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Number of posts: 6,238
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Give them embassies. Get their representatives into the public eye.
Invade them. Kick over their dictatorships and install democracy!
Posted by sibelian | Sat Feb 23, 2013, 03:39 PM (2 replies)
It's a private admission I'll make here. It's a strange thing to admit.
I saw it coming, all the lies and hypocrisy, I live outside the United States so all the noise before the war started was seen by me as just noise.
I was among the huddled few on 9/11 that thought "Oh my god what are the stupid evil bastards going to bring in on the back of this" when the planes hit. 2000+ dead Americans.... what will that buy them? Well, it bought them quite a lot.
I remember staring out through new eyes, my previously loud liberal voice suddenly silenced. Occasionally in the staff room at my workplace I was able to be talk down a few staff members who wanted to nuke Palestine. That was it.
Every single lie they told was transparent to me. And my ability to see through them made NO DIFFERENCE AT ALL.
So my ability to analyse politically turned me into Cassandra. It was worthless. It didn't change anything.
Any analytical qualities of mine that could have been used by the world, sharred with the world for its benefit, were completely ignored so that everyone could get their blood-soaked boots on and feel grunty and emotional. They made my instinct for seeking the truth WORTHLESS.
I have to say it was probably the most alienating thing that ever happened to me. When I was younger I was (unconsciously) very keen on myself for my ability to feel the psychological structures underlying political propaganda machines. I'm not so keen on myself anymore.
Posted by sibelian | Wed Feb 20, 2013, 03:41 AM (8 replies)
This might be kicked off back into Meta, in which case I apologise in advance, mods.
Hearts are nice, aren't they? And they raise money.
Well, how about PIES? Hm? I wonder how difficult it could be to change the heart gif to a pie gif? Not THAT difficult, I suggest!
And raising money sure is good!
So, I propose an annual pie fight. YES. A great big silly pie fight where instead of buying hearts we buy PIES to THROW!
"But why would we throw pies, sibelian? Surely this would be HORRID BULLYING."
Well. I don't think so. If someone splatted me with a pie I would be thinking "YAY! more money for a worthy cause!" I would just think it was funny.
"But... but but but what would CAUSE the pie-throwing, sibelian? How could we JUSTIFY IT? We give hearts because of, ya know, nice reasons. Pies make me think of BAD reasons."
Wellll. I think it would be up to you. You could splat someone with a pie in a spirit of "ner, ner, I hate you so I splatted you with a pie" but nobody would know unless you told them as much and then you'd just look like a jerky moron. Anyway, IF someone got totally, ridiculously splatted it would be a proper badge of honour, I say. I don't know about you but in real life I only throw pies at people I respect.
"oooooh, sibelian. It's all fun and games until someone LOSES an EYE."
Well, you're unpersuadable, then, imaginary concerned person.
But what about you non-imaginary people of DU? What do YOU think?
Posted by sibelian | Wed Feb 13, 2013, 02:40 PM (6 replies)
... and it's still bad.
"But where will we TURN if this is SO? Bad people DESERVE bad things. If we aren't allowed to use law to express our emotions then what is law FOR? The good guys can do whatever bad things they like so long as they feel strongly enough about it... because they're GOOD. It's only the BAD GUYS that aren't allowed to do bad things!!!"
Posted by sibelian | Wed Feb 13, 2013, 03:29 AM (0 replies)
Sorry, I mean a real dream, not a daydream. I was asleep at the time.
Some of you may remember that when you were young you were not necessarily a participant in your dreams, they just seemed to drift across your unconscious "avatar"'s eyes like movies. And then you started to take part.
Well, not so long ago, I returned to that non-participatory state of dreaming, after many years of being very much an active dreamer, just for one night.
The hero of my dream, for it was a proper story with a hero, was a young version of Dr Carl Jung.
So what does that tell you, hm?
Sibelian's Subconscious (knocking loudly on the ceiling of the basement): "ATTENTION SIBELIAN. ATTENTION. YOU MIGHT LIKE TO PAY ATTENTION TO THIS DREAM. AHEM. AHEM. HRRRRR-HM. HRRRRR-HM. HINT, HINT."
So Dr Jung is young. He has dark hair and is working in a secret sanitorium where only the strangest and most difficult patients are located. And he has fallen in love with one of his patients.
She is beautiful and desperately sad. She has dark hair and pale skin and the deepest eyes, which never seem to look straight at you, you can't see their colour. Her hair falls across her face and somehow she always seems to be sitting in shadow.
She has depression. But it's not your typical depression. She has magic depression, she tells Carl, a terrible kind of curse, a kind of magic depression that's infectious, a magical disease... there is a way in which she can pass the depression onto other people and she keeps trying to tell him how it happens. It's something to do with the way she communicates but it's impossible to establish what she things are the rules of the magic. Whenever asked about this she murmurs incoherently and ducks her head away, becoming vague and blurry whenever his questioning appears to be getting closer to an answer about what it is that's upsetting her so much about how this "magic disease" is transmitted. Sometimes she seems to be saying that simply talking to other people about the magic depression infects them, and sometimes it's not talking about the depression that infects them. Every time he gets close to which of these things it might be she says something maddeningly ambigious like "what do you want it to be?" or "It's neither and both at the same time". Reading her casenotes reveals that her previous psychiatrist (who has gone insane himself and is now locked away in the basement of the asylum) thought that it was simply *believing that the depression was magical and infective* that made it infective... but then he started thinking that *not* believing it was magical and infective made it infective, in a sense covertly... and then he started thinking that the stress and confusion caused by trying to establish which of the two possible explanations for transmission (which, at the time of his examination of the patient was starting to look frightingly plausible to him from the behaviour of the other patients) is what opens the soul to the possibility of being infected by the terrible curse...
She herself cannot say. She only stares.
Carl adores her. She is subtle, wise and patient and has an extraordinary capacity to anticipate what he is about to say. She understands him deeply, and when he tries to lift her mood with tales of his own childhood, filled with boyish zest for life she smiles a weary, grateful smile, as if to say that though she knows she is incurable, it is very kind of him, so very kind, to accomapny her on this dark path, which will take her into oblivion. His self-sacrifice and generosity, while ultimately wasteful, are beautiful to see.
He spends more and more time with her, trying to understand what could have brought her to such a sorry pass. Days go by and no amount of rational thought will persuade her that she is free to be happy should she so choose. He allows himself to put his own ideas aside, to absorb her psyche, to mould his thoughts around hers so that he can perhaps feel an exit for her, a chink in the armor of the great iron beast that eats her from the inside out.
He admonishes himself privately for dressing the disease up in fantastic metaphorical costumes. It is the sort of thing she would latch onto and keep and the last thing she needs is more fantasy.
It transpires that the beautiful, sad patient believes caught the disease from reading a book, a terrible magic book that is the source of the curse. She keeps the book by her bedside and allows no-one to read it.
One night Carl goes into her bedroom, while she is asleep. He feels he must read the book and analyse it, treat it as a dream to be interpreted. He must not be afraid to look into the dark, because magic depression is nonsense and it is her belief in its supernatural power that is causing her disease. She is delusional and must be awakened from her dark slumber. He must show that it contains only words.
He sees the book.
The cover depicts two people, a man and a woman, in profile, against a dreadful grey landscape, a tired sky hovers heavily over two old, crumbling buildings, one squat, windowless, low and black, the other tall and grey, every window smashed. Empty streets surround them, filled only with with shadows that seem coincidentally to echo the shapes of the buildings.
Carl does not dare not pick up the book, but the image on the cover is burned into his mind.
He must not treat the book as special. That way madness lies, thinks Carl.
Something about the book disturbs him in ways he can't explain. The angle at which it lies on the table under the light, as if perfectly framed and lit in an old black and white movie, appears to imbue it with a peculiar and ugly significance. He is angry with himself for his sudden irrationality, but does not not pick up the book. He convinces himself that he is intruding and he leaves.
Her case slowly gets worse and worse. She barely speaks, and when she does, it is only to Carl. She is more and more beautiful every day, and her hair gets darker and darker. She and Carl talk for longer and longer, in fewer and fewer words. Their conversations become more and more repetetive. "It will all come true," she says. "You will see. I'm sorry. It will come true."
Peculiar coincidences start to happen. The nurse looking after the patient loses her husband in a gory car accident. The head administrator of the hospital takes his own life after discovering that the beautiful patient's name is exactly the same as that of a woman he fell in love with who has just died. Carl starts to become forgetful, losing his pen, his wristwatch, his notebook.
The weather slowly gets worse and worse. It rains and rains for weeks. Then it stops raining and the days are simply overcast, but the clouds hang so deep and low it seems as if the sky is nothing but a pall of ash left by a great fire. The world gets slightly darker every day.
The man in the cell next door to the beautiful patient, who is a paranoid schizophrenic, starts screaming nightly about her awful influence on the world, and that she is destroying it. He is sedated and straitjacketed, but his howling never stops. Again and again he tells everyone that she must be killed because she will destroy reality. Everything she believes, all the crushing misery that she holds in her heart is about to manifest itself outside her soul, the dark magic is coming to bloom. The world will be cursed, will become the bleak, hopeless place that she believes it to be. He says that the magic is coming to eat the last strong part of him and then the demons that have been whispering evil things to him all his life will be able to suck the magic into him and turn his schizophrenia magic as well, and then every horrible paranoid fantasy that his mind constructs will start to come true. The magic gets stronger and stronger with every new person that it infects.
Before long, strange men in long coats with eyes a colour nobody can remember on questioning appear at the door of the hospital, deminding to be taken to the cell next door to the beautiful patient, as they have "business to conclude" with the schizophrenic man. They are taken to his cell by a trembling receptionist.
The next night, the schizophrenic has fallen silent. He sits still in the centre of his cell, no longer rocking back and forth. No matter how closely anyone looks at him, it is impossible to tell what his face looks like. It has become... obscure.
The man is one of Carl's patients and Carl becomes deeply frustrated with his inability to understand what the man says. He speaks perfect English and his statements sound entirely easonable but the minute he has finished making them Carl can't remember what he was saying. Or rather, he can remember the words, but he can't remember what they meant. Finally a sentence emerges that Carl can repeat in his hastily scribbled casenotes (which would seem to a paragon of sanity to be deliberately thwarting him by being perpetually missing or mislaid from the records department): "It is about to happen. It is about to happen. It is about to happen."
A pyromaniac several doors down seems to have found a source of flame that no-one can trace. Night after night he sets fire to himself and his cell without anyone being able to tell how he does it. His burns clench his face into an abstract leer. A kleptomaniac giggles to himself further down the corridor, claiming to have stolen the schizophrenic's face. A ghastly, tuneless parody of martial music bursts out spontaneously from the locked cell of a man who believes himself to be Winston Churchill, but after breaking down the door no-one can find anything that could have made the sound. Further on down the corridor, which seems to be getting longer and longer, a man who says he feels the ghosts of his previous incarnations following him around and threatening to kill him starts screaming for them, begging them to return. There is a suicide in one of the cells in the basement, with no means of comitting it discovered. And then another. And another.
Carl fights the despair at every scene. It is not the world, he tells the petrified staff. It is just coincidence, fear and the mind playing tricks. It is not the world.
A woman on the upper floors, who believes she is being slowly removed from existence, past, present and future, piece by piece, for some terrible crime that she has forgotten, is fading. All the hospital staff keep realising that they have forgotten to speak to her, to bring her her meals, to organise her appointments with the psychiatrists. One day one of the nurses runs out of her room, yelling that the disappearing woman has become partially transparent. Everyone runs upstairs to see, but there is nobody there. They remember, suddenly, that there had never been such a patient, that it was only ever a sub-plot to a story written in a book.
The same book that the sad, beautiful woman keeps by her bedside.
The staff begin to leave, one by one. They drift out of the gates of the institution, hiding their faces from imaginary monsters soon, they think, to be become real, under shawls and hats, wild-eyed and flinching at the wind. Soon there are almost no staff members left. The empty institution's doors bang on their hinges. Strange sounds are heard at night, and shadows seem filled with ever greater depth...
There are more and more suicides. The patients break loose and wander the corridors, their skins changing colour, their speech slurred and hinting, hinting, hinting at things.
Finally, one blurry, flickering night, when all of the the lamps in the corridors start to dim slowly and inexplicably, a psychiatrist younger than Carl, no longer able to withstand the relentless descent into irrationality, throws himself from the top of the hospital clock-tower, but he disappears in a hissing, bubbling streak of television static just before he hits the ground...
Carl sees it firsthand and the shock hits him in his chest - the curse is real. He understands. It is real and magic and can only be fought with magic.
He runs to her cell. She is clutching the book with both arms folded across her chest. She glares at him in terror, all nerves, brittle and about to fly apart.
"You can't make it stop," she says. "The harder you fight it the worse it gets."
"I love you," Carl replies. He means it. "I love you with all my heart, I am no longer your doctor, I am no longer your guide, I am no longer your mentor, I am your lover. No more will I pretend that I have to understand you to love you, and I love you more than love itself can bear. I am your lover and I will heal you only with my love, not my cleverness, not my wisdom, not even my sanity, which I will abandon for your sake, because I love you and cannot be without you, I am your lover and I am more important than your book."
Her eyes widen and the book explodes into paper fragments. She is still and starting out at him, her hair blown away from her face. She shudders.
He takes her in his arms and, regarding one another for a long moment, they kiss...
And they part and she looks at him and she smiles a real smile, at last, and at last he can see her eyes properly. They are a deep blue, the blue of a midsummer sky.
But they are standing next to a window and now our view of them changes as if a camera is tracking round keeping them in frame their figures slide into position in front of the window and they are framed, a couple in silhoutte, against a dreadful grey sky with two buildings in the background, the black, windowless secure unit and the grey hospital clock-tower, every window smashed by insane people and crazed suicide attempts
She lifts her fists to her mouth, too horrified to scream.
A page of the blook flutters into Carl's hand. He reads it...
" ... "... I am your lover and I will heal you only with my love, not my cleverness, not my wisdom, not even my sanity, which I will abandon for your sake, because..." ..."
More pages flutter and collect themselves in his hands and, as he feverishly reads them he realises that the plot of the book is exactly the same as his entire experience here in the asylum with his beloved and the insanity that becomes real, the book was the story of the entire disease coming into being and destroying the world... and now he has openly forgone his sanity, the last strong part of himself, the self-creating madness is no longer bound by paper, bursting free, and now it can infect him, the most profoundly respected interpreter of dreams in the history of psychoanalysis, it has removed from its path its greatest enemy by making him part of itself. This was why the picture on the cover was the image of the man and women against the grey sky. It depicted this exact moment, the hideous irony of the moment of the disease's victory.
The world has become the dream.
"NO!!!" he bellows. "If it can make itself real then other things can be real too! It is only true because we BELIEVE IT! It is not so! I will not believe it!"
"Then we must leave this place!" yells his lover, " we must leave now, this place is it's birth-place, we must go, we must go, we must go, now, now, NOW! No more hospitals, no more sickness! Do you love me? Do you?"
"Yes!" says Carl.
"Then wish it away, wish it away!" she shouts. "Hold me and love me and close your eyes and wish, wish it away!"
"It is GONE," shouts Carl, and they embrace and close their eyes. "It NEVER WAS. It CANNOT BE. It is GONE."
They open their eyes but they've only got as a far as the car park. There is a smouldering husk where the hospital used to be with black tentacles of smoke winding up lazily, looking suspiciously like they are about to look like something more than smoke.
"We are going, we are going NOW!" shouts Carl, and they run to his car and get in and he scrapes it out of the grounds at the greatest possible speed.
They only get half a mile before she notices things in the rear view mirror.
"Look!" she screams, and behind them are other cars, or things that look as though they might once have been cars. Each of them is distorted into ugly parodies, each representing a different neurosis, chasing them. There is schizophrenic car, barely recognisable, a deranged collection of feelings-about-cars jumbled awkwardly together, the windscreen depicting a sped-up movie of multiple car accidents, the fenders clenched around the wheels like whitened knuckles, the engine belching in fits and starts, never settling on one rhythm. There is an anxiety car, the engine wailing out a horrible high whine, the smoke billowing out of the exhaust like snakes. There is mania, no wheels but a whirl of grabbing spidery legs set in an insectoid chassis, there is an obsessive-compulsive machine, it's headlamps glaring like searchlights in single parallel beams, an utterly spotless vehicle, paint scraped nearly raw through hypervigilance, another with deep gashes along the doors and wheel arches through self-harm.
Carl presses the pedal to the metal. But it only makes things worse, the queue of cars gets longer and longer as he goes faster and faster and more and more outlandish things start chasing after them, each monster's twisted shape expanding and extrapolating, become more of itself.
He turns corners violently, ducks under bridges, across fields, to no avail. Their pursuants clamber eagerly after them, getting larger and weirder with every trick he tries.
Suddenly she screams: "LOOK OUT!!"
Carl was about to drive directly into the path of a train at a crossroads. He slams the brakes and almost crashes to a halt.
The train is a steam engine, huge, three times the size of any ordinary locomotive and it belts its way over the road at outrageous speed, surely at least three hundred miles an hour. It blasts out a single shriek of steam, an explosion of white cloud. It is black, utterly black, soot black on coal black on jet black on midnight black on black velvet black, all the blacks, and it is gleaming like a mirror, lines of reflected highlights dance over its glossy, brilliantly polished surface, shining as if on the carapace of a beetle, as if on the surface of thick, sweet, melted treacle.
Carl glimpses the driver, who tips his hat to them. The driver's eyes are shadowed under the brim but they are glittering like sparks, and his gold teeth flash a wry grin through leathery lips.
"Well, Hi there," says the driver, in Carl's mind. "Hi. Hello, hello. Nice to meet you. Cool adventure you're having there. I'm a big fan. LOVING the creepy psycho cars."
Carl and his lover cower in the car as the train hurtles away and is gone in moments, waiting for the monsters to finally catch up with them. There is no way they can get away now.
Slowly they turn around and look through the rear window.
All the demented vehicles are queued up behind them, stationary. Most of them have lost a great deal of their deformity, still seeming vaguely sinister, but nowhere near at the level of intensity displayed when they were actively involved in the chase. Drivers are visible in some of them, shoulders hunched, staring over steering-wheels with hooded eyes, sulking. One of them is tapping his fingers on the dashboard irritably.
Carl and his lover look at each other. Carl tentatively pulls the car away slowly.
The queue of chimeras inches forward, keeping pace with him. And keeping their distance. They begin to contort, slowly, back into their psychotic forms.
Carl loses his nerve and accelerates rapidly. The predatorial machines roar with delight, casting off every semblance of reason and lunge after him on wheels of flame and ice, hoods flying open to reveal insides of threshing black tubes, thrusting clusters of needles and saline drips coiled like organs. Mechanical arms protrude from windows, glaring red robotic eyes sprout from the roofs.
The lover stares at them.
He glances at her, and notices her expression, finds something in it.
He slowly decelerates. He watches the carnival of madness behind him gradually slow down with him, reluctantly reverting to simpler and more vehicular shapes.
Slowly Carl comes to a halt.
The caravan of crazy cars sits behind him, engines ticking over. One or two of the them rev up occasionally, annoyed. Some drivers draw breath heavily, sigh, looking at their watches. Carl spies one of the men in long coats with strange eyes driving the schizophrenia car. The man removes his spectacles and polishes them. His eyes are an ordinary and rather pleasant shade of brown.
Carl tries creeping away slowly again, slowly, slowly.
The line of monsters revs up, extrudes short, mildly unsettling spikes and thorns from every surface and gives chase, at glacial speed.
Carl experiments. He takes off as fast as he can and, predictably, his followers warp into a Burtonesque freakshow, a soul-scraping cacophany of nonsense.
"It's like the Way Out Wacky Races had an evil twin," says his lover.
Carls slows again and, with a collective groan of annoyance, his enemies slow down too. He varies the gas for a few miles and it becomes entirely clear that the unpleasantness of the hunters on his tail is directly proportional to the pressure he exerts on the gas pedal.
He stops the car. Everyone behind him wails in frustration.
"No fair!" shouts the driver of an agoraphobic sedan, huddled between an enormous but fairly normal looking SUV with an eating disorder and a rusty 1970s pimp-mobile with delusions of grandeur.
"But we have to get away!" says Carl.
"I think we have, haven't we?" observes his lover.
"I suppose so." He switches off the engine.
Every driver behind him loses their temper in unison.
"Aw, C'mon!" shouts the driver of a sleek nymphomaniac limousine.
Carl and his lover get out of the car. The air is bitterly cold and there are patches of snow on the ground, their surfaces punctuated by tufts of sturdy, rugged grass.
One by one the other drivers shift in their seats, grumble and, clearly vexed, switch off the engines of their own cars.
Several hours pass. Carl and his lover do not leave the vicinity of their car. They find snug, furry jackets on the back seats. There is a picnic hamper in the trunk with flasks of soup and hot coffee and some chicken sandwiches. They sip, eat and chat.
After a long time, the driver of the anxiety car, who has been staring out unflinchingly without blinking, his hand hovering over the ignition finally relaxes. His muscles slacken.
"Screw THIS," he shouts and he forcefully pushes open the driver door and gets out.
He stands for a while holding the handle of the door. There is a sense of tension, and the car creaks, whining. He looks nervous, as if frightened to let go, but at last he does, and, as if some vital connection between him and his vehicle has been severed the car itself bursts, the doors swinging open suddenly, the windscreen caving in, fenders buckling and hood and trunk rupturing out like metal flowers. There is a crackling, metallic sound and the remains of the car seem almost to be loosening, in fits and starts, strands of whip-like steel spreading out like the bones of a fan, gleaming surfaces unfolding like dark petals. The exhaust pipe plants itself in the ground. The roof blows off and the seats climb up on columns of steel, the leatherette flailing in strips.
The driver pulls off his shoes and socks and jumps up and down, rubbing his feet on the ground.
"God, that feels good," he says, over the din of the other drivers hurling insults and terrified demands to return to his car before it's "too late".
But he's started a trend. Before long the driver of the schizophrenic car removes himself from it in one swift, unhesitating movement and it springs instantly into an enormous tree of black plastic ducts with television screens dangling from it like fruit. Some screens display abstract patterns bent as if by magnets, others show scenes from movies not yet written or committed to film. Then another leaves his vehicle, and then more, their cars erupting into statues, ornate wrought-iron pavilions, arcane sundials and exquisite alien orreries... They wander off, some confused, some delighted, some smiling strangely knowing smiles. They leave behind a garden of wild art.
Carl and his lover survey the landscape. They are surrounded by green, rolling hills.
"We can't stay here," objects Carl.
"Why not?" she says. "It's actually quite a nice day. You could check the inside of your car for more metaphors, if you like. Or we could finish the picnic."
She's right, it is a nice day. The sky is a bright, clear blue and the snow on the ground is melting into ice so fragile and clear it looks like blown glass.
"We could build a house here," she says. "We already have a garden..." she gestures at row of sculptures.
"Anyway," she says, brushing aside her raven black hair with a sly grin, staring right at Carl, and I have slid into his skin and am looking out through his eyes and now she's looking at me with deep blue eyes. "Nicely done, I think."
And then I woke up.
So. anybody want to have a stab at what it means?
Posted by sibelian | Mon Feb 11, 2013, 05:10 PM (6 replies)
You know, instead of unrec.
Posted by sibelian | Mon Feb 11, 2013, 04:15 PM (38 replies)
ho ho ho !
Posted by sibelian | Mon Feb 11, 2013, 04:04 PM (17 replies)
How weird! I'm so unpleasant...
Thank you, whoever you are!
Posted by sibelian | Sun Feb 10, 2013, 09:48 PM (3 replies)
WRONG, I TELL YOU.
How much more wrongness can I correct? How much time do you idiots think I have to spend on your incessant nonsense?? Hm?
Everywhere I look, more wrongness! It's as if the whole world has gone crazy! My fingers are raw and my is face is contorted into an immovable rictus of PAIN. Emotional PAIN, do you hear?
My poor boyfriend no longer recognises me. He has just physically restrained me from the keyboard,but I wrestled past him and
I'm exhausted. Have you no PITY?
I grind my teeth at night. My pillows are gnawed to ribbons! I have repetetive strain injury and I can no longer focus closer than 30 centimeters through staring at screens!!!
I no longer eat. I barely sleep.
Friendly people ask me out to the pub, to the cinema, to the skating rink, to the park, to their houses, to the beach... I CANNOT ACCOMPANY THEM.
They plead, they cajole, they argue, they despair of me and then they finish their scene with a pithy comment on the fragile, slippery nature of TRUTH.
I can feel a camera tracking away from my back and Rod Serling's voice wafts vaguely over the living room...
"Sibelian. Just an ordinary man with an ordinary life... a life of assessments and critiques... of perspectives and meanings, of exchange and dialogue... a life of a man at last secure in the knowledge that if he acheived nothing else in his life... at least he was right..."
Posted by sibelian | Thu Feb 7, 2013, 02:42 PM (3 replies)
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