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Summer Groove

Got my summer groove going. Am lowering standards across the board. Complete sentences: optional, like shoes and long pants. Having an actual point or a coherent argument: bonus feature. Even that societal mandate, showing up for work, really should be considered going above and beyond the call of duty.

Thus, yesterday I took a comp day and drove the critters to the beach. Road trip!!! (It's important to bring along Booker T and the MGs.) The weather gods shined on us, the sun burning through that bleak morning blanket of clouds. At Rehoboth, the kids hit all the stations of the cross (Grotto Pizza, Kohr Brothers, Thrasher's, and of course the beach itself). We made it home in a record 160 minutes -- a breeze.

At the end of the day, I felt an odd sensation that I couldn't quite identify. Then it hit me: This is what it feels like to be relaxed.

I'm now formulating my plans for maintaining the summer groove, and clearly the number one requirement will be to spend a heroic amount of time not working. Henceforth, sloth is my avocation.

But it takes a lot of energy, intelligence and courage to establish oneself at the office as a useless sack of protoplasm. You've been through this yourself, surely: Your boss is all excited about something, and she will explain with great enthusiasm her plan that involves your active and faithful participation. And after you listen to her go on and on about this great scheme, you have to tell her the bad news: "You seem to have mistaken me for someone else."

It's critical to train your superiors to understand that you are in a summer groove. I've found that an excellent technique is to disappear completely for about a week with no explanation. After about the seventh or eighth time the boss tries to reach you on the cellphone, you finally should answer with a single irritated word: "WHAT?" And after they complain that you've been mysteriously absent, you just say:"I'll have to get back to you on that."

Or, let's say you're asked to produce a major project with a hard-and-fast, drop-dead deadline. I've found that it's helpful to pretend to be making progress, and assure the bosses that everything's going great, and then, at the very last second, when they ask for the project, I just tell the truth: I still haven't started on it. "We're gonna need to go to Plan B," I announce. This causes obvious consternation, but strategically I will have gained the upper hand because I've employed the all-important element of surprise.

Trust me, you'll gain power and even prestige at work to the extent that your boss realizes his or her inability to get you to do a lick of work. At some point, you don't even have a boss anymore: You have a partner in dysfunctionality.

Needless to say, this has worked wonders for Wall Street and the car industry.

By Joel Achenbach  |  June 16, 2009; 10:37 AM ET
 
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Comments

JA, there are 14 Stations of the Cross; did they also hit Candy Kitchen, Sea Shell City, the Bikini Shop, the Disney Store, etc.?

Be thankful if their stations include shopping at the Outlet Mall and not tossing back shooters at the Rusty Rudder.

Posted by: LostInThought | June 16, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Very timely kit. I just spent the morning doing a task that one of my employees was supposed to have done before going on vacation. After I reminded her. Twice. Somehow I know this is my failure, but right now I'm more than a bit miffed.

Not that I'm not guilty of summertime sloth. When the weather is as pretty as it was the last couple of days, it takes a lot of willpower not to spend the better part of the day on the deck sippin' wine and reading a frothy novel.

Posted by: Raysmom | June 16, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

My office-mate is building a Fourier Transform Spectrometer with a few mirrors and a beam-splitter he bought from Edmund Optics, plus fabricating his own mirror mounts from plywood and random bits of Home Depot hardware, and manipulating the whole thing using the carriage from a junked SCSI scanner.

This is his concept of a summer groove. I doubt he has been happier in years.

I wonder if he'd consider a Wavelet Transform Spectrometer?

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 16, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

I'd be slothin' it something fierce if it weren't for that little thing called Citrix... *SIGH*

Thanks for the Motrin, Raysmom, but the doc's got me on the heavy stuff -- prescription naproxen!!

And doesn't Ray have his dino moments now and again? :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 16, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Too bad you're on the hard stuff, Snuke. And, um, speaking of hard stuff associated with them drugs, I hope you've got yer supply of dynamite handy. 'Cause, you know.....

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | June 16, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

(Re: Yoki's question from the bottom of the last kit)

Yes, Yoki, I know today's Bloomsday yes, I'm aware yes it is indeed yes Bloomsday yes I think we should definitely celebrate it yes I said yes we should no doubt about it yes if you have any ideas yes always welcome ideas yes yes I said yes anything about Bloomsday yes I said yes.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | June 16, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Complete cessation of work - work stoppage - is a little noticeable for me. I have found that intermittent but increasingly frequent inaccessibility works quite well. Is she in? Is she out? Is she gone for the day? Of course, the nature of my work is such that inquiring minds seldom want to know. This makes occasional summer groove days much simpler.

Yesterday I had a summer groove afternoon where I hauled branches and trimmed bushes for two hours. I probably need to work on the concept a little. Believe me, after cleaning up and pouring that first glass of Spanish white, I felt relaxed.

Since temperatures are projected to hit 100 today and tomorrow, my plans involve sitting indoors with cool beverages.

Posted by: Ivansmom | June 16, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

*Snort*

Posted by: Yoki | June 16, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Ah, man, that Summertime Groove. I know it well. Back when I was a contractor I had a great boss who let us take work home. I wrote many a technical paper in the back yard on our big comfy swing in bare feet and a Hawaiian shirt. Perhaps with a cold bottle of ale. Or two. Which might have explained that whole robotic hamsters incident.

Now, of course, taking work home is frowned upon in a very real and legally binding way. Yet the Summertime Groove cannot be suppressed. For summer is when we hold field tests. We travel to mysterious locations, all of which tend to be fricken' hot, and evaluate nifty new technologies. While these expeditions are a lot of work and very long hours, they are also undeniably casual with a summertime vibe. Lots of music, Hawaiian shirts, shades, and cool hats. And, at some point, after things have been all broken down and locked up, there has been known to be ale.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | June 16, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

SciTim - there used to be a company called Essex that was way into that stuff. I think they were bought out a few years ago. Shame. They had the coolest demos ever.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | June 16, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Thank you.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | June 16, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Ultimate technique for avoiding work. Have two bosses who refuse to speak to each other. Whenever one asks you to do something, insist you are doing something for the other.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | June 16, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

I suggested the Wavelet Transform Spectrometer. He wanted to know where he could get one. I had to inform him that it would be his responsibility to invent it.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 16, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Relaxed - what a wonderful concept.

We're fans of Reboboth at the house of c, too -- we make sure we visit there at least once a summer, and I save my pennies for months for a big blowout dinner at the Cultured Pearl's rooftop Koi garden. Which pretty much limits us to cereal and instant pancakes for the other meals for the rest of the trip, but the kids think it's worth it.

And for those Rehoboth main drag stations of the cross, the kids use my wallet as a rosary for every stop along the Way. They're invoking Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson, and Citibank; I'm repeatedly invoking the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost as we count down the bucks from station to station until the last, where I'm penniless and broken, wallet emptied. Finally, I'll need a Hail Mary to pay for it all.

Fortunately, she always delivers.

bc

Posted by: -bc- | June 16, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

I find it hard to be slothful in the summer, too many things I want to get done - my energy ramps up with the increased daylight. I am terrible on summer vacations as just sitting back relaxing doesn't work for me - keep thinking about weeds that need pulling, plants to plant, grass to mow, pool to clean - oddly that is how I relax. Now winter there is my time to become a sloth.

Congrats to son of RD a big milestone on the road to adulthood. We are preparing for the small milestone graduation from grade school - first steps to independance - I will weepy.

Off to clean the pool - beautiful outside have a good day all.

Posted by: dmd2 | June 16, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Fortunately I have a flexible schedule when it comes to doing my work, so I've been doing it mainly at night.

I keep saying I'll do it during the daytime, butI never do.

The garden needs my TLC at the moment; we had to replant the tomatoes after all seven of them were kilt in a single blow.

(Damn Jack Frost the brave little tailor)

We also planted other plants who are very much dependent on the kind watering of strangers until they get rooted.

And now I have to think about important stuff. I think I'll go get some lemonade first-- or something.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | June 16, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Citrix... who knew? Before I looked it up I thought it was a new lemon-flavored drink.

Posted by: nellie4 | June 16, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

If only, nellie, if only... :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 16, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Summer is lived at breakneck pace in these parts. It doesn't help that tonight's sunset is at 21:00 local, it won't be dark dark (as opposed to just dark, anyone who was ever a kid knows this technical term)until 22:00. Who can sleep, who can rest when it's always light?

As for work, I'm counting the days until Sep.1 when I will be unemployed. With luck I'll be out of the work force for a full 60 days to make up for the month I didn't get between jobs last year.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | June 16, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

SCC: sunset at 21:18 local

Posted by: frostbitten1 | June 16, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Hi all. Congratulations, RD, it's a bittersweet time, isn't it? My son's graduation is Saturday and I'm cooking and cleaning like madman in preparation for guests and graduation shindig. My summer groove will start Saturday at 5 pm as guests start arriving and the hubby fires up the blender for his most excellent margaritas.

For many years we had the tradition of going out to lunch at our favorite Mexican place on the last day of school. Last night when I mentioned Plaza for lunch today, they both looked kind of guilty. My son is gone to a beach party and my daughter is starting her Behind the Wheel training.

Sigh.

Posted by: Kim1 | June 16, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

I miss the long summer days of the North.

Miss Dog has had her first haircut of the year. We will call this a day's work. Although there is mowing to do...

I reworked this for other elsewhere purposes. But here:

Young man look at your life,
You're a lot like I was.

Young man look at my life,
Fifty four
and there's so much more
Live alone in a paradise
That makes me think of two.

Love lost, such a cost,
Give me things
that don't get lost.
Like a coin that won't get tossed
Rolling back to you.

Young man take a look at my life
I'm a lot like you
I need someone to love me
the whole day through
Ah, one look in my eyes
and you can tell that's true.

Lullabies, look in your eyes,
Run around the same old town.
Doesn't mean that much to you
To mean that much to me.

I've been first and last
Look at how the time goes past.
But I'm all alone at last.
Rolling back to you.

Young man take a look at my life
I was lots like you
I need someone to love me
the whole day through
Ah, one look in my eyes
and you can tell that's true.

Old man look at my life,
I'm a lot like you were.
Old man look at my life,
I'm rolling home to you.

Posted by: Jumper1 | June 16, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

I love that song, Jumper. Thanks. Of course when we were in a *silly* mood we sang, "Young man look at my wife... she's a lot like you were." Yeah.. hilarious.

For the past 16 years I had a job where the summer groove went on 12 months a year. Didn't feel like working? Stay home if I could still make the deadline. Finished up after only a couple of hours in the office? Go home.

Sigh. Those days were great and I appreciated every one of them. I do love my job now but this working a full day every day is nearly killing me.

Posted by: -TBG- | June 16, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

I hear you, TBG. My best boss ever used to say, "If you don't have anything to do, don't do it here."

Posted by: Raysmom | June 16, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Scotty, ment to mention sorry about the Citrix, an evil invention!

Lovely Jumper.

I did get some summer relaxation in, while cleaning the pool and watering plants - the next door neighbours son (late teens?) is playing the guitar outside, it is high seventies, not a cloud in the sky - nice breeze and soft guitar music - tranquil.

My neice graduates this week as well, still remember the day we received the call announcing her arrival (start of Gulf War - hard to believe it was that long ago).

Posted by: dmd2 | June 16, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Guess we started on our groove on Sunday. We went to the 'Burg on Friday afternoon, watched the Pens win, then spent most of Saturday doing needed work in the yard up there. Hit the road back early Sunday, with the intent to doing similar type stuff here in MD. We got home about 12:30, and friend wife says to me, "The heck with this. Let's rest for a while, then drop the top on the Miata and hit the road. Up in the wilds of Carroll County we helped a couple whose pick-up had sprung a coolant leak, then wound up at Baldwin's Station Restuarant in Sykesville. The eatery is in the old B&O RR station; food is very good and you can train-watch from the outdoor dining deck.

Posted by: ebtnut | June 16, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

This is still making me chuckle ... why did you do that TBG?

I just can't believe there's someone named Jack Horner. I hope the curator of paleontology at the Museum of the Rockies in Montana gets a corner office.

Posted by: -TBG- | June 15, 2009 12:56 PM

Posted by: russianthistle | June 16, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

I'm just that kind of a gal, Dolphie.

Posted by: -TBG- | June 16, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

I really appreciate it, T.

Posted by: russianthistle | June 16, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

I am acquainted with a guy named Jack Frost. I have to assume that the parents of Mr. Frost and Mr. Horner just liked the sound of the name and perhaps didn't consider why it sounded so familiar...

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 16, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Front page alert, BTW.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | June 16, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Trader Joe's has bison burgers! For half the price of Earthfare! (No surprise there.) If they're any good, I'll be keeping a couple of boxes in the freezer at all times.

Now there's summer for you, stuff you can do on the grill. We don't have a picnic table, having no shade in the back yard, but we've been known to put up the folding table and eat in the shade in the driveway.

I remember sleeping on the front porch, which was screened, five of us in a row. Much more comfortable than the un-air conditioned house. How our backs survived it, I'll never know.

Posted by: slyness | June 16, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

So I guess resistance was indeed futile, eh ebtnut?

Yes indeed, dmd, it's amazing to think that was 18 years ago... *remembering the feeling when my unit was among those named to head to Saudi Arabia*

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 16, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, soon we'll see a wave of cranky bitter people complaining that only a pampered yuppie who knows no one with dirt under his nails could possibly write such a ridiculously ill-informed and self-aggrandizing column in which he wastes valuable bandwidth extolling the wonderfulness of his own life while millions of hardworking Americans who lack a cushy, secure, and highly-paid newspaper columnist job are forced to boil their children's shoes in order to have something to feed the children, having already made Vietnamese pot-bellied pig bacon from their beloved family pets that may or may not have gone to live on a farm in the countryside where they will always be happy and maybe we can go visit them someday.

(Bacon number = 0)

Remember to have the children remove the shoes prior to boiling. Consider not drinking the expired milk and orange juice, which might have fermented a bit, enough to induce stream-of-consciousness rambling.

Posted by: ScienceTim | June 16, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for that Neil Young song, Jumper. I just looked it up...

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | June 16, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

According to Wikipedia, He's John R. (Jack) Horner.

He just naturally attracted the nickname and prefers it, apparently.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | June 16, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

I just want to see his thumb.

Posted by: -TBG- | June 16, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

I bet that used to be his pick-up line, TBG.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | June 16, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Your Jack Horner comment was great, TBG, but not as good as this (we were discussing desired superpowers).

At nearly $4 a gallon, I'd like to be able to pee gasoline.
Posted by: TBG | May 13, 2008 8:30 AM

Posted by: Raysmom | June 16, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Aye, laddie, I kilt it.

Posted by: Raysmom | June 16, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

You had boiled shoes? All we had were some Keds, mixed with dandylion weeds. Not even high-tops, either.

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | June 16, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm, summer groovin'? NOT for me. Firstful reason I ain't got no summer.

Twicestful reason, it doesn't feel like summer.

Triceful reason, it don't feel like summer because of ultramodern radiating tiles heating system ain't radiating. Thusly no heat.

Fourthful reason, I see ten million tons of snow on the mountains, which reminds me it's bloody cold.

You have probably noticed my brain cells are stuck on frozen.

Summer grooving? Bah, humbug.

Brag

Posted by: Braguine | June 16, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Tavern on the Green in Central Park, New York City, is in trouble-- the Leroy family, which has been running it since 1976 or so, has a lease on it, which runs out Dec. 31 of this year. Do me a favor and click on the support box at the bottom of this link and send an e-mail asking NYC to renew the Leroy family's lease. Thanks.
http://www.keeptavernonthegreen.com/

Posted by: curmudgeon-1 | June 16, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

rd,
Congrats on getting the kid across the stage.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 16, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Brag, That happens when your north end is facing the equator instead of your south end.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | June 16, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Scotty, you haven't lived the full Citrix experience until it was coupled (very unnatural that coupling) with Hummingbird's RDIMS (aar-dimms). I made everyone laugh today when I quoted the initial e-mail (circa 2000) announcing the advent of the true paperless office through RDMIS. A paperless gunmint office, rrrrright.

http://mimage.hummingbird.com/alt_content/binary/pdf/collateral/ss/govtofcanada.pdf

I survived the day in management land, barely. These people have too many words. They should cut deeply on the number of words they use.

It's a gorgeous day, I only have fishing on my mind. Bass season opens next Tuesday on the Gatineau and next Friday on the Outaouais river. Both should be civic holidays; I'll have to burn some comp time or take vacation.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | June 16, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

The deed is done. May son done got hisself graduated.

And they had this Judge fellow with an Eyetalian name give the commencement speech, who was actually pretty entertaining. As was, of course, spotting the secret service men.

And they pronounced my son's name properly.

Now it's time to crack open the Champagne. For the in-laws and us, of course. My son gets naught but soft drinks lest they not let him into the all-night party he is heading to later.

Summer is indeed here.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | June 16, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Sincere congratulations, RD, to you and RD-GradGuy. Enjoy that champagne, and savor the feeling of accomplishment. I hope myself to feel it five years from now, lord willing and the creek don't rise.

Posted by: Ivansmom | June 16, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Hey RDP -- monumental congrats for the monumental moment for both you and offspring!

I just got back from the gym -- two days in a row! Did the same as yesterday, all in wait of hearing back from the PT for an evaluation of my increasingly decrepit body. While I was treadmilling, I go to watch 15 minutes of hamming by Susan Hayward in that black-and-white classic "I Want to Live!" on TCM. Fifteen minutes was enuf for me, tho. Entirely too much pathos and stereotypical broads in the tank waiting for parole, eying each other in that "you know" way.

Kinda nice being back at it, and I look forward to getting into a routine, not to mention feeling *much* better body-wise.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | June 16, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

I'mom, you Sooners slay me....it's "laud willin' and the crick don't rise."

Sheesh...all that reedin and ritin make you sound like a proper city girl.

Posted by: LostInThought | June 16, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Scalia or Alito? Wow...either one is pretty impressive for HS, although of the wrong bent for me. Congrats to your kiddo and your family, RD (and you too!).

Keep at it, ftb. I'm trying to make a walk a daily routine, but I'm not quite there yet.

May I just add that the best part of being unemployed is not working? Although I still there should be more hours in the day. Like frosti, lots of daylight here (sorry, Brag - the shoe will be on the other foot all too soon).

Posted by: seasea1 | June 16, 2009 5:37 PM | Report abuse

FTB, I'm more decrepit than you. I went to the dentist this afternoon for a root canal. About 30 minutes into it, after all that drilling, he said that the tooth is too far gone and has to be pulled. Tomorrow. Leaving me with a giant hole in my tooth and no pain meds.

I believe that we are all given a certain amount of pain tolerance when we are born, and when we have used it all up, too damned bad.

Good for you for going to the gym!

Scotty, you have my sympathy.

RD-P and all the graduated, congratulations.

I think I can start a numbing beverage now, can't I?

Posted by: rickoshea0 | June 16, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Awwww, poor rickoshea (Maggie, right?)! Just remember, it's always 5 o'clock somewhere in the world.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | June 16, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

'twas Scalia. His grandson was in my son's class. Even though I object to many of his rulings, I had to admit the fellow was entertaining and thought provoking. Plus, for some reason, he spoke wearing a suit instead of the traditional robes. He claimed it was because justices like to be contrary.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | June 16, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Cats' IQ tested by string theory:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2009/jun/16/psychologist-test-outsmarts-cats

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | June 16, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Rickoshea, blessings upon you! Take all the numbing beverages you need, just remember you must be able to drive back to the dentist tomorrow.

My morning walk is a routine I cherish. Two and a half miles, 50-60 minutes, depending on how fast I walk and how many neighbors I chat with. It has done wonders for my stability and balance. Sooo, ftb, good luck and keep it up!

Posted by: slyness | June 16, 2009 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Hmmmmmmm...

Sosa reported to be on the 2003 steroid test list.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/17/sports/baseball/17doping.html

I'm having trouble even generating a shrug at this point.

RD_P -- Party! Bonus! Game On! And in a suit, no less!

Ice packs and naproxen are good things, I tellya.

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 16, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

The summer groove definitely lives at my latitude. I rode my bike everywhere I went today, and took a nap in the afternoon.

I was up late last night watching YouTube clips of BBC celebrity interviews (Jonathan Ross Show). This is a direct result of my Russell Brand obsession; Jonathan and Russell are chums, and watching their chats led to others, and before I knew it it was one ayem.

Here's a nice interview Russell did at a California radio station, just in case anyone is interested. It's pretty serious, with occasional silliness. I'm convinced RB's a sort of missing link to a future form of humankind. (i.e., A MUTANT--don't get me started...)

http://www.kcrw.com/etc/programs/tt/tt090520russell_brand

Posted by: kbertocci | June 16, 2009 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Rickoshea,
My teeth hurt just thinking about yours. Hope it goes better tomorrow.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 16, 2009 6:23 PM | Report abuse

I was unappreciative of summer and Delaware's beaches, having moved to the land of chicken processing plants from the Caribbean where the water's warm all year and nice and clear. But the shorebreak could be nasty. The trick was to follow the big daily weather map in the Miami Herald. A storm at Cape Hatteras meant big surf was on its way, so it was time to persuade the parents to do the beach. They were usually pretty compliant.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crash_Boat_Beach

Later in life, I did college in the summer and later worked like crazy all summer. Fall was always the off-season.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | June 16, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

New kit.

Rickoshea, so sorry about your teeth. And thanks for the reminder to pour myself a glass of wine.

Posted by: LostInThought | June 16, 2009 6:37 PM | Report abuse

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