Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Articles of interest to moi (2018)

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Friday, January 12, 2018

The Procrastinating Perfectionist

Hola peeps.

Hate to start this entry like last one, but it occurred to me yesterday I haven’t had a non-splatter-filled poop since stomach started acting up following return from Zanzibar. What I wouldn’t give for a faux constipated regular doodle now. Must find time to get checked out at the clinic. Oh my, where are my manners? Happy new year, y’all.

While we’re on the gross subject I must confess farts have become increasingly pungent. Even worse, fart today sounded like one of those sirens played at reggae concerts or in Nigerian clubs after a baller orders champagne. For this reason, I have taken to exercising alone until stomach issues return to normal. Miguel suggested I try colonic irrigation and I responded with a newspaper article poopooing - pun intended – the “science” behind such crap – yup, pun intended again. Back in the ATL Miguel was led to believe colonic irrigation works after some chick he fancied kept prodding – hee hee…these puns just keep coming – him to try it. Sherlock Homeboy, i.e. moi, saw through this sophistry and later discovered her mom worked at an establishment that offered such treatments. It took all my persuasive skills to stop him from giving it a go. However, I couldn’t prevent him from getting a tattoo when this Delilah convinced him tattooed guys are the dernier cri. Punk Miguel tagged along with her to a tattoo parlour and ended up getting inked in Arabic lettering for what he was assured stated, I Love Jesus. As if a non-Muslim African American tattooist would have a clue how to spell his own name in Arabic. Things us guys do for women, eh? Oh, forgot to mention, few weeks later we learnt Delilah had been dating the tattooist all along. Punk Miguel got played. Hee hee hee.

It’s first week back in Juba after a two-week stint in Nigeria for the Christmas holidays. As is norm whenever I leave Juba, I fell ill and am just recovering from a bout of cold. Was welcomed into Lagos by petrol scarcity and it cost 2.5 times normal price for a taxi ride from airport to crib. Fuel supply returned intermittently during the holidays, but not before I bought petrol from the black market at 3x recommended retail price. Petrol scarcity in Juba, petrol scarcity in Lagos…one cannot get a break, huh? Last time I experienced petrol scarcity this bad was during the Abacha years when I accidentally imbibed petrol while siphoning the fuel from my brother Tayo’s car into a jerry can. For 3 subsequent days petrol fumes would emanate from my bowels whenever I belched. Notwithstanding, time in Lagos was surprisingly relaxing, maybe ‘cos I didn’t frequent the Lagos office as I am wont to doing and I ate properly. Overdid it on malt drinks, plantain and ice cream ‘cos knew I wouldn’t get ready access to these in Juba. Weighed myself at gym 3 days ago and I had packed on 3kg in just over 2 weeks. Not bad. After first day at gym this week I lost 0.5kg. Uh oh.

Like I used to do with shoes and CDs I went all out on suits. So here I am getting 4, yes f-o-u-r, bespoke suits made to impress Ms. Hayek, yet she didn’t deign to respond to the Feliz Navidad greeting I sent via Whatsapp. Booo Ms. Hayek, booooo. While we are on about extravagant purchases, my crazily expensive, but crap as can be, HP phone’s acting up again. Latest bout of crappiness occurred after OS got upgraded to Windows 10. Now, I don’t see missed calls, cannot delete events from calendar and when phone is within 20 feet of a TV contact list becomes inaccessible if TV is tuned to the BBC News channel. Why BBC specifically? Like I have the foggiest. I would smash the phone, but it cost an arm and a leg, plus it is so heavy if someone tries to mug me I could probably bludgeon their arm or leg with it. On another tip, I fear the HP phone is jinxing my other Samsung phone as I have had to replace screen guard thrice in 2 weeks. Had never dropped Samsung phone until this new Windows 10 OS on HP phone was installed. Must be Windows/HP Big Brother causing folk to bump into me, so I drop Samsung phone. C’mon, what other plausible explanation is there? Speaking of Big Brother, I understand algorithms sending targeted ads based on one’s search history or webpages visited, but how do you explain a targeted ad appearing on web browser following a face-to-face discussion about a novel topic. Are our phones or laptops also activated to eavesdrop on a discussion and then send ads that way?
Maybe I should be more worried about my thumbs ‘cos of new veritable screen protector I bought in Juba 2 days ago. It must be made of transparent steel ‘cos to send a simple message I am having to depress thumb on screen, place a bit between teeth so I wouldn’t scream, and then bang on thumb repeatedly with a hammer. If I keep this up folk at the spa would have to gimme a discount on mani+pedis ‘cos won’t have any thumbs left.

Back in Lagos, I went to normal mani+pedi spot but they had moved, so decided to try a spot 2 shops away. Now I don’t mind folk being innovative so didn’t react much when the pedicurist brought out a cheese grater for treating soles of feet. Started to get worried when she proceeded to dip feet in tomato paste garnished with chunky bits of onion and set an elevated temperature on the thingy used for soaking feet. Is this a pedicurist or a cannibal hoping to Jedi mind trick me into being her next meal? When she got to my hands she asked if I wash clothes manually. U what? Now what does that have to do with anything? I let her finish the poor excuse for a mani+pedi and left for massage appointment.

Like I stated in last blog entry, I find it hard to reject folks, especially females, but I somehow summoned the courage when masseuse attempted to make massage, ahem, pervy. I told her – okay, more like demonstrated to her - in no uncertain terms – okay, more like politely - I wasn’t interested. Dunno if it’s her massaging technique, or ‘cos I declined her offer, but ended up leaving there dripping in massage lotion. It was so bad car headrest felt like that scene from Coming To America where couch had oily head stains after the Soul Glo family got up.

Remember other traits I wrote in last blog entry? Well, God musta read blog too as some dude I lent bucks 3 years ago contacted me while in Lagos and offered to pay what he owed. Woah, just woah. Told ya Lagos wasn’t bad. Even Slovenian neighbor from Juba loved her time in Lagos; her trip coincided with mine as she had travelled down to see her boyfriend. Saw her more times in Lagos than I had in almost a year in Juba.

Aircon in room blew up, but didn’t bother to get it fixed as it occurred on penultimate night in Lagos. Had to fix jalopy though. Even though I get the car serviced just before every trip I make to Lagos it still causes me more and more trouble. First, the front passenger window would not go up so had to buy a new “engine” for it. Ever notice how Nigerian artisans try to make things more complicated than they are so they can fleece you? They tend to use words like “engine” to describe middling gizmos, hence why the rewirer – another quintessentially Nigerian (African?) job description – recommended I replace the “engine” of thingy that causes window to go up and down, and plumber suggested I replace the “thermostat engine” in water heater as if the word “thermostat” is insufficient to explain the gravity of work he needed to do. I half-expected the tailor to complain about the “engine” of the fabric as reason for not having suits ready on day he promised. Punks.
Next, the ball joint of the front tyre would make a rattle so bad I ended up driving at excessive speeds, and with the radio blasted at a high volume, just to drown out the noise. You know you drive a jalopy when you do stuff like that. Ha. Recall another jalopy I was handed down when I first moved back to Nigeria in 2005. You know you drive a jalopy when your dad asks if you know how to drive ‘cos you bug him for money to fix car for the umpteenth time. You know you drive a jalopy when a mate asks if you pay tithes as he cannot get why car keeps breaking down so reckons it must be something spiritual.

All in all, didn’t mind too much driving jalopy around Lagos ‘cos didn’t experience much traffic save for day I went to see parents at Apapa. Dunno when the horrendous traffic situation will be resolved for good as different administrations seem unwilling to fix the road or disperse the glut of articulated lorries that create gridlock. Mom’s driver had to wait on the expressway to direct me on how to maneuver one-way, i.e. drive against traffic, to get to the home I was raised in. Sad. Just for kicks I turned on the voice prompt in Google Maps to see if their algorithm had been fine-tuned to account for Lagosians’ penchant for driving one-way. It hadn’t. Booo Google, booo.

On eve of departure from Lagos, I met up with tighty-whitie mate and three others from boarding school. Confirmed premise from last blog entry on how folks don’t really change, even though we have 8 kids between us. One of the guys, Timmy, has always been a character and that coulda resulted from his being left to his own devices as a kid since there’s at least a ten-year age gap between him and his nearest sibling. Dude still dances like every song is from the New Jack Swing era, so you can imagine his 2018 is already made after Bruno Mars dropped Finesse. Timmy had an acrimonious divorce that left him shattered, but now feels like God’s gift to women since he started dating again. Dude suggested visiting South Sudan to “sample the honeys” even though I told him how conservative the country is. Unlike in Nigeria he would not be able to get away with sowing his wild oats willy nilly and might be forced to marry the woman should he get caught, paying a dowry ranging from tens to hundreds of cows. Timmy’s response? “Cows?! I am such hot stuff the girl’s parents are gonna give her to me gratis. I might throw in a family-size bucket of KFC as dowry, you know, just to fulfil tradition.” Yup, with friends like Timmy I would get beaten up in South Sudan.

We reminisced about school days and folks’ nicknames. There was Feeling K. Collins (aka Funso Aladetoyinbo). Nicest guy you’d ever meet. He stuttered a bit when he spoke, but never had a temper unlike other school mates who had similar speech impediments. This was a guy who was himself from secondary school up until the moment he passed away after uni – no one could remember how he died – and never tried to hang with the in-crowd or pretend to be something other than what he was. A heckuva guy.
We talked about how as students in JSS 1 we would go for socials (aka entertainment) on Saturday nights and dash to where girls were dancing as soon as a song we liked came on. But, instead of asking the girls to dance, we’d turn around and continue dancing with each other and hope our backs bumped into the girls, so they’d turn around and we’d then dance with them. Full disclosure: I asked a girl in my class to dance once and was “nailed” - that was term used when someone was soundly rejected. The rest of the night was a blur. All I remember was a herd of boys in my year chasing me to be the first one to remove the metaphorical nail from my head. For days afterwards, random folk would come up to me to enquire if I was the one that was “nailed” so appallingly. I boycotted socials for a while after that.
We recalled how we would rub soap into hair to save time showering in the morning. I tried to be overly efficient with that stuff and started rubbing soap into hair before bed. Stopped after hair turned orange and folk started questioning if I was an albino.
No doubt I musta told y’all of time in SS3 we decided to get even with a girl that was smelling herself a bit too much by surprising her on Valentine’s Day with a tin of cookies that was filled with poop – my poop – and 3-day old beans.
Then, there were the memorable fights like when Sinclair, puny dude with a hearing aid, whupped a much larger boy soundly. In JSS1, a girl, Oghomwen, beat up a mixed-race boy, and felt invincible enough to attempt it on another boy. Unfortunately, she took on Calabar’s finest, Victor Inyang, and dude didn’t play. Her fighting career ended after that.
There was the girl who we joked that anyone who dated her would have to be equipped with a face mask and an umbrella ‘cos she had halitosis and spat when she talked.
There was Victor Onwubuke who was so hungry he ate kulikuli (snack made from groundnuts) even though he had a groundnut allergy. Perhaps he hoped he would be immune - kinda like folk who say they do not eat pork but choose to eat bacon just ‘cos it doesn’t have “pork” in its name. No such luck. Dude broke out in bumps like a black Hulk and spent 1-2 days away from class recuperating.
Lastly, we couldn’t help remembering our first awkward steps at approaching the fairer sex. Unsurprisingly, Timmy had total recall when it came to these cringe-worthy moments. He seemed to derive a certain concupiscence with each recollection. He would laugh hysterically and then regale us with incident after incident, like when he walked behind a “couple” for 20 minutes without a word being exchanged between them. Good times….

Soooo, less than a week in Juba yet feels longer; already getting a case of wanderlust. With visas for Kenya and Uganda expiring soon, and same for SS residence permit, I fear I’m gonna need a new passport before the year is done. This is not accounting for visit to Thailand I had hoped to squeeze in next month to see mate on a 3-month culinary course in Bangkok. Not sure I can make that anymore ‘cos one of visa requirements is an NDLEA clearance certificate, the acquisition of which is as daunting any task Hercules ever faced. If I end up not making first ever trip to Asia next month at least I can relish the fisherman pants a mate got me from Vietnam. Once I learn to knot them properly I am gonna rock them everywhere, the office, yoga, kickboxing class, church…. I am talking everywhere. Plan to do same with suits as well. Booo Ms. Hayek, booo.

Tot ziens and God bless.

PS

Sorry, forgot to explain Funso’s nom de plume. You see Funso had a thang for this girl Amina Jimoh and we kept egging him on to talk to her. Dude acquiesces and makes the fatal error of telling us not only that she rejected him, but HOW she did so: He went up to Amina and asked if she had feelings for him; chick responded in the negative. At that time, Funso was already nicknamed Kasali - after the security guard from a Nigeria sitcom - ‘cos his bunk was closest to the door. Unfortunately for him, Phil CollinsAnother Day In Paradise was getting massive airplay when he asked if Amina about her feelings, so poor Funso goes from Kalasi to FEELING KALASI COLLINS, better known to his friends as Feeling K. Collins. David S. Pumpkins eat your heart out. RIP bro.

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Thursday, December 21, 2017

It’s hard to get by when your arse is the size of a small country

Hola peeps.

Hate to start a blog entry this way but I have been pooping like crazy since morning, and had to take the day off work. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you must realize I am what is known is this here parts as a poop connoisseur. I truly believe the ability to poop without interruptions is one of God’s greatest gifts. I get so comfy I sometimes nap when pooping, though that hasn’t happened in ages for some reason. Since my return from Zanzibar two weeks ago my hitherto metronomic poop sequence has been outta sync. Also had to skip work then due to chronic stomach pains and frequent trips to the loo. Could not help wishing then I could MacGyver a funnel and hose setup from arse to toilet so I wouldn’t bother leaving bed. Bum was so tender – ran outta Snapchat bog roll and was forced to pop to store in between doodles to re-up on bog roll; sadly, they only had the sandpaper-tinged ones in stock – I just dabbed on it after each splatter and then waited 5 or so minutes before going again. As I hate to swallow tablets, only option was to down a concoction of activated charcoal with water in attempt to arrest leaking bum. Didn’t work.

Time not spent craving a bidet was utilized searching online for noise-cancelling headphones to eliminate the wail erupting from (obviously rusted) pipes after each toilet flush. After a rapid splatter sequence where loo was flushed 5 times in 7 minutes, I genuinely feared my apartment would fall apart. Noise emanating from pipes sounded like how one would expect The Hulk to scream in frustration if he was constipated.

Never did find right headphones, but was grateful for the little distraction it afforded. Unfortunately, time online also resulted in buyer’s remorse after discovering dire reviews on earphones I had bought on plane ride from Zanzibar. Speaking of reviews, do they have to apply to everything? Even churches and places of worship have reviews! I mean, c’mon. Always forget service times for church in London and since I’ll be travelling there soon I Googled them just to be sure. Lo and behold, there were reviews of the church and one funny comment was, “What really happened was a lot of time wasted form filling n talking." Hee hee.

Anyway, lemme tell you about Zanzibar trip. Boy, it was ineffably amazing, and…. before I go further I just noticed something about myself: I am a messy eater! Well, I use the word “messy” ‘cos not sure how else to describe it. I first noticed it earlier this year while eating crackers in bed and watching a movie. The next morning, I found crumbs on the head rest and other unlikely places. Since then, I have paid serious attention to this phenomenon and realized, when leaving office at the end of the work day, there are ALWAYS biscuit fragments - or whatever I had munched on earlier - on office chair, right around where bum woulda been. In Zanzibar, after a particularly delicious meal, I noticed a grain of rice on chair as I got up to have seconds. Wait, but I was seated in chair while eating?! How is this possible? Does food go into stomach, come outta arse unprocessed and then diffuses through underwear and then through pants onto the chair? I am genuinely gobsmacked. Okay back to Zanzibar trip.

Always been wary – nah, wary is not the right word – of going on vacation alone, for no justifiable reason, mind you. So, after completing a hectic week of meetings and presentations and more meetings at the end of November, I decided I needed a break from Juba. Good thing David was moving house else Kampala woulda been de rigueur (read lazy) travel destination. Decided to go somewhere I had never been and settled on Zanzibar ‘cos I had always been a cunctator when it came to visiting Tanzania, even though I had intended to for a few years now. I was chuffed at my decision to be spontaneous for once; spent four nights at Diamonds La Gemma but wish it coulda been longer. Definitely going back.

Relaxed like I hadn’t in yonks and had two (non-pervy) massages to boot. Also, completed two books in 4 days when it had taken me 4 months trying to finish one. Surprised myself by going all touristy and signing up for a tour of Stone Town and the Prison Island. The latter is an enclave for tortoises and I got to learn differences between tortoises and turtles. Tortoises have an oval shell and claws while turtles have flat shells and no finger-like separation on appendages. Tortoises dwell mostly on land and turtles principally live in the sea. I hope you now have an idea why the famous cartoon from my teenage years - that is surprisingly still relevant after several iterations - was erroneously titled. If I am being unpedantic I must admit Teenage Mutant Ninja TOR-toi-ses just doesn’t have the same ring to it as TMN TUR-tles.

While feeding a tortoise my tourist guide cautioned against holding fingers too close as tortoise could bite them, compelling one to brace oneself until tortoise chooses to open its mouth; attempts to forcefully pull free one’s fingers would most likely result in greater injuries. I vaguely remember an old wives’ tale as a kid in Nigeria on the folly of sticking one’s finger into a tortoise’s other orifice. The moral of the tortoise colonoscopy story, or why any kid would even seem interested in doing that in the first place, is fuzzy but I think it had something to do with lightning striking twice before the tortoise could release one’s trapped finger from its butt hole. Hmmm.

One thing I def do recall from childhood is being crap at packing. I clearly haven’t mastered this art as I took along my heavy laptop with me to Zanzibar even though I could access work mails on both phone and iPad. A quick digression about laptop….IT IS POSSESSED! Really wish I had a secret camera recording my interactions with this machine. The other day it started typing out words on its own. Last week, returned from the gym at an unusual time and that may have caught laptop by surprise ‘cos a movie was playing I had not even downloaded. Since I have taken to sprinkling it with holy water every morning the “incidents” have been few and far between. Told ya it was possessed.

And before you say anything, I know for sure it ain’t cleaning lady that rigged laptop to play tricks on me ‘cos I am glad to announce to y’all she is now officially married. Yaay me. She did play one trick on me though (or was it the chef?). All I know is someone finished the NICE biscuits I left in fridge. I def know I didn’t finish it before travelling to Zanzibar so either cleaning lady or chef (or both) ate it or threw it out. They/she eats my sugary snacks yet leaves savoury stuff like Jacob’s Crackers untouched. They/she must have a sweet tooth like moi. They/she must have facial hair too ‘cos my aftershave balm is rapidly depleting.
Must confess I was a bit paranoid cleaning lady wasn’t gonna go through with wedding after I gave her a ride last month and asked about the wedding plans. All she said was, “everything is going according to plan”, then gave me a wink. What was that supposed to mean? Is she in cahoots with my voodoo priestess masseuse? Is that what aftershave lotion is being used for? Hey, when did I start giving cleaning lady rides anyway? Damn these women, they are slowly wiggling their way into my life, making me dependent on them. Case in point is hurting right shoulder. Resisted going to voodoo masseuse, and instead tried another masseuse in Juba. Diddly squat. Had two massages in Zanzibar and before that, saw a naturopathic doctor in Lagos. Nada worked. Hate to say it but I might have to go back to voodoo lady once I return from the Xmas break. Nooooooooooo!!!!!

Naturopathic doctor was a unique experience. Had a session of acupuncture and three sessions of cupping therapy. Though shoulder ache wasn’t improved, I think the acupuncture may have resolved pain on left side of stomach near crotch. Doesn’t hurt much anymore.

Week spent in Lagos (principally for dentist appointment) was aiight. Mom was visibly shocked at how gaunt I looked. Hopefully, I have filled out since then. Went to sweet-potato-and-fish-peppersoup spot again, and you know you may have gone there a tad too many times when the waiter from the joint adds you on LinkedIn.
Was supposed to hang with mate from boarding school – dude who recorded himself dancing in his tighty whities – but he got stuck in Abuja. He couldn’t make the secondary school reunion either so we both had to catch up on goings-on via the WhatsApp group. Could not wait for the reunion to end so I could get outta the group, but some interesting exchanges have since cropped up. After the Harvey Weinstein harassment thang first blew up and started taking down everyone from politicians to journalists I kept wondering if same could happen in South Sudan or Nigeria. From stories one hears of male university tutors trading sex for grades or blatant sexual advances at women in the workplace, I couldn’t fathom what women in Africa go through or how they cope. Wondered why with the misogyny in rap lyrics there hadn’t been more prominent hip-hop personalities accused of sexual misconduct. This NY Times article goes some way to offering an explanation.

Had assumed all victims of harassment in Nigeria were female until one of the guys in the WhatsApp group confessed he purposely skipped out on the reunion ‘cos he cannot imagine himself visiting Warri, let alone the school. Said he knew of boys in our year that were sexually assaulted by seniors. U what? I coulda sworn that stuff never occurred. Woah, just woah. I think back to secondary school days and apart from the occasional bullying I really do not have any awful memories. I was always a happy-go-lucky kid who found humour in everything. I still do. A few years ago, I was surprised when a class mate confessed he had had a dreadful time back in secondary school and reckons I probably used humour to swat away any hurts I coulda experienced then.

Does this mean we essentially remain the same through life? I have thought of this, and blogged about it, occasionally. Some things about us change but our core behavior appears not to. For example, I was a real scruffy kid in boarding school, with clothes that ended up dirty no matter how carefully I conducted myself. I had white khaki shorts in my first year and I would complain to all who would listen that shorts were dirty ‘cos they were khaki and thus, tough to wash manually, and not ‘cos I was scruffy. Ha. You laugh, but I remember another dude whose parents thought having a white silk shirt would be appropriate in a boarding house. Anyhoo, I am uber tidy now and get anal about keeping my environment clean. So that’s a change, but it’s superficial, not “core”. I am talking of stuff that seems to be almost inveterate. Some mates who exaggerated a bit when we were kids still do, others who were obsequious still are, those who were obstreperous remain so, even after marriage and kids. I, who didn’t mind if you took advantage of me much as long as you were happy, remain the same. I am more assertive now and less shy, but still hate to upset people or tell them no; instead, I would rather avoid them. Still detest reminding folk to repay monies I lent them; still have no sense of direction; still act immaturely. As earlier mentioned, one thing that hasn’t changed in echt Tunde is his inability to pack light. I vividly remember carrying a massive duffel bag filled with books and toys, in addition to regular backpack, to class back in primary school. My mom was always quick to grab a whip or smack me at any slight annoyance, so I reckon I musta moaned a lot before she acquiesced to my lugging all that junk with me to school. Presently, no matter how many times I try, my work bag somehow finds itself filled with all sorts of crap that ensure bag feels as if it’s housing an overweight midget. A mate who fancies herself as an amateur shrink reckons it could be my eagerness to help others out, i.e. metaphorically carrying the world’s problems on my shoulders, that’s transforming itself in the physical. Bah humbug.

Perhaps any new, non-rigid “core” traits one develops are those that weren’t formed in childhood. For instance, how does one grow up to become a womanizer, since no one obviously could not have had this core trait as an adolescent? This brings to fore the nature versus nurture debate. Thinking back to my serious relationships, I believe I have mostly taken the lady’s feelings into consideration, but yeah, I could be aloof, selfish even. Could that be due to my “core” of never being the jealous type? Is that why I may have evolved in certain aspects, but am becoming more blasé as the years go by?

Three months ago, I received an email from my first real girlfriend, well, first or second as hard to place a precise timeline on these things. While going through her mailbox she came across an email I had written and forwarded it along. In it, I apologized for something I was blameless for, but since she was upset I wrote to her essentially taking on the blame – Akon had nada on me - and apologizing for upsetting her. I would reproduce email here if I didn’t sound like such a wuss back then. Ha. Truthfully, I do not recognize the dude that wrote that stuff. Kinda how I read my old journal entries and feel I am reading the musings of a total stranger. After reading ex’s email, or rather, my email to her, I couldn’t help thinking, “what happened to that sensitive dude from 2001/2?” I miss that dude. Nowadays, if someone feels I hurt them, yet I know I have done my best and am not in the wrong, especially if I have apologized at least once before, I act all meh and try to move on. Yeah, you miss them and get the urge to reach out, but 9.9 times outta 10 I resist the urge. If only I could do same with chocolate. Life, eh? Sadly, when we communicate months/years later, things ain’t the same and relationship eventually fritters away. It’s expected, no? Going from talking weekly, sometimes daily, to complete silence? Naturally, stuff y’all both found funny stops being so, inside jokes become hackneyed, it’s just the way of the world. Man, I hate to be this somber just before Christmas. Need to quickly find something humorous to bat these feelings away. Hmmm, I wonder what Trump’s been up to….

Tot ziens and God bless.


PS
Yup, those earphones I bought on plane were indeed crap. They don’t fit properly when running on treadmill and Bluetooth activation distance is all of 3 feet!

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Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Articles of interest to moi (2017)

Vending machine for homeless
Plastic roads
Academics for peace
Would Jesus support Roy Moore?
Black Identity Extremists
Poo power
Ice on, ice off
Ain't no shame in mental illness
Nigerian Wonder Woman
How to help kids survive divorce
Nigeria marginal field round
Prayer circle
Oh Luxembourg
Beauty of the human spirit
History lesson on war
A new way of teaching
White privilege
Look Me In The Eye
South Sudan kickboxing
Racism on TV
Writing tips
Goodness in man
Kenya plastic bag ban
Influence of cryptocurrency
Debate over statues
Affirmative Action for White Folk
Stock Market 101
Finding Yourself
Perils of Black Thought
America badly needs healthcare
No excuses
Trying to be a real man
Real Healthcare Reform
Crappy Nigerian banks
Why Fathers Leave Their Children
Not having all the answers
Is your God dead?
Middle East imbroglio
Cosby
Tired of the #WengerOut brigade. Asbury Park FC is the way to go
A better Uber
The Norway, er, Way
Qatari dilemna
Soul Man: The Reality Show
Failing carbon markets
New York state of waste
How to win at policy
Israel's take
Coach, anyone?
Mitch Landrieu remarks
Radicalizing the NAACP
Nigeria tutorial app
Southern Pride
African Risk Capacity
Can someone do this for African countries?
Steve Ballmer is finally interesting
Carter's take on Christianity
Waste your time
The refugee
Case for re-nationalization?
American double standard on Obamacare
Memory palace
Time for Arsene to work from home
How to win a feminist battle
Pray for us
Trump speech
Logic behind male anger
Know your travel rights
Jamal Edwards
King James
WEB Du Bois
Doing business in Africa
Choices
Breaking black stereotypes
Obama's Israel legacy

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Saturday, November 04, 2017

Trying for world peace so much I now get why I have a thing for beauty pageant contestants

Hola peeps.

On a Kenya Airways (KQ) flight from Nairobi to Lagos and the movie on display? The Blind Side. Really, KQ? This is the best you can do? To make matters worse it is one of those older planes where one must crane their neck to get a glimpse of the central monitor. Boo KQ boo. By the way what is it about airplanes that makes folk sleep with their mouths agape? Weird how I haven’t noticed this on any other means of transportation. You know how they say picture your audience naked if you wanna make a speech, well what other more embarrassing way can there be than to picture them drooling?

Transited through Nairobi from Juba and was put up at the Crowne Plaza hotel which is always good. Problem was had to wait for over an hour at the airport before a taxi was provided. Reason being the cab company KQ have an agreement with had all their cabs stuck in traffic on way back to airport. Excellent planning, huh? Could not rant at lady behind the desk ‘cos I knew it wasn’t her fault plus she was pregnant. Spent my time at airport weighing the cons and cons between KQ and Ethi0pian Airlines until….she walked in.

She in question turned out to be a Latina cougar that took my breath away. Picture an older Salma Hayek but with a mole above the right side of her mouth. So, if you are following me that’s a cross between Salma and Cindy Crawford. Plus, she had a light gravelly tone in her voice a la 80s hottie Kathleen Turner. While picking jaw off the floor I discovered she had come in on a later flight and we’d be sharing a cab to the same hotel. I could not contain my joy. So what if she’s almost old enough to be my mother, she’s Cindy K. Hayek for goodness sake!

Got into the cab, fought the driver off so I could place her tiny carry-on in the trunk of the car. Held open the back door for her and sat in front with the driver so she wouldn’t notice my sweaty palms. Punk driver had his radio tuned to sports radio instead of a station playing slow jams. No way he was getting a tip now. Heard her speak Spanish on the phone and desperately tried to remember something, anything from 12 weeks of Spanish class I took back in 2001. Instead all that came into head was Juba Arabic. Mierda.

Got to hotel, checked into room and went down to restaurant. Ordered a meal and Ms. Hayek was not down yet so decided to go get phone from room while food was being prepared. Got to elevator and Ms. Hayek walks out. She asks if I have eaten already and I mumble something about going up to room and…. anyways I then notice her teeth have the slight smoky brown hue of Salma Hayek’s. Oh, be still my thumping heart.

Return to restaurant and while plotting to find a not-so-obvious path to Ms. Hayek’s table an acquaintance from Juba walks in. Haven’t seen this dude in over 5 months and of all places to see him it’s Nairobi?! In the same hotel with my newest crush?! Aarrrgghh. Tried to avoid eye contact but he caught me and suggested we share a table. No harm done, I could still ask Ms. Hayek to join us and use the dude as an unknowing wing man. Just then his phone rings and he starts speaking Spanish! U what?! The dude is from the DRC and I knew he spoke French, but Spanish too?! No way I am bring MY Latina cougar to the table now. No way she’s gonna be more impressed with him than moi. Turns out she has some mates over for dinner as well. I tried to make eye contact with her across the restaurant. No dice.

Stomped up to room sad until I remembered I had requested the cab driver pick me up an hour later than recommended so I’d be able to ride with Ms. Hayek to the airport – her flight to Sierra Leone is an hour later than mine. It would be cutting my boarding time extremely close, especially if there’s traffic, but despite his protestations I explained to cab driver that it wouldn’t make sense for him to pick me up to airport only to return to hotel again to pick up Ms. Hayek. Was able to convince him I was only suggesting this 2-for-1 pickup for his convenience. He thanked me profusely.  Slick Tunde, always knew you had it in you. Got only 2 hours sleep as pernoctated listening to Despacito hoping to pick up some chat up lines and clicking on Google search results for How to learn enough Spanish to impress an older, sophisticated Latina.

Walked outta room at 440am and heard some noise a few doors from mine. Turns out Ms. Hayek and I were only two rooms apart. Held open the elevator and made sure she checked out first. Arrived at airport and since I had been through JKIA too many times to count I was able to guide her through the initial security check, then a shortcut through the second, and finally, the third. Passed through Duty Free and she stopped to have a look around. Brought out wallet ready to buy out entire store, but she said the perfume she wanted would probably be cheaper on the plane. Sophisticated and prudent, what more could a guy ask for?

As we walked to the lounge she introduced herself and I discovered she’s Cuban. Bueno. She’s going to Sierra Leone for work. Trabajo? Bueno. As we sat at the lounge and told her what I did she sounded impressed and suggested I was a jefe making loadsa dinero. I blushed. Then I enquired more about her and discovered she’s married and…mierda. Stopped listening to anything else she said but kept imagining what our life together coulda been like. A Spanish version of The Notebook, maybe? Sure, in this case she’s much older and I would have to hire someone to tell her the story of how we met ‘cos I’d still be agile and working full time as she was being looked after in a care home, but it would still be romantic either way. Was startled outta daydream when she handed me her What’s App number and suggested we’d only communicate in Spanish. Forgot to mention I had, ahem, sorta slyly mentioned my 12 weeks of Spanish classes and used the word “despacio” – thank you Justin Bieber - when she had some trouble trying to explain something to me in English. Slick Tunde, always knew you had it in you. Left her at the lounge as my flight departed before hers. Requested the flight attendants not bother me and knocked off trying to make up for lack of sleep from last night. Things we do for love, eh?

About an hour left of flight time and went to restroom to wash face. Noticed beard I shaved off exactly nine days ago had fully covered face. I knew my facial hair grew fast, but hadn’t the foggiest I was the Wolverine of facial hair. Wound on right palm’s almost fully healed too. Should aid in HIIT exercises when I get to Lagos. Not gonna slack off like I did during UK vacation in August. By the time I attempted first HIIT session in 5 weeks I thought I was having a heart attack. No mas.

There must be something written across forehead in invisible ink ‘cos at Juba airport yesterday some stranger came up to ask me if I was heading to Cairo ‘cos she wanted to hand me stuff to give to someone, like what happened in Addis Ababa two months ago. Fast forward to this morning, while waiting on Ms. Hayek to get through first screening some Mama Ji in a sari asked me for the location of the restroom in Hindi! How did she know I had spent a vast part of my childhood reared on Bollywood movies? Pointed her in the right direction then she asked me to watch her bags while she went on to do her business. I really wish I was making this up.

Back to Juba, the “things are tough” guy clocked me again and went through his merry song. Tried a different tactic this time by asking if I wanted to use the VIP departure lounge. Declined his offer and gave him what he wanted before he could continue his spiel. Soon as he got the money he walked away and when I saw him later under the tent, aka the non-VIP departure lounge, he blanked me. Come to think of it, he always does that! Once he gets money off me he pretends not to see me anymore and I suppose goes looking for another prey. Obtw I only discovered his name – Abraham – when I walked off a flight in September and he was at the foot of the airplane to pick up a Zol Kabir. Dude pretended as if he didn’t know me while the big kahuna called out his name and handed him his hand luggage to carry. Oh Abraham, this is the last time I fall for your tricks again.

Looking forward to Lagos I won’t lie. Things were so bad I coulda sworn someone was frying plantains in their hotel room last night. Already developed a food rota for week-long stay in Lagos and gonna catch up on movies in the cinema as soon as I drop off bags at home. Gonna miss my Juba apartment, but surely not gonna miss other parts of it. Ever tell you about birds that perch outside window sill of bedroom? Without fail they start screeching at 06:30:14hrs on weekdays. Seems they take weekends off though. They must also work on Daylight Savings Time as since the clocks went back an hour in the UK I haven’t heard a squeal. Strangely, I have noticed for the past two weeks same bird or its spooky cousin trails me to work and chirps at 12:06pm E-V-E-R-Y-D-A-Y.

Pilot just announced plane is landing in ten minutes so I gotta wrap this up. Plan to see family tomorrow as rest of the week I am gonna be busy with work and medical appointments. As usual the female members of family have requested sheabutter from Juba. Not sure if they really like it as they profess or ‘cos they are getting it gratis. Gonna start treating them like Abraham now. If they want Juba sheabutter they gotta cough up the $6 a tub it cost me. Since they are family I won’t charge them for freight. Oh, almost forgot, I’ll need to schedule a bespoke suit fitting during this week as well. A bro’s gotta look sharp for my trip to Sierra Leone…. once I discover when next Ms. Hayek’s gonna be there. Bueno.


Tot ziens and God bless.

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Sunday, October 29, 2017

The 41-year-old bed-wetter

Hola peeps.

Man, ana fatran. Dunno why but lately I have been doing what I heard TD Jakes once refer to as “sleeping without getting rest”. For instance, I returned from kickboxing class yesterday at 3pm, avoided calls and planned to fall asleep while completing Season 3 of Better Call Saul – great show by the way. But with eyes were still wide open afterwards, I decided to do some work though I had sworn to keep work stuff at work and not bring it home with me.

Now it’s 9pm and though I purposely bailed on a dinner date I am no nearer to snoozing. This ain’t helping with bags under eyes especially after I shaved off all of beard on Wednesday. Most folk look younger after shaving but it’s the reverse here. Likely due to beard covering up gaunt face. I walked in front of the mirror earlier and must admit I am as skinny as folk say. What is wrong? I just cannot compartmentalize work it seems. End up thinking and re-thinking stuff, mostly to do with a huge presentation I’ve got coming up.

Real looking forward to this presentation after one I gave earlier this month. I am usually loth to speak in public but had no choice this time. I practiced everything I learnt from my crush Bimbo Oloyede – maintained eye contact, paced myself and had a good command on the subject matter. The latter I would suggest is most important when giving a talk ‘cos mind wasn’t darting everywhere hoping I would not get asked any gotcha questions by zetetics in the audience. To get over fear of that I actively welcomed questions during speech to make it interactive. The talk went over like a hot knife through butter. Folk came up afterwards to congratulate me and best of all my message was delivered. So much so that I have random folk still approaching me, over 2 weeks afterwards, talking about the subject and requesting a copy of the presentation. Now you get why I am antsy about impending speech to a much larger audience than the 200 persons I spoke to a fortnight ago. Chances are this address would be broadcast on Juba terrestrial TV to boot. No pressure, eh? Good thing Black Damme aka Full Contact aka Jean Claude van Dammit aka The Nigerian Panther thrives on pressure. What he doesn’t thrive well on is drama.

For the past month I have noticed cleaning lady has been doing laundry at least thrice a week. I am creature of habit; I leave out dirty clothes from weekend to be laundered on Monday and that from rest of the week to be done on Friday. Simple enough, right? You would think cleaning lady would be happy with not having much work to do especially as I wash up dishes after using them and not leave them lying around like neighbours are wont to do. But noooo, she actively searches through wardrobe for clothes and since they aren’t many she’s taken to changing bedsheets every other day. I mean, c’mon, no one is that filthy. If she keeps this up neighbours are gonna think I am a closet bedwetter or something.

Now I am stuck having to play hide and seek laundry with cleaning lady. On Wednesday, while musing over best strategy to concealing dirty clothes, I may have stumbled on a reason for her recent weird behavior. She’s getting hitched in December and feel she may be getting jittery about upcoming nuptials. Before you scoff at my attempt at armchair psychology I need to also reveal that about the same time I began noticing her quest to ensure I only sleep on freshly laundered sheets, I kept returning home to find TV on some Asian soap. One of those shows where a man from a higher caste and his maid from a lower caste sneak glances at each other and…. wait, is cleaning lady trying to re-enact what she’s seen on TV?! Maybe she thinks this clothes concealment thing is my way of wooing her away from her beau? Uh oh. Nah, surely it can’t be. Shall alert you if I ever notice rose petals on bed spelled out in words providing clues for assignations away from the apartment where we would be outta prying eyes. Am I getting paranoid or is the lack of rest making me go all loopy?

One thing that cannot be attributed to insufficient rest is stench of my feet. You know how you fart so bad you wanna run away from your butt? Same is happening with feet. Was at yoga class last month and wondered how someone would come to such a public setting without giving themselves a good scrub? Turns out I was the guilty individual. Have avoided yoga class since. I mean feet smell alright most of the time, but especially notice a funk while stretching in the morning ahead of HIIT cardio exercise. Could this be ‘cos of ankle supports I wear during kickboxing class that clump toes together? Hope to investigate further when I am in Lagos next week. I am going for last stage of root canal treatment and plan to use the opportunity to get a full checkup, especially of lower left side of stomach near crotch. It plays up whenever I attempt abs exercises. Just wanna ensure it ain’t anything to do with the appendix.

What I don’t need a doctor’s opinion on is state of lactose intolerance. I am officially over it now. How do I know? I subjected myself to a series of “tests” during last trip to the UK where I ate ice cream like crazy, had milkshake twice in 2 days, and guzzled down a pint of full cream milk in one sitting. Nada happened. Clearest confirmation yet would be McDonald’s strawberry milkshake. If stomach does not act up following that then I am totally cured. That said, I won’t be able to test out my thesis until Q1 2018 as planned US trip this month was cancelled. Could my anticipation of an “all clear” be why I am overdoing pepper consumption in order to find out if stomach’s also overcome its tendency to “run” after it gets hit by hot sauce? On Friday night I got Mexican takeaway then loaded it with some spicy sauce I got in Uganda. Boy, I went to the loo 3ice on Saturday and on one of those visits I spent 43.2 minutes on the loo, a new record. It was one of those dumps where you gotta take off all pieces of clothing, not even underwear should be around ankles to allow for maximum maneuvering. Returned to bed after that battle and lay in fetal position while dreaming up Rube Goldberg ideas that could pick out towels from closet, dip them in a bucket of icy water, dab my arse gently then repeat every 30 seconds. Man, my arse felt like there was a hot flame lit directly under it with the flame intensity increasing every second.

Loo experience wasn’t improved by crap bog roll I bought last week. In bid to avoid chaffing caused by previous rolls I went around a few supermarkets in Juba pretending to be carrying out market survey on bog rolls for a new manufacturer. After an hour of tasking work, I ended up buying a new, softer bog roll. Problem is one must fold it multiple times to avoid fingers piercing through and getting poop on hands. Never bothered with the term “ply” on bog roll wrappings until I bought this new set. This had no ply rating and suspect it is ½ PLY – if there is such a thing – or less. I friggin’ use one bog roll a day….and this remains true even on days where I do not take a dump! Bog roll is like cotton candy on saliva; exposure to moisture air seems to cause it to shrink. I swear this Snapchat bog roll vanishes into the ether on its own.

While we are on the subject I must say it doesn’t help one’s concentration on a run when one is desperately searching for a bush, a shrub, anything that can provide cover in case doodle pangs get excruciatingly bad. A month ago, I decided to go on a run with neighbours who were training for a marathon. Just 2km in I started having the well-established feeling of knowing poop was about to come out. It took all of God’s grace to hold it in for as long as I did. Trust me there is nothing, save a gun to the head, that can bring any dormant religious feeling to the fore like thought of pooping one’s pants in public. You start recalling previous times when the good Lord saved you from letting go of your bowels in public, you start contemplating worst case scenarios of how you gonna wipe your butt with your underwear if you need to run into a bush to answer nature’s call, you start wondering how those marathoners do it race after race without pooping their pants, you start wondering what the headline in the local newspaper would be should someone take a pic of you taking a dump in public: Foreigner Damaging Juba’s Reputation?

While trying to take mind off poop I tried thinking of different stuff but mind got stuck on Hawaiian pizza for some reason. Like who was responsible for that sacrilege? I mean, like really? I imagined myself as the Terminator going back in time to kill the guy who came up with the recipe. Before I finish him/her off I would want them to take me through their thought process. “I mean why pineapples? You do know that pineapples leave a bitter aftertaste after drinking water, right? So, did you design your pizza not to be consumed with water? Did you try other fruit? Mangoes? Coconuts, maybe?”

It’s at times like these one is glad Juba is pretty small ‘cos when pausing with the race leader at the 20km mark for others to catch up I realized I was a 5-minute jog away from office so made some excuse about needing to go check on stuff and offered to catch up later. As if. Ran to office like those dudes in competitive racewalkers at the Olympics and prayed on way there the security guard would not be out on a ciggie break. Thankfully there was someone at the gate, but not the usual dude that’s there during week days. Told him I worked in the office and before he could enquire further I pushed him aside, scaled the stairs like The Hulk and offloaded in the office toilet while thanking God for not allowing my enemies triumph over me by pooping in public.

All in all, I completed 20km in 2hrs (sans poop break). That was the first time I had gone over 10km and surprisingly I wasn’t gassed or bored. I suppose it helps when you have someone to talk to during the run. Oh yeah, did I mention I went kickboxing afterwards? Yup, the Nigerian Panther is a problem yo. Think I need my own theme song like Rocky does during his training montages. For mine however, the music will start off at a high tempo then ease off when I need to poop or nurse hurt knees and swollen ankles. Yup, after a few mini marathons I now realize my knees have their own internal odometer. Once I hit 10km they start going faulty. At 9.5km no problem, at 9.99km no issues, but once I clock 10km they give up. Reminds me of chick with 50 quid car in Bradford I musta told you about. Yes, 50 GBP! The jalopy was all well and good to drive around Bradford in but soon as it sees the “Goodbye from Bradford” sign it starts spluttering and coughing up smoke. Once driver make a U-turn into the “Welcome to Bradford” sign it miraculously becomes sound. Eerie.

Took about 3 days for knees and ankles to get back to normal and ‘cos I had a noticeable limp during the healing period all sorts of folk suggested varying remedies, but weirdest I heard was oxtail soup. Not chicken or any other meat no, it’s gotta be oxtail. The elderly lady who suggested it was crazy serious too and wasn’t impressed when I asked genuine questions like, Do I have it in a container to drink while running? Must it be drunk pre- or post-race? Do I imbibe it or rub it on knee? If the latter, is this pre- or post-race? Fun times.

Went for a massage to work out knots and y’all will be glad to know I have finally found a non-pervy masseuse in Juba. Problem is I honestly feel she is doing stuff to make me return as she fixes one ache and few days later another appears on a different part of the body. Maybe she has a voodoo doll in my likeness she pricks whenever she runs outta money? Once walked in and dunno what she and colleague whispered in Kikuyu, but swear she ended it with “ATM” while pointing in my direction. Yup, she definitely is the cause of my aches.

I know carrots are supposed to be good for the eyes but had no clue papayas are good for the ears. Since chef, or as she’s been known to refer to herself, Number one lady in Tunde’s life, has purposely been disobeying instructions (again) to avoid buying papaya and kept right on buying papaya, I now have superhuman hearing. How else do you think I was able to hear voodoo priestess masseuse referred to me as an automated teller machine sotto voce? Seems the more my hearing improves the worse chef’s gets ‘cos she followed the papaya debacle with cooking meat even when I clearly told her I wanted to transition from meat to fish-centric meals. If meat was not so tasty I may have flipped. Chef’s behavior – as I overhead my brother’s neighbor once blurt out when their security guard went awol as usual - is “becoming unbecoming”. Ha…becoming unbecoming….one of those quintessentially Nigerian phrases one can’t hear in any other part of the world. You just gotta love us.

I have fallen out with chef so many times I have lost count. Sad thing is as much as I may huff and puff I always go back. Guess it’s ‘cos I know it’s more convenient to have her around ‘cos if she leaves my eating habits would be worse off and I would be even skinnier. Yeah, I tried to blame my weight loss all on work earlier, but workout regime ain’t helping either. Been doing HIIT at least 4 times a week for the past month. Why? I wish I had an answer. Only gonna skip it tomorrow morning ‘cos I developed a blister on right palm from kickboxing session today. Spent Saturday kickboxing classes working on techniques while hour on Sundays is spent on conditioning. Was maneuvering on the monkey bars – made from one of those DIY welded pipes thingamajigs - without gloves when I got a blister from scraping palm on its rough surface. Did not help that earlier I had lifted car tyres without gloves either. Add this blister to knuckle scrapes I endured a fortnight ago while hitting punching bag without proper protection and it’s becoming increasingly obvious that this Nigerian Panther alter ego will be the death of me if I don’t ease off. What am I trying to prove? Who am I trying to impress?

Case in point was decision to go back to the field in September, barely a month after that field trip from hell. Coulda delegated someone else to check on welfare of field staff but had to prove to self I was no sissy, and that last field experience did not scar me. Turned out to be pleasant, having a clean accommodation this time surely helped. Once again, the authorities messed up reservation on departure flight so had to spend an extra night in the field. Unlike other time, I embraced this unplanned scenario and chose to spend the evening catching up on movies. Unfortunately, I wasted 3 hours of my life watching The Deer Hunter. Suckedddddddddddddddddddddd. It’s like the 70s directors never heard of editing. Wonder how Christopher Walken won an Academy award for that movie? It was awful. Only highlight was seeing a young Meryl Streep. No screw that, that movie had no redeeming feature. No wonder I never completed that movie as a kid. Also watched Deliverance. Now I remember seeing that as a kid, but not sure I could decipher the rape scene then. I recall Ned Beatty screaming like a pig, but for the life of me could not quite understand why.

The sheer awfulness of The Deer Hunter musta zapped brain cells ‘cos the next morning I panicked when electric toothbrush ran outta juice just as I was about to clean teeth. I hadn’t brought along charger ‘cos hadn’t expected to spend that much time in the field. While pacing back and forth and debating merits of spreading toothpaste on finger I finally got over my stupid trance and remembered I just had to move hands up and down for powerless electric toothbrush to do same job as a regular toothbrush. Duh. Not my proudest moment.

Went to Kampala weekend after field trip for David’s 40th birthday soiree. Had loadsa pork. Got a pervy massage. Lost more valuable time watching the crap Wonder Woman. Hey, riddle me this, why did all actresses playing Amazon women need to speak in a strange accent? Probably to accommodate Gal Gadot’s accent, no? And they say Hollywood is misogynist. I for one can tell you Caine, Connery, Van Damme, Schwarzenegger and even Stallone never got that treatment.

Once again, David’s mates who I have met a gazillion times before still do not get that I don’t drink alcohol. Being sober when folk are drunk offers a unique perspective. For instance, there was a girl at the party with bleached blonde hair trying desperately to be Amber Rose but looking more like Amber Grass. The next morning while trying to describe this hilarious set up to David he couldn’t remember a thang. Sometimes I wonder why folk still drink knowing they end up acting erratic when drunk. I suppose it is like asking me to give up chocolate. Touché.

Hold on, there’s a knock at the door……Guess what? MY number one lady just walked in with a pot of fish stew. Gonna eat it on bed so other lady in my life at least has stuff to do tomorrow.


Tot ziens and God bless.

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