October 30, 2008

-image-meet my new lover

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Well, I didn’t see this coming. No way. No how. I mean, there I was, just living my life, being a so-so citizen, minding my own business and occasionally my neighbors’, completely clueless as to what was lurking around the next corner. But that’s usually when it happens, isn’t it? You’re just skipping along, whistling Dixie or yo-dee-doh, when BAM, the new love of your life — Marie’s Jalapeno Ranch Dressing — comes crashing onto the scene and you are helpless against its spicy creamy power. And I’m normally a balsamic vinaigrette girl! Really! I mean, I love it so much I make my own balsamic vinaigrette! So one could truly say that, this dressing, well, it’s not even my type. But that just shows its seductive lure. My whole world is topsy turvy. I’m all catawumpus. Everything is whackadoo.

It’s bad.

I mean, what’s next? I suddenly find Brad Pitt attractive??

This week, I’ve been spending quality time every evening with my new lover. And veggies. Or crackers. Or a cup into which I pour my lover and drink it straight up. My Beloved has met my lover and thoroughly approves, which is nice. Actually, he approves so much, I’ve even caught him spending time with my lover, which, I don’t know, I might have a problem with at some point. I mean, I had dibs. I was there first. I don’t want to start meeting on the sly, but I will if I have to.

See you soon, lover.

October 29, 2008

-image-her way

So we spent some time a couple of weeks ago with The Banshees. Original Banshee, now four, is adorable and complicated and loquacious. My hug impulse is nearly irresistible whenever I see her, but I reign it in because I’ve learned through bitter experience that one must ask her permission for a hug. She doesn’t like hugging to be someone else’s idea or to have hugs thrust upon her. Perhaps she feels a need to weigh the pros and cons of hugging because, really, she does seem to deliberate for a split-second after she’s asked. It’s a bit like playing the ol’ Mother May I game or forfeiting your dignity or groveling to the queen, but whatevs. Sometimes you actually don’t get a hug and must somehow find the inner core of strength to go on with your life. That’s her way. Quite different from her older cousin, Piper, who throws herself at us at every turn. Many times, as we’re driving up her street for a visit, approaching her house, we can see her sitting alone in the driveway, gazing eagerly down the street, waiting for our car to hurry up and get there; she is that escited to see us. It won’t do to wait until Tee Tee and Uncle Beloved walk the 20 feet from the driveway to the door to greet them. Oh, no. She must cut down the distance between her and hugs in whatever way she can. So she waits in the driveway. And when our car finally pulls up, she waves like a maniac and jumps up and down until she gets a hug. It’s truly a sight to see for a withered old soul.

But The Banshee just has her own mysterious, sometimes irksome, ways. She’s mercurial, that kid. While she sometimes withholds hugs from her perplexed but adoring relatives, conversely, she frequently bestows generous physical contact upon neighborhood kiddos with a clenched little fist. That’s just her way.

So we’re at the dinner table with Banshee, et al, the other night. I’m sitting next to her, her parents are both occupied, and Banshee seems on the verge of losing it over something. I don’t remember what it was. I turn to her and whisper, “You know what? I bet I can be more quiet than you.” She narrows her blue eyes at me, smiles a sly smile. Ooooh! A challenge! For the next several seconds, the two of us eat in dead quiet until she accidentally drops her spoon on her plate. It clatters loudly, so I mime an “ooops!” face with my hand over my mouth. Instantly, she scowls at me.

“WELL, I DIDN’T WANNA PLAY ANNNYWAAYY!”

Now this can bring a person down. After that, I didn’t feel the need to hug her for at least five minutes.

Later in the evening, as her bedtime neared, she sat at the kitchen table, head bowed low over a piece of colored paper, crayon tight in her fist. She was working quickly, almost frantically. Suddenly, she jumped up from the table.

“Tee Tee! This is for you!”

She leapt across the room and fluttered the paper into my lap. It was a drawing of hearts. Multi-colored hearts. Nothing but hearts. She looked at me with round happy eyes.

I felt that hug impulse rising again.

Right then, Brother said, “Banshee, it’s time for bed.”

“But I only finished Tee Tee’s! I didn’t finish Uncle Beloved’s!” she wailed. She seemed truly deeply despairing that she hadn’t finished the other picture.

Banshee Mom stepped in. “Well, you know what? You could finish Uncle B’s tomorrow and send it to him. Whaddya think?”

“Yeah!!”

At that, she hugged us good night and I held her extra close so I could whisper thank you for my drawing.

As we drove home, MB and I marveled at Sister-in-Law’s genius deflection.

“Way to avoid that land mine,” he said.

“Well, she wanted to draw you a picture, but she’s four. She won’t remember,” I said.

A few days later, an envelope in the mail: To Uncle Beloved.

Banshee’s drawing. She’d really remembered. Had followed through on it all.

But I guess that’s just her way.

Hug impulse rising.

October 28, 2008

-image-david caruso sucks

I watched a half hour of CSI Miami last night. I have no idea why. Because it entered my line of sight, I guess. Because using the remote is hard, pippa! Because my book was upstairs and using the stairs is hard, pippa! I’m sure it’s one or all of the above. Whatever. All I know is that’s the longest stretch of that show I’ve ever watched, ever been able to stomach. Because the show is basically unstomachable.

I blame David Caruso. Now obviously, he cannot help that he looks like a leprechaun and, obviously, a nicer person would not call attention to it. But he is a leprechaun, a glue-faced leprechaun, much more glued-faced than my long ago Glue-Faced Boy. He seems like a half-baked cake or like he was raised in a cave with Romulus and Remus. His face screams Vitamin D deficiency. I have loathed the man since the moment I first laid eyes on his drained undead face, in Jade, a movie I remember watching and hating, but a movie about which I could tell you nothing else today, other than those two things. Watched it, hated it. Particularly David Caruso. I know he was some kind of big deal in NYPD Blue, a show I never watched, but he was good enough, apparently, to be nominated for various awards here and there. Fine. I have no opinion about his days on that show. And if he really has the potential to be so good, so noteworthy, then what in the name of sweet baby Jesus is his excuse for his ongoing wretched performance as Horatio (pleease) Caine in CSI Miami?

If I string together all the minutes I’ve watched this show, it might equal one entire episode. Some might think that’s not enough to render an opinion and, well, those some would be oh-so-wrong. Trust me. It’s plenty. It’s plenty because whenever I’ve watched, he’s done the same exasperating thing the entire episode. It’s what Joey Tribianni on Friends called “smell-the-fart acting.” (Remember when Joey was on Days of our Lives and one of the other actors was teaching him “smell-the-fart acting”? Hahaha. I loved Joey. God bless Matt Le Blanc.)

Basically, “smell-the-fart acting” is a form of posing. Actor’s “vogue”-ing, if you will. A kind of don’t be in the moment, be outside the moment watching yourself be awesome acting. Have an arsenal of tics and expressions rather than letting reactions happen organically in the moment. It’s a self-consciousness. A cheat. And a kind of insecurity, too, in my opinion. You pose and strut and mug when you don’t know what else to do or how to make a moment work. You know, I mugged up a storm when I was in my first play in 5th grade but eventually I was forced to grow out of it by professors and directors who cared for me too much to let me continue on my artistically destructive path. And, to me, to my eye, David Caruso does nothing but pose on CSI Miami. I’ve watched enough of it — I have — to tell you exactly what he does, too, and it would drive me crazy to be in a scene with him.

Because he doesn’t look at people.

He doesn’t.

For instance, from last night’s episode:

Caruso as Horatio is questioning a suspect who is seated at a table. Horatio stands looking out the window, remembering a long-ago fart, perhaps. He says his line. The suspect answers. Horatio, still looking out the window, slowly puts his hands in his pockets, furrows his brow, asks another question. Suspect answers. “H” turns, looks at the floor, starts another question, and on the last few words of the question, for maximum impact, finally looks at the other actor in the scene.

Later, “H” is out in the dreaded sunlight, talking to a colleague. He murmurs intensely, stares down at the sunglasses in his hands. Finally, he looks up, glances sideways at the person while slipping his glasses on and walking away.

Now I’m not saying actors have to be looking at each other at all times. No. That would be ridiculous, wouldn’t seem real. But every single one of Caruso’s scenes has this same detached rhythm to me. I’ve yet to see a scene where he doesn’t look out the window, look at the floor, look to the side, all while talking to someone …. only to turn his face — slowly — to make brief intense eye contact the split second before the scene changes. Maybe Horatio is just aloof. Maybe that’s the character. Fine. Incorporate some other ways to show that, something other than this predictable, slow-motion ballet he’s got going on. What he’s doing makes Horatio a cartoon. He’s not real. He’s a series of moves and furrows and mumbles. When I watch, I am aware of David Caruso. I’m aware of his movements. I am aware of how he curls his deep rich voice around certain words for no apparent reason. I am aware of him working at a different speed than the other actors, as if they think the scene should take 30 seconds and he thinks it should take 3 hours. It seems calculated. Like an affectation. It seems like something David Caruso chooses to inflict on the other actors, rather than something organic to the character of Horatio Caine. Caruso is not in the moment at hand. He’s in some solitary and everlasting moment of his own choosing. A slow-motion scene-stealer, busily stretching one hour into 24.

And the posing! Joey Tribianni would be proud! He remembers long-ago farts, wistfully. (Gaze out the window.) He smells a suspect’s fart, judgmentally. (Furrowed brow.) He smells a colleague’s fart, empathetically. (Meaningful glance.) He smells his own farts, furtively. (Extreme interest in the floor.) Watching CSI Miami feels like being on a bus tooling along at a decent speed, when suddenly, the bus slows way down and the driver says, “Hey everyone, if you look out the right side of the bus, you can see David Caruso, acting.”

Weeks ago, before the season started, I saw a commercial that seemed to promise the death of Horatio. Alas. It was a hideous falsehood.

He has lived to smell again.

October 26, 2008

-image-football in london

This is so weird. My (sometime) Chargers are playing the New Orleans Saints in Wembley Stadium right now. I guess the NFL did this last year, this kind of “foreign exchange for football” program, but since it didn’t involve MEE or MY team in any way, it didn’t even blip on my radar. Now, however, it’s personal, Peaches, so I am all agog. Still, have I mentioned this is weird? Well, it’s weird. Although, on the other hand, anything to evangelize the heathen soccer world to the joys of “grid-iron,” as the Brits call it, I should get on board with pronto. Yes. May it spread, dear Lord, like the chicken pox in Miss McGinty’s 2nd grade class. Amen.

Still. It’s WEIRD. The stadium there is packed, 81,000 people, pippa, but I have to wonder — in a totally non-condescending way — how much does the British crowd even understand of the game they’re watching? I mean, I don’t know much about their “football” — just enough for vigorous mocking. So seriously, do they need my assistance? If I were there, perhaps, in the stadium, sitting with a bewildered group of Brits, I could help them know whom to root for-for whom to root. Explain to them about La Dainian. Point out Cocoa Bear, my football boyfriend, known to them only as “Antonio Gates.” Assure them that, yes, 43 is wee, but he’s lightning fast and hard to catch. Tell them that even though the Chargers summarily dumped quarterback Drew Brees after 5 years of steadily so-so service and New Orleans picked him up as their quarterback so that there might be an undertone of, well, bitterness or payback or something to this game is no reason to go all soft and smushy on me and root for the New Orleans Saints. These are things they need to know. Things someone needs to tell them. See how invaluable I might have been if someone had just found me in a sea of 300 million people, appreciated my vast expertise of all things football, said “Hey, will you share your awesome knowledge with the struggling Brits,” offered to pay a couple of thousand dollars for my plane ticket, put me up at the Ritz, limo-ed me to the stadium, and plopped me in the stands, the football savior to a confounded people? Is that so much to expect in this lifetime??

Additionally, I could have helped them realize how inherently lame their National Anthem is. At the start of the game Ne-yo (uhm, ???) sang a lovely, somewhat subdued version of The Star-Spangled Banner. Next, Joss Stone sang a truly Mariah Carey-like version of God Save The Queen. And I’m sorry, Brits. Those lyrics are boring. Tepid. They don’t inspire. They don’t soar. Vocal fireworks are simply inappropriate here. I mean, please, does this really send a chill up your leg: “Send her victorious, happy, and glorious ….. G-O-O-OD SAVE THE QU–EE-EE-EEEEE-NNNNN!” That’s just how Joss Stone sang it and, frankly, it was just sad. Are those really the words that sum up the hopes and dreams and values of the British people? “Uhm, yeah. Don’t mind us, God, or the country at large. Just please save our queen. Make her happy. And victorious. Don’t forget glorious, God. She’s 153 years old, but please save her. And her little dog too.”

Why is this your anthem, England? Why?? It makes me sad that this song is thrust upon you. That would be like us singing Hail to the Chief as our national anthem. You know, there are actually lyrics to that and they are basically retarded:

Hail to the Chief because the chief’s the one we hail to

WHAT??? Thank God that’s not our anthem. I would vehemently oppose it based on piss-poor logic alone.

Sing it with me, people: “Shoot dead your gammie cuz gammie’s who you shoot dead.”

Uhmmm ….. what was this post about again? Football in London or somesuch nonsense? Okay. Well, look, I’m trying to watch the game and write this at the same time. Clearly, I cannot multi-task, but I’m pretty sure you can’t even tell — not one tiny little smidgie. Besides all that, the Chargers are now losing and every Brit in that stadium is clearly rooting for the Saints. I don’t get it. Is San Diego, the Rodney Dangerfield of American cities, now being dissed on an international level? What up wi dat, Crackie?

Anyhoo.

So, yeah, I’m sure England would deeply appreciate my pointing all of this out for them. That their anthem is ridiculous. That the rewritten American version called My Country Tis of Thee is a better song. That maybe they could use that instead, if they … well, maybe just changed that part about pilgrim’s pride.

Look on the bright side, Britain. Perhaps soon, you’ll be allowed to change the lyrics to “God save sharia law …. pry us from freedom’s claw …. God save the law …..”

I didn’t say that. Erase that from your minds. This post is about football, man.

Football and knowledge and helpfulness.

That’s what this post is all about.

October 24, 2008

-image-the weekend woo

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So.

Doing anything this weekend that you’re afraid will make you feel like our girl here?

As in “I have to make a Jello mold with shredded carrots for brunch at my in-laws’. Woo.”

Or “I have to take 23 screaming little girls to see High School Musical 3. Woo.”

Or “I have to work on our basement bomb shelter to prepare for the coming apocalypse. Woo.”

Well, feel free to get it off your chest.

Woo.

October 22, 2008

-image-tradition

MB and I have an annual Halloween tradition we share with my brother and his wife: One Saturday night during the month of October, we all gather at their house, eat junk, play with the Banshees, bribe them into bed — preferably earlier than necessary — and then get on with what the entire gathering is really all about:

Watching a scary movie.

We love it if it’s a genuinely scary movie, but we also love it if it’s stupid, improbable, and easily mocked, because then the four of us can spend the whole movie loudly deriding every teensy detail. Actually, I think we love that even more. With a scary movie like that, we all suddenly become engineers and doctors and botanists. Locksmiths and contortionists and forest rangers. Weightlifters and hunters and plumbers. Whatever ability the situation demands, we possess it in spades. Whatever the characters are doing, we could do it better. They turn left? Shoulda gone right. Run downhill? Shoulda gone up. It doesn’t matter if we’re all talking at once. Within the “circle of four,” such behavior is accepted, embraced, basically expected. If you stop talking, you’ve fallen asleep. (Ahem, dear SIL). We yell when we think they’re wrong and condescend if they do something right: “Well, now, there ya go. Dummy.” If they die, they deserved it. If they escaped, it’s because they “listened” to us. Clearly, if we were trapped in a house with some greasy-haired psycho turning people into waxworks, we would surely survive. Ah, yes. That’s a given. So we lounge around, stuffing our faces with pizza and coffee cake, demanding the action bend to our wills, like some lofty Mount Olympus gathering of the scary movie gods.

It’s awesome, being all-knowing and controlling and such.

This past weekend was our Scary Movie Night.

I won’t name the movie, but here’s a smattering of our running commentary:

~ What is the deal with his accent?

~ How can you trust him? His accent is SO fake!

~ So it’s late, your girlfriend is drunk on the beach, and you just leave her??

~ Oh, yeah. Go with the stranger to the middle of nowhere in a third world country. Smart.

~ “My footwear of choice when schlepping through the jungle is flip-flops, naturally.”

~ Okay. There are two little kids just staring at you in the middle of the jungle, whatevs, totally normal.

~ Did anyone bring a gun?

~ How about a cell phone?

~ That dude was in Across the Universe.

~ Are you sure?

~ Yes.

~ Really?

~ Yes.

~ She’s the chick from the last Die Hard movie.

~ No, she’s not.

~ Yes, she is.

~ NO. She’s not. I’ll Google it when we get home.

(Okay. So MB and I go off on tangents. WhatEVS. But I was right on that chick. She wasn’t.)

~ Why are they running up it? Why? Run around it!

~ You guys are screwed.

~ Oh, yeah. Let’s leave the injured dude right next to the man-eating plants.

~ What?? What are they doing?? I’m infested by a man-eating vine, people are dying, but, here, lemme help you relax, honey.

~ Yes, two feet away from my best friend.

~ It’s a life-affirming choice. Or something.

~ What’s the friend supposed to do?!

~ Dude, check your area! Your personal area! It’s been compromised!

~ Hahahahahahaha! “ER-ea”!

~ It’s like the emergency room story with that old lady: I gotta VINE growin’ outta my virginny!!

~ Oh, look. It’s morning. The friend isn’t there. Hahaha.

~ She’d rather sleep with the man-eating plants.

~ Why don’t they just burn them all??

~ There are four sides to the stupid thing. Go down the OTHER way!

~ Dumb bastards.

~ Oh, yeah. Use THAT to cut his legs off.

~ I thought he was paralyzed. Why is he screaming?

~ It’s just the thought of it.

~ Hahahahaha.

~ Oh, be sure to leave the bloody stumps just inches from the man-eating vines.

~ Yeah, and why don’t they eat people while they’re still alive? Are they lazy or something??

~ She’s gonna stab you …. she’s gonna stab you ….. I told you …..

~ Ew ….. she’s got a vine now, too! Ew. I knew it.

And, etc., ad nauseum.

Clearly, we survived. Triumphed, even.

Ah. Tradition.

October 20, 2008

-image-baby banshee says …..

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“Oh, hallelujah, blessed Jesus, Tee Tee is heeeeere!”

(ed. note: Uhm, actually, I was nowhere near when this photo of my baby niece was taken. However, I’m sure she was thinking of me at the time.)

She is highly smushable, if I do say so myself. Her baby choppers are killing me. Baby choppers in general cause me to swoon.

Look how happy she is. How can she possibly be related to this:

October 17, 2008

-image-not the face!!

I’m having some weird allergic reaction or something and I currently look like this:

mask003.jpg

No, I’m not having anaphylaxis. If I were, I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this and uploading random photos of that kid from Mask . It’s just the area of my — what are they called? — maxillary sinuses is all puffed up, like I was punched or something. And maybe I was punched. After all, let’s not forget that I am a white bitch who drives a black car which does not in any way disguise my racist ass. Yeah, so maybe Homeless Guy punched my white bitch ass and I was in such a catatonia of racism that I simply don’t remember or just didn’t care.

Well, I care now. When you wake up one day, look in the mirror, and feel the full-body cringe of knowing that the kid from Mask looks better than you, believe me, Peaches, you’ll care. When your beloved will look at you only in certain lights, believe me, Peaches, you’ll care. When you’re wondering if your sunglasses are large enough to cover the fact that your cheeks have sprouted cheeks, believe me, Peaches, you’ll care. When you find yourself saying — after your beloved blatantly lies to you about how you look — “Well, all I know is American Airlines would charge me $15 a pop for these things,” believe me, Peaches, you’ll care.

You’ll CARE.

I’ve had something like this before. My upper cheek/under eye area has randomly and mysteriously swollen before and then, just as mysteriously, the swelling has disappeared. It doesn’t hurt. I don’t feel sick. It doesn’t appear to be life threatening. Or if it is, it’s a slothful, slow-moving menace. The only common denominator I can find among recurrences is stress. And if it’s this thing I think it is — something minor with the major-sounding name of “angioedema” — then, yes, stress can cause it.

So, my dearies, a lesson. Don’t ever be stressed. Ever.

You could end up looking like this:

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or maybe even this …..

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I AM NOT AN ANIMAL; I AM A UMAN EING!!

AND, NO, I DO NOT EXAGGERATE OR CATASTROPHIZE THINGS THAT HAPPEN TO ME!!

HOW CAN YOU SAY THAT??

October 16, 2008

-image-enough!

All righty. Enough already. Listen up, TV anchor types, reporters, commentators, third graders, anyone who can hear and speak, etc.

Pretend I hear you say — oh, after watching Michael Phelps win his eighth gold medal: “This is an historical moment.”

There are two things wrong here:

1) “Historical” pertains to history. The past. “Historic” means having importance in history, so “historic” is the word that should be used here. It’s not “historical” — it just happened, dude!

2) And, OH, this bugs me. It’s wrong to say “an historical,” “an historic,” blah, blah. Somewhere along the line — somehow — I think we were all taught this. I remember being taught this. It’s bizarre and it’s wrong. Here’s the deal on this:

The article “an” is only used when the word that follows it starts with a vowel or with a letter that is being pronounced like a vowel in that word. For instance, it’s correct to say “an hour” or “an honest opinion” because the “h” is silent. That’s why everyone needs to please please please stop saying “an historic” and “an “historical.” The “h” isn’t silent here!

Stop abusing the “an.”

Stop it.

STOP.

Okay. Phew. I feel better.

October 15, 2008

-image-the incident at the trashcans

We have this weird little area in front of the small condo building where we live. This weird little area is bordered by trees, looks like a courtyard, but is, in fact, the parking area, with a small kind of alcove in one corner for the trashcans. Now normally, you might expect to find something like this behind a building, but the back of our building overlooks a canyon. So, what are you gonna do? We just have this weird little area. It borders the sidewalk of our pretty palm-lined street where there are frequent passersby: moms with strollers, joggers, shoppers with Trader Joe’s bags.

And the occasional homeless person.

Like yesterday.

My Beloved and I are pulling up and I see him shuffling along the sidewalk, this homeless black man. He seems to be shuffling toward our courtyard/parking area where the trashcans are. Rather than pull into a parking space, we pull up to the curb to watch him, see what he is going to do. Sure enough. He drops his Santa-sized bag of cans, takes an empty trash bag, ambles over to the cans, begins to dig around. Now this is private property. It is obviously private property. These are not trashcans lining some back alley thoroughfare. No. These are clearly on someone’s property. What he starts to do is really more akin to walking up someone’s driveway to dig through their trash.

So MB gets out of the car and approaches him. Because of the distance, I strain a bit to hear, but I can piece together that he’s telling him nicely, politely, “Hey, dude. This is private property. You need to move along.”

Homeless guy ignores MB. Keeps digging.

MB moves closer, speaks to him again.

The guy doesn’t stop, doesn’t budge. Now remember, I am sitting in the car watching all of this. And now remember whose blog you’re reading. Which, as it follows, should then cause you to remember that, when under the spell of my own rising — let’s not forget righteous! — indignation, I am occasionally somewhat unmodulated in my behavior. In this state of mind, I am sometimes somewhat impetuous. Maybe I don’t think before I speak, sometimes.

So maybe I lean my head out the window of the car.

And maybe I yell — oh, something like, “You need to get the hell out of here!!!”

You know, as an example of something I might possibly do in a situation like this. And because I’ve now written myself into a corner, let’s just pretend that I actually did these things, okay?

MB throws me the warning face.

The what-in-God’s-name-are-you-doing-you-stupid-wench face.

Silly MB. As if he doesn’t know what I’m doing. I’m using my God-given gift of making things worse, is what I’m doing. Silly MB.

Homeless Guy yells at MB, “Get away from me with your racist ass!”

Uhm, what? The color of his skin had not been mentioned once.

MB is saying things to him, loudly now, basically chasing him towards the sidewalk. Once he’s grabbed his other Santa-sized bag of cans, Homeless Guy stands about 10 feet from the car, indignantly declaiming our racism to the entire neighborhood.

I break in. “Oh, please. This has nothing to do with what color you are! This has to do with the fact that you’re trespassing on private property!”

He looks my car up and down. “Oh, you think because you drive a black car, you ain’t a racist?”

I respond by asking if he’s retarded. (Another great idea …. courtesy of moi.)

MB towers over him and growls, “Move along now, pal. NOW!”

As he drags his bags down the sidewalk, Homeless Guy mutters, “White bitch.”

Yeeah.

See what I mean about that weird little area?

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