

25
Jan
19

Women’s Clothing Needs to Grow Up, Again

****

Call me old-fashioned–though “my kind” doesn’t exactly like the word “old” to be attached to anything personal–but I have an issue with some articles of modern women’s clothing; namely skirts and some of the dresses you may see on the red carpets of countless, excessive and potentially quite pointless award shows. [But, I’ll save my “beef” with award shows for another post.]

I flip through the TV channels and come across some old…really old…I’m talking black-and-white…show that features women of the “Wild West” in long dresses and skirts that dance around their ankles; and I feel generally good about these women. There’s a reassuring warmth and appealing feminine energy about them. They’re fragile but enduring. And, some can be quite spirited, standing up for themselves when confronted by hostile men. ‘Nothing wrong with that. But, who would wear such outfits these days? And, I don’t mean just for costume parties, photo booths or role-playing games.

But, this isn’t new news. So, why am I bothering to say anything? I’m the Writingbolt. And, I write these pieces when the mood strikes, like lightning. [Insert lightning-infused header image and audio/visual effects.]

In short, too many current skirts (and some dresses) are far too revealing and short; so short that they’ve lost my interest. In fact, I think they’re rather annoying, impractical and hazardous.

[MMMMaybe I have reached “that age.” Even I sound old to myself. Yet, even when I was younger, I never saw a model I liked in such tasteless outfits. And, if she posed in some skimpy lingerie in some lewd or forced way, I didn’t drool. The Rachel H., Rebecca R. and Kathy I. I liked had more class, even when wearing lingerie.]

I don’t know when this trend started. But, I am inclined to guess the mid-1990s, when a certain anime character (I quickly grew to favor) featured an atypical short skirt as part of her civilian uniform instead of a Barbie-doll paper-cut-out dress with some weird design on the front, as seen in other incarnations and on Nancy O’Dell on a regular ET basis. It’s the only thing about the character’s appearance…other than maybe the odd way her nose and lips are drawn, as if she has no lips…that bugs me. If the short skirt was a pair of shorts, I wouldn’t mind.

But, it’s not just in anime, anymore. I see it everywhere, including countless outfits with those poor excuses for thin belts hugging the boobs and leaving some rippling tree skirt to cover the rest. [Are we seriously passing “baby doll” lingerie and shower curtains as everyday wear?] It’s being shoved down our throats. Just as women are striving for more respect and equality, their clothing is not respecting THEM. [And, several (not all) starlets of “Hollywood” and the music industry are possibly the worst…and not just the ones under the age of 30.]

Or, how about the dress that has a horribly cut neckline that plunges beyond the sexy V-shape plunge to the navel like some weird vest? That’s not a peplos (a really old Greek style of dress, for anyone who has no clue). That’s a pep-loss! Do you honestly feel content wearing such clothes…or did someone slap them on you to make a buck and turn you into their NASCAR billboard? Isn’t it about time women, even the “stars,” started making their own clothing choices and giving the photo barrages a bit more variety, instead of looking like deer caught in the headlights with their pants down? [I’m just so tempted to go on a rant about award shows. Grrr!]

On most women–who do NOT have enough breast to call them chickens–this is not the least bit attractive or flattering. It’s like an invitation to assault them. OPEN HERE TO GET LUCKY; BUT GOOD LUCK ENJOYING THE SCRAPPY CONTENTS. Though, I am sure most women who wear these dresses are crying, “Please, think of me and tell me I’m still popular and pretty. I don’t want to be left out of the party…even though other women are dressed differently and, thus, this shouldn’t be a concern. So, WHY, just for one night, am I wearing enough money to fill a Macy’s department store when I’d rather be lounging in something else…just to add one more rather pointless trophy to a shelf few get to see?”

[Or, do those awards work like stats in professional sports? Do you get a better shot at the next “gig” by flashing some gold or finely cut glass? Will your talent be ignored in favor of someone younger who grabbed two awards when you only got nominated? How sad is that?]

If men started wearing vests with nothing underneath, just boxer shorts or even flannel pajamas as day clothes and/or business attire, would they be as respected? Would they have as much sway over women? Maybe those who have something to show off. But, what about all the men with “body image” inhibitions (including yours truly)? It would be a social crisis of e-pectoral proportions! [See what I did there?]

Now, ladies, if you are lucky enough to be wise to the “legging” trend, you might get away with pairing a set with one of these short-short skirts/dresses…you might. The right color and fabric combo could be distracting, comfortable and sufficiently protective. But, if there is ANY chance of exposing undergarments? No go. Return to retailer.

At a time when more and more girls and women are coming up in cases of mistreatment (which is putting it lightly), do we really want to dress them in clothes that not just attract corrupt predators but do nothing to make them feel protected and comfortable?

[Ths may just be my opinion…and I am well aware of how futile such rants may be in an ever-expanding sea of opinionated, anti-social hermits being sucked into some cyber-universe while robots replace them…but if you are comfortable going about your day in a “babydoll” outfit, do you like sexual harrassment for breakfast, lunch and dinner? Are you so starved for compliments that you think such a skimpy outfit will do no harm? If I had a part of my body I wanted to show off, even I know accentuating it would be like playing with fire. Can you imagine a man boasting his “manhood” by wearing something that showcased it as casual or even business attire?]

If you disagree, tell me exactly how such daring garments are respectful to women? Flattering? Protective? Comforting?

So many are trying desperately to be trendsetters or getting caught up in what they think is a trend that there’s this ugly slaughter-house effect stinking up media sources without giving any viewer something realistic to emulate. [Do NOT give me that crap about how you can get close to the red-carpet looks with similar pieces at lower prices. Just shut up.]

[And, I am sure plenty would agree the “photo barrages” need to stop, too. It’s really getting old and not helping anyone other than those who make a buck off the photos.]

Ladies? You deserve better.

[And, no, the everything-elastic trend I am noticing on the rise with those who do not get much camera attention, is not necessarily the solution. It’s like me excusing sweats as casual wear, and I am more than eager to come up with better men’s fashion options…just low on ideas for how to adequately design and make them.]

Are you just going to sit there and accept this? I sure hope not.

Fashion designers and their distributors, you don’t have to go petticoat. But, please, correct this mistake. Bring back longer skirts, knee socks and dresses that only reveal a small portion of the upper body above the bustline. And, put belts where they belong…around the waist (not the “underwire”). Women don’t need to look like choked napkins. I will thank you by adequately servicing those who follow these guidelines. Those who stick with the too-short and choking-belt outfits will eventually lose my respect, especially if they think they can hold any authority over me.

In short, like getting more flies with honey versus vinegar, women, you’ll get more from me by wearing less-revealing attire. I’m giving you a personal pass to protect your goods by draping them in more fabrics and styles than are currently being “pressed” as “amazing.” Comfort and protection don’t have to be lazy, loose and/or unflattering.

And, though it has little to nothing to do with the main topic of this post, my fellow heterosexual (not gay, not LGBT-and-the-rest-of-alphabet, not a-sexual or any other variant who thinks shades of turquoise, seafoam green, pink and orange are the only colors men should be wearing with hideous striped designs) men, I am pounding my brain to come up with some clothing options for us. But, even if I had some ideas, I have no idea how to put them into production. I’d appreciate some help.

14
Jun
18

Happy Fathers Day, June 17th

*****

‘Not sure why, but when I saw this picture in a recent viewing, Fathers Day came to mind.  It’s the new father receiving shocking word of his partner’s pregnancy.

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On another personal note, I cannot say I will ever have the chance to be the father on such a day.  There will be no grills or cars with bows on them waiting for me.  No cookouts in my honor, most likely.  Nor do I take much pleasure in doing anything special on this holiday.  I feel more sorry for my father than I care to celebrate him.

And, what he wants from me this weekend is outside my comfort zone.  As much as I want to be the good son and do as he wishes, I feel a little selfish yet deserving of being that way after my experiences, not feeling like going out of my way this year to make him happy.  But, I won’t be disrespectful or start any fights, either.  Call it a peaceful distance if need be.  Peace is better than conflict or tension.

 

28
Feb
17

My Response to “Achiever Mom” (Carolyn Hax)

*****
You can find my response to this and other letters on the designated page. But, while you’re here, have a read.  [You may find a loose end or two as my response kept evolving over a few days.  I finally just decided to post what I had.]

Achiever Mom is concerned about her son who is twelve years old, not exceptional in sports or academics and void of any interest with which she feels able to relate. She mentions her husband as a socially anxious under-achiever and highlights a moment in which her son supposedly chose to forfeit a spelling bee due to a lack of interest in winning/trying. Claiming she grew up grasping at every opportunity she could, this incident made her angry at him for not being more ambitious to achieve greater status.

Carolyn Hax does a decent job of asking Mom to accept her son as he is and let him find his own way. But, Hax seems to be making the assumption the son bailed on the challenge, knowing it would irk his mom, making the son appear more devious than he may be (which could have a negative impact on what the mother does next).

While overall content with the article/response, I felt there were a few details missing, details that might need light shed upon them to better understand and direct the situation at a crucial stage. This case also touches on a personal one, which motivates me to speak out. Thus, the following response is more about my experience and how it may be related to the situation at hand than added advice.

————–

Achiever Mom, you be careful with that boy. I don’t want to scare you, but soon, he will be entering high school, that tumultuous stormy sea between Scylla and Charybdis that tests youth’s metal. He will face temptation, heavier work loads and peer pressure like he has never known. He will be torn between convention and rebellion, between practical and unorthodox. And, if you so much as twist his wrist in an effort to tell him “how it’s done” or fail to teach him how to accept defeat, you could scar him and the connection you have for life.

If you don’t mind reading a novella, I’m content to sit down and discuss this with you for the moment. Getting all of the thoughts out and answers we might benefit from is a tad hard to achieve in half of a newspaper page. Why don’t you make yourself comfortable, take a deep cleansing breath, maybe fix yourself a calming drink and have a go at this.

[FYI, I speak from experience; I was a boy much like your son. I had a father who (without any “inheritance”) boasted military experience (in “peace time”) and a mother who was the self-proclaimed ruler of discipline and organization (as well as the queen of denial). But, I didn’t bail on the spelling bee. I simply fell short and discouraged myself from trying, again, because I had been built up to think I was smarter than I performed and acknowledged for a skill I must not have valued much (until I was older and learned to care more about the full use of words than just spelling them). I made one mistake and didn’t have the nurturing I felt necessary to continue or didn’t see the logic in trying, again. I had no “failure coping skills,” no interest in being less than the best and, to be quite honest, little to no interest in glory from spelling.

There were many other instances in which I had gut instincts to go one way and my parents insisted I go their way. And, in short, because they only accepted doing things my way after it was too late (after I paid the price of going against my gut feeling) or after lengthy protest and stressing out, a rift gradually grew. In just a few years, it grew to the point I lost sight of the childhood love I had for my parents. And, to this day, that love is razor thin; it’s an obligation and an oath, not a comfort or treasure.

I had a hard time talking with my parents about nearly every concern on my mind. And, there were plenty in my early teens. Certain tasks or challenges were deemed too dangerous or unfit for me before I could even attempt them. Where I wanted to try was not always approved. The more often I quit, the less my parents approved of me; and the more I disliked myself. Yet, I could not see any merit in continuing what discouraged and/or hurt me, as well as what seemed “too hard.” I was told I was a good student, but that didn’t seem the case when it came to learning from/with my parents. Confusion does not make a good foundation. And, when later asked by others why I couldn’t do something, I felt too embarrassed to say no one never taught me or that I was afraid to learn. Nor could I easily take what others taught me and apply it at home without my parents objecting strongly.]

Your last little paragraph kind of says it all. You are a tightly wound violin string ready to snap at the kid for a “mocking bow” and potentially never succeeding at anything. You may say it was so, but I don’t know and doubt he was mocking. Nor would I be so harsh to assume he will never succeed at anything; that’s just devastating talk. Get that junk out of your head, doing a weekly sweep if necessary.

[That reminds me of a time when my mother thought I was “faking” weakness/illness/injury. I was actually physically, mentally and emotionally hurt; and she thought I was faking. I don’t remember her saying so when I was in the moment. But, hearing her thoughts, decades later, hurt almost as much as they would have had I heard them as that kid. It explains why I felt so abandoned and helpless at the time, left to fend for myself like a baby bird that fell from the nest. Yet, I didn’t do so well fending for myself. Had I been a bird, I probably would have died or been eaten.]

Whether or not you shake your head at my earlier assessment, let me ask you a valid question (or two). How successful are you, really? [That might have shed some light on the situation.] Are you the “breadwinner?” Are you at the peak of your career path? Or, are you “content” with much less than you yourself could have had yet wishing–as many do–for your children to “have a better life” while losing sight of what you experienced?

Understand that some things never change; but others do. Tools that were available when you were his age are not the same now. Opportunities you had then are not necessarily available now. Others you did not have are. Circumstances are slightly different.

———
This next portion is going to sound much like what Carolyn said with a few different words. You might find a few new perspectives. But, you can skip past it, if you prefer.

Instead of focusing on the word “succeed,” right now, put the phrase “stimulate the happiness of others” up over your work space and do everything in your power to guide your son toward what makes him happy (not what makes you happy). In time, I would guess (I mean, what do I know?) this will turn into success once he feels good about what he can do before assuming he can or must be successful.

Teach him a lesson my parents had a hard time–if not failed at–grasping: how to experience failure and deal with it. Don’t teach him to fear failure and fear trying things you feel he isn’t fit or right to do (like laundry, cooking and other household chores), just because he doesn’t do them your way or makes a mess. [Maybe there’s a reason he doesn’t follow directions well; and it doesn’t have to be a “disability” or “attitude problem.”]

The scariest part of the coming years could be letting him do what he chooses and being ready to cushion any blows that come from those decisions, not letting him take over your house and lifestyle but allowing him to mold himself rather than have you pick the shape he takes. If there is competition, let him decide to enter or avoid it. Encourage him to discuss what is happening in his life without framing the moment with past experiences and assumptions/predictions. Then, if you see an opportunity for him to take a chance with good odds, kindly nudge him.

Say something like, “Hey, you’d be good at that. Why don’t you give that a try?” And, leave it at that. Or, provide the tools/supplies without any pressure to use them. [If you must, try a little negotiation. Say you’ll do ____ for him if he does ____ for you (for himself). And, don’t cave if he resists. But, don’t deprive him of necessities, either. Don’t take away his ability to connect with friends, regardless what he has done (and not from what he MIGHT do).] If he turns away from the challenge, don’t fight his decision. [However, if his life takes any scarier turns, if he withdraws so much from interaction, chores and challenges that his life seems in jeopardy, other action will become necessary.]

———

The first line of your letter that jumped out at me was where you mentioned your son being nervous and not wanting to be there. [Actually, the first was his saving grace, his sense of humor. I seem to have survived this long with that little life preserver, myself.] While nerves and refusal may be signs of weakness one could halt by pushing the weakling into the fray of battle, it might also have been an area of achievement he had little interest in pursuing. And, pressure to do something we do not instinctively favor could be unnecessary pressure, like peer pressure. Just because our peers tell us we’re uncool for not doing what they do; that doesn’t mean we can’t choose to do things differently.

Some adults might recall being kids pushed to take up musical instruments but, later, giving up these lessons to take up medical or financial jobs. They might look back and question their parents’ pressure to take interest. [Or, if they are so fortunate, the former kids might integrate those lessons into adult life and be some amazingly, envy-worthy, diverse people.]

[I personally was adept at math because I had a brain apparently gifted at absorbing equations. But, would I pursue math contests? No way. Too boring. I’m a creative spirit. There is no creativity in math, other than creating problems and, later, solutions. I don’t mind problem-solving. But, I guess I have little to no interest into imagining problems in terms of numbers and variables. My mind is more geared toward seeing social, arrangement/composition or regulation problems around me and figuring out solutions.]

One other thing about your letter that sticks in my mind: You briefly mention the husband being socially anxious and an under-achiever who struggles to get jobs. Yet, you love this guy; you married this guy, right? [That may be a tiny weight off my shoulders, an ounce of hope.] But, how much do you love him? And, could it be your marriage is merely another challenging opportunity you took upon yourself? Did you enter this family structure like a school contest, hoping to work your way up the ranks from district to state, mold the members like clay sculptures until they won the blue ribbon at the county fair? In other words, do you love your husband (and your son) for who he is, for being part of your life? Or, do you see them as works in progress you just haven’t been able to fully improve to the best of your ability, yet?

What would you say or have done had your husband not “inherited” any money? Would that have any impact on you marrying him? Was the money or family status a push toward the thought of a stable future/home?

I wonder, how does your husband feel about you (and the kid/s)? Do you have more than one child? That too could be a big factor in this pressure-to-achieve situation. For instance, how does this son get along with his siblings? How “successful” or “driven” are they? Might this son feel pressured to be like them when he is not?

[I knew a few “only childs” and saw how their parents treated them like pet projects, like singular rockets filled with hopes of greater success than any family of six or more could achieve.]

How would the husband feel being labeled an underachiever? Does he accept this like a healthy bowl of bran cereal to stabilize his diet? Is he comfortable not doing as much as some, accepting that some people are tortoises while others are hares? Or, do the words cut a little deep, leave him a little less eager to try?

———
Here comes some more advising verbiage. Again, breeze past it if you’d rather read more unique material.

At twelve, your son is at a crucial time of development, sure. [Heck, every year between birth and whatever number you want to use for labeling adulthood is crucial.] And, you could fortify this by giving him a swift kick into some regimen like boarding school or a “balanced diet,” and trust this will keep his back straight, his shoulders back and his elbows off the table. But, what is more important is a trusted family member fortifying him with experiences, both good and bad.

He needs to be free to try things, learn how to do them both your way and his own way and experience failure to learn from his mistakes. You’ve probably heard similar advice elsewhere. It just might not have stuck with you or found purpose. Well, I’d say the purpose has been found. It’s your son. And, he needs his mother to still catch him when he falls but to let him fall, as well, and learn what comes with failure, including the steps to recovery.

A parent who is driven by only success and grabbing every opportunity might not be relaxed enough to say, “It’s okay if I don’t have any interest in ___. Maybe I’ll give it a try; and, if I don’t like it, that’s fine. I’ll do better at something else.” You might get upset if you take on a crossword puzzle and leave half of it blank. You might cut interests out of your life because you did not excel at them. Or, you might think you have to be good at everything.

———

Which brings me back to the father in the picture. What’s his input with the son? How does he nurture the boy? Is his method annoying to you? If you answer the last question with some form of “yes,” that says plenty. Maybe a lack of desire to compete and excel could be directly or subtly linked to an unhappy union in which two committed lovers–role models for the boy–are anything but encouraging images at the finish line. The boy might not want to complete the race because the prize at the end of the road is not worth his time/energy. [Or, maybe, it’s not you he’s looking at but other families falling apart.]

———
One last push to sound competent and professional. These moments just pour out of me like a leaky boat. It’s the chatty therapist in me.

Get to know your son and his interests. [If at seventeen he still likes the cartoons he watched at five or keeps a stuffed animal on his bed, don’t harp on that being a bad thing.] Let him decide when it’s time to keep or part with something. Don’t assume his decisions or ways are bad ones. Teach your son how to pick himself up and try, again. Don’t insist he must continue or be smarter or more successful than he feels fit/able. Or, live with the possible failure of staying connected with your son; accept that he will likely cut ties with you or resent you if you push too hard or fail to fill in other gaps.

You can’t guarantee success no matter what method you try. You, too, must be able to cope with “failure” and still find happiness, contentment. Otherwise, this life is a miserable one.

———

Phew! And, breathe. [This is just the tip of the emotional iceberg for me.] If you manage to find my lengthy thought process here and wish to continue, feel free to contact me.

15
Dec
14

What Is Christmas About? –Steve Martin SNL style–

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Looking at the pictures I find in my art scrapbook, a place where I go to drum up e-cards for those I meet and/or know online, I occasionally drift away with thoughts of jingle bells among other things. The holidays can be so commercial. And, I ask myself, “What is Christmas about?”

“Well,” I tell myself. “Christmas is about…”

The birth of the son of God, otherwise known as Jesus (for those who believe in the story). It’s his birthday above all else. Not the presents, shopping or Black Friday hype.

Ya know. Just thinking about Christmas conjures so many images! What would a winter holiday (for those who have it in winter) be without lovely women in cozy sweaters, sweater coats and festive sweatshirts you just want to cuddle til their arms fall off?! Oh, and all the stylish boots they have to pick from! So many boots.
So, Christmas is about beautiful women in cuddle-licious winter apparel…
And, the birthday of Jesus. Let’s not forget that.

But, I’m being self-centered. Maybe you don’t care for women in cozy-riffic winter apparel. Maybe you’re more interested in festive decor (indoors and/or outdoors): the trees, the lights, the candles, the artificial snow, the wreaths, the mistletoe, the stockings hung by the chimney with care, the coal, the chestnuts, the bells, the carolers, the lampposts, more artificial snow, the greeting cards from Christmases past and present, the fake presents, the birds and berries. Maybe you’d go so far as to wrap yourself in tinsel and hang ornaments from your ears! Hmm? Too much? What is too much, anyway?

So, Christmas is about decorating the house til your eyes bleed red, white and green. [Well, for those who decorate, anyway.]
Not for me. No. For me, it’s about all the beautiful women of the world in cuddle-uptuous winter apparel…
And, Jesus. It’s his birthday. Ya know? Show some respect. Don’t forget the Nativity set while you’re searching the attic, basement, garage and/or closets. That’s the most important piece, if you’re respecting the core of Christmas.

What about the kids and kids at heart? Maybe you’re the Kris-Kringle-coming-down-the-chimney-with-his-sack-of-goodies-to-grab-some-cookies-and-milk type. So, for you, Christmas is about a chubby bearded guy in a red and white suit coming to your homes to deliver presents before enjoying your holiday cookies with a cool glass of milk.

W-Wait. Didn’t I start this piece by mentioning jingle bells? And, what about snow? I know some of you down south might have your Christmas festivities in hot summer weather. But, I cannot imagine Christmas without jingling sleigh bells and gently falling snow covering the landscape in powdered sugar on a peaceful night. Just think of all the Christmas music people put out every year. Oh, my gosh! I forgot about caroling! ‘Can’t get enough versions of Deck the Halls and Jingle Bells; can we? Do you ever hear holiday carols with hot desert winds and seagulls squeaking over a swishing surf? [If you’re lucky, there might be one or two.]

So, if you forgot eeeeverything else: the women in winter apparel, the fat guy bringing you stuff down your chimney (or however he gets in there if you don’t have a chimney), the caroling, the cookies…and Jesus. Well, don’t forget him if you’re going to call it Christmas. But, Christmas is also about jingle bells on a sleigh swishing across a carpet of soft white snow on a silent starry night.

–Back off, Rudolph! You, too, Burl Ives snowman. I know. I’m sure I’ll get to you holiday movie icons soon enough. Go sit down with Ralphie, Charlie, Rex and Herb, Garfield and Clark. And, keep your hands off Mrs. Griswold.

…What were we talking about, again? My mind just drifted into this picture of a woman with lovely brown hair sitting in her cuddly white sweater coat while the snow gently falls outside her picture window. That’s what it’s all about, folks. Christmas is about women in cuddle-tastic winter apparel.

And, Jesus.

And, hot cocoa. Lots of hot cocoa.

Happy holidays from Writingbolt.

07
Oct
13

Chronic Christmas Syndrome, Seasonal Madness

Do you suffer from CCS? Chronic Christmas Syndrome?

 

There is a sickness here growing across the western hemisphere, an obsession with Christmas music which causes those afflicted to play it for three or more months in a year, eradicating the value of all other holidays and contributing to holiday decorations remaining stapled to the house months after the holiday season ends. These folks don’t suffer from winter/holiday depression. They THRIVE upon the “spirit” of Christmas and shove it down everyone else’s throats like retail store chains, turning the season of giving into the season of impulse shopping, road rage and trampling your fellow human being to get the not-so-big bargain of the week. All for the glory of the economy and those guys and gals who applaud opening the stock market every day for whatever reason.

 

If you live somewhere tropical, it could drive you mad with envy of those who have snow. If you live somewhere snowy during winter…and you’re really sick of looking at all the “dead” sleeping trees and traversing the ice and snow which can be genuine hazards yearly…not to mention the freezing cold which is rather unpleasant and can be as harmful to the body/skin as summer heat…you don’t need to hear sleigh bells for more than a month. Especially if you’ve ever spent a significant amount of time in a shopping mall or retail store.

 

In short, where is the autumn appreciation? This is like using sunglasses to stir soup or sticking freshly grown flowers in the freezer. Don’t ask me how I came up with those two. But, those of you with CCS are killing Autumn George by playing Christmas music before Thanksgiving is said and done. If Christmas George and Autumn George meet, the universe will surely collapse.




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