Category Archives: Wordplay

English

I slit the sheet, 

the sheet, I slit

And beneath the slitted 

Sheet I slid.

Or is it

I slit the sheet, 

the sheet, I slit
And upon the slitted 
Sheet I sit.

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Wordplay 2016: The irony of irony

A pristine example of the continued dismantling of significance and meaning in the use of the English language is found in the word IRONY.  Most people don’t know what it actually means and almost everyone thinks it means something else.  Further, the word is used in the common lexicon as if what everyone thinks it means is real and correct and by virtue of being accepted as such, its warped meaning becomes true by consensus.

An example of this phenomenon can be seen in popular music, specifically one song, titled Ironic.  This is not a criticism of the song or its spectacular author and singer; in fact the song is a personal favorite.  This is an observation of a linguistic affectation manifested by the civilization dynamic, not a judgment.  The lyrics of the song give examples of ironies such as, “rain on your wedding day” and “winning the lottery, then dying the very next day”.  These are excellent lyrics as far as communicating the sentiment that the song is imbued with; one that aligns perfectly with what almost everyone thinks is irony, but it’s not.   The ironies cited in the lyrics are actually examples of bad luck or negative causality, but not irony.  So then, what does irony actually mean?  Let’s look at the dictionary:

i·ro·ny
ˈīrənē/
noun: irony+9

  1. the expression of one’s meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect.
  2. a state of affairs or an event that seems deliberately contrary to what one expects and is often amusing as a result.
  3. a literary technique, originally used in Greek tragedy, by which the full significance of a character’s words or actions are clear to the audience or reader although unknown to the character.

 

The third definition is the one that gave birth to the word linguistically; its morphemic roots are tied to dramatic theater and form part of the literary forms that includes satire.

 

In conclusion, it turns out that irony is ironic; literally.

 

ctwfrank

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Wordplay for a new world

When exactly did we stop nurturing our GOALS with desire, hard work and vision and begin imbuing them with expectations and conditions, usually measured with money and time?

We can do better.

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WORDPLAY REX

There’s a reason why I consider this post the “king” of the Wordplay Series.  If you continue reading and follow the math, you might just see it as you read.  It is what we all need to know but don’t really want to see:  an inarguable example of our self-destruction and probable demise.  I hope we all see it; we are capable of so much more.
 
As usual, it all starts with one little word, in this Wordplay example, that word is:

profit

prof·it

[prof-it]

noun

  1. Often, profits.
    1. Pecuniary (pecuniary: of or pertaining to money) gain resulting from the employment of capital in any transaction. Compare gross profit, net profit.
    2. the ratio of such pecuniary gain to the amount of capital invested.
    3. returns, proceeds, or revenue, as from property or investments.
  2. the monetary surplus left to a producer or employer after deducting wages, rent, cost of raw materials, etc.: The company works on a small margin of profit.
  3. advantage; benefit; gain.

verb (used without object)

  1. to gain an advantage or benefit: He profited greatly from his schooling
  2. to make a profit.
  3. to take advantage: to profit from the weaknesses of others.
  4. to be of service or benefit.
  5. to make progress.

verb (used with object)

  1. to be of advantage or profit to: Nothing profits one so much as a sound education.

Origin:

1250–1300;  (noun) Middle English  < Middle French  < Latin prōfectus  progress, profit, equivalent to prō- pro-1  + -fec-,  combining form of facere  to make, do1  + -tus  suffix of v. action; (v.) Middle English profiten, derivative of the noun

That’s what we put in the dictionary; its definition, but what about the word’s meaning? A word’s definition is not the same as its meaning.  A word’s meaning is determined by how we use the word in our everyday lexicon and many times, the meaning we give to a word is not even remotely related to its definition.  Or is it?  We are the designers and builders of our own reality, so to distort a word’s definition to give it a meaning that yields some kind of benefit to someone is both wasteful and absurd. We created words and language, assigned the definitions and the meanings; why go through all of the trouble to alter a words definition to achieve a particular meaning as subtly and clandestinely as we do?  It’s almost as if someone or something else had created language and definitions and “we” were purposefully altering something that “they” established as a rule.  Who are “they”?  We’re only fooling ourselves and cheating ourselves and in the end we really can’t, because our sense of self-preservation doesn’t permit it.  We end up facing ourselves in a mirror and the person looking back knows what the deal is.  Let’s start the sequence.  Look at the very last listed definition of the word “progress” above; it says ‘to make progress’.  Progress; isn’t that what life is supposed to be all about?  Making progress?  Improving your ‘station’? Making a better life for our children? You know, progress:  We make progress by making money which is also how we believe our ‘station’ is improved and making money is pretty much the only way that anyone believes they can make a better world for their children.  Progress.  Progress IS profit, according to our own dictionary.  To progress is to profit, also defined as ‘making money’ (definition #1) and that’s how we ended up where we are.  We succeeded in creating a world where the entire point and purpose of a human life is to ‘make money’.  That is what we believe.  Still doubtful?  Okay, let’s continue the sequence.  Given the established and formal definition of the word ‘profit’ just examined, it would be correct to state that since the point of it all is to “profit”, then by definition, all of us would be “profiteers” and the definition of a profiteer should be something to the effect of “a person who works or labors specifically to make profits” or at least that what the rules of linguistics yield.  Let’s see.   Following is the definition of “profiteer”.

profiteer

prof·it·eer

[prof-i-teer]

noun

  1. a person who seeks or exacts exorbitant profits, especially through the sale of scarce or rationed goods.

verb (used without object)

  1. to act as a profiteer.
 Confused yet?  You should be.  If this is the definition of profiteer, then the definition of profit must be “the EXORBITANT pecuniary gain…..”  and “the EXORBITANT monetary surplus…”, but it isn’t, so once again, according to the rules and language and linguistics, by including the word “exorbitant” (defined as “exceeding the bounds of custom, propriety or reason, especially in amount…) a distinction is made and therefore “profiteer” doesn’t mean ‘everyone who benefits from any kind of profit in any way’, it means ‘a person who abuses the practice of profiting’ (because that’s what a person is doing when they make an exorbitant profit).  That slight distinction (sigh of relief) is what lets the vast majority of us off the hook, right?  Please.
 
 Isn’t making exorbitant profit(s) (something that results in a condition called “being rich”) the most celebrated, venerated and admired thing that anyone can accomplish?  It is what everyone strives for today.  It is the goal of every college student, businessperson, worker, unemployed person, housewife and even children.  What is more admired and desired than to be the person who finds a vast quantity of the THING that everyone wants to buy and which sells for $100.00 everywhere, at a cost of $.05 (five cents) and sells a gazillion of them.  Even more admired are those who accomplish this with a THING that is commonly known to be a bauble, or a useless and gimmicky gadget that no one should waste their money on but everyone does anyway.  So powerful is this accomplishment that it overcomes human EGO – it may be one of the few or even the only thing than can do this; the human ego is virtually unrivaled in its power of human behavior.  How, you say?  That’s easy; of all the people who have actually done what is described above; the thing virtually everyone dreams of and strives for, how many have become famous?  Can anyone name just one of the people who have “accomplished” this?  Their names are not generally known and purposefully so, if we attach a name to the act described above; we have identified a crook, but by keeping names out of it, what’s left is the act alone: the practically effortless, virtually immediate and gargantuan accumulation of money achieved by exploiting a systemic defect, in this case popularity and desirability; each a result of the use of human judgment, which may just be the most defective of all systems of any kind.  This has become humanity’s “golden fleece”, it has replaced any and all other purposes or objectives in life, it is what everyone desires (secretly or openly) and it is all that matters.  It is also fraud.  Still unconvinced?  Very well, let’s proceed.
 
Look at the definition of ‘profit’ again; it’s at the very beginning.  Notice how many times the word ‘advantage’ is used in the definition ‘profit’?  It’s even the 3rd literal definition of the word.  As a noun and in the company of ‘benefit or gain’, it’s rather inoffensive and even permissible, to a degree, but it’s also a verb and here things change.  We think that “advantage” is a good thing and a good word.  It’s good to have an advantage in everything and anything; it increases the chances of success of winning exponentially.  It’s even better to have an advantage in any given situation and that no one know you have an advantage, that makes it even sweeter, doesn’t it?  It lets us say things like “They never saw it coming.” and “They had no chance.”  Definitely an advantage is a good thing, perhaps that’s why it’s considered a profit.  Let’s look at the word ‘advantage for a moment.

advantage

ad·van·tage

[ad-van-tij, -vahn-]

noun, verb, ad·van·taged, ad·van·taging.

noun

  1. any state, circumstance, opportunity, or means specially favorable to success, interest, or any desired end: the advantage of a good education.
  2. benefit; gain; profit: It will be to his advantage to learn Chinese before going to China.
  3. superiority or ascendancy (often followed by over  or of  ): His height gave him an advantage over his opponent.
  4. a position of superiority (often followed by over  or of  ): their advantage in experienced players.
  5. Tennis. the first point scored after deuce.verb (used with object)
  6. to be of service to; yield profit or gain to; benefit.
  7. to cause to advance; further; promote: Such action will advantage our cause.
  8. to prove beneficial to; profit: It would advantage him to work harder.Idioms
  9. have the advantage of, to be in a superior or advantageous position; possess an advantage over: By virtue of independent wealth, he has the advantage of his opponents.
  10. take advantage of,
    -to make use of for gain: to take advantage of an opportunity.
    to impose upon, especially unfairly, as by exploiting a weakness: to take advantage of someone.
  11. to advantage, to good effect; advantageously: The paintings were arranged to advantage on one wall.

Advantage  (etymology)

early 14c., “position of being in advance of another,” from O.Fr. advantage, from avant “before,” probably via an unrecorded L.L. *abantaticum, from L. abante (see advance). The -d- is a 16c. intrusion on the analogy of Latin ad- words. Meaning “a favoring circumstance” (the opposite of disadvantage) is from late 15c. Tennis score sense is from 1640s, first recorded in writings of John Milton, of all people. Phrase to take advantage of is first attested late 14c.

Wow!  That’s one powerful definition!  Other than its use in the game of tennis the word advantage defines a characteristic, trait or situation that everyone desires.  It’s the closest thing to a “sure thing” that we can get away with.  It’s also the result of Wordplay of the word “cheating”.  The line between having an “advantage” and plain out cheating does not even exist, we just choose to believe it does so we don’t have to face the fact that it’s CHEATING.
 
Now, let’s do the math.  When you correlate the definitions and meanings of the words “profit”, “profiteer” and “advantage” and factor in the word “exploit” (a word inexplicably absent in the morphology of this entire analysis.  A word so abusively Wordplayed that it is defined – IN THE DICTIONARY – as a “striking or notable deed; feat; spirited or heroic act” AND “to utilize, especially for profit; turn to practical account: to exploit a business opportunity, to use selfishly for one’s own ends”, simultaneously.  Talk about irreconcilable, that’s probably why it’s been eliminated from the definitions of ‘profit’, ‘profiteer’ and ‘advantage’ – it would be a dead giveaway.) an inescapable conclusion is reached:  We have molded ourselves into a world where the driving force behind progress is fraud.  We reward the profit achieved through fraud but not the people who achieve it because we would then need to rewrite the definition of “hypocrisy”.  The money accumulated by profiting from an opportunity where one has the advantage, which is the same exact thing as saying ‘the money that one can accumulate by cheating in business and exploiting the flaws in human judgment in an unfair and biased way without remorse or regard for any consequence’ has become the highest possible achievement in today’s world.  It has become the point to anything and everything, the reason for living, the reason for getting up in the morning, the reason to do anything at all and that to which we owe our time and lives and existence to; it has become humanity’s new religion and money our new diety. 
 
In the end, it’s still fraud and a lie, neither of which work.  After all, everyone knows that the exploitation of a systemic defect is fraud, but it’s still what we want.  At least that’s what most of us choose to believe.  If you are still skeptical, just look in a mirror, no one can lie to the person looking back and that person can’t lie back.
 

Stop believing it.

 

We can do better.

 Citation list:

 American Psychological Association (APA):

profiteering. (n.d.). Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. HarperCollins Publishers. 04 Jul. 2013Dictionary.com Unabridged. Retrieved July 04, 2013, from

Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/profiteering

Chicago Manual Style (CMS):

profiteering. Dictionary.com. Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. HarperCollins Publishers. 04 Jul. 2013 Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/profiteering (accessed: July 04, 2013).

Modern Language Association (MLA):

“profiteering.” Dictionary.com Unabridged. Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition.  HarperCollins Publishers. 04 Jul. 2013. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/profiteering&gt;.

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE):

Dictionary.com, “profiteering,” in Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. HarperCollins Publishers. 04 Jul. 2013 Dictionary.com Unabridged. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/profiteering. Available: http://dictionary.reference.com. Accessed: July 04, 2013.

BibTeX Bibliography Style (BibTeX)

@article {Dictionary.com2013,

title = { Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition.},

month = {Jul},

day = {04},

year = {2013},

url = {http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/profiteering},

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Political Wordplay

The systematic destruction of language and linguistics, particularly of the English language continues to progress and has recently made an appearance in the political arena.  Recently the political issues regarding gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and trans-gender (also known as GLBT) rights, in particular the legality of same-sex marriage, have taken center-stage in the political news arena in the U.S.A. after a landmark decision by the Supreme Court.

In many of the seemingly endless and redundant articles and posts on the matter of the Supreme Court’s decision and the same-sex marriage controversy, the word homophobe has been used regularly, in fact, in terms of linguistics; it’s a wonder why homophobe hasn’t been officially categorized as a neologism yet.  It’s been used as to describe a person who dislikes, hates or is otherwise biased towards the GLBT community in general and any individual member of that community in particular for a long time.

Let’s look at the term HOMOPHOBIA.  It is made up of two root morphemes:  homo-, in this case used as a common vulgar prefix referring to a homosexual (which is such a vulgar word) and the suffix –phobia which means -an extreme abnormal fear of or aversion.  If we were to apply the rules of language to this combination, the term should mean someone who is afraid of homosexuals instead of a categorical title used to identify people who dislike, disagree or are biased towards the GLBT community.  I guess nobody reads the dictionary anymore.

One more thing:  Technically, a homophobe is a person who is afraid of anyone who is gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or trans-gender. To be scared of someone who is GLBT; isn’t that kind of totally gay?

Human beings are a trip.  When will we learn that we are all we have and that we are a planet of humans and not a world made up of different kinds of people.

We can do better.

ctwfrank

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More Wordplay

I haven’t posted anything in the Wordplay series in a while.  Here’s one that’s right on target with the moment.  Enjoy!

MISNOMER [mis•no•mer]

noun

Etymology:  From Anglo-Norman mesnomer, noun use of Anglo-Norman and Old French verb mesnomer (“to name incorrectly”), from mes- (“mis-”) + nomer (“to name”) (from Latin nōmināre).

The Wordplay:

Misnomer  is a  rarely used yet very relevant word in today’s world. In spite of a very popular definition believed by many, a misnomer is NOT the placement of the wrong kind of yard decorations (the ones with the pointy hats).   The actual definition of the word is:  incorrect or unsuitable name or term for a person or thing.

Examples: “failing bank” or “failed bank” “cash wealth” “borrowed money” “a loan” “credit card” ‘credit score” “fiscal responsibility” “economic recovery”
See also: contradiction,lie, fraud.

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Understanding what we say.

Several times a day, sometimes more, I’ll read somewhere or hear from someone that “the real estate market is bouncing back” or that “home prices are stabilizing” or some other similarly sounding statement. Interestingly, it’s always accompanied by a burst of emotion that I can only compare to lust. This is, as I understand, what many of us want, I guess it’s supposed to make us feel safe in the face of the change we are experiencing – something that can only be called “self-genocide” (sic) and that “things will return to normal”, where “normal” is that little tiny corner of a closet somewhere in this world where most of us allow ourselves to be kept against our will, fed a diet of bullshit and sugar and given 20 lashes whenever any one of us generates an original thought.

I wonder if any of the people who make statements like this have any idea of what they are actually saying. It’s no different than having someone – anyone – walk up to you and proclaim with excitement and glee: “Hey! Did you hear? Slavery is becoming popular again, it just might make a comeback!” Yes, slavery is what I compared this to.

…What was that?

…Am I a communist?

LOL. Of course I’m not a communist, silly; there’s no such thing, besides, none of the “isms” work, remember?

Why do I write this, you ask?

I write this because it’s simply the truth. Of all of shit that we’ve done to ourselves in the last 12,000 years of “civilization”, the only thing shittier than giving someone a “mortgage” would be to sell them as a slave. Nothing else that we’ve done comes even close to being as unacceptably fucked up than to sell people, against their will, as property. The mortgage, however, is a real contender for the title; it forces someone who may want a home of their own to buy the money required to pay for it at $10.00-$20.00 for every $1.00, (i.e.: Hi! I’ll sell you a dollar for ten dollars) over the average 30 year term. This, of course, is crowned with the “cherry” of letting mortgage-holders speed up time and sell a mortgage, at maturity value, within 24 hours of issuing it. This is one of the things that got us here.

Imaginary omnipotence is incredible, isn’t it?

Think about it, it’s about time we did, wouldn’t you say?

We can do better.

ctwfrank

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Warped Wordplay – Part 2

After hours of research and math, I think I have actually found the real and legitimate definition of the word asset; or at the very least, narrowed it down to two possibilities.  It is my conclusion that in reality, an ASSET is either a small donkey or the buttocks of a very small person.

If we can’t laugh, even at our worst mistakes,  we stop being human.

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Warped Wordplay

Here’s a unique member of the wordplay word club:  asset.  Wordplay usually occurs to a word that was born with an official dictionary definition but had a completely different one implanted in the public’s mind, by virtue of the intentional manipulation of language.  The word asset, however, broke all the rules.  It was born with the absolute intention of being what it has always been and in order to qualify it as an actual word, a half-assed definition was pieced together for the dictionary.  Asset was born crooked; here’s how.

Forget about what the dictionary says, it’s irrelevant; however if you really want to read it, just click here.  From the moment it was invented and inserted into human language, an asset has been nothing more than a measure of wealth that can justifiably be taken from anyone, legally.  It really is so much easier to attach or garnish one’s assets as opposed to killing them and taking their wallet.

Without a doubt, asset has to be one of the most convenient words ever conceived.  It doesn’t even pass the dictionary “litmus paper test”; for example, every asset has value but not everything of value is an asset.  It very well may have been the first “designer word” and it worked, well.  Suddenly, someone did something that only we humans are capable of:  they screwed up a good thing.  In our rapidly accelerating descent into total idiocy, the already cushy and convenient meaning of the word asset has undergone a wordplay manipulation.  Today, in 2011, those who think they control humanity’s finances don’t feel the need to have to take what they consider to be already theirs; to them, an asset is simply uncollected debt.

Think about it.

We can do better.

ctwfrank

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OBSERVE THIS

On August 25, 2011, fifteen neologisms graduated and became bona-fide credentialed words and as such earned their place in the dictionary.  These lucky graduates follow in the footsteps of other famous neologisms=turned-real-words like the verb; google, officially defined as “to look up or search on the internet with the google search engine”.  That’s no joke, it really is an official word in the dictionary, if you don’t believe me, just google it and you’ll see.

Following is a list of the lucky graduates; you can click on the word to actually see it in the dictionary.

  1. Americana: genre of American music with roots in early folk and country music.
  2. Boomerang child:  young adult who returns to live at her family home, especially for financial reasons.
  3. bromance: a close nonsexual friendship between men.
  4. continuous positive airway pressure: abbreviated CPAP; a technique for relieving breathing problems (as those associated with sleep apnea or congestive heart failure) by pumping a steady flow of air through the nose to prevent the narrowing or collapse of air passages or to help the lungs to expand.
  5. cougar: slang term for a middle-aged woman seeking a romantic relationship with a younger man.
  6. crowdsourcing: the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people, especially from the online community, rather than from traditional employees or suppliers.
  7. duathlon: a three-part long-distance race typically having a running phase, a bicycling phase and a final running phase.
  8. fist bump : a gesture in which two people bump their fists together, as in greeting or celebration.
  9. helicopter parent: a parent who is overly involved in the life of his or her child.
  10. m-commerce: business transactions conducted by using a mobile electronic device, such as a cellphone.
  11. parkour: the sport of traversing environmental obstacles by running, climbing or leaping rapidly and efficiently.
  12. robocall: a telephone call from an automated source that delivers a pre-recorded message to a large number of people.
  13. social media: forms of electronic communication, such as websites for social networking and microblogging, through which users create online communities to share information, ideas
  14. tweet: a post made on the Twitter online message service.
  15. walk-off: ending a baseball game immediately by causing the winning run to score for the home team in the bottom of the last inning, i.e., a walk-off homer. Also, won by the home team in the bottom of the last inning, i.e., a walk-off win.

Source: Merriam-Webster Inc.

It is truly remarkable that we now have such an efficient mechanism with which to expand our spoken languages so they reflect our growing sophistication, intellect and complexity as the rulers of Planet Earth.  It is surprising, however, that although the task of adding new words to the dictionary is given priority and effort, there is nothing or no one monitoring the intentional manipulation or alteration of the definition(s) of words after they earn dictionary status; something I like to call wordplay.  It is a common and easily observable phenomenon that is occurring at an exponentially increasing rate.   Here’s a perfect example, just look at what we’ve done to this word:

ob·serve

[uhb-zurv]

(original and actual definition):

verb

  1. To perceive and remember one’s surroundings by paying attention.

(wordplayed circa 1960’s):

verb

  1. to see, watch, perceive, or notice:
  2. to regard with attention, especially so as to see or learn something
  3. to watch, view, or note for a scientific, official, or other special purpose
  4. to state by way of comment; remark to keep or maintain in one’s action, conduct, etc.

(The way every single person on the planet understands it today in 2011):

verb

  1. To focus one’s attention completely on the actions and words of one person, or on rare occasion; a group of people, with the specific, premeditated, biased and malicious intent of witnessing and recording any actions or words:
    1. that would gain the observer some benefit or favor (primarily money or envy) from other people who may have an interest in knowing what was observed.
    2. that would allow the observer the use of the interpreted significance of the observation as a weapon to be used for the purpose of damaging or hurting the person(s) being observed, in any and every way possible.
    3. that may provide any form of enjoyment or satisfaction for the exclusive benefit of the observer’s ego, judgment, guilt, desire (sexual or otherwise) or ill will.
    4. provide the observer with a convenient starting point from which they would stop observing and begin to think for, make decisions for, and assume the actions (usually bad) of the person being observed then judge and punish them for those actions as if they had already happened and as if they were real.
  2. The name given to qualify the time that passes while a person fixates their attention on another in anticipation of a criticism- or gossip-worthy “screw up”.
  3. What you gotta do back because everyone’s doing it to you.
  4. The inoffensive sounding name given to the intentional tracking and meticulous documentation of every word, action and movement made by a person, regardless of any qualification or judgment, for the specific purpose of providing a broad assortment of data to be used against that person coercively at any time deemed convenient and for whatever reason is deemed convenient.
  5. What you do to people who “act strangely”, just in case they are secretly violent or dangerous, or at the very least capable of doing something worthy of being “good gossip”.
  6. What a person, usually a male, usually claims they are doing when caught ogling another person or a particular area of another person’s body.
  7. Officially replaced the word “spy” as of the end of the cold war in order to give credibility to the notion that spying is no longer needed or committed.

Say it ain’t so:  you can’t.  It is true.

We can do better.

#ctwfrank

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