Thursday, September 30, 2010

Funniest headline you will read all day

Posted By on Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 3:58 PM

Da-da da-daaaaaa:

"Scientists Tackle Mystery of Smelly 'Asparagus Urine'"

No seriously. It's real. I swear to God. And while every inch of my dignity told me that this headline was the beginning of a really stupid story, detailing a topic that was equally stupid (and, most likely, a waste of federal money on scientific research), I still couldn't help but read it.

Since I know you're also wondering: LiveScience.

Oddly, cafepress sells T-shirts on the same subject.
  • Oddly, CafePress sells T-shirts on the same subject.

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Want Section 8 housing? Now's your chance.

Posted By on Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 3:21 PM

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If you're low-income and looking for affordable housing, than you may already be aware of this: It's damn hard to get Section 8 housing.

Offered through the city's Housing Authority, the Section 8 program is there to help people who can't afford most places. Problem is, you don't just have to get in line for Section 8, you have to wait until you're even allowed to get on a waiting list. It's been five years since anyone was allowed to get on the waiting list.

Five years.

Now for some good news. The waiting list will be open from Oct. 18-22. The bad news is, it won't do you any good to camp in line Oct. 17 because names to be added to the waiting list will be chosen by lotto.

Anyways. Good luck.

Here are the details:


COLORADO SPRINGS HOUSING AUTHORITY TO REOPEN WAITING LIST FOR SECTION 8 AFFORDABLE HOUSING PROGRAM


Colorado Springs, CO, September 30th, 2010

The Colorado Springs Housing Authority (CSHA) will re-open its waiting list for the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program. Applications will be accepted at the Hillside Community Center, located at 925 South Institute Street, in Colorado Springs during the week of October 18th-22nd from 8 a.m. to
4 p.m.

The waiting list for the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program has been closed for 5 years; therefore, interest in this program is anticipated to be high. Due to the anticipated demand, applicants will be placed on the waiting list through a lottery system. This means that it is not necessary for applicants to be “first in line” on Monday or Tuesday morning to receive a better position on the list. All applications accepted during the week will be randomly selected through the lottery system and placed on the list. This approach is being taken to insure fairness and to reduce competition in the application process.

In addition, the CSHA will maintain a “local preference” for the application process. This means that residents of El Paso County will receive priority for the program. Households will also be required to use Section 8 housing assistance in El Paso County for a minimum of one year. Potential applicants should be prepared to complete a simple application that includes questions on household composition and income.

“Considering the great need for affordable housing in our community, the Housing Authority is excited to once again offer this unique opportunity to assist families in reaching or sustaining self-sufficiency” said Eugene Montoya, Executive Director of the CSHA.

The CSHA, established in 1970, is a not-for-profit provider of affordable housing for the citizens of Colorado Springs and El Paso County.

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Noble Gas: The Periodic Table of Rockin'

Posted By on Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 2:33 PM

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As George Bush famously noted, "Rarely is the question asked, is our children learning?"

That question is asked even more rarely today, thanks in large part to Roadside Jesus and his Periodic Table of Rockin'!

Unlike the above screenshot, the table itself is interactive: Click on any element in categories ranging from Alkalai Metal (e.g. Motorhead, Megadeath, Metallica) to Noble Gases (Zeppelin, Sabbath, Spinal Tap), and you'll find Roadside Jesus' perceptive takes on rock's many elemental forces.

Most of my favorite descriptions, though, can be found in the realm of Poor Metals and Non Metals. These include:

Hall & Oates:

My friend, I once witnessed a fight between the Hall and the Oates. The tempers flared, the punching & kicking commenced...things were said that can never be taken back. But I shed the tears when a bruised Hall turned to Oates and said four simple words, "I love you, Oates." The Oates hugged the Hall, and loved him back. My friend, the fight was over.

Ratt:

My friend, I don't know what to say about the Ratt. They're like the Van Halen minus all talent.

And, of course, The Police:

My friend, if I mailed the party invitations to each of these bands, while every band would definitely show up, the Sting would be the only one to have taken the time to RSVP.

It's also worth playing the creator's audio introduction, in which he sets forth certain precepts of the genre, such as, "An element of the rocking for me is the placement of the bandana ... All of these bands either wear a bandana or I wear a bandana when I'm listening to the band."

One caution: The Periodic Table of Rockin' was completed in 1987, right after Guns N' Roses released Appetite for Destruction. This explains why genres like nu metal, grunge and grindcore are conspicuously absent. Then again, none of them actually rock.

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Ice cream wishes

Posted By on Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 1:24 PM

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We're not hugely into promoting commercial enterprises in our editorial, but the "World's Largest Ice Cream Social" is probably worth an exception.

For one thing, the event kicks off Cold Stone Creamery's month-long participation in the Make-A-Wish campaign on behalf of the charitable foundation.

And for another thing, it involves free ice cream.

The event takes place today, Sept. 30, from 5 to 8 p.m., and you can find more details here.

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Another call for AFA to release climate survey

Posted By on Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 12:30 PM

Since Lt. Gen. Michael Gould, Air Force Academy superintendent, decided in August to keep the latest cadet climate survey under wraps, several individuals have called for its release.

Most vocal among them is Mikey Weinstein, a 1977 AFA grad, who started the Military Religious Freedom Foundation in 2005 after allegations arose that evangelical Christians were shown favoritism at the academy.

The latest fervor stems from Gould's comment that he's seeing progress at the academy, even as the climate survey shows 40 percent of non-Christian cadets and staff are subjected to unwanted proselytizing. (The Independent knows what the survey shows because we obtained a copy a few weeks ago.)

Anyway, the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado has joined Weinstein in calling for the survey's release, issuing a letter today.

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COPPeR releases cultural plan

Posted By on Thu, Sep 30, 2010 at 12:24 PM

This morning outside the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region unveiled its comprehensive Cultural Plan for the Pikes Peak Region.

Want more dance? Heres how.
  • Ormao Dance Company
  • Want more dance? Look here.

The 10-year plan is based on five goals to promote and unify local arts and culture: increasing engagement in, access to and participation in the arts; integrating art into the social, economic and political fabric of the city; implementing new curricula for arts education, at all levels; providing new resources for private financial support for arts organizations; and sustaining the work of creative individuals and organizations.

The plan also calls for working within neighborhoods through block parties, coffee shop poetry readings and public art, as well as larger hopes for new performing arts venues, including an outdoor amphitheater.

As far as implementation, the plan outlines a timeline in which task forces will be formed, and volunteers recruited, by the end of the year. 2011 will bring an ongoing schedule of progress reports, meetings with civic groups and other steps.

The arts produces $100 million annually for the region, the plan states. Thomas Wilson, Colorado Springs Philharmonic conductor, spoke today, saying, "The arts can play a key role in pulling us out of this economic recession."

There's much ground to be covered for this ambitious plan to prove itself, but with several years of research behind it, expectations are high. You can view the plan online at coppercolo.org/culturalplan.

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Review: Anton Chekhov's The Duel

Posted By on Wed, Sep 29, 2010 at 7:35 PM

Update: This post was updated at 9:35 a.m. to correct an editing error related to plot summary.

I have no grand statements to make about the great Russian writer Anton Chekhov, his style, or his prolific body of work, with which I’m admittedly largely unfamiliar. I’ve read a few of his short stories in the past, which probably puts me on equal footing with the majority of people who will see writer Mary Bing and director Dover Koshashvili’s film, Anton Chekhov’s The Duel.

We’re also equal in that none of us has been privy to even a trailer of the film, as none exists online. It sneaks up on us both on marquees and as its story patiently unfolds onscreen (in English).

Filmed in Croatia to represent a sleepy seaside retreat in the Russian Caucasus around an unspecified, late 19th-century date, the film is first enchanting through its scenic splendor. Gorgeous buildings are cracked, exposing bricks and underlying materials, which could be argued as a visual metaphor for fragile characters whose deepest emotions are similarly on display. The placid sea matches an utterly languid atmosphere where ladies flit about in froofy hats, small bands of soldiers march about for some reason, men drink and play cards, and every interior shot of someone’s home makes you wish you could visit just to run your cheek against the couch fabric. (It’s pretty.)

Our protagonist is Laevsky, played by Andrew Scott, one of the many Irish members of the cast. Laevsky is lazy, pathetic and generally reprehensible for many character flaws. But he’s also temperamental, nervous and consumed by his romantic situation. In certain scenes, he reminds me of a breakout, fuck-up Mark Ruffalo in You Can Count on Me. A guy who just can’t get it together.

In a sink or swim world, most of us decide to dog paddle.
  • In a sink-or-swim world, most of us decide to doggie-paddle.

Laevsky’s lover is Nadia (Fiona Glascott), a woman who we learn early on has just lost her cuckold of a husband. The only problem is that she doesn't hear the news until well into the story because Laevsky doesn’t pass along the letter that tells her so. The reason: He’s fallen somewhat out of love with her and doesn’t really wish to be responsible for her, though they've been living together openly for quite some time. Nadia, who scandalously “holds supper at all hours,” according to her horrified friend, is subsequently harassed in some form or another by almost every suitor in town.

But their conflict isn’t the duel to which the plot drives. It’s that pesky, too-smart, too-arrogant, too-smug Von Koren (Tobias Menzies, Rome, MI-5) who prattles on about too many Darwinian principles — survival of the fittest and the like — that ultimately forces Laevsky to pistols in the sand. Menzies is excellent, and the only actor in the film American audiences might recognize.

Does anyone miss the way hostile matters used to be settled?
  • Does anyone miss the way hostile matters used to be settled?

Whereas not much actually happens on the surface of the film, everything changes for the characters. It’s a subtle story of simmering (and boiling) moods, unrequited love, dysfunctional love, scornful judgment, apathy, pity and ultimately, fear. It’s a character study, a period piece, and though unfamiliar in setting and circumstance for us, there’s a bit of trapped and forlorn Laevsky somewhere in most of our pasts that helps us identify with him and the story’s arc.

My presumption — again, being no Chekhov expert — is that it’s this mastery of conflicted character that has canonized his works. This well-constructed, thoughtful adaptation does them, or at least The Duel, justice.

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Police "HOT Team" wins international award

Posted By on Wed, Sep 29, 2010 at 5:18 PM

The Colorado Springs Police Department's Homeless Outreach Team was just awarded the Herman Goldstein Award for Problem Oriented Policing. It's a huge honor. A team of our cops just beat out police from around the world for — get this — being progressive about the way they do their jobs.

Cops don't just chase crooks these days. They also get out in the community and try to rip problems out by their roots before they manifest into big crime. The HOT Team members do just that. They connect with the city's homeless, and they try to find these folks homes, programs and resources that will help them better themselves. That way, our street people can make good lives for themselves instead of turning to crime in desperation, apathy or drunkenness.

What the HOT Team does actually works. It was the HOT Team that cleared out the Springs' famously sprawling Tent City. And they did it with compassion.

Officers Brett Iverson, M.J. Thomson and Dan McCormack deserve a round of applause for their hard work.

Our City Council and Police Chief Richard Myers deserve some credit too — for supporting this proactive police work. In hard budget times, it's tempting to cut back on programs like the HOT Team and focus all the funding on cops that bust criminals. But the HOT Team is walking proof that being tough on crime requires more than guns and nightsticks. Sometimes sensitivity and intelligence are the more useful tools in our arsenal.

Here's the full release:

The Colorado Springs Police Department’s (CSPD) Homeless Outreach Team (HOT) learned today that they won the prestigious Center for Problem Oriented Policing Herman Goldstein Award.

Chief R Myers said, “This is a proud day for CSPD and the community of Colorado Springs. It shows what a committed team of police officers can do, while collaborating with many other community resources, to analyze and address significant community problems. We’re particularly pleased that this effort was undertaken at the height of our fiscal crisis, demonstrating that the men and women who work for the City will not be deterred from rising above challenges and doing what is right. I salute all who have contributed to this wonderful achievement, but also point out that the work towards addressing chronic homelessness in our community is far from done.”

The other finalists CSPD competed with are:

• Dayton Police Department (US), Reclaiming the Corner of Chaos
• Houston Police Department (US), Chronic Consumer Stabilization Initiative
• Lancashire Constabulary (UK), Smashing Time - or not
• Merseyside Police Department (UK), Reducing thefts from elderly persons in shopping areas
• South Yorkshire Police (UK), Shiregreen Alliance

The HOT was formed in response to the rising population of the homeless individuals and the increase in problems associated with homelessness in Colorado Springs. The team was formed in June of 2009 to develop a strategy to compassionately address the increasing number of homeless, homeless camps and the myriad of socioeconomic issues surrounding them. The team has developed relationships with many advocacy groups, homeless service providers and has coordinated a citywide response to help the homeless transition to a better life out of the camps. Their efforts also led city leaders to develop and implement an enforceable “No Camping Ordinance.” Due to the efforts of the HOT, not one arrest has been made for the No Camping Ordinance. Instead homeless individuals have been provided information that has helped them get into more permanent housing and programs.

Annually, the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing (funded by the US Dept of Justice COPS Office http://www.popcenter.org/ ) awards the Herman Goldstein Award for Excellence in Problem-Oriented Policing (http://www.popcenter.org/goldstein_info.cfm ). This award is named after Dr. Herman Goldstein, professor emeritus who first wrote on the concepts of police focusing on problems rather than randomly patrolling.

As the winners of this year’s Herman Goldstein Award the CSPD’s HOT has been identified as a benchmark program internationally, one that other communities struggling with similar issues can study and adapt. This will help cities from around the world more efficiently address homeless concerns. Additionally, the CSPD’s HOT was presented a trophy, certificates for project team members, and vouchers covering registration fees and travel expenses for three people to attend a future Problem Oriented Policing Conference.

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HOT_members.JPG

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Update: Bush, Cheney coming to Broadmoor next week

Posted By on Wed, Sep 29, 2010 at 4:20 PM

Former President George W. Bush and his veep sidekick, Dick Cheney, will bask in the luxury of The Broadmoor next week, and probably collect handsome speaker fees while they're at it.

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The Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers have lined up the duo for the 97th Annual Insurance Leadership Forum to be held here Saturday through Tuesday.

Cheney will take the stage Monday, followed by Bush on Tuesday, with both slated to speak during morning sessions from 8:30 to 10 a.m.

Sgt. Steve Noblitt says the Colorado Springs Police Department will provide security for Bush, but Cheney will bring his own security team and possibly supplement with locally hired security guards. The city won't be reimbursed for the officers working on the Bush detail, he says.

Bush's appearance is sponsored by Chubb Insurance, while Chartis Insurance is sponsoring Cheney.

Given Cheney's iffy health condition of late, the program notes:

Amid reports of continuing health issues for former Vice President Dick Cheney, Council members have inquired as to whether he still plans to attend our fall meeting. Through his representatives, Cheney has indicated that he intends to keep his scheduled appearances this fall and is looking forward to speaking at our meeting in October.

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Another speaker listed on the program is Gen. Stanley McChrystal, former commander of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan, who was yanked from his command by President Obama after McChrystal made unflattering comments about Vice President Joe Biden and other administration officials in a magazine article.

But word is that McChrystal might not be coming after all.

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Indy Minute

Posted By on Wed, Sep 29, 2010 at 2:04 PM

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This week's episode features the Springs Ensemble Theatre premiere of Keepingabreast by Jackie Rosenfeld, the 5th annual AuthorFest of the Rockies in Manitou Springs and the Medical Cannabis Expo.

Tune into the Indy Minute — as seen on ABC affiliate KRDO News Channel 13 — each week for details on all the events that entertain and bring our community together. It's simulcast on KRDO News Radio 105.5 FM and 1240 AM.


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Phat Hatties rocks the meats

Posted By on Wed, Sep 29, 2010 at 1:54 PM

Today, while out attending the grand opening celebration of AspenPointe Café, I ran across a new-to-me mobile barbecue cart. (Well, actually, owner Anne Morris says the tiny trailer stays put at the intersection of Academy and Union boulevards from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesdays through Saturdays and from noon to 3 p.m., Sundays.)

Cute pig logo: check.
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Cute pig logo: check.

The place is named Phat Hatties Smokehouse Barbecue and owner Anne Morris says the business has been around for around three and half years. For the first two years, she attended events only and catered, and prior to March of this year, she was located around Barnes Road and Austin Bluffs Parkway for nearly a year.

Owner Anne Morris (right) and Lisa Matiski.
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Owner Anne Morris (right) and Lisa Matiski.

Morris says she's originally from Houston, Texas, and cooks her brisket Texas style, accordingly. Her pulled pork, on the other hand, is more of a Memphis style and she offers a North Carolina-style mustard sauce that she says is particularly good with her spicy sausage.

For your viewing pleasure: the menu.
  • Matthew Schniper
  • For your viewing pleasure: the menu.

Today, I opted for the "I can't decide Combo plate" — a quarter pound each of brisket and pulled pork with a side of slaw and baked beans for $7.99. The sides were both a little better than average, but the meats were super-tender and terrific, especially with Morris' mildly sweet and spicy "Phabulous Sauce" poured over top. (While writing this, I just found a note on their Website that Phat Hatties won Best Brisket at this year's Old Town Showdown.) A special sweet potato/walnut muffin had good flavor, but was a bit dry.

The gratuitous food shot you know you wanted.
  • Matthew Schniper
  • The gratuitous food shot you know you wanted.

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Corn-flict of interest?

Posted By on Wed, Sep 29, 2010 at 12:22 PM

So maybe the Gazette’s Food section reports culinary news nearly six months after it happens, as if it’s brand new. But at least you can rest assured that it’s the six-month-old news that’s truly of the greatest news value, right?

Well, today’s “On Food” installment makes you wonder. At the base of the Page 1 column in the print edition, there’s a box that notes the column, headlined “Handy tool lets you zip through a corn recipe,” is sponsored by Chefs retail store, at 5070 Centennial Blvd. If you look just a few inches above that box, you learn where Teresa Farney found her “handy tool.” Any guesses?

“I found mine at Chefs retail store, 5070 Centennial Blvd., for $11.95.”

You first, then Ill scratch yours.

Geez, no way that sales influenced that bit of editorial, is there? We’ve asked Gazette editor Jeff Thomas for comment, and will update this post if we hear back.

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The fight for MMJ centers kicks off

Posted By on Wed, Sep 29, 2010 at 12:01 PM

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The pro-MMC group Citizens for Safer Communitieswhom we first introduced three weeks ago — is holding a kickoff event at 1 p.m. Thursday at the Penrose Library.

The featured speakers include Mary McNeely — veteran, and member of the Colorado Springs Medical Cannabis Council — and patient Audrey Hatfield, whom we first profiled in July, and who has recently started a patients' rights group.

"Other speakers include Steve Hammers, president of Hammers Construction, who will discuss why the passage of 1A would cause local people to lose their jobs and hurt the local economy," says the release, "and Lono Ho’ala, a biochemist, author, and Kahuna priest, who will explain why the passage of 1A would drive the medical marijuana business back into our neighborhoods, making our neighborhoods less safe."

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Home grown in the city

Posted By on Wed, Sep 29, 2010 at 11:24 AM

From the listings desk: This weekend, Denver will host its first Chicken Coop Tour. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sat., Oct. 2, you can visit 15 coops throughout Denver and its suburbs on a self-guided tour. Homeowners at each location will be on hand to answer questions on chicken care, city ordinances, coop designs and more.

Get a bunch of friends or fellow urban farmers to go, as tickets are sold at a group rate of $20 for four people. Reservations are also required, so plan ahead.

Gettin crafty in the coop.
  • Gettin' crafty in the coop.

For more information, read here.

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Courts issue opposite rulings on internet privacy

Posted By on Wed, Sep 29, 2010 at 10:32 AM

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As Facebook-focused films like Catfish and The Social Network vie for box office receipts, the social media site continues to be en epicenter for internet privacy issues.

Earlier this week, Forbes columnist Kashmir Hill wrote about legal battles surrounding the posts of Facebook users who take advantage of the service's recently tightened privacy settings.

Turns out a New York judge insisted Facebook is required to turn over subpoenaed posts, which can then be used as evidence in court.

A California judge, meanwhile, argued the opposite: While postings to a Facebook wall that's set to "Everyone" are admissible in court, those that are marked private are not.

Of course, most folks aren't likely to have their electronic communications dragged into court, but there are still less drastic reasons to be wary of what personal information you have rolling around the internet.

Wired UK editor David Rowan came up with a few of the better ones last week in article called Six Reasons I'm Not on Facebook.

Here's the one I found most interesting:

5) People screw up, and give away more than they realise
To understand how much personal information Facebook users are inadvertently sharing, visit youropenbook.org and search for phrases such as “cheated on my wife” or “my new mobile number is” or “feeling horny“. I’ll bet that most of the people whose intimate details you’ll get to read are unaware that their updates are being shared quite so openly. Have they genuinely given Zuckerberg their informed consent?

In the spirt of journalist inquiry, I paid a visit to youropenbook.org, and here's a few of the latest results. On the site itself, they're accompanied by profile names and pictures.

Just to warn you, while these could be of particular interest to divorce lawyers and even law officials, the following diatribes might be unsettling for the rest of us:

"I just want to let everyone know i am married!!!! i cheated on my wife and ii am sorry!!!!! For the women I cheated with I am ashamed that I ever had anything to do with you!!!!!!! Now that I look back u r the uglyest thing I have ever lied eyes on and disgusting it makes me sick to think I lowered myself and disgraced my wife!! To my beatiful wife please forgive me & take me back"

"My wife used to sit on my lap and I would sing this to her. We spent so many long loving moment together you would think she would know my heart. I have never hurt my wife out of anger, never placed my hands on her with any intent to inflict harm. I would give my dieing breath to protect her and my children. My wife says I hurt and wants everyone to belive I am a monster. Maybe I am but tell me this how does a man the bench presses 4..."

"THEE LOCK CHAIN IT IS SECURED BY WHAT ONLY A BOLT CUTTER CAN TAKE OUT I REALLY AM VERY WORRIED ABOUT ALL OF THEM NONE ARE HERE SO NONE ARE TRULY SORRY NO MEN GET OUT OF JAIL EVER THEE WOMEN WHO WENT TO JAIL ALL CHOSE THERE LIVES BUT THEY AINT SUITABLE FOR ME IF THEY OUT STILL SLEEPING WITH OTHWER GUYS ONE OF MY BLESSINGS IS THIS GOD SAID I COULD KILL FREELY IT ALSO MEANT THEE WIFE IF SHE CHEATED ON ME GOD SAYS SO"

Me, I think I'll just stick with Twitter.

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