Friday, August 29, 2008

McCain's VP Choice

I was going to blog today about something to think about when you're voting, but then John McCain took the wind out of my sails (and Barack Obama's) by making his VP choice: Sarah Palin.

Who?

Yeah, I've never heard of her either. She's Alaska's Governor. (Alaska, that cold state to the Northwest.) All I know is that it is her first term and she's the mother of five.

I, also, know that she's a very smart choice.

Paul Begala -- some guy who writes for CNN and is a Democratic strategist -- disagrees and that explains why the Republicans won with Bush two elections in a row. The Democrats don't really know how to win elections if they're using thinkers like him.

His article states that someone, given McCain's age, as inexperience as Palin is a bad choice. Hey, Paul, I hate to bring this up, but Obama is in his first term, too. Now, I know my father was rooting for Condelezza Rice, but she would've been a bad choice, as are the men Begala mentions in his article.

Begala thinks it was a mistake for McCain to have "passed over Tom Ridge." Are you kidding me? Choose the head of Homeland Security? A man who is very much in line with the Bush regime? That would be like killing his election chances right now.

Mitt Romney? Too scary to even consider.

Joe Lieberman? Someone who didn't win in the primary, so he left his party to be an Independent. How many Republicans are going to trust he will come over to their way of thinking and how many Democrats are going to trust a turncoat?

McCain has taken some wind out of Obama's sales by choosing a woman as his running mate. It shows he still has some maverick left in him. Now, we have a Black Man and a White Man running against a White Man and a White Woman. McCain has put some of the women's votes that were 99% likely to vote for Obama back into the unknown category. A woman VP? History in the making on both sides.

Now, on a personal note to Mr. Begala: In case he's reading this: You moron. My dad's 71 years young and he isn't going to croak in the next four years and I'm betting neither will John McCain (also 71). Where do you get off making an assumption that being over 70 suddenly makes one old?

In case you're wondering, however; I've changed my mind about McCain and will NOT be voting for him. But, I promise you, his AGE has nothing to do with my decision.

God Bless

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

You Don't Have to Say You Love Me

Rate this performance at The Sims On Stage

Ring Of Fire

GOP On Democrats and other thoughts...

Why is any news outlet interviewing Republicans about the Democratic convention? This isn't the week of the Republicans -- it is the week of the Democrats. Who cares what the other side has to say this week. They'll have their chance during their convention. Now, so no one can say I'm being unfair, I'll just state it now: I don't care what the Democrats have to say during the Republican convention. Can we hear the messages and speeches without hearing the twisting of words from the opposite side?

Why do people still think Al Gore said he invented the Internet? How come that sticks in people's minds, especially when it isn't true?

And, speaking of Al Gore, why do people still believe that Global Warming is fake, even when there is a mound of evidence to the contrary? Plus, how could anyone be against making air safer to breath and water safer to drink? What are these people thinking?

And, why is it that when I'm in the shower, I get great ideas for things to write, but the minute my feet hit the tile floor, the idea is gone? How could I do my best thinking in the bathroom?

Why do people think that because they attend church they're good Christians? I can stand in my garage, it doesn't make me a Buick.

One last thing: why is Halle Berry the first Black woman to receive a Best Actress Oscar and Barack Obama the first Black nominee for President when both of them are each 1/2 white? Why aren't they the first mixed race Best Actress Oscar winner and the first mixed race nominee for President?

God Bless

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Godspeed, Del Martin

I just saw on the CNN Wire that Del Martin passed away at the age of 87. She and her wife, Phyllis Lyon, co-founded the Daughters of Bilitis, as well as the Alice B. Toklas Democratic Club. Because of Mrs. Martin and Mrs. Lyon, I have rights in Wisconsin I wouldn't have had without those who came before me. We still have a long way to go, but we're moving in the right direction.

Mrs. Martin and Mrs. Lyon exchanged vows of matromony on June 16th of this year, becoming legally married. However; apparently the copy writer didn't refer to Mrs. Lyon as Mrs. Martin's wife, the article refers to her as partner -- like it was some sort of business relationship.

I've posted the article below.

So, Godspeed Mrs. Martin and thanks for all you did for me. Bless you, Mrs. Lyon. I can't imagine what it must be like to lose your wife of 55 years.

And, to the small minded people who can't seem to type wife and type partner instead, kiss my lesbian ass.

And, if you're waiting for the normal God Bless, I don't feel like sending blesses to straight people today.

So, God Bless the Lesbians and Gays who came before me.



SAN FRANCISCO, California (CNN) - Lesbian activist Del Martin, at the forefront of the battle for same-sex marriage in California, died Wednesday in San Francisco. She was 87.

Martin's partner of 55 years, Phyllis Lyon, was by her side at the UCSF hospice, the National Center for Lesbian Rights said. Martin and Lyon, 84, tied the knot on June 16 in a ceremony officiated by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.

Long before Massachusetts and then California legalized same-sex marriage, Lyon and Martin were integral parts of the early movement for lesbian and gay rights.

In 1955, they founded the nation's first lesbian organization, the Daughters of Bilitis, and launched the first lesbian publication, The Ladder. Martin co-founded the Council on Religion and the Homosexual, and was also a founding member of several other organizations, including the Lesbian Mother's Union, the San Francisco Women's Centers and the Bay Area Women's Coalition. She and Lyon were co-founders of the first gay political group in the United States, the Alice B. Toklas Democratic Club, named for author Gertrude Stein's long-time partner.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Race

This week -- for the first time in history -- a black man will become a major party's candidate for President of the United States of America. Forty years ago, another black man stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and spoke about his dream. With Obama's nomination, you would think that Martin Luther King's dream has come true.

It hasn't.

Last week, a young white woman (20 years old) was talking to me and said (and I'm quoting): There's two sides to every story, unless they're black. They always lie.

Yesterday, a white 40 year old male said to me (and I'm quoting, again): If Obama wins, blacks will start thinking they have power.

Now, I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't say or do anything that would counter these quotes. Truth be told, I was shocked speechless. Racist remarks, especially by someone younger than I am, still stuns me. I cannot believe that in the year 2008 that people still feel this way about other races.

I'm not going to proclaim that a great many of my friends are black because it isn't true. I have a couple black friends. I attended a mixed race schools and the one thing I've learned about blacks is they're really just like whites. So, how could it be that there are still people - under the age of 60 - that do not believe in the equality of the races?

With Barack Obama making history, you would think that Martin Luther King's dream of a world where the races lived together in harmony would be reality.

Too bad it isn't.

God Bless

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Times have changed

I'm going to admit something I'm not too sure many people know. My parents were NOT happy campers when I came out to them almost 20 years ago. My mother used to make comments like "straighten up" when we'd get off the phone and my father didn't have too much to say to me for a long time. Now, I don't want anyone thinking I'm complaining because they never sent me away to be "cured" or stop letting me talk to my brothers. I know gay people who haven't spoken to their parents since they came out. But still, it wasn't easy.

My parents love Cheryl -- sometimes I think more than they love me -- and they love her kids and, of course, they're thrilled with da boys.

But, something happened this weekend I just never thought would happen in a million years. Two friends of ours, Barb and Karen, were married last month. We missed the wedding because our cousin, Jeff, was married to his bride, Jen, on the sameday. And, I couldn't miss Jeff's wedding and wouldn't have considered missing it. Anyway, we met up with Barb and Karen at Ren Faire this weekend and caught up on news. I introduced them to Dad and told him that they had just gotten married. Dad offered his congradulations. I mean, it was so cool. Twenty years ago, I don't think that would've happened.

He's come along way. He's still voting Republican this November, but he's still come a long, long way.

God Bless

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Saturday, August 23, 2008

For Danny and Alex

Friday, August 22, 2008

This is me, the one below is my mom.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

a new Karaoke performance

Record a Karaoke song at The Sims™ On Stage!
Choose a song from Rock, Pop, Country, Hip-Hop,
'80s, or All Genres.

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I said No...

I don't write much about my work. I don't mention my company or co-workers very often, but this morning something so ridiculous happened that I just have to blog about it.

I have this co-worker whom I might have mentioned before and she's a big pain in the rear. In fact, no one really likes her, everyone complains about her -- both in my division and out of my division and yet, she gets to keep her job. I wonder about that. Either someone higher actually does like her or my company likes to keep dead wood around.

Anyway, this morning Tootsie (since I don't want to use her real name) comes over to my desk looking for work for a different co-worker. I tell her I don't have anything for him to do and try to politely send her on her way. I was busy with a hot report I needed to code in a grand total of two hours. She insists that I must have something for him and I again tell her no, but in a more firm voice.

Does she take the hint? In a word, NO.

She says, "I'll talk to John" (fake name for our boss), like when she says it, I'm going to say, "Oh, yes, I do have something for him to do!" Don't threaten me with our boss's name. Are we a couple of five year olds on the playground who need the help of our teacher? Please.

So, my first comment is this: why do companies keep people like this on the payroll? I know there are more Tootsies in this world, I've met them before. They live in their own little world, they don't care what you think or what you need to do, they want you to do what they want you to do. Why do we put up with people like this? Why is it that they are allowed to keep working?

My second comment is why is it that she can't take no for an answer? I had a run in with her last year because she wanted to keep the air conditioning on full blast while the other 29 people in the office were freezing. What is fundamentally wrong with her that NO doesn't exist in her world? I said NO and I'm not changing my mind.

And, finally, a request, Please pray that I don't snap her little skinny bony neck.

God Bless

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Marriage Rights

So, I'm on the phone with my mother and I mention that Cheryl needs to pick up one of her prescriptions that costs $50.00. My mom says why does it cost so much and I explain that Cheryl's insurance doesn't cover this particular drug at which point my mother says, "Why isn't she on your insurance?" This I find humorous because my mother wrongly assumes since I make more money and work for a larger company that I have better insurance, which is not the case.

So, I explain to my mom that my company doesn't offer domestic partner benefits -- and she asks me why not -- and even if it did, we wouldn't use them. Which leads me to the reason for this column.

My mom goes back and forth on gay marriage. On one hand, she doesn't understand why gay people would want to get married. Afterall, if straight people can't get marriage right (i.e., the 50% divorce rate), what makes gay people think they can? Then, she thinks that there isn't any benefit to gay marriage. In her mind, if Cheryl and I separate, everything's much easier because one of us can just move out. But, it isn't easier and thanks to that stupid amendment, a court wouldn't hear our case against one another.

It is with my mother in mind that I write this column.

  • Domestic Partner Benefits: These are a wonderful idea. It is a way for one gay person to cover their spouse. And, actually, this covers unmarried straight people, as well, which I don't agree it should. If you want these rights, get married and get them. But, gay or straight, the same problem remains: The Federal Government taxes the benefit as income. So, if your employer pays $100 a month for your partner's healthcare, that's added into your salary for the government to tax. When you think about it, this is really crazy because if you cover your uninsured partner this way, it means the government isn't doing it.
  • Social Security: My social security benefits will be higher than Cheryl's and she will never be able to claim them. Ever. On the marriage side of this, if a man marries four women, stays married to each one of them for 11 years, all four women are entitled to one half of his social security. And this NEVER reduces his payout. Does that seem fair and just?
  • Health Issues: If Cheryl goes into the hospital and is unable to make decisions for herself, I do not have an automatic legal right to make decisions for her. I do have a Power of Attorney of Health, which is only valid in Wisconsin. If we're on vacation in another state, there's no guarantee that a hospital in another state would honor it. This doesn’t happen to a married couple.

These are just three main reasons why gay people want the right to marry. There are hundreds more and I'm sure I'll write about them from time to time.

God Bless

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Interesting Politics -- Possible Running Mates

I went to log into my Roadrunner account and there's a bunch of headlines at the bottom. One of them says, "Sen. Joe Lieberman to speak at GOP convention." Well, that's an interesting way to start the day. If you know your recent history, you know that Lieberman ran for VP in 2000. When he lost the Democratic primary in his home state of Connecticut, he ran as an Independent and won. Now, there's talk that he might be McCain's VP choice. Lieberman certainly would be an attention-grabbing choice. And, McCain could use a little more attention.

On the other side of the fence, yesterday, I received a public email from Michael Moore to Caroline Kennedy begging her to consider becoming Barack's running mate. I don't know a lot about Caroline Kennedy. I remember a picture from her wedding day where she was standing outside the church -- looking radiant and beautiful as all brides do -- and she's trying to get the crowd of well wishers to be quiet. She looked really poised for someone holding her finger to her lips.

I wasn't alive nor were my parents married or even knew each other when John F. Kennedy was President. I didn't watch Caroline grow up like so many of my friends did. She doesn't feel like an old friend. Now, her brother, John, that was different. He was everywhere when I was growing up. He was like the older brother I wish I had. When he died in that horrible tragedy, it was the only time in my life I said a prayer for a famous person -- an honest to goodness down on my knees, please God, let him be okay prayer. I could see an Obama/Kennedy ticket if John were still here.

But, Caroline? She's never -- that I've noticed -- shown any interest in politics . She's written books and I know she's heading up the selection committee to help find Obama's running mate. She might be a good choice. She's the only one left from Camelot. She's shown in very hard times that she's level headed. (I don't think I could've been that poised on my wedding day if I had a bunch of people disrupting my service.) And, Caroline doesn't come with a lot of the baggage a different running mate might have. Also, because she hasn't held a political office, she would represent a big change.

Maybe, Michael Moore is right and Caroline should become the next Vice President of the United States.

God Bless

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Celebrity and Campaigning

I haven't seen many campaign ads this year. Come to think of it, I've only seen one campaign ad - McCain's Celebrity ad. Have you seen this ad? He compares Obama to Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, claiming that like Spears and Hilton, Obama has no substance.
Let the negative campaigning begin.
You know what ad I'd like to see? I'd like to see an ad where McCain blows smoke up my skirt to tell me how he's going to make my life better. I'd like to see the samething from Obama. I don't want to see negative ads.
But, as Bush proved in 2004, you don't win an election without negative ads. They resonate. Do you know there are still people in this country who believed the pack of lies sold by the Swift Boat attack ads on Kerry?
Couldn't we try something different? Couldn't we get a real understanding of our candidates?
Because based on this one ad, my understanding of McCain is that he has nothing to offer, so he's going on the attack.
God Bless

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Energy, the Environment and my pocketbook...

Cheryl and I received a letter from WE Energies a couple of weeks or so ago outlining a plan to purchase the energy to run our home from environmentally friendly alternatives.  So, we got out our calculator and figured that purchasing 100% of our power from environmentally friendly alternatives will only raise our energy bill around $10.00 a month.  This is probably because we all ready do our part to conserve and try to keep our usage down.

Then we received our bill -- we're on the budget plan -- and our bill (without the new higher charge) went up $14.00!  Sure, in the scheme of things, $14.00 isn't a lot of money, but when you add on the new higher rate in, our bill will end up $24.00 higher per month.  <sigh>  I might've pushed to only purchase 50% of our energy from this program if I had known our budget plan was going to be raised.  Then, Cheryl was full of good news this morning and she mentioned that she heard energy prices were going up even higher. <sigh>

Well, I guess we're all in the same boat!  :-)

On that note, Amazon is launching a new Amazon Green program.  So, I thought I'd put up some of the banners in case anyone is interested in purchasing Green products.



God Bless

Monday, August 11, 2008

For Aaron Rodgers

This is for Aaron Rodgers.

Aaron,

Tonight when you start against the Bengals, I'll be cheering you on.  Win or lose, you're my new quarterback and I've got your back.  You're in a tough position sitting in the QB seat in Lambeau field.  No matter what you do, fans won't be happy because you're not Saint Brett.  I can't imagine what you must be thinking.

So, Aaron, give it your best.  We're all Packer fans in Wisconsin and the rest of the fans, they'll come around.  We love our Packers and pretty soon, I know you're going to be so good, we're all going to be saying, "Brett who?"

Go get 'em #12 and know someone in Racine will be cheering you on.

The rest of you naysayers, shut up and let the kid play.

God Bless

Friday, August 08, 2008

Awesome American

I've always thought of myself as a pretty darn good American.  I vote.  I support Veteran's causes.  I stand for the National Anthem -- even at home in my living room.  I give money to the USO.  I know the Pledge of Allegiance.   I make sure the flag never touches the ground. I've taught my son-in-law the proper way to fold one and I give my father old ones to burn in the proper ceremony, so they're not sitting in a landfill.  I add soldier's names to those on my prayer list, even when given to me by a stranger on a plane.

But, I really suck as an American, when compared to Keela Carr.  You haven't heard of her?

Keela Carr sold everything she owned so she could walk across America to personally thank Veterans for all they've done.  (Read older story here)  I just saw on CNN she's completed most of her journey and arrived at Walter Reed Hospital.  Next, she'll be going to Arlington to lay a wreath on the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. 

The woman is amazing!  I've been too lazy to go to the store to find the piece so I can hang my flag off my front porch and this woman has walked across the country to thank Vets.

Like the saying goes, if you can read this -- thank a teacher. If you read this in English, thank a soldier.

God Bless

 

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Public Service Announcement...

Two years ago, I wrote a blog stating that I felt we don't do enough in this country to support our troops.  Putting my money where my keyboard is, has been a goal of mine since I started this blog.  So, every year, I give money to the USO and various veteran groups (although, I admit, giving it down this year, as I don't have much to spare) and last year at Christmas I came across the best of both worlds.  I found BOGO - buy one, give one.  I purchased three BOGO lights and requested that the give ones were given to servicemen and women in Iraq or Afghanistan.  The three lights went out as Christmas presents to my father, youngest brother and son-in-law.

Well, this week, I received an email from Mark Bent, CEO and founder of SunNight Solar, announcing yet another program.  Since I'm not big on forwarding messages to friends and family, I thought I'd post his letter (see below).  This is a good program and I know economic times are hard right now for all of us, but if you can, please show a little love to our troops.

God Bless

Greetings,

 

   We do not send many e-mails out to our customers; however, I wanted to bring this new initiative we have developed to get lights to our men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, to your personal attention.  I would appreciate you consider forwarding this e-mail on to your friends, contacts and colleagues, so together, we can help them, and the people of these countries.  Our website for this new endeavor is www.warlights.com

 

    Additional information about developments at SunNight Solar, and the original of the blog text below, can be viewed at http://www.sunnightsolar.com/blog/

 

Thank you,

 

Mark

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Bin Laden's Driver Convicted.

Am I really supposed to believe that the guy who drove Bin Laden's tank or truck or whatever it is an evil terrorist rides in was privy and -- AND -- could DO something to stop the attacks of Sept. 11?  Is my country crazy?  Maybe, here in the US I take a job with someone and I hear they're going to bomb the White House, I could turn in my boss, but just whom was Salim Hamdan going to tell?  There isn't an FBI office on every corner.

May God have mercy on our souls because we have surely gone crazy.

God Bless 

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Stay At Home Wives

According to an article on CNN, 10% of the women who do not work outside the home do not have children.  Meaning that they're staying home to take care of their husband and their house and not because they're rearing children.  These women are, usually, educated -- some of them have MBAs.  They have chosen to get off the career track to take care of their husbands. To some women, who lived through the women's lib movement, this could be regarded as a smack in the face.  In fact, one woman who was interviewed actually said, "I thought about the feminist movement -- all those women who worked so hard so that I could go out and have a good career, and I was kind of saying 'no thanks.'"

And, when I first started reading the article, that's what I was thinking.  How dare you stay at home when so many women fought for equal pay and equal respect.  I'm too young for the full force of the discrimination for women in the workforce, but when I was working for a campus police department in the mid to late 80's, I was often asked what it felt like to be doing a man's job.  (My mother taught me my standard response:  If it was a man's job, they would've given it to a man.)  My point is that it hasn't been all that long since women working is the standard -- although for women in the lower economic classes, it has always been the standard.  And, now, some young hotshot wants to stay home and stand by her man?!?  What's that all about?

Then, it dawned on me.  It was about having choices.  For some couples, that means a stay at home wife.  For other couples, that means a stay at home husband.  Some of the stay at homes will be rearing children and some will just be taking care of the home.  Whatever works for them should be just fine with the rest of us.

God Bless

Monday, August 04, 2008

Internet Postings and Job Searches

I'm sure you've all seen the same articles I've seen about how someone posted a picture from their trip to Mexico or some other occasion where they had too much to drink and they lost their chance at a job. Well, I've recently joined Facebook in order to help promote my t-shirt designs. Turns out a lot of my family members are on there, so I'm spending more time on Facebook than I had anticipated.

At first, when I put up my profile, I kept it short and sweet. No book listings, no movies, etc. I was thinking of my future -- in case a future employer checks up on me none of my movie or book choices could possibly offend. Then, I thought, wait a second, do I really want to work for someone who would be offended by my choice of movie or book? Do I really want to work for someone who wouldn't hire me because I'm a lesbian who likes to post pictures of my grandsons? Do I really want to work for someone who can't look past my political leanings and realize that I'm damn good at my job?

I realized that the answer is no, no I don't want to work for someone who isn't going to see the best Data Analyst on the planet and only see the grandmother (admittedly, the very young and beautiful grandmother). I don't want to work for someone who hates lesbians and would hold that against me when I need to take a day off because Cheryl needs me to go with her to the doctor. I don't want to work for someone who doesn't notice that I can write SQL code better than anyone else I've ever met, but notices the grey in my hair.

Now, you'll never see a picture of me on any site where I'm drunk and half out of my mind, because I don't drink that much. But, you might -- you just might -- see a picture of me singing Karaoke with my lovely wife at a bar and, you know what, if that bothers you, then don't hire me.

God Bless

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Again with the Economy

Perhaps, I'm missing something. I'm reading this week's Time magazine and they've included a voter's guide to Obama and McCain's plans for the economy. Under Obama's plan, he would end Bush's tax cuts for families making more than $250,000 (with which I agree), raise the capital gains tax and give tax credits to singles and families. McCain wants to make Bush's tax cuts permanent (which I oppose), reduce the corporate tax (as I mentioned last week) and here's a new one -- "He may be open to the possibility of a higher Social Security payroll tax." What does that mean?
8% of my salary goes to Social Security. Is he going to raise that? And, with that raise, is he going to guarntee that Social Security will be there when I retire? Or, is he going to lift the cap, so that those earning more than $92,000 a year pay on their whole salary? I would support lifting the cap.
Think about it. If you make $50,000 per year, you pay Social Security on that whole amount. That comes to $4,000 or 8%. If you make $100,000 a year, you pay only on $92,000, which comes to $7,360 or 7.36% of your salary. So, percentage wise, the person who earns less pays more than the person who earns the most. Does that seem fair to you?

God Bless

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Saturday, August 02, 2008

Rude People

Last night, Cheryl and I go to Grayslake, IL to sing Karaoke with my mom and dad. Okay, truth time, Dad and Cheryl don't sing. Dad doesn't sing because, well, I love him, but he sucks at singing. And, Cheryl is too shy. She has a pretty voice, but no confidence.
Anyway, turns out the Last Chance Saloon is holding qualifiying rounds for their Karaoke contest. Mom and I sign up and -- I won't hold you in suspense, we qualified. Not to brag, but I didn't really have much doubt that we would. We're pretty good singers.
What I couldn't understand is what was up with the crowd. They were pretty loud and obnoxious -- even by bar standards. You could hardly hear yourself sing, much less whomever was up there singing. What I really couldn't understand is how rude the friends of the singers were. They would make so much noise during everyone else's performances it was unbelievable, but they didn't even quiet down for their own friends. You'd think they'd be a little quiet so you could hear the person they came to hear, wouldn't you?
Well, I'm sure it'll be a little better once the finals get underway next month.
God Bless

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