Re: You're like that guy that picked me up when the extra footprints in the sand disappeared.

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Please recognize this important opportunity to help make a difference in the XX Chapter of the XY Fraternity.

So they're trying to seem polite in order to score chicks? There's a novel idea.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 7:47 PM
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Not a professional frat or something

Amateurs.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 7:51 PM
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Anyhow isn't one of the most typically galling things about frats that they couch all their asshole duding in occasional, utterly transparent sanctimoniousness, generally directed at authority?

I thought that was the whole thing.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:02 PM
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That and slipping girls roofies.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:04 PM
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Right: sanctimonious assduding, roofies, and those weird giant wooden benches they all seem to build outside their houses. (Or is that just my alma mater?)


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:17 PM
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4: well, right. Slipping girls roofies for the betterment of society.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:17 PM
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a) What, exactly is a professional frat?
and
b) Could someone explain to me the existence of fraternities? I missed undergrad.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:19 PM
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But isn't it a particularly special form of santimonious assduding to have 19 year old punks send letters explaining that are setting a good example for you?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:20 PM
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What, exactly is a professional frat?

You'll have med school frats and law school frats and frats that generally don't live in a house, and only meet up for planning professional shmoozing and philanthropic events.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:22 PM
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And by med school frats, I mean undergrads who are intending to go to med school. Generally these are co-ed.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:22 PM
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8: No. Your average AIG exec, to pick an example at random, makes these guys look like the clueless twerps they are.

Soon you'll be posting that dammit, two year olds just don't understand the basics of proper dinner table conduct.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:23 PM
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Could someone explain to me the existence of fraternities? I missed undergrad.

Did you miss John Belushi too?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:24 PM
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This thread is highly entertaining if you transpose the middle two letters of "frat."


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:25 PM
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They exist to be awesome and then die?


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:26 PM
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This thread is highly entertaining if you transpose the middle two letters of "frat."

I'm not a tooter, I just frat a lot.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:26 PM
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I feel obligated to point out that in my extremely limited experience, black fraternities (and sororities) are not so much about the getting drunk and acting like jerks. They seem to pull from different parts of the student pool, and to have historically different aims. So it pays to be a little careful with the broad-brushing.

Someone who has better knowledge is more than welcome to come along and correct me.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:29 PM
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I concur with Witt. I hold black sororities/fraternities in much higher esteem than their white counterparts and they seem to have very different missions.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:32 PM
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While I can't defend actually existing frats, I really liked living in a frat-derived coop. The basic principle of sharing living space and chores with a big enough group of reasonably congenial people that it's easy to find someone to do something fun with when you want to has a lot to recommend it in the college age bracket.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:34 PM
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During Women's Week a few weeks back, put on by the women's studies department, the black student union gave all the female faculty and staff roses, individually delivered, "for Ladies' Week". They seemed very sincere.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:34 PM
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16, 18: frats aren't monolithic. Ask apo!

Although when I hung out with a bunch of MIT frat boys, the resemblance to regular frat boys was pretty striking.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:40 PM
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"Frat-derived" seems like a stretch, LB. "Abused the existence of a frat for bootstrapping purposes and then ditched it as soon as was convenient" seems like more of the spirit of the matter. That said, the fraternity song book is still hanging out on the piano.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:43 PM
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Yeah, although there was variation. The guys from TEP were decent.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:44 PM
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22: I think that's where these guys were from, actually. They were nice enough, just sort of cliquish and... I dunno, fratty. Of course, they were also having an extended discussion about synthesizing phenethylamines. That was different.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:46 PM
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21: No, they actually got thrown out of the national frat. Admittedly, they elected a woman president first, but the frat threw them out.

When I was there, Very Tall Guy was (IIRC) still teaching people the πκα secret handshake.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:49 PM
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i had the impression that being thrown out was part of the plan all along, but such are the mists of time. VTG is around these days (in fact, he just turned over the corrporation presidency to me); I'll have to ask him about that.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:53 PM
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black fraternities (and sororities) are not so much about the getting drunk and acting like jerks.

Me, I'm not sure I see the big problem with getting drunk and acting like a jerk. But I'll note that black churches also do not suck the way that white churches so often do. Institutions with different origins and purposes are naturally going to have different attributes.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:55 PM
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I know someone taught, or purported to teach, me a secret handshake. I'm not entirely sure it was VTG -- my memory is godawful.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:58 PM
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23: What did you expect them to synthesize?


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 8:59 PM
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28: if they had been normal frat boys? I dunno, puke?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 9:02 PM
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Huh, I actually hung out at an MIT frat for a little while -- had some friends there. It was across the river. I don't recall its name.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 9:04 PM
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This year we are trying something new; we are requiring every member to mail this letter to ten members of their families and to their friends. This is because we realize that the purpose of fraternal organizations is to develop well-rounded and socially conscious members of society if they fail to do this, they will have 7 years of bad luck and their crushes will kiss someone else.


Posted by: Alex F | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 9:05 PM
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The total absence of frats was one of the things I liked about my alma mater.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 9:18 PM
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I was invited along to some "Pie with a Professor" sorority-house event a while ago. (Naturally, I went and it turned out all the sorority sisters were wandering around in their underwear and kissing and stuff. I never thought it would happen to me, but it's a funny old world.) While there, I learned that I was being exploited, basically grist to a point-accumulating mill, where the goal was to have or keep a high enough point-tally, generated through contributing to quasi-socially-conscious events, to be allowed to live in the sorority house.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 9:18 PM
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I think my current school has non-professional frats -- they definitely have sororities -- but they seem pretty low-profile, and don't actually have frat houses.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 9:20 PM
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How do you manage to be a Brahmin frat-boy without a frat house? Or is the frat house in your soul?


Posted by: Nakku | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 9:24 PM
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My undergrad institution had frat houses but no sorority houses. The reason given was that there was still a law on the books that having above a certain number of women living in a house together constituted a brothel. That sounds a lot like a campus myth, doesn't it?


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 9:26 PM
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35: I am the frat house. I have a million tiny Brahmins living inside me.

Scientology would have seen this.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 9:27 PM
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Or is the frat house in your soul?

Not to put to fine a point on it.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 9:28 PM
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39

Like a longines symphonette, a Brahmin never rests.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 9:31 PM
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I am the frat house

goo goo guh joo.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 9:31 PM
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Brahmins are the higher caste above Thetans.


Posted by: cRYPTEC nID | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 9:31 PM
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Not to put to fine a point on it.
A million tiny Brahmins and one angry bee.


Posted by: Nakku | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 9:33 PM
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34: Yeah, there are frats there. One of my friends was in one.

36: Same deal at my alma mater, and the same reason given. It seems to be a common thing. (Well, there were sorority houses, but they were halls in the dorms.)


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 9:37 PM
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med school frats

The frats of NIMH.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 9:46 PM
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Say I'm the only bee in your bonnet!


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 9:52 PM
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When I was at the U of C there was a guy who was very serious about inducting people into his own personal pseudo-frat, IΗΠ. He would interrogate promising candidates with some rigorous set of questions designed to ascertain if one was sufficiently committed to some set of high ideals, which I think were libertarian-ish and were definitely strongly anti-authority. It seemed to be somewhere between elaborate joke and amusingly earnest rebellion.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 10:22 PM
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and it turned out all the sorority sisters were wandering around in their underwear and kissing and stuff.

Just the latest chapter in that hefty tome called The Progress of Nihilism, I guess. You can't fight progress! (though me, I wouldn't half blame you if you tried...).


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 03-31-09 10:41 PM
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The main thing I know about sororities is that Molly in Rubyfruit Jungle got kicked out of one for being a lesbian... and in her sordid youth, Florence King got kicked out of one for joining the Marines.

I presume some people join sororities and feel sentimental about them. I'm not the joining type...


Posted by: Jesurgislac | Link to this comment | 04- 1-09 2:22 AM
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This year we are trying something new; we are requiring every member to mail this letter to ten members of their families and to their friends. This is because we realize that the purpose of fraternal organizations is to develop well-rounded and socially conscious members of society.

Was Bernie Madoff in this fraternity?


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 04- 1-09 3:02 AM
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"...but at the hardest times of my life, I saw only one set of footprints. Why did you desert me then when I needed you most?"
"You saw only one set of footprints, my child, because it was then that I carried you."
"...OK, well, there were some times when there was this deep line between the footprints?"
"Oh, that was because after I'd carried you for a bit you got too heavy, so I used a wheelbarrow."
"And the bits where there weren't any footprints but just a line of little round holes?"
"Pogo stick."


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 04- 1-09 3:29 AM
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"You saw only one set of footprints, my child, because it was then that I carried you." was riding you."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04- 1-09 5:28 AM
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I would like that you treat this email with all seriousness until now I belong to XX Chapter of the XY Fraternity. I am the treasurer of the fraternity and I am presently in charge of the bank accounts. I have discovered that some of the account are dormant with a lot of money in the account on further investigation I found out that one particular account belong to the former president of XY fraternity, from 2002-2004, and this particular account has a deposit of $45,000 with no knowledge of other chapter members.

Since I am the account officer and the money or the account is dormant and there is no knowledge because the past president hid the money when he was still in office. The account owner the former president of XY has left long time ago, leaving the money behind and nobody is claiming it because there is no member knowledge.

The money that is in the deposit is $45k and this is what I would like to transfer to you for our mutual benefit. Please if this is of interest to you I will advice that you contact me through my direct email address. Please this transaction should be kept confidential. For you we shall share the money on equal basis.

Your reply will be appreciated, Thank you,


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04- 1-09 6:21 AM
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53

52 wins. Everybody go home.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 04- 1-09 6:59 AM
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32: Ditto. During my time there was a tradition of giving group houses vaguely band-like names. I remember The Esoterotica, The "R" House (named after the colossal letter R someone had stolen back in the mists of time), and of course Two And A Half Women of Easy Virtue, a place that has a special spot in my memories. A frustrating, annoying "what the hell was I thinking" special spot. Seriously dude, what the fuck. Damn idiot.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04- 1-09 7:19 AM
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Out of interest, am I right in believing that fraternities were originally formed to provide members with opportunities for pseudo-nepotism in later life? At what stage did they become associated with drunk teens behaving predictably?


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 04- 1-09 7:23 AM
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his own personal pseudo-frat, IΗΠ

I'm sorry, did this concept somehow not involve pie-eating? What a missed opportunity.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04- 1-09 7:29 AM
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opportunities for pseudo-nepotism in later life

That's still the main function. Almost every job I've gotten post-college has been greased by a fraternity connection, and ours really wasn't the type you'd expect to be able to leverage like that.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04- 1-09 7:45 AM
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56: Based on the documentary film "Animal House," I'd have to say that your thesis held through the 1950s, then there was antithesis in the 1960s - particularly at colleges that existed near venues where rhythm & blues artists performed - and synthesis sometime thereafter.

Before I got to college, I had assumed that the Delts were the fun ones and the Omegas were the unpleasant ones, but once I got there, I realized there wasn't really any distinction, and none of them were pleasant (as groups). CMU had/has a pretty benign Greek culture (I recoil at AB's tales of the centrality of Greeks at UVA), but, as Sifu says of MIT, that doesn't make actual frat members any different.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04- 1-09 7:47 AM
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Dammit, 58 to 55.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04- 1-09 7:53 AM
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none of them were pleasant (as groups).

You have to wonder why that is -- just historical path-dependence from how frats are expected to be? As a way of organizing housing, there's nothing particularly wrong with it.

I wonder if traditional frats got more uniformly obnoxious when co-ed housing became socially possible -- that is, if part of the stereotypically obnoxious frat-boy type is that the kind of guy who wants to join a 'no girls allowed' club tends to run obnoxious.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04- 1-09 7:58 AM
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60.last: seems like there's something to that, but arguably it's just backlash social politics in general. Actually, I feel as if things changed before my eyes - that the worst fratboy behavior of 1990 was normalized everyboy behavior by 1995 - the rise of Abercrombie seemed to mirror an apotheosis of fratboy assholery.

On your original point, tho, my personal experience of living in a dorm that was coed by wing (and the wings were just on either side of a central stair - a minor division) was actually not unlike what you describe in 18.last - not explicitly communal, but I befriended* every woman on the other wing of my floor, and always could find someone to eat with. It helped that I was totally committed to my HS GF at another school, but it also meant that, unlike a lot of my classmates, I had non-architect friends.

* Indeed, one of them was just over at my house for Iris' BDay party, bringing her daughter


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04- 1-09 8:26 AM
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(named after the colossal letter R someone had stolen back in the mists of time)

And which is rightfully mine. I actually bought it from another Reedie, but I lost track of it when I left the country.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04- 1-09 8:45 AM
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As the treasurer of my chapter's alumni association, I laughed aloud when I read 52. It is perfect in every way.

ours really wasn't the type you'd expect to be able to leverage like that

Note, however, that we do publish a book every few years with a list of every living member, their contact information and what industry they're in. Our chapter may not be the type you'd expect, but plenty of other chapters are and we give it a go of our own when we can.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 04- 1-09 8:48 AM
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5: They're not confined to your alma mater. Even our fraternity had one. They're easy to see/land upon when intoxicated traditional.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 04- 1-09 8:53 AM
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62: That's funny. Specifically the fact that you paid good money for a colossal letter. I am guilty of similar things, so it's not so much a point and laugh funny as it is look at the silly person in the mirror funny.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04- 1-09 9:02 AM
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For forty bucks, it was a bargain. Seriously, people, the thing was an enormous hunk of signage. Red plastic on a metal frame, maybe four feet high by five feet wide, and it lit up. Great lighting for parties.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04- 1-09 9:10 AM
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My blood ran cold for a second when I read the opening sentence of 52.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04- 1-09 9:17 AM
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Almost every job I've gotten post-college has been greased by a fraternity connection

Housesitting, babysitting, dogwalking, lawnmowing ..... the guys have been good to me.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04- 1-09 9:37 AM
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There is a huge illuminated sign for "Charlie Ung's Teahouse," complete with pagoda-esque framing, that is mine for the taking*, but WTF would I do with it? It's probably 15' high.

* It's on the back of a client's building, facing an alley.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04- 1-09 9:42 AM
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but WTF would I do with it?

Hire somebody called Charlie Ung to sell tea. When nobody can afford architects any more, like next week, you'll have an out.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 04- 1-09 9:44 AM
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56 I'm sorry, did this concept somehow not involve pie-eating? What a missed opportunity.

I assume it did, but I wasn't able to answer his questions to his satisfaction, so I never learned about the secret rites.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04- 1-09 9:44 AM
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MY CHILD, THAT WAS WHEN WE WERE BOTH HOPPING ON ONE FOOT.


Posted by: OPINIONATED SURREALIST JESUS | Link to this comment | 04- 1-09 10:13 AM
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Housesitting, babysitting, dogwalking, lawnmowing

I meant handjobs, Emerson. Hence the "greased" part.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04- 1-09 10:28 AM
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