Tag Archives: history

CONVERSATIONS WITH MY FATHER – EXPECTATIONS

“This is the first of a series of posts with the same title:  “Conversations with my father”.  I like the multi-function use of the title:  It’s the title and the content.  Each post’s title will have the subject of that particular conversation with my father at the end of the title.  Enjoy!”

 

This was the last complete, coherent and contiguous conversation I had with my father; it was not that long ago. 

While visiting one Sunday, my father approached me and asked if I could spare him a minute or two.  My father was always the living example of courtesy and chivalry.  We sat in my study and he said;

“Son, I’ve come to realize and accept that you are a fully grown adult and have earned the right to be called a man.  That means that my job, the one I accepted as your father is complete and I am satisfied with the job I’ve done. Your job; the one you accepted, whether you like it not, is different, but that’s your road, not mine.  I’m just letting you know that you can start yours whenever you like, you’re ready.”

This was not not a typical conversation to have with my father and he was not one to say something like this as a prank, so I did what I usually did with anything my father told me:  I took it at face value and gave it due consideration.  Our conversations were not humorless, however; I took a moment to comment on how timely his announcement of my manhood was, after all, I was only 50.  We laughed for a moment and then I knew that he expected a reply from me.

I began to do some furious math in order to reply properly; there was not a single moment during his life that passed without my wanting to make him proud of me.  After considering his statement as carefully as I could, I had a reply for him; I said;

“You know, pop, that’s a very important issue for me.  I know I have a job to do.   I’m not scared and I’m confident that I am well prepared for whatever it may be, but it is somewhat unsettling at times to not know what is expected of me.”

My father jumped right back into the conversation with a combination of wisdom and mischief in those hauntingly blue eyes of his.  He sat upright and said:

“Excuse me.  What did you just say?  Did you say you didn’t know what is expected of you?  That isn’t even a coherent sentence in English – and you’re supposed to be the smart one!  There cannot be any expectation of any person without another person to hold that expectation; it’s a strictly human concept.  Oh, shit!   Now I’m beginning to talk like you!  He giggled and continued. How can you tell me that you don’t know what is expected of you without knowing or mentioning WHO is the owner of that expectation?  Only people can have expectations of other people, so who were you referring to when you said you didn’t know what was expected of you, perhaps Society?  Society isn’t a person, it can’t have expectations of you or anyone else, but we can choose to believe it can and if you do; you’re fucked. So, Mr. Smarty pants, would you like to try that again?

I said, quickly:  “Wow, Pop, that’s good” Because it was.  It left me pondering (a dangerous thing to do.)

After a few minutes, I turned to face my father, who was sitting patiently, immensely enjoying the opportunity to watch me squirm and said.   You are, of course, right Pop.  I have to re-do all the math on that.  Thanks, Pop, if you hadn’t brought the point up, I could have easily screwed the pooch when the time came!  Then I had a thought a with it the hope of redeeming myself from the hole I had so easily fallen into during that conversation.  Almost immediately, I said:

“Hey, pop, may I ask you something, since we’re here and already talking?”

“Of course!”  He shot back.

I looked him square in the eyes, which was not an easy thing to do with him, and asked him:

“Indeed,  you have completed your job and have declared as much, but you are still my father, so I ask you; Father; what do you expect of me, Sir?”

I thought I had him for sure, but then I saw his mischievous grin begin to form and he sat back in his chair, crossed his legs, put his hands on his lap and very calmly and very matter-of-factually answered:

“Me?  I expect for you to change the world.”

What else can be said and what else can any man hope to know beyond what his father expects of him.

That’s my Pop.

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FIFTY-TWO

Today is my birthday and I turn fifty-two.

So what does that mean, for me or for you?

There’s not much about age that the math can provide,

Save the count of our years and its sting on our pride.

 

Here’s a little math trick on which you can chew,

‘Bout the momentous occasion of turning fifty-two.

The math is sound, and it is also quite true,

That at some point in time this math will apply to you.

 

Today is my birthday, and I turn fifty-two,

So what does that mean for me or for you?

Not much save that regardless of who you might be or what you may do,

The math at this point probably yields that I’m the older of the two.

 

In everyone’s life we arrive at a place,

Where we can no longer prevent wrinkles on our face.

We can no longer assume that with everyone we meet,

We are always the pup, the youngster on the street.

 

52 is the point where the odds shift the norm.

And they accomplish this with such curious form.

If we pay attention and listened while still being weaned,

At this point we’d savor the knowledge we’ve gleaned.

 

And if we’ve become wise and learned how to love,

We can share what we’ve learned and what comes forth thereof.

 

My twenties ran by, or rather they flew.

My thirties fit me like a comfortable shoe.

My forties made me ask if I’d learned what I thought I knew,

So, I leave you with this: good advice – served up in a tasty word brew:

 

Today is my birthday and I turned fifty-two.

So what does that mean for me or for you?

I choose to share what I’ve learned and hope that it’s true,

That you’ll do the same, when it’s your turn to be the older of the two.

 

We are all we have.

 

We can do better.

 

ctwfrank

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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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Simple Math

If it only makes me feel good; it’s not love.

We can do better.

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Incalculable

I continuously end up utterly perplexed every time I contemplate or think on the fact that at some point in time, we humans found ourselves with an entire planet as a blank slate, incomparably diverse and powerful minds as tools and thousands of years to do something with what we had; and the best we were able to do was turn the world into a scary place; a very scary place. The scariest part is that it appears we actually believe it is a scary place and therefore we live our entire lives – scared.

Without having to exercise any judgment at all, this is, at the very least, an incalculable waste – of so many things..

I may not be able to undo this by myself, but I can choose to not live in fear, so I did and I don’t live in fear. It’s not impossible and in fact, I can say it’s not even very difficult to do, all one has to do is to realize that all the scary stuff is make belief and props – just like in the movies, in fact, the “world” isn’t a scary place at all, we are simply told that it is, over and over again throughout our entire lives and we believe it; because we also believe that everything we are told or read is true.

Don’t live in fear, nothing in the human experience requires that anyone to do so; there’s nothing to be scared of except believing that we must be scared of everything we are told be scared of. There is no math I can write to express this or try to solve it; it is an incalculable thing. Why? Because the world that we think we live in not real and I don’t mean “not real” as in the Matrix movies, but not real in that what we know as our “world” and the inhuman quality of life that these scary, make-believe constructs impose on us and which we authorize by believing them, are NOT an external physical reality with its own will and judgment that imposes itself on us – it’s an imaginary construct and therefore can’t be measured or have a mathematical value assigned so as to compare any of it to the rest of the universe. Why? Because it’s not real. It is overly dramatic and poorly conceived horror story thought up by a few people thousands of years ago to try to get everyone else (who were indisputably believed to be idiots) to believe that certain things were real and scary (especially things that gave some people total authority to dictate what was real) so they could in turn, impose their will on everyone and anyone who believed the story they were told – and everyone believed, all of it; probably because the “few people” who came up with the story were our first leaders; Kings, Emperors, Chiefs, Elders, Lords, Noblemen and their various posses, so who was going to argue? This is how a small handful of us were able to define the “world” thousands of years ago and take control over the every other person living in it and how they continue to control 7 billion of us in 2013 (they still believe everyone is an idiot). In the end; thousands of years ago, before shit and shinola and when no one knew nothing about anything because everything was new, a few of us simply made up all the scary things that make us afraid and subsequently obedient, and we chose to believe them; we still continue to believe it – all of it. It is possible that we will continue to believe it, until we choose to stop, to stop believing the setup story of what amounts to a gigantic con, the biggest one and quite possibly the only one, ever. The “world”, “society”, “civilization” the concept of “sovereignty” and a few other scripted bits of nonsense are not real, they are all simply scary monsters that feed an idea which in turns allows for all humans to believe that us and them actually exists, among other things. They are the grift in the con that goes by the name of human civilization throughout history and our acceptance of all of this as “real” has allowed for everything in human history to be rigged so that the con always favors those “few” who believe they run things, generation after generation. Here’s the perplexing part; those few who have been the authors and beneficiaries of this macabre fraud are people, just like the rest of us, and that means that believe all of this shit too and live in fear just like the rest of us; they are just scared of different make believe monsters and scary things, one that supposedly have class and dress properly.

The only math I’ve ever been able to even scribble regarding this entire incalculable hallucination is that if you add all of it up, the result is zero (0). This means the when you attempt to find any value at all in the rules of the world, civilization and the human condition and the history that they imposed on humanity; there is none in the end. They do nothing and produce nothing, in terms of physics and the real physical universe – in other words it (the whole of human history) has all been for nothing.

Utterly perplexing and mind-boggling.

We can do better.

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THE FIRST HUMAN MIRACLE

I woke up this morning, fit and ready to enjoy,
With thirst, the sun, a smile and as always; full of joy.
I opened the window and outside, if you can believe it,
There was everything there is to see, except I couldn’t see it.

It wasn’t because of sickness that my eyes could not perceive,
It was out of fear and terror that my brain would not believe,
It would not accept, regardless of how much my eyes insisted,
That the world that was once upon a time, no longer existed.

In its place was a copy of what I thought was familiar to me,
So ugly and profane, my senses denied what it might just be.
It’s hard to imagine that no one noticed and those who did kept their silence just fine,
We had sold our humanity for money; even the sadness I felt wasn’t mine.

Everything that we have been, within and without
We gave away ‘cause we are lazy; of that there’s no doubt.
And it might just be that with irrelevance and fear –
The entire human race may simply disappear.

Yet I write this now before what’s done has yet cemented,
That which will cause us so much pain when it could have been prevented.
And suddenly I realize that what will be has not yet occurred,
That tomorrow hasn’t happened yet; it will be the result deed and word,

There is still time before we look beyond that window’s wood,
To see what there really is and not what we are told we should.
An perhaps we might just learn, without fear and without sorrow,
That what together all of us do right now, might just bear fruit tomorrow.

Frank Vidal, Jr.

May 2, 2013.

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EVOLUTION!?

We are so far advanced from where we were 10,000 or more years ago.  We are such badasses!  Just to think, not that long ago, we were little more than naked, nomadic semi-animals who spent the majority of their time looking for food.

Now, however, we have GROWN AND EVOLVED.  Look at US! See what we have evolved into:

Today I received an e-mail.  It was spam, just like the other 412 e-mails that I received in the last 15 minutes (it now takes a measurable amount of time for a person to “sift” out real e-mails from the spam).  This particular e-mail caught my attention because of the bright colors (because I’m a recovering 20th century consumer) and when I read it, it really had an impact.  At the end of this post there is a screen shot of the e-mail message.  Just in case the text is too small and you can’t make it out well, the e-mail reads as follows:

—————————————————————————————————————————-

Hey frank (then my email address which I blacked out)

Use this information to Blackmail Anyone You Know

 Ever wished you could get back at someone by uncovering dirty information?

If they have a speck of dirt under their fingernails, we’ll find it and provide it to you.  Find out background information on anyone in just minutes (arrests, past marriages/felony)

 Get the Dirty on Anyone Here (in the green button)

——————————————————————————————————————————

This is what we have evolved into?  This is the best we have?

Sometimes, we suck, big time.

(PS, in case the author of the e-mail is reading this:  Get a life!!)

What's left of us.

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As to 2013

During these first 5 days of 2013; I have been asked a single question more than any other, so much so, that I’m posting both the question and my response.

The Question:   “Frank, so what’s your take on 2013 so far?”

The Response: “So far, 2013 has been like backing out of your driveway, with the parking brake on the whole way, and a boot on two of the four tires.”

I have yet to see an indication that 2013 has any intention of starting yet- in any way save that which increases fear, suspense, speculation and the total paralysis of commerce at most levels, despite what one may read or hear from “the news”.

It’s still a question mark as to what this means, it’s up to us.  If we take it as a strong signal of a catastrophic ending, then it shall be so, but if we take the total lack of structure affecting everyone, everywhere; it is also an opportunity to re-write the whole book; you know, the one that needs to be re-written desperately.   It’s up to us: all of us, not some of us.

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A REALITY SO HARSH IT IS CRUEL (IN VERSE)

2012 has been all about change, of that there’s no doubt,

But what are these changes really about?

A good place to start is with how everything works;

And the fact that nothing does, impales like a dirk.

Inaction and fear are the dominant forces,

That invade our hearts and the blood that it courses.

But the most impacting thing that I’ve seen – now or ever

Is so huge that nothing compares; whatsoever.

The fact is, and many of you may have already reckoned.

That it hasn’t felt like Christmas, not for even one second.

Look into your heart, and you know this is true,

So the question remains:  what are we doing to do?

Whatever we do, we should not act as a bettor,

We must simply remember that we can do better.

 ……in 2013.

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A curious observation

Far be it for me to resort to raw commercial endorsements.  No, that’s not what this is about; however

PROLONG2many of you know about the product pictured here:  prolong.  It’s the stuff you add to you your Christmas tree water to keep it fresh during the time it sits in the tree stand.  The stuff works great, but it’s not only that.  It also gives me such a robust boner.

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