Friday, July 31, 2009

Nearly everyone has had something to say about the July 16 arrest of Henry Louis Gates Jr., who was accused of disorderly conduct after police responded to a report of a possible burglary at his Boston-area home. (The charge was later dropped.)

The arrest sparked debate about racial profiling and police procedures and President Barack Obama ruffled feathers when he said in a news conference that police in Cambridge, Massachusetts, "acted stupidly."

Obama played peacemaker yesterday when he sat around a patio table at the White House with Gates and the arresting officer Sgt. James Crowley. Vice President Joe Biden also joined in on he chat which was held over beer, pretzels and peanuts.

The meeting has been dubbed the Beer Summit and after the meeting, according to CNN, Crowley told reporters that the men had a "cordial and productive discussion," in which they agreed to move forward rather than dwell on past events.

Crowley made it clear, however, that no one apologized.

Sigh.

What do you think of the so-called Beer Summit, Gates's arrest and Obama's "acted stupidly" comment?
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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Facebook has yet another way to help us all procrastinate. Folks are putting their MP3 players on shuffle mode, recording the first 15 songs that pop up (no cheating, folks) and then tagging 25 pals to do the same. These lists are supposed to give some insight into a person's music tastes and perhaps even their personality, but since I know I listen to a lot of crappy music I'm going to argue that that's not true.


Nonetheless, I'm going to do a list of my own here on GeorgiaMae.com. Here goes...


1. "Get It Shawty," Lloyd
2. "Any Time, Any Place," Janet Jackson
3. "Ironic," Alanis Morissette
4. "Beat It," Michael Jackson
5. "Shiver," Coldplay
6. "Everyone Nose" (Remix), N.E.R.D.
7. "Can You Stand the Rain," Boyz II Men
8. "Ready or Not," Fugees
9. "So What," Miles Davis
10. "Tell Me Who," Tamia
11. "Many Moons," Janelle Monae
12. "Bitter," Chante Moore
13. "Trust Me," Crystal Lewis
14. "Going Under," Evanescence
15. "Please, Please, Please," Fiona Apple


Your turn!! List up to 15 songs from your MP3 player in the comments section.
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Posted by in ,  on 3:30 PM 4 comments

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Last night the show "More to Love" premiered on FOX. In case you missed it or you're smart enough to avoid reality TV, "More to Love" is basically a plus-size version of "The Bachelor."

According to FOX:
Luke Conley is a 26-year-old former college football offensive lineman who stands 6'3" and weighs over 300 pounds. He's a successful sub-contractor and real estate investor who has his sights set on building a long-lasting ...relationship.

The women chosen to be part of this new dating competition are all full-figured. While I'm always glad to see more curvy women represented in the media there's something about this show as well as shows like Oxygen's "Dance Your Ass Off," that just doesn't sit right with me.

So I watched last night's series premiere of "More to Love" to try to figure out exactly what bugs me about these shows. I was pissed off within the first 60 seconds.

First of all, every time a woman's name and occupation was on the screen her height and weight were displayed also. It was ridiculous. Edd even got fed up with it and kept asking, "Are they really going to show their weight every time they talk?"

Shows like "More to Love" claim to seek to empower women but actually just make a spectacle out of them and define them by their weight, ignoring all of the truly interesting things about them. One woman is a freaking rocket scientist but we only hear about this for 15 seconds. Thanks to what I'm sure was strategic editing, the show made it seem as if the only thing Luke and the women ever wanted to talk about was food. They probably discussed health care reform, the recession and more, but I can hear the producers now: "Hey fatty! Talk about steak and potatoes and how much you love apple pie!"

But still that wasn't what got to me the most.

Many of the women on the show had sad stories of how they'd never been on dates because of their size. While that's heartbreaking, I would argue it is not the norm. I know plenty of full-figured women who have no problem getting men or as Edd put it, "If they were in the hood they would get broke off."

(Feel free to consult UrbanDictionary.com if you're not sure what getting broke off is.)

Luke seems to be a great guy so far, but what irks me is that "More to Love" implies that it will take a miracle (or a FOX reality show) for an overweight person to find love. And that's a super-sized load of crap.
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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I've been known to give you ladies a hard time over your schoolyard crushes.

Like Immature, for instance - I said y'all were crazy for liking those Peter Pan rejects way back in 1993. I've always had the wisdom of a mature adult. That's what makes me such a grumpy old man today.

But there was one group the ladies loved that I actually gave props to - Troop. Don't get me wrong, I didn't think they were dreamboats. Steve Russell, Allen McNeil, John Harreld, Rodney Benford and Reggie Warren actually looked kinda rough to me. But that's from a dude's perspective.

Plus, we all know, I'm a hater.

By the way, did you know TROOP is an acronym for "Total Respect Of Other People?"

Remember that tidbit if you make it on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.







"Mamacita" was the lead single from their self-titled debut album in 1988. It's funny, I don't remember that song at all, even after checking out the video on Youtube. But take a look at it solely to see Donnie Simpson, dressed like he's taking flying lessons, or driving cabs.







Troop's second album, '89's Attitude, is the one everyone remembers most. How can you forget "Spread My Wings" or "All I Do Is Thing of You?" I'm not ashamed to admit I still rock both of those joints.

But ooh, Lord, those haircuts...






1992's Deepa featured "Sweet November," complete with sappy male R&B video. You know the type - one of the guys chases a girl and stops while she walks away. Then you see all the dudes sitting on rocks looking at the sky while singing. I call it the Boyz II Men Special.







A Lil' Sumpin' Sumpin' dropped in 1994 and the only song I remember is "Do Me." I'm sure you don't remember it though - it sounded really dated, like something Bill Biv DeVoe would have done four years earlier.

Does anyone know why there are only three guys on the cover? I don't remember anyone leaving the group and I couldn't find anything online about a split occurring at this time. Maybe the other two members refused to be photographed with a shirtless man.





Did you know Troop had an album in 1998? I totally missed it. Their single, "The Way I Parlay" isn't half bad by 1998 standards but it got no love on the radio, at least in Va. Maybe that's why they took a hiatus soon afterward.


Should they come back?: If you ask them, they never left:





Yeah, that's them today, courtesy of their MySpace page. They're still touring, so if you wanna hear dudes in their 30s singing about middle school crushes, look for 'em at a town near you.

Also, Steve Russell wrote the only Chris Brown song I like, "Take You Down," so he's staying busy. He should have told him that song was NOT meant to be taken literally.

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Monday, July 27, 2009



New GeorgiaMae feature!

Jay-Z once said, "Do you fools listen to music or do you just skim through it?" That's real talk - do you actually listen to what these artists are saying or are you hypnotized by the beat, waiting for the hook to drop?

I'm going to take a closer look at selected lyrics to examine what these artists are really talking about.

Let's start off with Mya, and her single, "Ridin'" which dropped back in 2007 for an album that never materialized. There might be a reason for that.


Rambling intro:
Can't believe it
You know, why do I feel like I did something wrong?
I'm really about to play myself
But I need to know the truth

Yeah, sister, you're really about to play yourself. See for yourself.


Verse 1
It's been five hours since you left here boy
Said you were goin' round the block, had to make a stop
So I kept your dinner, hot-hot-hot
And I've been waiting for you ever since,
it's 3 in the morning yeah
But 3 turns into 4 and 4 turns into five
Then 6 rolls around whatchu tryna do, baby, make me cry?
I don't know what I did, but I know what I'm gonna do
I'm gonna find you


Let's set the scene. It's been five hours since this guy left home and it's now 3 a.m. So ol' dude left the house at 10 p.m. to "make a stop." Ladies, if your man said he was going "'round the block" at 10 p.m. wouldn't you ask him, you know, WHERE he was going? That's her fault.


Chorus
I'm ridin', I'm ridin' past yo mommaz house
You got me ridin', I'm ridin' past yo boys' house
You got me ridin', I'm ridin', I'm ridin' tryna find you
Baby you got me out here lookin' for you
I'm ridin, I'm ridin past that b****'s house
You got me ridin', I'm ridin' by all yo ex's' house
You got me ridin', I'm ridin', I'm ridin' tryna find you
Baby you got me out here lookin' for you, I


If my significant other went missing in the middle of the night, I would have called the police. The man could be laying in a ditch somewhere, as my grandma would say. Why wouldn't she do that? Is filing a missing person's report considered snitching? Cuz you know we aren't supposed to snitch, according to rap songs.

And why is she riding by the houses of random women? Ladies, if you can't trust your man you shouldn't let him up in your house, let alone make him dinner. Mya could have been watching Charm School instead of keeping his dinner hot-hot-hot.


Verse 2
When you stepped to me, you had nothing
But the shoes on your feet, no place to sleep
So I let you lay yo head on my pillow
You didn't have a dime, so I helped you find your grind, yo a** is just a waste of time
And I played the fool for you, it's 3 in the morning yeah
And it's not weekend, oh no
But 3 turns into 4 and 4 turns into five
Then 6 rolls around whatchu tryna do, baby, make me cry?
I don't know what I did, but I know what I'm gonna do
I'm gonna find you

Chorus

Oh now she's kicking a brother while he's down! Who cares if the man was broke, why you gotta throw it in his face? And don't drag Tony Toni Tone into this, missy.

And why did she say "and it's not the weekend" like it would be OK for him to vanish for 8 hours if it was Saturday night.

Bridge
I been sippin' on Red Bull so there ain't gon' be no sleep tonight
Not gonna let you go oh no, without a fight
See you're the type to make a girl do things she know ain't right
5 gallons of gas, and I'm drivin fast
Where you at, where you at, where you at

Chorus

Five gallons of gas!? How does she expect to ride past all these houses on a quarter tank? I guess even third-string R&B singers are being hurt by the recession.


Chorus

Outro
It's 3 in the morning
It's 4 in the morning
It's 5 in the morning
Where you at, where you at, where you at


Sigh, and she STILL hasn't called the police. Has she even called his cell phone yet? Maybe dude skipped town to get away from her.

The verdict: Don't date Mya, she's pretty insecure. Leave the house for 5 minutes and she'll be riding past your ex's house.

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Jamie Foxx is coming to Louisville Sunday. Unfortunately, that's the same day I'm leaving the River City to return to my Sweet Home Alabama. Luckily, I had a chance to chat with Mr. Foxx about his show, his latest album and about his acting career. Check it out:




Fresh Foxx
Jamie Foxx's talent keeps him relevant — and out of the bargain bin

Published in Velocity Weekly, July 22, 2009 (Also available at MetroMix.com and Courier-Journal.com)

Comedian, actor and R&B crooner Jamie Foxx seems to be good at giving people what they want.

His unforgettable performance as Ray Charles in the film “Ray” garnered him an Academy Award in 2005. Later that year, Foxx released the album “Unpredictable,” which eventually topped U.S. pop charts. These days, you can hear Foxx's hit single “Blame It,” banging in nightclubs and thumping in cars cruising down the highway.

Foxx has said that his latest album “Intuition” is for the ladies, that the songs are meant to be all about what women want. When Foxx comes to Louisville to play Freedom Hall on Sunday night, fans can be sure his show will follow suit.

“I think that in R&B, music is really designed for women,” Foxx said in a phone interview. “The music that's designed for guys is sort of like ‘Rocky' music, where you go work out, and (women) don't want to go listen to that.”

What they do want to hear, he said, are songs like “Overdose,” a smooth track on Foxx's new album in which he tells his lover, “They said I overdosed, overdosed, overdosed on you/ ‘Cause I want you close/ Need you the most /Without you I'm just through.”

Foxx's last visit to the River City was two years ago when he treated local fans to a high-energy show at the Louisville Palace. After an opening set of comedy, Foxx delivered an hour of sexy, soulful sounds that had grown women on their feet, squealing like love-struck school girls.
That's not to say Foxx doesn't want the guys to “wear some linen” and come enjoy the show too. “They can rock to it,” he said.

Foxx is one of few R&B artists who manages to cross generational lines. He said his music manager Breyon Prescott and others help make sure his albums stay relevant, and this means Foxx can't always sit behind his piano and croon, even if he wants to do so.

“I was playing all my old-school R&B chords and they were like, ‘That ain't it, Foxx,'” he said.
Foxx said his team convinced him that if he didn't work to keep his music up-to-date his new album would, “end up in the grocery store in that bin where they got the flip flops and the toenail clippers, a rubber ball and a duster all for 99 cents.”

Click here or here to read the entire story.
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Friday, July 24, 2009

Just to wrap this up I want to say that overall I was pleased with Black in America 2. I think the tone,for the most part, was very appropriate. With a black man in the White House I think it was a great idea to focus mostly on young leaders making a difference in their communities and to show black people succeeding in an array of fields.

I don't care what the critics say, hats off to Soledad O'Brien. Rock on, girl.

What did you think of the program?
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We're only a few days out before we say goodbye to Louisville and although the wifey has given her farewell address I figured I'd share a few of my favorite memories as well.

Youth Mission Trips

Many of you know that I've spent the past eight years working with a collection of kids at Centennial Olivet Baptist Church. It's been a great honor and privilege to watch them grow but don't get it twisted - those kids drove me crazy.

During the latter years of my Kentucky tenure, I accompanied the children on mission trips around the state, working at Salvation Army sites, feeding the homeless and ministering to those in need. Although I always came away proud of their work, it wouldn't be a mission trip without some type of drama. Like a couple of years back when a group of kids snuck outside to play basketball when they were supposed to be serving food. During their haphazard game, one of the knuckleheads broke a finger. He came to me saying "Bro. Eddie, look!" and showed me his z-shaped ring finger.

My reply? "Eh. Shouldn't have been playing."

I'm such a compassionate soul.
I nearly lost my cool last year during a mission trip picnic. A group of kids kept throwing around a football extremely close to the craft table, which I was overseeing. I warned them to move before someone got hit. Well, you know kids, they didn't listen. One unlucky young lady hurled the football for her friend to catch but the guy missed it, and the ball smacked me RIGHT IN THE HEAD. The poor girl looked like she saw a ghost and fearing her life RAN DOWN THE STREET! Keep in mind that we're in an unfamiliar neighborhood and a 12-year-old just ran off. Her friends chased her down and brought her back but she was terrified that I'd rip her ponytails out.

Ooh lord, I thought about it.

Anyway, she apologized profusely and I accepted. Later, some of the boys said that if I sought revenge they'd fill her sleeping bag with shaving cream. I declined.

I would have been cool with them using itching powder, though.

Still, I absolutely adore those kids. To those that are reading, Bro. Eddie loves ya.


Meeting Keith Sweat




Duh.


The Wedding

I've been told by nearly everyone who attended our ceremony April 8, 2006, that it was the greatest wedding they've ever witnessed.

I would agree, of course.

But what many people don't know is the absolute disarray that preceded it. My uncle passed away very unexpectedly literally days before the ceremony. Nearly everyone on my mom's side of the family, excluding my mom herself and a cousin, had to stay behind in Virginia. That included my grandfather, who was supposed to have a hand in officiating the wedding. When my family arrived after the 12 hour drive for the rehearsal they were extremely ornery. Both bridesmaids and groomsmen were dropping out of the wedding left and right at the last moment too late to replace them; a tornado hit on the eve of the wedding, stranding a handful of out-of-town friends at a local mall; my future mother-in-law drove off and wound up in another city; and as you can guess, the bride-to-be was completely stressed out with the preparations.

I'll never forget the icy Medusa glare she shot me when I arrived to the rehearsal. One of the kids in my youth group said, "wow, you might need to rethink this."

No matter how bad things looked during the rehearsal the big day itself was magical. We lost an even number of bridal party members so to the untrained eye no one could tell that people were missing. My pastor stepped in and officiated the entire ceremony, duties he had planned to share with my absent grandfather.

And oh lord, the after party.

Nothing I can say can accurately describe the scene - you just had to be there. Just know that there are pictures floating around of me dancing with seniors from church. That says it all.

It was such a great time and without a doubt, the memory from Louisville that I'll hold most dear.
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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Last night I found CNN's Black in America 2 pretty interesting, but what was even more compelling were the comments some of my friends posted on Facebook about the show.

In case you missed it, the show kicked off with a story of a program called Journey for Change. The program was founded by Malaak Compton-Rock, wife of comedian Chris Rock, and through it Compton-Rock selects 30 at-risk youth from Bushwick, Brooklyn to travel to Johannesburg, South Africa to do service projects for poverty stricken communities plagued by AIDS. Compton-Rock's goal is for the journey to give the Bushwick kids confidence and encourage them to better apply themselves in school.

During the CNN special we do see some of the children blossom and break out of their shells. Some do improve their grades, but some do not, despite their new confidence.

I found the program admirable, but one of my FB pals griped about the media once again highlighting the pain and suffering of Africa. What do you think?

The part of the program I enjoyed most was the story of The Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford, Conn. This year round college preparatory school has a majority black and Hispanic student population, with many students coming from broken homes. Yet it sends 100 percent of its graduating students to college.

During the program the principal of the school said "education is the great equalizer" and this is a statement in which I truly believe. Most of the life experiences and opportunities I have had and the self-confidence I hold are all results of my education. My belief in this statement is one of the main reasons I'm moving to Birmingham to become a teacher.

But one of my FB buddies brought up a very valid point -- today many college graduates are drowning in debt and unemployed thanks to our country's economic downturn. So is education really the great equalizer or just a waste of money?

The CNN special concluded with a segment on affluent Black Americans. Coming from a low income family, this is a community to which I have never been able to relate. But when a friend of mine called the people in this segment "Afro-Saxons" it struck a nerve. While clever, that little joke implies that wealth is reserved for white America. Is that really the right attitude?

Let me know what you think of these issues and don't forget to tune in tonight for the second part of Black in America 2.
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Posted by in , ,  on 8:24 AM 2 comments

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

CNN continues its investigation of the most challenging issues facing African-Americans with "Black in America 2." The two-part special begins tonight at 9 p.m. ET as Soledad O'Brien reports on people who are using ground-breaking solutions to transform the black experience.

Click here for more info.

After the show stop by and leave your thoughts.
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Posted by in , ,  on 9:25 AM No comments
If only I was as smart as Julie Zeilinger when I was 16...





Julie Zeilinger may only be 16 years old but this young woman from Pepper Pike, Ohio is on my list of heroes.



In March Julie launched The FBomb.org, a blog and online community for teenage feminists. The site was designed for "teenage girls who care about their rights as women and want to be heard. Young feminists who are just a little bit pissed off and very outspoken are more than welcome here."



Already The FBomb.org has been recognized on popular feminist sites like Feministing.com.



We caught up with Julie recently to learn more about Fbomb and how she got to be so awesome.







GM: How did you manage to realize that you are a feminist and be comfortable with that at such a young age?

Julie: I was raised in a feminist household and my parents have always valued feminist concepts and have supported women's rights organizations, but it wasn't until I had to give a speech to my entire middle school in eighth grade that I learned about women's rights. I read an article on female feticide and infanticide and couldn't believe that such a misogynistic thing was happening, parents killing their babies just because they were female. I was so shocked that something like that was happening, more so that I'd never even heard about it, that I began to do more and more research even after the speech and learned about all types of women's issues. My eighth grade teacher and high school advisor also guided me along in this process, giving me books and talking with me about the issues. Their support along with my parents' really helped me be comfortable with calling myself a feminist.



What prompted you to start The FBomb?



I wanted to start this site because as a young feminist, I had been looking for an outlet for my beliefs. There were blogs for "younger" feminists at 20-30, but I really wanted to talk about issues most pertinent to teenagers. Also, it's really hard to be a teenage feminist as most teenagers don't really get it, so to me having that support system and ability to discuss issues with like-minded people was something I really wanted. Because this didn't exist, I started it.



What do you hope The FBomb can do for other young women?



The FBomb is different from existing feminist blogs in the sense that I really don't want it to be just me, or a group of a few people, blogging. I want everybody who visits the site to know that they have the opportunity to write for the blog, and they will be posted. I hope knowing this, girls will really take advantage of the space and add to the movement. Also, reading posts written entirely by peers gives girls a sense of belonging and community. I think the FBomb can show young feminists that they're not alone, and that we have power we never dreamed of.



What does feminism mean to you?



Feminism to me means "equality." It means working together, men and women from all different backgrounds to make sure that women have the same rights as men (not more, same). It means making the world a fairer, more accepting place, not only for women, but also for men, because feminism truly does help everybody. Feminism also means having a community to fall back on when I'm feeling especially overwhelmed by sexism in our society, a community that's willing to fight back and empowers me to do so as well.



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Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Maxwell

BLACKsummers'night (released July 7, 2009)


Maxwell always struck me as a strange dude. He seems like the type of guy who spent the past eight years locked in his basement working on his ceramic doll collection. This is the man, after all, who spent an entire video drooling while brushing his teeth and crawling under the bed to sniff his lady's old shoe. See?

You can't deny the man has a following and even though I was never a big fan, I can see why he gets so much love after checking out his latest release BLACKsummers'night. The album, while not as sensuous as his past work, really benefits from the upbeat, jazzy feel. Implementing a live band gives the music much more life than the canned synthesizers that run amok on the radio.

"Pretty Wings," or Prettay Wangs, to quote Maxwell, not only benefits from strong songwriting, but it's gentle without crossing over into boredom. "Bad Habits" starts out slow but kicks into high gear when those horns hit. I'm such a sucker for horns. Throw in some guitars on tracks like "Cold," and I'm set. The album's biggest standout might be the Prince-like "Fistful of Tears."

The tickling of the ivories combined with Maxwell's stronger-than-usual vocals are the perfect juxtaposition.

"Help Somebody" might be slightly preachy and "Playing Possum" never really gets going (it almost sounds unfinished) but my only major complaint is the album's short running time - it's barely 40 minutes. I've long spoken out against bloated albums, but at just nine tracks - which includes an instrumental that sounds like something from one of my old Sonic the Hedgehog games - it seems like Maxwell left us hanging.

Nonetheless, BLACKsummers'night is definitely worth checking out. Maxwell fans, rest easy. Samson didn't lose his strength when he cut his hair.


Best tracks: "Fistful of Tears," "Pretty Wings," "Bad Habits"


4 stars out of 5
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Monday, July 20, 2009

Ladies and gentlemen, it's time for another edition of He Said, She Said. This occasional Georgia Mae feature allows our resident man blogger and I to discuss different, and sometimes opposing, thoughts on issues both frivolous and grave. Since we'll soon be leaving Derby City to start a new journey in Birmingham, we decided to share our favorite thing about Louisville.


He Said

Now, I know I've been pretty hard on Kentucky, Louisville in particular, over the past eight years. The lack of a 7-11 will do that to you.

Seriously, how can a major metropolitan city NOT have a 7-11? How am I supposed to feed my Slurpee addiction? And don't tell me to get an Icee instead. That's blasphemous.

But Birmingham doesn't have a 7-11 either. What's wrong with you people? Thousands of children will never know the brain-freezing power of a Slurpee.

However, if I had to point out one thing that will forever be synonymous with Louisville it has to be Indi's.

For those who don't know, Indi's possesses the greatest fried chicken on the planet. Better than even your grandma's best bird.

What? At least I didn't select one of those guys who sells watermelons out of the back of their pickups.

It's funny, because my first Indi's experience was horrible. My first month in town, a friend and I stopped by Indi's after catching a late movie. Keep in mind that it was probably 1 a.m. and this place was packed. For some ridiculous reason, I ordered a "fried chicken sandwich" - mainly out of curiosity.

These fools gave me a bony chicken breast with two pieces of white bread. How am I supposed to eat that? Should I just swallow the bones?

I just ignored the bread and ate the chicken, which was pretty impressive. It must have been sprinkled with crack (which wouldn't surprise me, knowing that shady place...) because I went running back for seconds a few days later. Since then I've been hooked. Even though you have to place your order through bulletproof glass and there's a 70 percent chance your order WILL get messed up, it's all worth it.

Years later, a few friends from Virginia who were in town for our wedding stumbled across Indi's and haven't stopped talking about it.

Of all the things Louisville has to offer, only I would highlight a fried chicken shack. Indi's, I salute you. Forget that Colonel guy, you are the true chicken king of Ky.

-- Edd

She Said

I must say that Indi's is pretty amazing. Not only is the chicken dope but the sweet potatoes will make you praise Jesus. But speaking of praising God, I would have to say my favorite thing about Louisville is New Vision Ministry Center - and I'm not highlighting a church just to support my good girl persona. NVMC really changed my life.


I was a member of another church for more than three of the four years I spent in Louisville. I loved that congregation dearly, but there was always something tugging on my heart pushing me to search for another church home. I wouldn't do it. I was comfortable where I was, despite the fact my relationship with Jesus was deteriorating before my eyes.


One of the things I was struggling with most in my spirituality was never feeling good enough to be loved by God. Things got so bad that at one point I was convinced God hated me. Still I wouldn't try anything new to fix this.


On Oct. 7, 2008 I was hit by a car. The moment my body slammed into cold, wet pavement not only gave me a mild case of whiplash but knocked some sense into me too. I saw how quickly my life as I knew it could be over.


As soon as it no longer hurt to sit for an extended period time (as you may remember, the car collided with my butt) I visited New Vision, which I had known about for years thanks to a huge ad the church had plastered on the wall of a local shopping mall.


From my first visit I knew I was home. The choir sang "Trading My Sorrows," one of my favorite songs, and when the pastor's sermon had me jumping to my feet clapping and waving my hands in the air I knew this was a place where I could blossom.


In just the eight or so months I've attended New Vision my relationship with God has grown by leaps and bounds. The sermons have taught me so much about God's grace and mercy. Through the Wings of Worship Flag and Dance Ministry and because of the church's awesome choir I have experienced true, liberated worship. And after hearing the phrase, "Worship is a lifestyle" for years, I finally know what that really means.


Because of New Vision Ministry Center not only do I love God more, but for the first time in a long time, maybe the first time ever, I am certain God loves me too.

-- Javacia
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Posted by in  on 7:50 AM 4 comments

Friday, July 17, 2009

Yesterday I shared five of my 10 favorite artists from the summer of 2001 to summer '09, affectionately known in my household as the Ky. Era.

Why should you care? Since 90 percent of you are reading this at work, I'm sure you'd be grateful for any excuse not to be productive. I know my readers, and I love each and every one of you lazy bums.

As I mentioned yesterday, the artists are ranked primarily by hotness of songs, and consistency.

On with the show:


5. Jay-Z

Good ol' Hov never disappoints. Usually.

Jay started out 2001 at the top of his game, clearly recognized as the game's top rapper, a title he hoped to solidify with The Blueprint. The album was excellent, but when he picked a fight with sleeping giant Nas, things really got interesting. As the two went back and forth, Jay's confidence seemed to be shaken. 2002's double album Blueprint 2: The Gift and The Curse wasn't nearly as bad as some say, but it was very bloated and excessive, kind of like that new Transformers movie. Maybe that's why he decided to bow out with his *snicker* "retirement" album in 2003, The Black Album. It was his best received work in years and at the time, I thought, "what a great way to end a career."

Thing is, he never left. After appearing on more songs than he had before his so-called retirement, Jay resurfaced in 2006 with Kingdom Come. Like Blueprint 2, I didn't think it was that bad, but it certainly was not up to Jay's lofty standards. But Jay shattered all doubts with 2007's American Gangster, his best album since the original Blueprint.

Jay's has a ton of ups and downs (remember those albums with R. Kelly? Ugh), but his music mostly has remained top-notch, and like it or not, he's still the industry's standard bearer.

Best song - Say Hello




4. Nas

Everyone loves an underdog story. Fresh off of dropping the much maligned Nastradamus album in 1999 (which in retrospect wasn't all THAT bad, especially when compared to today's dreck), 2001 seemed to be the end of Nas Escobar's career. But thanks to Jay-Z putting his foot in his mouth, Nas saw the opportunity to regain his fire. Nas used the track "Ether" to shred Jay like confetti and it springboarded his '01 album Stillmatic to the head of the rap pack.

Not that he needed much help. Stillmatic is without a doubt the top hip-hop album of the Ky. Era. Disagree? That's what the comments section is for, playa.

The hits just kept on coming - '02's God's Son and The Lost Tapes and'04's Street's Disciple.

In '06, Esco stirred up more controversy when he declared Hip Hop is Dead with yet another strong release. And I'm sure you recall last year's Untitled album, which ruffled lots of feathers with the original N-word title. Too bad people were so concerned with the title that they missed the album's strong social message. Nas loves the underdog role, pissing off his peers and executives alike, but as long as he keeps releasing quality music, I won't complain.

Best song - Ether



3. Alicia Keys

Man, Alicia certainly has matured. Back in 2001 she looked like one of the girls who dated Alvin and the Chipmunks, now she's one of R&B's most classy and respected stars. She certainly won me over, in more ways than one.

I was NOT a fan of Alicia's debut, Songs in A Minor. While I respected her talent on the piano, and her voice was certainly impressive, 80 percent of that album was stuff they play in the waiting room at retirement homes. I had written her off until a friend gave me a copy of 03's The Diary of Alicia Keys, and I was blown away. She began to move away from being a young lady trying to sound mature to a young woman who achieved maturity. Every song on that album was so heartfelt. Her third album, As I Am, didn't quite measure up to her previous effort, but it was solid in its own right.

Best song - Diary




2. Justin Timberlake

Don't front, you probably liked N*SYNC. The songs they released back in 2001, especially "Girlfriend" and "Gone" had tons of crossover appeal.

But I don't have to front. I hated them. HATED THEM.

That's why I didn't bat an eye when I heard that Justin was going solo - until I heard that his album would be produced by Timbaland and the Neptunes. I told myself I might have to check it out, just to support my Virginia brethren. The week before his debut album, 2002's Justified, was released, I heard "Cry Me A River" one nasty, snowy evening and said to myself "yeah, I'm copping that Justin."

Since then, I've been all about Justin. Justified, and 2006's inescapable FutureSex/LoveSounds have probably received more time in my CD player than any other album in the Ky. Era. Both albums are the pinnacle of today's pop music - they're fun, they're dumb, and they're way over the top (what's a SexyBack?). Stop lying to yourself, you know Justin is the new Pop Prince.


Best song - What Goes Around


And number one goes to....




1. Amerie

Don't look so shocked. You probably thought it was Keith Sweat.

The first album I reviewed for GeorgiaMae was 2007's Because I Love It. I gave it 4 1/2 stars. I worried about that at the time. I remember telling the wifey that I was afraid readers would think I was one of those reviewers who love EVERYTHING.

We all know better than that by now.

Amerie in my eyes has been the most consistent artist of the Ky. Era. While nearly everyone else, with the possible exceptions of Justin and Nas, has released at least one clunker, Amerie is three for three when it comes to stellar albums.

2002's All I Have is one of the best debuts I've heard, as it neatly packaged tender ballads with uptempo tracks that, at the time, stood out from the pack. I hadn't heard anything like "Why Don't We Fall in Love" before she released it. She really took things to another level in 2005 with Touch and the insane lead single 1 Thing. Everyone from Beyonce to Toni Braxton ripped off 1 Thing after its success. It didn't hurt that the album itself again pushed boundaries while remaining rooted in 90s-style R&B.

I've already professed my love for Because I Love It here.

And before anyone mentions Amerie's vocal weaknesses, yeah, we all know she ain't Whitney. Her vocals are strong enough to carry ballads, and they aren't an issue on her uptempo stuff.

Plus, anyone who likes that deadpan Rihanna has no room to talk.

Amerie has been pushing the boundaries of R&B for more than seven years now, so I crown her queen of the Ky Era.

Best song - 1 Thing
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Thursday, July 16, 2009

So, word is out and our secret has finally been revealed - in a little over a week, I'll be saying goodbye to Louisville after an eight-year prison term, er, tenure.

As part of my farewell tour, I'd like to share with you 10 artists who made the past eight years bearable. We all know that good music is becoming harder to find than DMX's hairline...



See? That photo never gets old. Anyway, here are the 10 artists, who, from the summer of 2001 to the summer of 2009, not only put out quality songs, but helped shaped the game for the better. The list is based primarily on consistency and how much I liked their music. Simple.



10. Lyfe Jennings

I still remember watching his first video, "Stick Up Kid", back on Midnight Love. What do they show in place of Midnight Love now? Judge Hatchett reruns? Soul Plane? Probably Baby Boy. Anyway, after seeing the video, I thought to myself, "here's another R&B thug..." and totally dismissed him. But after listening to a copy of his debut album, 2004's Lyfe 268-192, I was hooked. Lyfe brings a combination of sincerity, street cred and realism that no one else has achieved in the past eight years. Who else has sung about feeling guilty about not dating a woman because she already has children? His follow-ups, '06's The Phoenix and last year's Lyfe Change, were just as strong as his debut. Check out all three if you haven't done so. Hopefully he can shake off his current legal woes to deliver another banger.

Best song - Must Be Nice




9. Aaliyah

Remember where you were when you first heard about Aaliyah's death? I was in church the following morning where a woman was testifying about how "the Lord can call us home at any time, like that girl who died on that plane." I said to myself "what is that old lady talking about?" I later found out about the tragic plane crash from the previous day.

Her death was a major blow to the industry, as she was on the cusp of superstardom - imagine something horrible happening to Rihanna around the time "Umbrella" dropped. Although she was technically only around two months into the Ky. Era (her final album, Aaliyah, was one of the first I purchased in Louisville) her death influenced a new generation of female artists, like Ciara, Cassie and the Pussycat Dolls. Ugh, that's a pretty poor legacy. Still, she remains One In A Million.

Sorry, couldn't resist.

Best song - Rock The Boat




8. Clipse

Without question, my favorite rap group of the Ky. era.

Better than Wu-Tang? Yep, besides Ghostface most of 'em spent the last eight years in hibernation.

Better than OutKast? Speakerboxxx/The Love Below was amazing; Idlewild, not so much.

Better than Dipset? What about G-Unit?

Just quit while you're ahead.

On the surface, Clipse are just a couple of guys rapping about drugs n' stuff, but unlike Young Jeezy and everyone's favorite fraud Rick Ross, they don't simply brag about being gazillionaries. They're not afraid to talk about the harmful effects of that lifestyle on their families - and themselves. And the fact that they're master lyricists only helps convey that message more clearly. 2002's Lord Willin' and 2006's Hell Hath No Fury are both critically acclaimed, for good reason. Bring on that third album!

Best song - Grindin'




7. Lupe Fiasco

When new artists begin to pick up a buzz, I can usually brag about knowing of their work before most of the general populace. For example, before Drake hypnotized the nation into believing he's the second coming of Biggie (with good hair!), I knew him way back when he was making whiny records with Trey Songz.

But Lupe came out of left field. Like many people, I had never heard of him until he dropped an extremely interesting verse on Kanye West's sophomore album. Any rapper who name-drops oddities like Lupin The 3rd and Thundercats deserves a second look. Not long after that, Lupe's popularity exploded. His complex rhyme structure and abstract concepts made him a hit with "old-man rap" fans like me. 2006's Lupe Fiasco's Food and Liquor stands as among the very best albums in the Ky Era, and although his sophomore album The Cool wasn't quite as strong, he's still soaring above his peers. I'm just hoping those retirement rumors are just hot air.

Best song - Kick, Push





6. Kanye West

Look how far Mr. West has come. From obscure producer in 2001 to annoying pop star in 2009, you could could call the Ky. Era the Kanye Era. I'm sure he would.

The guy has a lot of mouth but his debut, 2004's The College Dropout, is the very definition of a classic. No, it isn't flawless, but it helped revolutionize production (remember those sped-up soul samples?) while giving conscious rap a taste of the spotlight. And although his ego grew with every release, from 2005's Late Registration to 2007's Graduation, he could do no wrong.

Then he totally went off the deep end and 808s & Heartbreak was born. Crapped out would be a better description.

Thankfully Kanye's auto-tune fetish seems to have subsided and he's back to kicking witty rhymes again. If not for 808s, he likely would be No. 1 on the list.

Best song - Throw Some D's Remix

Come back tomorrow for the Top 5! Bet you'll never guess who is No. 1.
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Posted by in ,  on 7:31 AM No comments
Published in Velocity Weekly, July 15, 2009

Four years ago I moved to Louisville with nothing but two suitcases of clothes, a few Rubbermaid containers full of junk and a dream of inspiring people with words.

July 17 will be my last day as a staff writer for Velocity Weekly and next week I'll pack up my car once again, this time to head back to my Sweet Home Alabama. Hubster and I are moving to Birmingham where, starting next month, I'll be teaching literature and writing at a school for gifted kids.

I'm excited to share the same area code with my family again, excited to experience my hometown as a working adult and, most of all, I'm eager to show students how empowering and inspiring the written word can be. The moments I've spent packing up my desk and my condo, however, have been bittersweet. There's a knot in my throat reminding me just how much I'm going to miss Louisville.

I've long before said that Louisville is the hometown of my heart. I love Birmingham dearly and I'm proud to call it home. But while Birmingham is where I grew up, Louisville is the city where I became a woman... Read more.
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Posted by in  on 7:20 AM 2 comments

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

As if that ridiculous "square butts" commercial wasn't enough, Burger King also has this ad floating around:



Not only is comparing eating a sub sandwich to oral sex just plain stupid, but the way the female model looks both terrified and a little like a blow-up doll is just disturbing.

Bust magazine, Gawker and the blog So Good, which takes "an absurd look at the world of food," have all posted some interesting thoughts on the ad.

I was planning to write a long diatribe about this mess too, but I think the cliche "a picture is worth a thousand words" certainly rings true here.

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Posted by in ,  on 8:02 AM 3 comments

Monday, July 13, 2009

Confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor are set to begin today. Sotomayor could become the nation's first Hispanic Supreme Court justice.

But it is her Latina heritage that has some politicians uneasy about Sotomayor taking the bench. When Sotomayor asserted, "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life," some pointed to this statement as racist and question if Sotomayor's background will unfairly affect her judicial rulings.

On Sunday, Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, appeared on the CBS program "Face the Nation" to outline concerns over what he called Sotomayor's possible racial bias. Meanwhile Judiciary Committee chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, appearing on the same program, stressed that, "She has a track record and she has shown to be a mainstream judge."

The Women's Media Center has released an interesting (and infuriating) collage of video clips highlighting how Sotomayor has been portrayed by many media outlets. You can check it out below.






What do you think of Sotomayor's "wise Latina" statement, of her nomination and of her treatment by mainstream media?

See the confirmation hearings live at CNN.com.
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Posted by in , ,  on 7:58 AM 1 comment

Friday, July 10, 2009

Hey, Facebook kids!

Last night when I was supposed to be packing, I created a Facebook group for Georgia Mae readers. It's called I Heart GeorgiaMae.com. Search for it and join today.

If you have trouble finding it just go to my page and you should see it on my wall.

Have a great weekend!

xoxo,
javacia
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Posted by in  on 8:45 AM No comments

Thursday, July 9, 2009



Oh yes, your eyes don't deceive you, that's me hanging out with my new best friend, Keith Sweat!

*squeals like a 11-year-old at a Jonas Bros. concert*

Oh yeah, Blog Boss Javacia was there too.

Y'all remember that fateful night when I met Keith? Well, the Kentucky Derby Festival photographers took the above pic and promised to pass it along. They lived up to their commitment - and just in time for my Kentucky departure. I can now leave in peace.

*squeals like rusty garage door*

Now before you haters start invading the comments sections with snide remarks, I'll respond to a few that I've already received:

- No, I don't look like Ray-J.

- Keith is NOT wearing skinny jeans. They just fit well.

- Keith is not "pushing up on my woman." He's just didn't want to lean on me because that would look suspect.

- When I saw Keith's vest, I did not say "What is that, velvet?"

Stop hating, start appreciating.

*squeals like a church lady who saw a mouse in her pew*
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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I have news. Big news. (No, it does not involve gestation.)


Many of you may already know, but hubster and I are Bama bound and this time, not just for a brief vacation. Edd and I are leaving Louisville, Ky., at the end of the month and moving to my hometown of Birmingham, Ala.

Oddly enough, even though he's from Virginia, searching for a new gig in Birmingham was actually music guru's idea. I guess he just couldn't get enough of that Southern sweet tea.


So I'm leaving my fancy schmancy job as an arts and entertainment journalist to teach high school English.


I know what you're thinking: WTF? Is she crazy? Maybe. But let me explain a few things.

I won't be teaching at some school where students have to go through metal detectors every morning. May God bless teachers who do take on those types of jobs, but I for one am no Joe Clark. Instead I'll be teaching at a school for the best and brightest students of the state, students with great talents in fine arts and math and sciences, students who actually want to learn.

It's the school I attended during my high school years. I know I am the woman and the writer I am today largely because of that school so I'm excited to have the opportunity to give back to an institution that changed my life.

I'll be teaching American literature and, fortunately, this is a school that encourages its English teachers to go beyond vocabulary words and grammar rules and show students just how empowering a command of the English language can be and how inspiring literature has been for centuries.

Don't worry. My days as a writer are far from over. I will continue to freelance and I hope this change will allow me to make GeorgiaMae.com even better.

I even see GeorgiaMae happy hours and other events on the horizon. So Birmingham readers, get ready to party.
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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

image via



Guess what? Another post about Michael Jackson.

If you don't like it, too bad. I'd like to see YOU sell a gajillion albums dressed as a werewolf.

And speaking of sales, a lot of people have been hitting up Best Buy for their MJ fix. According to Billboard, Mike has sold more than 500,000 albums since his death last Thursday - pretty amazing when you realize that most of those songs are nearly 30 years old.

Since the record label leeches realize their latest minstrel acts aren't racking in enough dough ("You're a Jerk" dudes, I'm looking at you), you can rest assured that we'll see a LOT more material from MJ really soon. From Billboard.com:

Michael Jackson left behind so much unreleased music that he could have several new albums released in the coming years. The material ranges from unused tracks from the studio sessions of his classic albums to recent tracks that he recorded with Akon and will.i.am.

According to former Sony CEO Tommy Mottola, the releases could go on for years. Mottola even said that Jackson recorded, but didn't include, several tracks on his classic Off the Wall and Thriller albums which Sony can now release.

"There are dozens and dozens of songs that did not end up on his albums. People will be hearing a lot of that unreleased material for the first time ever. There's just some genius and brilliance in there."


Now before you get excited about hearing Thriller 2009, consider this - there's probably a reason why we haven't heard these mysterious songs yet. We all know Michael was hurtin' for cash (he was $400 million in debt, last I heard) so you'd think that if he had some real heat he would have released it already.

Unless this new stuff sucks.

Michael is a notorious perfectionist and you can't blame him for not wanting to tarnish his legacy with a bunch of junk. And I shudder to think what record labels will do with these tracks without his guidance.

Y'all like 2pac, right? Most of you know my feelings about him *cough*overratedposer*cough* but even I'll admit that the man had classic material before his label started releasing posthumous albums every four months. That's when we started getting ridiculous collaborations like that song from 2003 featuring Jazze Pha, T.I. and Johnta Austin.

Can you imagine telling your great-grandchildren about how awesome Michael Jackson was and the kid replies, "oh, you mean that guy on the T-Pain song?"

And I'm willing to bet, with my luck, T-Pain will still be around 60 years from now.

Anyway, although I'd love to hear new stuff from Michael, I just hope it lives up to his phenomenal legacy. No one better e-mail me about some song called "Wanna Be Startin' Something Part II" featuring Gucci Mane, Lady Gaga, Birdman and OJ Da Juiceman.


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Posted by in ,  on 8:50 AM 2 comments

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Sorry we're late on this. I spent the past three days pretty isolated from the rest of the world and while I was living in my cave Sarah Palin resigned from her post as governor of Alaska.

Palin said she's leaving office with 18 months left in her term in part to protect her family, which has faced withering criticism and occasional mockery, and to escape ethics probes that have drained her family's finances and hampered her ability to govern.

She said after deciding not to run for reelection as governor, she realized she didn't want to be a lame duck and claims that leaving office is in the best interest of the state and will allow her to more effectively advocate for issues of importance to her, including energy independence and national security.

Palin has widely been seen as a leading 2012 presidential contender, but her spokeswoman Meg Stapleton rejected the notion that the governor was better positioning herself for a national bid.

Below is a video of Palin's announcement. What do you think of her decision to step down as governor? Is Palin punking out or doing what's best for her family and her state?



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Posted by in ,  on 11:00 PM 2 comments

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Those of you who follow my work for Velocity Weekly know that I have no qualms about sharing personal stories with my readers. I've written about my boobs and my big hair, my faith and my feminism, the ups and downs of married life and even my struggles with lupus.


I write these essays with the hope that a woman (or man) will read my words, relate to what I'm going through and feel a little encouraged, even empowered. But yesterday I started to wonder if I'm just playing into what writer Hadley Freeman calls a "very wrong genre of journalism very wrong genre of journalism that is becoming all too popular: female confessional journalism."


In an article in The Guardian yesterday, Freeman writes:


Here's how it goes: a female journalist describes her obsession with her weight/breasts/ageing face/food or alcohol problems/inability to have a happy relationship. The article is illustrated by the journalist looking as miserable as possible. There are tales of daily woe. It concludes with the writer still sufficiently unhappy to be commissionable for another very similar piece.


Freeman goes on to say that this type of writing is hurtful, not helpful, to readers and that it sets back feminism because it perpetuates editors' misogynistic image of women being self-hating and self-obsessed.


Sadly, I have seen this type of self-hate in essays by some of otherwise very talented female writers and after reading Freeman's piece I was left thinking, "Has my writing actually been discouraging women this whole time?"


Deep down inside I feel the answer is no, though I could be kidding myself.


In my personal writing I've always made a point to never end on a note of self-loathing, and to instead share a tale of a journey toward self-acceptance. I also strive to make each personal column timely, if possible, and about something to which others can relate so that in the end it's not all about me. And whether it's oversharing or not, through the years I've received very positive responses from readers.



But what do you think? Are journalists who share personal stories stepping into TMI territory?
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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

What do you think of this image?



French President Nicolas Sarkozy has urged parliament to move toward banning the wearing of burkas in France. This follows a 2004 French ban on the wearing of Islamic headscarves in state-funded schools. In his speech, Sarkozy said, "We cannot accept to have in our country women who are prisoners behind netting, cut off from all social life, deprived of identity." He went on to say that 'the burka is not a sign of religion, it is a sign of subservience.'


Frankly, I'm not sure how I feel about this decision. I can't imagine living my life behind a burka and no woman should be forced to do so. But I also think that many people deem Islamic dress oppressive or degrading without a true understanding of it.


Do any of the women who wear burkas really want to do so? Maybe. Maybe not. But I think that if a woman does desire to wear a burka, she should have that right, just as she should have the right and the freedom not to wear it.



What do you think?



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Posted by in  on 7:52 AM 1 comment
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