Monday, July 27, 2009

Today's parenting FAIL

Now this one might ruffle a few feathers, but I just gotta say it.

A sculpture by Itzik Asher in Delray Beach FL has provoked the ire of parents whose kids attend a nearby elementary school.

Here's the sculpture. Brace yourself:

It's a ... family.  Mom, dad, sister, and baby.  Pretty abstract.  Uhh, what the hell is the problem, here?
"Jamie Garroway, Morikami Park PTA president, said she found it distasteful and e-mailed parents, asking them to file complaints with Caster and with Palm Beach County Code Enforcement.

“Everybody has a different idea of what art is,” said Garroway. “If this piece was at a museum I would not have a problem with it.”"

OK, PTA president epic FAIL. This prudish, narrow-minded cow would have an Evil Genius up in her face at the next PTA meeting. Number one; how dare you try to whip people into a frenzy over YOUR twisted beliefs. That's just wrong. Number two; how sad is it that you think art is OK so long as it's safely inside a museum.  The implication being that you can then keep your poor impressionable kids out of said museums. Number three; it's true, art is subjective, but there just plain isn't anything offensive about this piece. It's just four people. They're not engaged in sex, drinking, drug use, animal abuse, or addictive online role playing. They're a family. Walking.

The human body in repose is not distasteful. If you think this you are not just repressed, I think you may be a little sick. You may need to see a head doctor.

I don't think that anyone should be forced to view real people nude if that makes you uncomfortable, or even photographs, but this is ART, for Pete's sake!  It's not pornography.  It's just biology expressed artistically. 

If you refuse to expose your child to art for fear of her seeing a naked human, what insanity is next?  What do you do if your child sees two people making out on a park bench? Throw a rod? Freak out?  What if your little girl sees a potty-training toddler in a public restroom and his mom is helping him back into his underpants? Do you gasp in shock and cover her eyes?  What about a woman feeding her child?

Scandelous! That's a *gasp* human nipple!  Complain immediately!  You'll have to email the pope, though. This is a painting of Jesus and Mary in the Vatican.
Or is it a penis thing?  Hmmm?  I've been puzzled my whole life about the disparity in treatment of genetalia. Even in films it's still fine to show boobs and pudendae (is that a word?) but naughty to flash a glimpse of a willy.  Why is that?  It's just a penis. Your dad has one, you husband has one, your son has one, David Beckham definately has one, as does Daniel Radcliffe.  Even Barack Obama has one, people.
My point is that, displayed in repose in art, it's just a thing. Like an ear or a nipple or a belly button.
This is my favourite David, the one by Donatello.
It's just bloody sad that people who can't let go of their fears and insecurities want to try to force all of us to bend to their whims. It's also tragic that these people are raising another generation of close-minded, neurotic people. This is shocking and sad:
"“My daughter has been joking about it,” said Jeffrey Cohen, whose six-year-old daughter attends summer camp there. “She shouldn’t be talking to me about this.”"
*jaw hits floor*
WHAT?  Jeffrey Cohen, your little girl shouldn't be talking to you about something?  Way to go dad!  Fatherhood FAIL. Stick your fingers in your ears and go "la, la, la I can't hear youuuuu" if your own child tries to seek knowledge and guidence from you?  UNbelievable!
My own husband, Bodog, father of 3 boys and 2 girls, was gobsmacked at this dad's attitude.  Bodog's version of fatherhood is a bit different from Cohens just as my version of motherhood differs vastly from hysterical PTA president Garroway.  It's called stepping up to the plate, not hiding your head in a hole, letting your kids know they can talk to you about anything, exposing them to life and science and art, and telling them the truth.
Readers, what is your opinion? Do you find fine art that shows nudity to be offensive?  Do you purposely avoid museums and books that might allow your kids to see the human body?  Or is your approach more liberal? Or middle-of-the-road?

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 6:57 am   5 comments

Sunday, July 26, 2009

How about we nip it in the bud?

Great article in the NY Times by an overweight doctor struggling to advise an overweight patient.

It's frank and up front about the awkward juxtaposition of a person reciting the same old "eat less, move more" rhetoric when that person clearly is either not following his own advice or - surprise, surprise - that advice is complete crap.

Charles Washington from Zeroing in on Health did a better job than I ever could of stating what is obvious to any of us low-carbers: stop the dogma and advise the slashing of sugars/starches/carbs.  Instead, these doctors not only follow the same old useless advice, but continue to espouse it knowing, from their own experience, that it doesn't work (obviously). Charles Washington says:

"This advice should not be based solely on the doctor’s experience. It should be based on an understanding of the science of metabolic syndrome and the advice of Dr. Spock and those who came before just 50 years ago. Carbohydrates are the key to fattening and if one wants to avoid weight gain, then they must decrease carbohydrate consumption. They used to know and teach this until Ancel Keys came along with his total cholesterol nonsense. Now, doctors must stand confused in front of their patients with only their experience to rely on. Is it any wonder that the patients glaze over? I think it’s only right. If an obese person came up to me trying to tell me about the unhealthiness of my diet, I would have to laugh. I mean, really."

Indeed.  My husband's own cardiologist* is an enormous bloke, at least 30lbs overweight.  While I don't in any way think that this affects his abilities as a doctor - I think he's a fine doctor and I love him as a person - but it does skew any diet advice he gives.  The nutritionist or dietitian or whatever she was at the hospital (the HEART hospital) was as round as a bagel and sipping an iced something crappy from Starbucks when she v. seriously advised me to get Bodog on a low fat diet "right away" and cut out all those nasty saturated fats that were damaging his heart.

I'm pretty sure his welcome home supper was two 1/4lb ground beef patties, fried in bacon grease and topped with cheese and chili. 

Eight months later Bodog's blood pressure and cholesterol is perfect and he's lost 30lbs. The sheaf of low-fat diet propaganda lined the budgie's cage (crap on crap, perfect!) and he has learned to live on less than 80g of carbs a day. Erm ... my husband, not the budgie, lol!

But overweight doctors aside, the patient in the article was a child, an 8 year old, and so of course that got me into Mommy Mode.  My thing is this: how can we avoid having the doctor even have to discuss diets with our children?  Answer: don't let our kids get overweight in the first place.

Can it be done?  One of the doctors in the article invoked a "omg been there, done that" response in me:

"But Dr. (Julie C.) Lumeng has struggled with her own weight — she says she lost 50 pounds in the past year after a gestational diabetes scare — and she understands how hard it is to translate her own beliefs into daily practice. When she gets home from a long day at work, she told me, she knows she really ought to tell her three children to turn off the television and ride their bikes, while she is cooking broccoli and salmon for dinner.

“I know it all, I do research in this,” she went on. “But in the moment I’m exhausted, it’s been a long day at work, everyone’s sort of irritable. You can know what you need to do, but when the moment comes ... .”"

As a mom I can SO identify with this!  Many many times I am tired, irritated, and have a dozen things unfinished to do in the house or online for my business and it's supper time. Throw in the fact that I've personally cooked a hot healthy breakfast, dinner, and tea for these kids and the urge to blow off supper (I dunno, popsicles as a meal? Popsicles have vitamins and stuffs, right?) grows strong like the force.

But this is where we moms must show our mettle. This is our Normandy Beach of our children's diet.  This is where we need to pull up our big girl underpants and say: "No. No I will not feed my child a microwave kids meal, or a fast food kids meal, filled with chemicals, sugar, soy, and carbohydrates!  Even two slices of whole wheat bread with plain turkey and cheese is preferable."  We also need to teach our kids to eat good foods.  If you wail that your toddler won't eat wheat bread or turkey or cheese and will only eat Frankenchicken nuggets and mac and orangefakesauce so that's why that's all you serve him, well, mommy epic FAIL.

They won't starve themselves. No really, they won't.  It's our responsibility to put good food on the table in front of our children.  It might take them 20 times of taking one bite per meal to learn to like something but we must do it.

The basic gist is this: an overweight 8 year old didn't take her own money down to the Micky Ds and gorge on Big Macs. She didn't do this. Her momma did.

There's nothing in the world wrong with fast food every now and again, or even sweet treats (popsicles!), on occasion, but the fact is that WE control what our young kids eat.  The opening lines of the article struck me as terribly, terribly sad:

"The mother came out of the exam room to intercept me: she knew I would probably have to talk to her daughter about how she was gaining weight, she said, but please don’t use the word “fat,” or even “overweight.” Don’t make her feel bad about herself. "

She allowed her daughter to get fat!  And only now is she concerned about her self image?  A bit late for that.  I never, NEVER want to be in the situation where my baby girl's self confidence is weakened by something I DID TO HER.

Nuff said.

*For anyone who hasn't been following my blog, my husband, Bodog, a type 1 diabetic, had a heart attack last November (at the age of 34) and had to get 2 stents in his heart.

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 8:11 am   3 comments

Friday, July 24, 2009

It's really simple, duh.

Brilliant, brilliant video on what I rant about ALL the time: 

It is just idiocy to believe "the machine" and actually buy that processed, packaged, de-fatted, reduced, enhanced, fortified, CRAP is better for you than Just.  Plain.  Food.

Use your brains, people.

Many thanks to Zen To Fitness and his great post on how to nourish the body wherin he had this vid.

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 6:38 am   0 comments

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Today's funny

Obviously a BritCom (a genre of which I am inordinately fond). I had to stop it and laugh.

"Meat eater":

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 7:00 am   1 comments

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Dr. Sears is off his rocker and sugar is still bad for you

OK, I have been surfing around the net, like ya do, clicking a link, reading a bit, finding another interesting link in the text or sidebar, clicking that, etc, etc.

Well, I'm having a friendly debate with a Tweep who claims that Sugar in the Raw is healthier and more easily digested than regular sugar.

In researching the subject I came across a hilarious bit of stupidity from one of my least liked people: Dr Sears.  I consider this bloke a fool in general. Irritating and full of misinformation.  Now, I don't watch telly, so I'm blissfully not exposed to his wind often, but I encounter his "wisdom" via starry-eyed admirers of his.

Here's Dr. Sears's sage (read: laughably misinformed) thoughts on nutrition:  This guy is a DOCTOR!

"Sugars are one form of carbohydrates and carbohydrates are good for you, as long as you eat the right kinds in the right amounts. Carbohydrates are your body's main source of energy. You couldn't live or work without them. Your body needs a lot of carbohydrates - around 60 to 70 percent of your total calories should be in the form of carbs."

This man shouldn't be allowed to practice medicine much less be on telly.  This is pure horseshite, the entire paragraph. Hans Adolph Krebs (of the Krebs Cycle) proved that the body happily converts fat, protein, and carbs into energy with equal zeal. If you "couldn't live or work without" carbs then how do you explain the Maasai, who lived for so long on mostly milk, blood, and meat, or the Inuit, who used to subsit on mostly meat, fish, and blubber?  Or how about the loads of ZC (zero carb) people out there right now? For that matter, what about me, a Very Low Carber?  I eat no sugar, no grains, no starches, no legumes, no fruit (and haven't for over 2 years) and eat a serving of vegetables maybe 3 times a week.  Throw in my wee bit of dairy and I'm lucky to rack up 10 grams of carbs a day. I never go above 20.

Yet I have an incredible amount of energy (much more than I ever had before - even back when I was at my present weight but on a low-fat diet). I am flabbergasted that people, people who are trusted by the public, no less, are still spouting this nonsense!

Then, on a better note, I found this, on wikipedia with accompanying graph. It's sobering to say the least.

"In the United States of America, a scientific/health debate has started[citation needed] over the causes of a steep rise in obesity in the general population — and one view posits increased consumption of carbohydrates in recent[update] decades as a major factor.[9] 

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey I and Continuous indicates that the population in the United States has increased its proportion of energy consumption from carbohydrates and decreased its proportion from total fat while obesity has increased. This implies, along with the United Nations report cited below, that obesity may correlate better with sugar consumption than with fat consumption, and that reducing fat consumption while increasing sugar consumption actually increases the level of obesity. The following table summarizes this study (based on the proportion of energy intake from different food sources for US Adults 20-74 years old, as carried out by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, Hyattsville, MD[11]):"

 Year      Sex      Carbohydrate      Fat        Protein      Obesity

1971      Male         42.4%           36.9%    16.5%       12.1%

1971      Female      45.4%          36.1%     16.9%       16.6%

2000      Male         49.0%          32.8%     15.5%        27.7%

2000      Female      51.6%          32.8%     15.1%       34.0%

There it is in black and white, folks. More carbs, more sugar, LESS fat, and startling rise in obesity.

What more proof do we need?  What can we sensible folks do to get these idiot doctors and 'dietitians' to QUIT flogging the "fat is baaaaaaad" dogma?


By the way, I never found any evidence that any of the 'raw' sugars are more healthy or more easily digestible. Sugar in the Raw is just table sugar without the cane juice filtered out. They are both sucrose and both equally terrible for you. I also contend that one is not more easily digested. I think that's just wishful thinking, an old wives' tale perpetuated by the veggie/vegan/"healthy eating" (*snort!*) crowd. I think that folks mollify themselves with all the buzzwords "raw!" and "natural!" and plunk down the huge amount of money these vanity sugars cost, then pat themselves on the back for being so health concious.

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 5:24 am   7 comments

Monday, July 20, 2009

I eat meat.

These people are incredible idiots.  Srsly. These morons are so laughingly stupid and uniformed that, if their 'advice' wasn't so dangerous to people's health, I'd be rolling on the floor.

As it is, they sickeningly regurgitate the putrid muck of conventional anti-science and embrace the lies of popular "health wisdom". 'healthy active living' EPIC FAIL.

(thx to Dr. Michael R. Eades MD, for link via Twitter.)

I ask, again, how folks can actually believe such rubbish as a low-fat diet being good for you when Americans have been following one for over 30 years and getting fatter, sicker, and, apparently dumber (to keep mindlessly gorging on garbage like the above article).

It's right up there with people who actually believe that humans are supposed to be vegetarians.  What's next? The earth is flat? The moon landing was a hoax?

Dr. Eades happens to have a recent blog post on the very subject of what we are really meant to eat: meat.

"Au contraire to what our vegetarian friends would have us believe, we have the GI tracts of carnivores, not herbivores, and we were designed by nature to use every last speck of the nutrients in meat. We can survive on all-meat diets just fine, whereas we can’t survive on an all-plant diet without supplementation."

And a fact that vegetarians and vegans cannot seem to grasp (impaired brain fucntion due to eating no meat, maybe? I'm being serious.) that we evolved our large brains BECAUSE we ate meat.

"We’ve developed our large brains and our social instincts as a consequence of meat eating. I’m planning a post on this subject in the near future, so you can see how our very humanness arose because we developed a taste for meat. We are carnivores to our very cores – were we not, we would still be roaming the savannas with brains the size of grapefruits."


On the subject, I just couldn't resist this "I eat meat" funny t-shirt for all of us carnivores and low-carb folks.  I am SO getting myself one!:

carnivore, atkins, paleo, primal, warrior, VLC, ZC, low carb, meat eater funny t-shirt. I eat meat!

As I've said time and again, going low carb, punting grains and sugars and starches, moving your body, getting more sun, that is: getting healthy, doesn't have to be hard.  Really. There is no set plan, no ideal diet.  Like Tony, the anti-Jared (who has lost over 200lbs - thats 50lbs more than I have!) said: "Diets are like snowflakes, no two are going to be alike."

You have to experiment and see what works for you.

Take me, for instance. I dropped 100lbs like 10 sacks of hot potatoes by just slashing grains, starches, and sugars from my diet. I ate whatever else I wanted - spoonfulls of peanut butter, any and all meats, mayonnaise, margerine, chunks of cheese, etc, etc. 

By the time I discovered Paleo (or Lacto-Paleo for me since I still eat some butter, heavy cream, and cheese), dropping fruits, nightshades, and legumes was easy.  I continued to eat what I wanted and continued to lose weight.  Eventually I drifted into an easy equilibrium of eating mostly fatty meats, eggs, and trace amounts of butter, cream, cheese, nuts/seeds, and veg (I eat a small serving of lettuce, raw carrots, or cooked greens - cabbage/collards - abt 2-3 times a week).

My health is excellent, my blood pressure is great, and my cholesterol is the lowest it's ever been in my life. I feel good and have tonnes of energy, BUT, after over 150lbs lost, I've discovered that if I want to continue to lose weight, I have to watch my calories (and cut back on my beloved cheese and nuts).

So even on a plan that turns out to be great for you, you might have to make adjustments now and then. Take this Primal chick whom I follow on Twitter who is experimenting with going 100% carnivore (called ZC or zero carb)*.  She's had tremendous success and in that blog post does a good job of detailing her thoughts about the plan.

"VLC is poorly defined. Is it Atkins Induction with two cups of veg? Is it animal products only? What I like about meat-only is that it's a clear end-point, from which I can choose to reincorporate various foods and judge scientifically my body's response to them, without too many confounding variables. It goes without saying that grains and refined sugars will never be part of my diet; I may ultimately resume the primal lifestyle since it works very well for me, with perhaps a little more restriction on the frequency of fruit and amount of veggies, given my recent learning. I'm not predicting the outcome. I like this journey of discovery and learning, keeping it as pure as possible, with me just along for the ride. :) "

VLC is Very Low Carb, which applies to my own diet plan, and she's right about its being poorly defined. That's my point. There is no one perfect plan. Do like she and I both did and jump in with something that sounds good, whether its a DIY diet like Paleolithic or a set plan like Atkins, and roll your own.

Just stick to the basic principals of good health: eat whole fresh foods, not processed anything, eat meats, fats, nuts, and vegetables; dump refined flours and sugars, hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup; move yourself, walk more, do some body-weight-training; get outside in the fresh air and sunshine, without chemicals on your skin.

You don't have to go carnivore, you don't have to go VLC, you don't even have to give up all grains and sugars (though I really recommend it), but just do something. Build your own diet plan and get healthier. Trust me on this: when you get to be my age (45), having the arthritis almost miraculously better and having the energy levels through the roof really, really makes a difference!

How have you adapted your eating plan for life? Are you still on the same plan or did you have to tweak it a bit?  How so?

*In case you are freaking out about the concept of 100% carnivore, I do it all the time. I have never done the pure version (which is just meat, no spices, and water. Period.) but I have gone for weeks eating nothing but meat as my food; no veg, no cheese, no nuts, no butter. I noticed no difference in energy level or well-being. It's great.

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 1:02 pm   5 comments

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Butter -vs- hydrogenated hormone filled oils, erm, margarine

Fabulous article on butter -vs- margarine here.

I love the opening lines: "Why anyone would still willingly eat margarine is beyond me. Seriously."

Indeed. Margarine is like coagulated death.  Not only is it loaded with hydrogenated oils, it's often soybean oil (and you can keep your female hormones to yourself, thanks, and my kids won't be getting any either.)

If you can get past the wincingly awful grammar gaffe* (twice!) of using "comprised of", the rest of the post if fab.

The author carefully details what's horrible about margarine: chemical solvents used to produce those trans-fatty acids, for example, and what's wonderful about butter:

"... short-chain and medium-chain fatty acids that come from butter offer antimicrobial and immune-enhancing benefits to the eater. [snip]
Butter is rich in vitamins and minerals that are not present in margarine. For example, butter is rich in real Vitamin A – a vitamin that is critical to reproductive health and vitally important to both babies still developing in their mothers’ wombs as well as young children. Butter is rich in Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Vitamin D and the mineral selenium..."

I personally switched my entire family over to real butter at the end of last year - a hard row to hoe for a person as frugal as I am - and buy it in restaurant sized bulk packages. I am convinced, however, that it's best for my family, and by golly, our food tastes better!  I substitute olive oil in cooking and use butter mainly as a spread/garnish. I have also noticed that we use MUCH less butter on food than we did margarine. Quality over quantity!

Do you still use margarine?  Why? And if you've switched, what are you doing to offset the increased cost of using real butter?

*Grammar rant: "Comprised of" is a big grammar FAIL. You mean "composed of". Comprised means "to include" or "to be made up of", thus a library is not comprised of books, rather books comprise a library.

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 8:14 am   3 comments

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Thrifty Tips and finding freebies

I realised I'd not done a gratuitus picture post in a bit, so my next one will be a picture post, I promise!

In the meantime, let me share some great deals I've gotten recently and throw out some tips on your getting similar deals. Just the first 3 days of this week, I've gotten 13 bags of hamburger buns for free, 4 loaves of crusty french bread for free (from my thrift store); a fabulous victorian style lamp (with shade), a kitchen clock, and some yard art (all from the dump), and a beautiful oak hall table for $20.

Number one, and I've said it a million times; never, never refuse anything that's free!  Srsly. Even if the old neighbour lady is trying to give you her maternity clothes from 1955, take them.

"Eww, yuck," you say. "Why should I be responsible for carting her crap to the thrift store or dump?  I know I don't want those nasty old fashions!"

Well, Miss Priss, what if they're worth something on feeBay? Lots of people would kill for those old fashions; yes, even 70s polyester. You might be able to make a mint there (or Craigslist or eCrater.)

But most of all, even if you can't be arsed to resell (I'll confess to having precious little time to do that, myself) or the stuff is so manky that it has to be forwarded directly to the landfill, you would still be paying it forward by the simple RAOK (random act of kindness) of 1) making the old lady happy, and 2) doing a good deed.

I think good deeds come back to you. Also, if you graciously take the stuff (and spirit it off whilst she's not around), the next thing she gifts you with might be seasoned cast iron cookware, or antique furniture, or better.

This has happened to me many times.  I have kitchen stuffs, gardening items, farm equipment, heirloom plant cuttings, and antiques all given to me by lovely older people to whom I was kind.  Plus it just makes you feel wonderful to be sweet to people. Try it.

Tip number two is to keep your eyes open. Free things can be had all over. Both my regular thrift store and the local bread store have free bread on occasion. Restaurants have gallon jars, plastic buckets, etc that they throw away in quantities. Eyeball every single pile of rubbish that's been put out by the side of the road.  If you're too scared to just jump out and grab stuff (be a polite scavenger: never scatter a person's rubbish or leave tyre tracks in someone's lawn, for example), then tap on the door and ask if you may haul off that overstuffed chair before the garbage truck arrives.  Most folks don't care so long as it gets gone.

Cruise yard sales that are wrapping up, especially on hot days or if it's started to rain. Quickly make reasonably small offers for big and/or nice items. Lots of people will give you boxes of small or mixed stuff to keep from having to haul it to the dump. Of course a few nasty sorts will try to skin a few bucks off of you - cutting off their own noses to spite their faces - even though they're about to toss the items in a dumpster.

These people get a smile and my taillights*.

So keep your eyes peeled for freebies. I have gotten leftover food and bags of ice from catered events and school functions (after they are over, just ask the people doing the food. The worst thing they can say is "no".) , gorgeous antiques from the curb, and working electronics from dumpsters. Be observant!

Tip number three is be persistant.

The only thing on my list of aquisitions this week that I paid for was the table. It's a lovely thing, all blonde oak, long turned legs, two drawers side by side with brass pulls and nice dovetailing.

I have been stalking this piece at my regular thrift store for about 6 weeks. See, it was labled "sold" but many people pay for items and never return to pick them up.  Lots of times their check bounces or their card fails to go through and the blokes in the back don't remove the sold stickers. Well, when I saw the piece still there after two weeks I asked to be notified if the 'owner' failed to pick it up. Two more weeks passed.  I did a full court press and left my name and number again. When I went in yesterday, there it sat.  I told the bloke that it had been 6 weeks (they give people 30 days to pick up furniture) and if he would make me a good deal, I'd get it out of his way. He was so ready to clear the space for new items that he gave it to me for $20.

The original asking price was $90.

Observation. Persistance.

Have any of you gotten any good deals this week? Freebies? How'd you manage it? Share!


*I have had flabbergasted skinflints, folks who expect me to pay them $10 for a box of nameless crap that they will have to waste petrol hauling to the dump, chase after me as I walked to my car, offering lower and lower prices.

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 9:04 am   4 comments

Sunday, July 05, 2009

ZOMG! They did a LOLdog of me!

funny pictures of dogs with captions
see more dog and puppy pictures

Bwahahahahah ... ah ... *whew* is it bedtime yet?

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 3:14 pm   0 comments